Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crazy Mixed-Up Garden World

What is up with Mother Nature? Last year on February 18, I had beautiful grape-soda-scented Mountain Laurel blooms all along the driveway.

Today, the Mountain Laurels are not even forming buds yet. The caterpillars are eating them already, but no buds. I wonder if the recent freezes killed them entirely.
And, yet, a month behind in our blooms, we already have May flies! This is a lousy picture (YOU try capturing a flying May fly on film (well, not film, either). And I saw a 3" long grasshopper on the back of the house today. By all rights, he should have DIED in the big freeze. Sigh.

But there are a few reliables in my garden, even if many things are topsy turvy. Ms. Phoebe Hellebore's two sisters joined her yesterday - one pink and one with a greenish tint.
And since I am so infatuated with the Hellebores, I did order another from Springhill -- see her here above in her little cage? Her name is Ice Wine, and she'll make a nice contrast with the Phoebes, don't you think?

Does this look suspiciously like someone forgot there were already a different variety of bulbs planted in this very same spot? Hmmmm...
I was lying on the driveway to take this picture for you. Sure wish you could scratch and sniff your screen. It is Yellow Grape Muscari "Golden Fragrance" -- a variety very different from the traditional grape-y muscari, known for its scent, which is said to smell a bit like a mix of gardenia and banana. I stuck my nose in it and WHAM! So full of scent - what a wonderful smell, though I had forgotten how it was described. As I smelled it, I thought it smelled like pineapple and cinnamon. Interesting, huh? But boy was it great.
And here are a few of the different Daffs popping up all around the garden. Dutch Master, Tete-a-Tete, and Yellow Fortune.


Annie in Austin said...

Your hellebores are killing me, Diana- these photos may force me to try them!

We've grown Texas Mountain Laurels since 2000, with maybe 4 good bloom years out of 11. My experience is that if a plant intends to bloom the wispy flower stalks are evident before Christmas. Once I see them I keep watch - some are lost to freezes before they lengthen and the individual buds swell. Only one of my 4 plants had buds this March.

Your daffodils are terrific! So many of mine just leaves this year.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Diana said...

Annie: My Mt.Laurels have always bloomed. Now that makes me sad. I was holding out hope. My Hellebores are in full shade by the garage & hose where I hand water a lot cuz I can. Love daffodils - deer really do leave em alone, so they are my best friends!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Diana, I am coveting your muscari. I'd love to smell it. I did start smelling the winter honeysuckle this week, and it is luscious. Yum. It has been the craziest winter hasn't it?~~Dee

Diana said...

Dee: I love the smell of honesuckle, too, and the taste. Remember pulling them apart as a kid and licking the nectar? So fun. The muscari definitely smell good enough to eat.

Rachel @ in bloom said...

The mountain laurels outside my office on campus are finally starting to bloom. I had to lean in close today for that awesome grape bubblegum smell.

getgrounded said...

Oh, I love your comment about pulling out the honeysuckle stamen and sucking on it! I can remember doing much of that. My Hellebore is looking good, too, though I haven't gotten on the ground to get a photo. I need to move it to someplace I can actually see it, since the plant is so tiny. Yours are much prettier, though, with their double flower. And your daffs are gorgeous, especially that last picture. I don't have any blooming yet, and only a few muscari. It's a very odd spring, for sure. It appears I have a handful of buds on the Mountain Laurel, but good grief, it's mid March!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Spring has definitely exploded in your garden Diana. I really admire the hellebores you have. I will have to look for these beauties.

The Younger Rachael said...

May Fly... is that what those gigantic, mosquito-looking flies are?

The flowers are beautiful, thank you for sharing!

komet said...

Diana - love your blog! We are temporary residents of the Fredericksburg area and are looking for ideas of what to plant in a yard that has a lot of shade in the summer. We are still learning about Central Texas plants and haven't found anything that does very well in partial to full shade. Any suggestions?

Dawn said...

Hellebores! Like Anne I'm now extremely tempted to try them, though I fear the rock I live on would kill the poor things. Yours are darling. Would the deer eat them if given the chance?

Your daffodils are lovely. Enjoy the crazy weather. And watch out for those wacky may flies. Happy Spring!

Jayne said...

I wasn't familiar with hellebores until recently, but seeing your photos, I may have to place an order from Spring Hill as well :-)

Love those daffies too.

LindaCTG said...

Never heard of the yellow grape muscari but will get some next year for sure. Possibly the freeze killed the m. laurel blooms but the long drought may have done it too. I've only seen one or two flower heads; no flowers yet. Thanks for heads up on the army worms. Will check mine out now & get out the Bt. They can wipe out the new leaves in a day!

RBell said...

Think that your critter might actually be a crane fly (http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/bimg215.html). They tend to start appearing around now. Beautiful daffs. And I'm gonna have to check on the Hellebore varieties since they like shade!

Diana said...

Rachel - So glad my grape soda smell finally arrived. I hope the blooms don't all freeze tonight!

Lisa - I think of Hellebores as much more suited to your part of the country. They like the cold - they melt here pretty quick in spring.

The Younger Rachel - Well, apparently those aren't May flies, but rather, Crane flies. Oh well!

komet - Do you have deer around and is the area irrigated? There are lots of good shade options, but it's tough to make suggestions without more information. Ferns, hostas, some salvias. Your best bet would be to either google Texas shade plants, go to the TAMU horticulture website or check with your local nursery. Wish I could help more - but keep visiting and see what I put in my shade!

Dawn - those Hellebores are supposed to be safe from deer. I think they munched mine in error! Or maybe it was a bunny, who knows. But no trouble with them before. At least THEY like this cold weather!

Jayne - You will love Spring Hill - I've been pleased with their plants and their prices. Order some!

Linda/CTG - My trees are blooming! But then again, they may be dead tomorrow if it freezes. Go figure. Well, we knew it was coming, didn't we?

R Bell - Thanks for the crane fly correction. I don't know my insects that well, unless they are attacking my plants, and then I make it my business to know them really well! You'd love the Hellebores - they are so pretty and love the cold and shade.