Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. February

This post was supposed to be a continuation of my last one; ‘Why do We Garden?‘, but I can’t let Carol‘s February’s Bloom Day go by without joining in the celebration. Despite the awful winds and rain we have had for weeks and this morning’ s thick frost, the birds certainly think spring is in the air and so to the flowers.

Squirrels dig up any new  crocus bulbs that I plant in the back garden, but the dear little Tommies; Crocus thommasianus seed themselves into ever increasing carpets.


Last year I noticed  an unusual yellow one amongst them with a lilac back. This year, there are one or two more.

Unusual Crocus thommasianus

Unusual Crocus thommasianus

Each year, I plant a few more species crocuses and  different kinds of Iris reticulata in front of my picket fence in the front garden and the squirrels don’t seem to go round here. I love the little species crocus, they are earlier flowering and to my mind, much prettier than the big, shiny Dutch ones.

Iris reticulata are like little jewels with their intense colours.  Many of them disappointingly disappear after a year or two. The lovely yellow Iris danfordiae never reappears. The trouble is that their bulbs break up into lots of little bulblets. Iris ‘Harmony’ keeps coming quite well and so does the pretty pale blue and yellow, Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ which is a cross between Iris histrioides and Iris winogradowii. Very similar to ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ is Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney.’ A new one to me this year is the richly dark purple Iris ‘Palm Springs’.  The last photo of ‘Palm Springs’ is taken in the greenhouse and you can see a little bloom of the dainty Narcissus cantabricus  trying to get in the shot.

Iris 'Palm Springs

Iris ‘Palm Springs

I don’t want to bore non-galanthophiles, so here are just a few. Shut your eyes now, if you can’t bear to see more snowdrops.

Hellebore heaven.

The other plant which has been enticing us into the garden for weeks now are the wonderful hellebores.  They go on and on, getting better and better.

Daffodils are really early this year. Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn is a great favourite and one of the earliest.  It always starts blooming in January.

Narcissus 'Spring Dawn'

Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’

Gradually the garden is getting is getting spangled with  bright spots of colour.  Pulmonarias are coming out, along with cyclamen, daffodils, primroses and hyacinths. The lovely little tiffany lampshades of Leucojum vernum are opening up.

I am very surprised to find this Fritillaria raddeana in bloom so early. I planted it last year and I wasn’t even sure that it was hardy.

Fritillaria raddeana

Fritillaria raddeana

Another delight is this little Cyclamen. I have lost the label and I can’t remember which one it is. As you see the leaves are far too large for C. coum. Anyway, it is very pretty and clearly hardy.
Two trees which are pleasing me at the moment are the vanilla scented Azara microphylla blooming much earlier than usual and the starry little flowers of Cornus mas.

Azara microphylla

Azara microphylla

Cornus mas

Cornus mas

I am always extolling the virtues of my favourite shrub Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and she is still in bloom after weeks of delighting everyone who comes to the front door.

Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’







And for fragrance on a February day, Sarcococca takes a lot of beating. I grow two kinds. They are both intensely fragrant. Sarcococca prefers a shady spot, bright sunshine will make the leaves turn yellow.

Sarcococca humilis

Sarcococca humilis

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

An unusual Flowering Currant is the green Ribes laurifolium. I like its flowers very much, but it will loll about on the ground. I have read that it is a good plant to grow up a tree and I wish I had thought of this.

Ribes laurifolium

Ribes laurifolium

I will finish with my latest extravagance. It is still in the greenhouse because I have already killed two. At least I didn’t kill them exactly, they wilfully died when we had hard frosts. I promised myself I wouldn’t try again because Edgeworthia is so expensive. But I love all winter flowers, so I am having one last try with the gorgeous Edgeworthia chrysantha. Third time lucky, I hope.

Edggeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

So these are some of the blooms which make my garden an exciting place to be in February, even when the winds blow or it pours with rain. The flowers and I can smell that spring is definitely in the air.
Do join in with Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month. It is hosted by Carol at MayDreamgardens. Thank you Carol.

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74 Responses to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. February

  1. Waow ! Great to see all this flowers. It’s an explosion of colors and joy ! And, it’s why we do garden, i think ?

  2. AnnetteM says:

    What a lovely Spring post. You have so many wonderful flowers out already. We have a smattering of snow on the ground this morning, but the sun is out so I will see if I can get a photo of any of my flowers. They are still very few and far between though.

  3. Annette says:

    Such richness and a delight to look at, Liz. I love crocus as you know and am very happy that I don’t have to struggle with squirrels as the blackbirds are enough trouble already. So English squirrels and French blackbirds are the rowdies of the gardening world it seems…;) How long do you have the Edgeworthia? I like them a lot but don’t know if they support cold spells as well. Sarcococca are flowering here too, fab scent.

    • Chloris says:

      I haven’ t had the Edgeworthia very long and I am keeping it in the greenhouse at the moment. Winter frost killed my previous ones. It smells delicious.

  4. rusty duck says:

    Once again you make me wish I live in the relatively dry east. Irises and crocuses have been a disaster here. Hellebores and snowdrops, thankfully, carry on regardless. Loving your Edgeworthia, I do hope it survives. Have so far resisted the temptation but I can’t last out much longer..

  5. Christina says:

    Your garden is wonderfully springlike Liz, the intense colours of winter flowers is such a joy on grey days isn’t it. Fritillaria raddeana is stunning, I must keep an eye out for this, maybe it would like my conditions? The flowers on Sarcococca humilis are enormous I always think of all Sarcococca being insignificant but these certainly aren’t.

  6. Julie says:

    I am not sure if its the angle of your photo but I like the form and colour of Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney a lot more than Katharine Hodgkin, Shelia looks very elegant. Your garden must be a real pleasure after so many grey days, I agree with Christiane, its a real explosion of colour and joy!

    • Chloris says:

      I love all these little irises. Sheila is beautiful. I am enjoying Natasha at the moment which is a dainty white one.
      Spring flowers are really getting going now, such a joy.

  7. Flighty says:

    Lovely post and pictures.
    Sadly my crocuses haven’t fared well in the heavy rain and high winds. xx

  8. Pauline says:

    So many lovely flowers and so many different colours, it all looks so spring like! My crocus and Iris reticulata are also doing well in spite of the wet and cold.

    • Chloris says:

      It is amazing how everything is blooming away happily despite the awful weather. The flowers are braver than I am. My sorties into the garden are very brief at the moment.

  9. Tina says:

    You have lots going on in your garden. The croci–wow, just gorgeous! Beautiful early spring display, even though it’s supposed to be winter!

  10. Good thing the Tommies are spreading…squirrels and voles take care of my crocus. I love seeing all my favorite spring flowers that will bloom here in 2 months.

    • Chloris says:

      The Tommies are spreading by seed, the squirrels dig up any new corms in the back garden. I didn’ t realise that your gardens are so much later than ours. Not long now perhaps?

  11. gardenfancyblog says:

    So many lovely flowers in your gardens, Chloris. Spring has definitely arrived for you. Thanks for sharing your breath of springtime! -Beth

  12. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Wow, your have so many different blooms. I love them all!

  13. Winter does not seem so bad in the garden. All is lovely. I think that is the first Sarcocca flower I have seen, now I know why people like them. I had a friend with Edgeworthia issues, he had finally succeeded after a few tries and it was beautiful.
    Do you have Iris cristata in the UK? It is a dwarf native Iris (native to the woods of the SE US) One of my favorite little Iris, I never had good luck with reticulata.

  14. Kris P says:

    There are so many treasures in your garden – both small and large! I found myself sighing audibly as I moved through your post. That Fritillaria makes my heart melt. I also have a “thing” for hellebores, even if my climate isn’t made for them. The only one that’s exceeded expectations so far in my own garden is ‘Anna’s Red’ – I’ll pick up more of that one if I come across it despite our hideous 90F (32C) temperatures this February. As I noted on another site, maybe instead of a greenhouse what I need is a green-refrigerator 😉

    • Chloris says:

      I have been looking for Anna’ s Red, I have seen it on blogs and it is very pretty. But then I love the whole tribe of hellebores, they are the delight of the February garden here.
      32 degrees sounds like heaven to me. Here, more and more people are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) this year, because it is so relentlessly gloomy.

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    It looks like spring in your garden already! How fortunate we are to live in climates temperate enough for winter-blooming plants! I can almost smell the tantalizing fragrances from here. Happy GBBD!

  16. you have some beautiful blooms, I first enjoyed the fragrance of Daphne when I went to Nymans last February, I was grandson sitting, we could smell this wonderful perfume and followed it through the trees and shrubs until we came to this shrub covered in wee pink blooms, I can smell it as I read your post, wonderful, I read or heard once that reticulata irises have a short life, they are beautiful though, I planted thommasianus on my wildflower slope last autumn, they are not showing yet but that’s normal this far north I am hoping they will seed around, do you use any defense against the squirrels, like planting in baskets, it is a balance between plants and wildlife, I can imagine how nice it must be to walk through all these blooms and make the work and expense seem worth while, thanks for sharing, Frances

    • Chloris says:

      I find that squirrels don’ t venture into the front garden so I can have as many crocuses as I like. In the back garden they dig up newly planted bulbs. I have lakes of Tommies which spread from seed from original bulbs that must have been planted long ago. I think they must be able to smell newly planted bulbs.

  17. Cathy says:

    Gorgeous hellebores and all those lovely irises! What a pleasure it must be to walk around your garden when the wind and rain let off. 🙂

  18. Sam says:

    Such gorgeous abundance here. What pretty irises, and hellebores, and snowdrops, and, well, everything! Hope you have sunshine today. It’s glorious here.

  19. To have so much on display in February seems incredible. I am amazed to see the fritillaria in full bloom. I love crocuses, but can’t seem to keep anything other than purples going from year to year as voles seem to eat anything else. I bet you’ve got a lot of bees about too.

  20. Brian Skeys says:

    Fritillaria raddeana Is a strikingly lovely plant to see in a garden this time of year. Good luck with the Edgeworthia.

  21. Angie says:

    Edgeworthia is a lovely plant too needy, shelter wise, for my garden. I hope it is a case of 3rd time lucky for you Chloris. You have a wonderful array of blooms happening in your garden right now. A pleasure for your readers.

  22. Cathy says:

    Oh, it must be delightful to ramble round your garden just now Chloris – if you are well wrapped up though, I guess! So many lovelies – have you put most of these in yourself? I wonder why the Edgeworthia is so temperamental? There is a huge one at Wisley, but that is growing against one of the buildings so perhaps it is sheltered – not sure which way it faces. When we went for the butterflies last year it was in full flower and the shop was full of them so I suppose there might be a lot of disappointed gardeners out there…

    • Chloris says:

      Rambles round the garden have been few and far between lately. I never thought I would turn into a fairweather gardener, but what can you do when the soil is water- logged and its so cold and damp and miserable?
      This garden has lots of established trees and shrubs and carpets of hellebores and snowdrops. I have put in the rarer plants myself.

      • Cathy says:

        Perhaps that is your virus talking…? But it does make me realise that we miss the worst of the weather where we are (not far from the geographical centre of England) – and we have had lots of sunshine this year which makes the cold more tolerable. Saying that, we have had an inch of rain today – not heavy, just persistent – but this is easily the wettest day we have had for months. Hope you have lots of fairer weather soon to get out and revisit your garden

  23. bittster says:

    I will try to be as excited and supportive as your other readers but I’m afraid that from deep down inside my jealousy will burst through! So nice to see all the wonderful crocus and hellebores, and I don’t think you went nearly as whole hog as you should have with the snowdrops, so wonderful all of them. The colors in your garden are fantastic but I only wish I could also smell a few of the delightful scents which drift through the air. Each season seems to offer something new and equally attractive!
    I’m surprised by some of the plants which give trouble in your mild climate. I can grow the hardier magnolia grandiflora yet hear it needs shelter over there. Perhaps the edgeworthia is the same? Slightly South of here it will stand a chance so it is fairly hardy, maybe if you give it a hot spot against a wall that would help? It is a nice plant to grow, despite its willfulness.

    • Chloris says:

      Plenty of flowers here but awful weather, cold and miserable.
      I will try and find a warm wall for the Edgeworthia. Someone told me that it is easy from cuttings, so I will give that a try.

  24. pbmgarden says:

    Wow, what lovely displays you have created! Each year I am reminded I should plant Crocus thommasianus. The iris are lovely.

  25. Robbie says:

    I love your blog-EYE CANDY!!! I have snow outside and seeing your crocus lets me know we are not far behind. I saw some poking out from the snow. What I love best is they always surprise me! I love your photoes + droll over your garden!!!

  26. Robbie says:

    oops drool! lol..but I do love your witty garden writing!!!! 🙂 I need to get on the computer more often and visit and play catchup:-)

  27. It looks like spring has sprung for you. There are so many wonderful blooms in your garden for February and your photographs are a welcomed sight. We are still very wintery here on Long Island, but at least the snow has melted!

  28. Anna says:

    Oh what fabulous February flowers Chloris. Everything seems a bit earlier this year doesn’t it especially the hellbores. I would like to know more about ‘Helleborus Petsamo’. I hope that you succeed with the edgeworthia. Years ago Thelma Kaye who was a most knowledgeable plantswoman came to talk to my Hardy Plant Society local group. I’ve never forgotten her maxim – “You can’t say that you can’t grow a plant until you have killed it at least three times”.

  29. Chloris says:

    Petsamo is a very old cultivar with lovely pure white starry petals. In her book, My Plants and Other Friends, Netta Stathan said she got it from Fred Barcock, a well known nurseryman and horticulturist in Suffolk. This is where I found it, because after he died, I bought his house. As you can imagine there were many wonderful treasures there.
    In general, I agree with Thelma Kaye’ s maxim, but Edgeworthia is a very expensive plant to kill 3 times.
    I will send your snowdrops next week, but I will email you first.

    • Anna says:

      Thanks Chloris 🙂 I have ‘Netta Statham’s book and have just read her rather brief reference to Petsamo. It has a look of timeless elegance. You must have inherited some choice plants. I wonder whether whether the main attraction was the house or the garden. Applying Thelma’s maxim could indeed be costly in this case. Look forward to hearing from you and an email from me will be en route soon.

  30. How wonderful to have so much blooming! I’m hoping spring will be arriving soon but the weather doesn’t seem to have any idea what season it here. It’s frigid one day and warm the next. I do love that fritilaria!

  31. Oh my, with all this in February, what will be remain for spring? Or, perhaps you will be having summer by then. How wonderful to enjoy the surprise of yellow tommies. I find Edgeworthia terribly easy to propagate. You should take a few cutting for insurance. Mine sends up wonderful little sprouts near the base that can be easily pulled away and potted up.

  32. Is there anything like flowering spring bulbs to cheer the spirit? Thanks for these pictures.

  33. So many lovely jewel-like flowers to enjoy. I’m encouraged to see your iris reticulata returning, hopefully mine will too. Spring is definitely on its way.

  34. Chloris says:

    Katharine Hodgkins comes back OK, and Harmony does too. But many of the others don’ t.

  35. Julie says:

    Such a lovely lot of blooms in your February garden Chloris – it must be even better now although the wind and rain has been pounding my garden again today & I expect yours too. I would love to go another jaunt with you soon – any ideas for places we could visit?

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, let’ s go on a jaunt as soon as the weather improves, that would be lovely. It’ s rather a long way, but have you ever been to The Beeches near Saffron Walden? It is the most amazing nursery I have come across; full of rare and wonderful plants.

  36. Debra says:

    What can I say to express how much I love seeing your flowers? I just don’t have the words to match their beauty so I’ll keep it short: thank you, Chloris!

  37. Chloris says:

    The spring flowers are all blooming away happily but it is too cold and wet for me out there. Roll on Spring, she’ s taking her time this year.

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