February Blooms.

I missed GBBD this year which is on the 15th of the month. But I can’t let the month go by without celebrating some of the prettiest and most fragrant blooms of the year. The best, the most gorgeous, the most fragrant, the most exquisite, plus all the superlatives you can think of, is the queen of the garden, Daphne bholua  ‘Jacqueline Postill’. The scent all around her would make you swoon.

Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

There are other winter- flowering daphnes, for instance Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ smells divine too. But it doesn’t  have the masses of flowers that Jacqueline sports  and it is a low growing shrub whereas Jacqueline grows to from 6 to 12 foot tall; mine is about 6 foot at the moment and I worship every inch of her. The only drawback to these aristocrats of the garden is that they can suffer from sudden and inexplicable death.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

There is even a little native  woodland daphne which crops up all over my garden uninvited. I allow it to stay though because it is useful for shade, it has glossy, evergreen leaves and pretty little flowers in winter.

Daphne laureola

Daphne laureola

I have been excessive in my praise of ‘Jaqueline Postill’, but I  also  have a gorgeous, small, February-flowering tree which is expensive, but well worth breaking into the piggy bank for. It is stunning with dark carmine-pink, fragrant blossom. It is the Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’.

Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori'

Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’

Whilst we are talking about winter -flowering trees I have to include the daintyflowered Prunus subhirtella autumnalis ‘Rosea’ which is a bit of a mouthful for such a prettily uncomplicated flower. It is very long-lasting and I much prefer it to the blowsy, pink- knicker blooms of the spring-flowering cherry trees such as the awful ‘Kanzan’

Prunus autumnalis subhirtella 'Rosea' with Viburnum bodnantense

Prunus autumnalis subhirtella ‘Rosea’ a perfect match for Viburnum bodnantense

There are lovely shrubs in bloom now too. Most  of us have the fragrant winter -flowering honeysuckle. I have several including this Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’.

Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’

In my eyes, even more beautiful, is the rather rare, Lonicera elisae. It has long, tubular flowers which are just tinged with pink.

Lonicera elisae

Lonicera elisae

 

Lonicera elisae

Lonicera elisae

Many of the Witch Hazels which delighted us through the winter have finished flowering now. For some reason my Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ which should be long gone, is very late blooming this year, so I still have the pleasure of its lovely primrose yellow flowers.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Pallida'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ is always the last one to bloom and it extends the witch hazel season .

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

Catkins are looking lovely at the moment. I have a lovely black salix which  has red -anthered black catkins which start off looking like black claws. It is called Salix melanostachys.

Saalix melanostachys with Abies koreana

Salix melanostachys with Abies koreana

All the winter-flowering beauties  got off to a slow start this year. The diminutive, but perfectly formed Narcissus minor ‘Cedric Morris’ is often in bloom for Christmas, or early January at the latest. This year it waited until early February and is still looking lovely now.

Narcisssus minor 'Cedric Morris'

Narcissus minor ‘Cedric Morris’

As it is so late, it is overlapping with early  daffs such as  the January-flowering ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’.

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

Pretty little ‘Spring Dawn’ is always early  in February.

Narcissus 'Spring Dawn'

Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’

As it is February I have to mention the ‘S’ word, but I will try and make it snappy as I know plenty of bloggers think snowdrops are quite pretty, but basically, just little white bells which are best looked at en masse, rather than brooded over obsessively. Even as a galanthophile I think there are too many introductions that are so similar that you need a magnifying glass to tell them apart. If you grow plenty of Galanthus elwesii you will find plenty of variations. Even the common Galanthus nivalis has significant variations. As my garden is very old, I have carpets of snowdrops. Amongst the nivalis I have found a diminutive one with a long bent pedicle like a small ‘Magnet’ and I have found some with green on the outer petals which look a variety of viridipice’. I even have a green tipped one with long bunny ears like Galanthus sharlockii.

dsc_0157

OK, stop yawning at the back there, I will just show you some really distinctive ones and then we will say no more about them until next year.

Being a total snowdrop anorak, I have a lot of Greatorex doubles, but to be honest those Shakespearean heroines and their chums all look alike. My favourite is ‘Washfield Titania’ which came from Elizabeth Strangman’s wonderful nursery.

Galanthus 'Washfield Titania'

Galanthus ‘Washfield Titania’

There are some lovely yellow snowdrops, that is ones with yellow ovaries and markings. My favourites are  ‘Madelaine,’ ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

Galanthus 'Wendy's Gold'

Galanthus ‘Madelaine’

Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'

Galanthus ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

Some snowdrops have very distinctive markings, like Galanthus ‘Two Eyes’.

Galanthus 'Two Eyes'

Galanthus ‘Two Eyes’

‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Little John’ both have a distinctive cross.

Galanthus 'Robin Hood'

Galanthus ‘Robin Hood’

And then there are the coveted snowdrops with green markings on their petals. I have ‘Trymlet’ and ‘Corrin’.

Most of the Galanthus plicatus hybrids are late flowering and so still to come. One that blooms now is the delightful ‘Augustus’, named after E.A.Bowles. It has lovely plump flowers.

Galanthus plicatus 'Augustus'

Galanthus plicatus ‘Augustus’

For plump snowdrop flowers, they don’t come any plumper than ‘Diggory’. I just love the unmistakable Diggory with his seersucker petals. For all those of you who think all snowdrops look alike, just look at him.

Galanthus 'Diggory'

Galanthus ‘Diggory’

Another snowdrop which is quite distinctive and soon spreads to make lovely carpets is Galanthus woronowii, it has shiny, apple green leaves.

Galanthus woronowii

Galanthus woronowii

Right, enough with the snowdrops, I have delighted you long  enough, as you might remember Mr Bennet saying to his daughter Mary, when she showed no sign of stopping playing the piano any time that day, in Pride and Prejudice. Like Mary, I could go and on about snowdrops, but I won’t.

But I will just mention lovely Leucojum vernum which looks a bit like a snowdrop but isn’t. The flowers are like little lampshades or pixie hats if you have a whimsical turn of mind. The tips of the flowers are green.

dsc_0325

You can get one with yellow tips called Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum. If you look carefully at the next picture you will see that some of the flowers are pure white with no colour on the tips at all. I found one single flower like this and grew it on. I shall weed out the ones with  slight colour on their tips and hopefully I will soon have a sizeable clump of pure white ones.

Leucojum vernum

Leucojum vernum

 

I haven’t even started on the hellebores. And believe me, I am a hellebore bore. But I will spare you the commentary, I will just make a gallery of some of them.


The weather has been awful this month apart from a couple of warm days. We have had wind and rain and Storm Doris petulantly throwing my fences and birch trees about.

dsc_0231There have been days when I haven’t felt like going into the garden. But whatever the weather the blooms of February are a constant source of delight. The aconites are beginning to go over now but they are being replaced by ever more crocuses opening up. Little reticulated irises and Cyclamen coum are everywhere. I think another gallery will show them off best.


I will finish with some views of the winter garden whilst it is still winter. I made this garden two years ago and it’s jut beginning to mature.

 

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57 Responses to February Blooms.

  1. I feel like I can smell your Daphne from your description Chloris! All your other blooms are pretty as well. I am glad you ending up posting these. It’s never too late for Bloom Day!

    • Chloris says:

      It is a wonderful scent, there is nothing quite like. These are all winter blooms so I thought I had better write about them before spring puts in an appearance this month.

  2. snowbird says:

    How wonderful seeing all these blooms! You must have a field day walking around and discovering them all. Daphne sounds intoxicating, and the Japanese apricot is gorgeous. I loved the yellow snowdrops and those black catkins and am envious of all those varied Hellebores.xxx

    • Chloris says:

      And I am looking forward to seeing photos of all the Malaysian blooms you saw on your trip. You must have come back to some nice surprises in your garden.

  3. rusty duck says:

    The winter garden is looking good, there is so much to delight in throughout your borders. I am coming to appreciate snowdrops more and more. A proper slippery slope. Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’ is a stunner. Have you driven those rusty nails into your Kanzan yet?

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you. Have you come across Galanthus ‘Jessica’? That should be on your list, it is very pretty. The Kanzan is still there, but on borrowed time. The money that was to pay the tree surgeon now has to be used for a new fence.

  4. Kris P says:

    If you hadn’t mentioned your snowdrops, I’d have been concerned that something was seriously wrong with you. Although I don’t have a chance in hell of growing them myself, I’ve come to appreciate the differences (subtle and not) between them. You grow so many things I can’t; however, you have me taking a second look at the Daphnes – there is one species (D. odora) that is said to grow in my climate, which I might just take a chance and try should I find it locally. This wandering eye is a side effect of the plentiful rain we’ve had this winter, I’m afraid, a kind of madness probably.

    • Chloris says:

      But it is fun to push the boundaries of what you can grow. Daphne bholua which I think is the best, comes from Nepal at high altitudes so wouldn’ t do for you. Daphne odora has the same exquisite scent but is not so floriferous.

  5. jane says:

    Wonderful to hear and see everything that is going on in your garden. You’ve inspired and reminded me to get outside and really pay attention!

    • Chloris says:

      The weather hasn’ t really inspired us to venture out lately. But there is so much to enjoy at this time of the year. I love the February flowers almost as much as those of the June garden. If only the weather was a bit kinder.

  6. Christina says:

    I am full of envy for your Daphnes; I would love to have that wonderful perfume in my garden in winter but I’ll just have to content myself with my Lonicera which is flowering more than ever before, I imagine due to the cold weather in December and January. I’m glad you showed your winter garden, I was wondering how it was looking.

    • Chloris says:

      Winter honeysuckle has a wonderful perfume and you have a fine specimen.
      I have only just finished tidying up the winter garden, it has been so wet that I couldn’t walk on it. I created it as a winter garden but it really comes into its own in spring.

  7. Sam says:

    Gorgeous D.p.’JP’ – the scent really is sublime. So many winter treasures here – you have loads going on, Liz! The snowdrops you sent me last year have sent out healthy leaves but no flowers yet. I’m hoping I haven’t done anything stupid and that they’re just settling in! Here’s hoping the weather calms down and we can all get going outside asap.

    • Chloris says:

      I hope your snowdrops will bloom next year, if not let me know. I think I sent you some Galanthus plicatus which are very late blooming, mine aren’t out yet.
      Lovely day today, but more rain to come I’m afraid.

  8. Anna says:

    I’m feeling most fortunate as a friend has recently given me a cutting of daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ which I will treasure. No flowers this year but I’m looking forward to swooning before long 🙂 As always I enjoyed gazing at your fabulous snowdrops. I’m with you about the proliferation of indistinct snowdrop introductions. ‘Diggory’ remains my favourite. Your new winter garden is really knitting together now – you must be delighted with it.

    • Chloris says:

      What a clever friend, I haven’t managed to strike any cuttings yet and if I did I wouldn’t give them away. I would like a grove of Jacqueline Postill.
      Diggory is my favourite too.

  9. Anna says:

    P.S. I forgot to ask what is the plant growing behind Galanthus woronowii? It looks familiar but I can’t put a name to it.

  10. Chez moi, il n’y a que les perce neige qui sortent de terre et bien sûr les Héllébores 😉 Le printemps est plus présent dans ton jardin ! Belle journée

  11. ellie says:

    Some beautiful snowdrops and hellebores (amongst other beauties) which encourage us out in less than conducive gardening weather. Thank you for sharing (I am rather envious of your beautiful garden…I only have a small thin Victorian terrace back garden. I would love more hellebores but I can always enjoy yours instead!)
    Best wishes
    Ellie

    • Chloris says:

      One never feels that one has enough hellebores, each one is different. They seed around too. I sometimes think a small garden would be fun and a chance to grow the very choicest plants and to keep it all looking good all the time. Mine does keep getting away from me no matter how hard I work.

  12. Bodger says:

    I hesitate to call myself a plantswoman, when there are specimens like yourself showing mine to be a hollow boast. Thank you for your delicious pictures which make my mouth water. You are causing trouble in my plant wish list, which is growing faster than I can cope with. I take my hat off to you Madam, you are a magician.

  13. Wow, I really enjoyed seeing your garden. Thank you. It is just beautiful and the Winter Garden looks great.

  14. Our Daphne JP died suddenly when I was Cliffe, it was tragic, I blamed excessive wet at the roots but I know they do suddenly keel over. Have you tried Daphne retusa? Whilst not quite as lovely as herself, it is a nice, tidy plant, which sounds faint praise but is not meant to be. One more question, do you have a name for the hellebore bottom row, second from the left? I may have fallen in love …. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      Sadly they are short lived. I have Daphne retusa which is quite pretty but not in the same league as the peerless Jacqueline. The hellebore is called Phoebe. I bought it at the market in Bury St Edmunds for £7.50 which I thought was a bargain.

  15. Cathy says:

    Your garden is an absolute delight even in winter, and an inspiration to me to find some winter-flowering shrubs! The Loniceras in particular caught my attention.

  16. Wayne May. says:

    I, for one, like to read about your snowdrops. Thank you.

  17. Julie says:

    Your posts always provoke a reaction in me, I was just thinking something rude about snowdrops and had to laugh at your line aimed at those in the back row! I love the Daphne and yesterday stood under a 8′ footer for longer than is acceptable. Swoon is the perfect word here. We’ve had similar damage here, very glad that doesn’t happen often. I hope March brings us all better weather.

    • Chloris says:

      I know a lot of people feel like you about snowdrops Julie. I do try not to drone on about them too much.
      The daphne really is amazing isn’ t it? I would like to have a grove of them.

  18. Cathy says:

    Oh I am so glad you are not ashamed to show off your bounty, Chloris – I loved ogling all your pictures and of course your descriptions just add to the pleasure of reading your posts. I assume that the named snowdrops were ones you put in yourself – but when was that? They are making some lovely clumps. I was sorry to lose my Spindlestone Surprise (although it never looked very happy last year) as it is such a pretty little thing, and I am much taken with Robin Hood and its very neat X – that might be one for my collection for next year. When I heard that Jacqueline P was once again available I did look into it but the prices were fairly prohibitive – and if she is only short lived anyway I think I can aaccept that I can live without her 😉 Thanks for a lovely post, Chloris

    • Chloris says:

      I have been here for 6 years so some of the snowdrop clumps date from this time and others have been added more recently. I will send you a Robin Hood if you like it.
      Jacqueline P is expensive but worth every penny.

      • Cathy says:

        Do you have ‘before’ pictures of when you moved in? It would be good to see them if you did. And yes please, that would SO kind if Robin Hood was permitted to march in my direction 🙂 Thank you x

  19. Brian Skeys says:

    Lovely spring display Chloris. Does your H. Pallida hold on to its dead leaves while flowering, mine does every year, which is very annoying, I have to remove them by hand.

  20. What a beautiful post, Chloris – full of all my favourite perfumes – and some gorgeous new ones. The piggy bank could soon be a lot lighter! Your winter garden is coming along so well and is looking amazing. Good choices!

  21. I never tire of hearing about your snowdrops; only wish they grew better here. We have the same problem as you with daphne. I’ve heard they require exacting drainage, but who knows, perhaps they like to keep us guessing. Agree with your praise for Prunus subhirtella autumnalis. It’s show is nearly over here, but it’s graced us with flowers for nearly a month.

    • Chloris says:

      Daphnes are fussy about drainage but however hard you try to please them they do suffer from sudden death.
      Here Prunus subhirtella starts blooming in late November and stops when it gets too icy. As soon as it gets milder it carries on until the end of March. I can’ t think of anything else so long lasting and with such delicate- looking blossoms.

  22. Wow, your winter garden is brimming with rare treasure, what a delight it must be to enjoy all that colour and fragrance. We do need something special to entice us outdooors at this time year, don’t we?

    • Chloris says:

      I agree Kate. I have made a winter garden to help me through our endless winters. There are plenty of lovely plants for winter interest to entice us outside on the bleakest days.

  23. Annette says:

    your winter garden is a delight, Liz, and Beverley N. would certainly agree! you’ve certainly planned your garden properly. love the heelebores, daphne laur. grows wild in our woods, so pretty too. I’ve planted the dainty Iris danfordiae – is this one in your photo? Only one came up so far but maybe more next year. Wishing you happy spring days 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      How wonderful to have wild hellebores. Yes, the yellow iris is Iris danfordiae. I buy new ones each year. It is a tricky one, I can never get it to rebloom. The bulbs split up into lots of bubils. Quite a few of the reticulated irises do this but danfordiae is particularly prone to it.

  24. I wish I could smell that Daphne. I love the Lonicera elisae – those white, dangling flowers. Amazing to me how much color you have in February.

  25. Ahh, Lonicera elisae is so elegant, I will have to look out for that. Your garden looks lovely and I hope that the weather this month lets you get outside to enjoy it more. What is the yellow shrub in the last line of the iris gallery please?

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