Ten Favourite February Blooms.

Well, the weather has been so cold and grey since my last Favourite Bloom post, that not  a great deal has happened. We still have hellebores and snowdrops, only more so. But this weekend, joy, oh joy, the sun came out and I took some photographs. It’s raining again today of course.

Sorry if you find them less than fascinating, but February is the month of the snowdrop. Unfortunately, dear Pip’s snowdrop appreciation days are long gone, but here he is again to remind me what a great little garden companion he was.

 

 

 

 

 
One advantage of living in a 500 year old house is that there have been many years for  snowdrops to establish themselves and make carpets. They are not thought to be native. In medieval times, they were extensively planted in abbeys, priories and churchyards, and from there made their way to local gardens, roadsides and woodlands. I suspect previous owners brought mine from the nearby church. Not only did the early church take over pagan festivals but they claimed favourite flowers as well. Snowdrops were associated with Candlemas and the purification of the Virgin. It is odd that there was, and perhaps still is, a superstition that it is unlucky to pick and bring into the house these symbols of purity. It probably started in Victorian times when as it grew in churchyards so prolifically, it was  associated with death. It doesn’t stop me enjoying little vases of them.

These two pictures  below were taken in different parts of the garden and the colonies are different and  so perhaps come from different sources.
Snowdrops en masse

Some of them are green tipped.

Green-tipped Galanthus nivalis

I have a pretty one that must have hybridised with one of my Greatorex doubles. I have most of the nice neat Shakespearean heroines, ‘Ophelia’, ‘Desdemona’ and ‘Titania’ as well as ‘Hippolyta’ , ‘Jaquenetta’ and one which just has a number’ G71′.

Galanthus ‘Ophelia’

 
But I didn’t plant this beauty.

And then, great excitement, amongst the  ordinary doubles I found this whopper. The double snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ is variable but mine have small, neat rosettes of inner segments. I put one of the usual little ones in a vase with the big one to show the difference. It has a huge flower and four aberrant, long inner segments.  Next year if it has bulked up a bit I will twin scale it.

I know that non-enthusiasts think they all look the same and many of them are so alike that even experts can’t tell them apart and there is an element of Emperor’s clothes about them. Having said that,  there are many with significant differences.

Almost hidden by the heather, I found that ‘Trymlet’ has bulked up nicely. It has distinctive green markings on the  outer petals.

Galannthus ‘Trymlet’

Skinny ‘Wasp’ is instantly recognisable.

Galanthus ‘Wasp’

Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’ is famous for its yellow markings. I bought it last year so it is quite small at the moment.

Galanthus ‘Wendy’s Gold’

There are other yellow marked snowdrops, this one is ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

Galanthus ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

Galanthus plicatus ‘Edinburgh Ketton ‘ has a distinct green H marking n the inner segment.

Galanthus plicatus ‘Edinburgh Ketton’

Ok, I could go on and on, but I can feel you getting restless, just one more for now; I might try and sneak a few more in another post. Galanthus woronowi soon bulks up into lovely carpets with sweet smelling flowers and very distinctive apple green leaves.

Galanthus woronowii

February is also the month for Leucojum vernum  which has dear little tiffany lamp shade flowers on short stems. They are pretty and they soon clump up nicely, but there is never the excitement of finding something a bit different unless you have the twin-headed one Leucojum vernum var. ‘Vagneri’ or the yellow tipped Leucojum vernum var. ‘Carpathicum’. I used to have the yellow tipped one but it seems to have reverted to green.

Leucojum vernum

This little darling is not to be confused with the tall small- headed Leucojum aestivum which seeds all over and is quite undistinguished. Despite its name ‘aestivum’ meaning ‘summer’, it starts blooming in February.

Leucojum aestivum

I could talk all day about snowdrops but I am also a hellebore bore. They started last month,they look even better now and in March they will still look good, so they take us very nicely over the winter. Here are a few.

It is worth peering up the skirts of this next one as it is anemone- flowered, with a neat little ruff of tiny petals inside.

 

Last month the tommies, Crocus tommasinianus were starting but now there are carpets of them. They seed around everywhere.

Crocus tommasinianus

They vary in shade from pale lilac to deep purple and now and then a yellow one appears. This one is doing a chameleon act to blend in with the winter aconites.

Next the little species crocus appear, much daintier than their fat Dutch cousins.

I showed you my earliest precious daffodil, ‘Cedric Morris’ in December and then again in January. Now we have the the more substantial Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ which is always in bloom by February and some years as early as January. If you want an early flowering daffodil, this is the one to go for and it is widely available.

Narcissus Rijnveld’s Early Sensation

Another very early one is the smaller and I think prettier Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn. It has pale petals and a deep yellow trumpet.

Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’

It’s perhaps cheating to feature Narcissus ‘Jet Fire’ in  with my February blooms. This potful is in the greenhouse, the ones in the garden won’t be blooming for a while. I love it for its reflexed petals and bright orange trumpets.

Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Jetfire’

Little irises are a joy for weeks if you have some early ones in the greenhouse and plant early and late flowering ones. ‘Pauline’ is very early and is finished now. I have just nipped out in the rain to photograph lovey Iris reticulata ‘Halkis’ which is in a pot. I love this one because of the contrast of the sky blue and the purple. Actually, it doesn’t look very purple in the photo so you will just have to take my word for it.

Iris reticulata ‘Halkis’

In the front garden this little clump below comes back year after year. Iris reticulata hybrids are very pretty but by and large they have to be considered as annuals, at the most you will get two years out of them. But Iris histrioides hybrids,  like those in the photo below are much more long lasting. Iris histrioides ‘Major’ is becoming quite scarce for some reason, but there are plenty of other histrioides hybrids available.  If you look carefully at Iris reticulata  flowers they are always skinnier than those of Iris histrioides which have broader falls.

Iris histrioides ‘Major’

‘Katherine Hodgkin’ is a reliable one as she is a cross between a yellow one Iris Winogradowii and Iris histrioides. Cathy at Ramblinginthegarden has picked her Katharine for a delightful vase today.

Rain-soaked Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkins’

I know many people aren’t keen on mahonias but I like them for their architectural forms and racemes of primrose coloured  flowers. Mahonia ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ took us through the autumn and winter and now we have my favourite, Mahonia japonica. I love it because it is the most strongly scented of all of them, you smell it as you walk by instead of having to bury your nose in it. It smells of lily of the valley.

Mahonia japonica

Another winter favourite is the witch hazel. I haven’t shown my lemon coloured Hamamelis ‘Pallida’ or the richer yellow, ‘Arnold Promise’ this year because shamefully I let them get too dry just as they were forming buds.The flowers are really sparse and next year I will be careful to mulch them and keep them from drying out. But I did buy a new one this year. A I explained to Cathy, I bought it by mistake when I went to buy eggs at my local farm shop. It was sitting there all lonely and at a very reasonable price at the exit. Clearly it had my name on it.

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Westerstede’

I know I featured the lovely queen of the Daphnes, Daphne bholua ‘Jaqueline Postill’ in December and again in January, but she just goes on getting better and better. If I could afford it I would have a grove of Jacquelines.

Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

But this month I have a tree which is competing for my attention.It is the beautiful Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’. It has really dark pink single blossom and it is lightly fragrant.

Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’

 
If you have time do join me and show your favourite February blooms.

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52 Responses to Ten Favourite February Blooms.

  1. Anca Tirca says:

    Thanks for such a great post! Your garden is a February wonder, congratulations ! I also have some lovely blooms in my garden these days. There are some photos with them on my blog.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Anca. I have popped over and seen your lovely winter garden. I was surprised to see that you have had snow. I think we have it to come next week.

  2. ownedbyrats says:

    With just my two tiny little clumps of snowdrops, I’m having some serious snowdrop envy reading this post! Also witch hazel envy as mine isn’t flowering yet.

    • Chloris says:

      It is surprising how quickly snowdrops spread if you keep on splitting them. Mine have probably been here for centuries. They are everywhere. Such a cheery sight in February.

  3. Ali says:

    Wow! There is so much here! I love it! Don’t worry about being a bore for having all this plant knowledge! I wonder if I can outbore you when we get to tulip/peony/hardy geranium/rose time? I can’t wait! I love Narcissus ‘Jetfire’. Yours is ahead of mine. Love your Iris reticulata. I was so excited to find my unknown variety yesterday. It’s really dark purple – I’ll put it in a post and maybe ask you to take a look? I suspect you’ll know!
    Thank you, I’m going to come back later and savour this post properly.

  4. Ali says:

    Oops. Burnt the dinner because was enjoying your post!

  5. The carpets in your garden are magnificent. I am beginning to understand your Snowdrop issues. I think one of the best things about gardens is they improve with age, the bulb carpets are living proof.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, I think it probably takes 100 years and more to grow a snowdrop carpet. Trees on the other hand can become a problem with age. Swings and roundabouts.

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, you actually showed leucojum! Those are the only snowdrops I have here! I know they are nothing fancy, but they are nice for those of us who lack the real thing.

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Galanthus ‘carpet’ like this before! Wow!! We still have a foot or so of snow covering most of the areas I have them planted so it’ll be a month or so ’til I can share photos.

    • Chloris says:

      You often see them like this in old churchyards round here, or in the gardens of very old houses.
      Oh snow, beastly stuff, I think we are going to get some next week.

  8. Peter Herpst says:

    One can never see too many winter blooms and you’ve shared some spectacular examples. Thanks also for sharing the interesting snowdrop history and their association with Candlemas!

  9. Kris P says:

    Believe it or not, under your tutelage and that of some other snowdrop aficionados, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate the differences among some of these flowers. Anything that grows en masse as your snowdrops do, especially when the weather is less than hospitable, is to be treasured. In fall, I planted some Leucojum aestivum (not really so ordinary here!) but they’ve yet to make an appearance, possibly due to our exceptionally warm winter.

    • Chloris says:

      We really have given you no choice about snowdrops as so many of us here spend the winter drooling over them. You have so many other beautiful flowers to enjoy in winter, whilst we are on our hands and knees counting little green spots. To be honest I’d rather be filling vases with bauhinia and grevillea.

  10. What an incredible show for February, even with a few repeats. And you saved the best for last…I love the rich color of your ‘Beni-chidori’. Your snowdrops make quite a statement and I’m glad you bring some inside. I can’t imagine anything else looking as pretty in your pink and white vase as they do.

  11. Brian Skeys says:

    I can see the attraction of the Prunus Chloris, dazzling colour for February. I have posted my Ten February Favourites here: https://brimfields.com/2018/02/19/ten-february-favourite-blooms/

  12. janesmudgeegarden says:

    As I have only recently been in contact with British Garden bloggers, I’ve not seen this devotion to snowdrops before, and indeed, only today discovered the difference between snowdrop and snowflake. Your photos of snowdrops have certainly piqued my interest and I’m now keen to have some of these flowers in my own garden. I love the hellebores too, but have no shade yet I’m my relatively young garden, so the hellebores I planted couldn’t survive through the hot summer. I’ll have to try again in a year or so. Of course my February flowers are salvias, sedum, crepe myrtle and so on….

    • Chloris says:

      Yes a lot of gardeners in the UK get overcome with a sort of madness called ‘white fever’ every winter. It’s ok though, because we recover in the spring and then we wait for the next obsession, probably tulips. Your February flowers sound wonderful.

  13. Sam says:

    Your Prunus mume is gorgeous (as are all your other blooms here!). Thank you for sharing your super plant knowledge.

  14. Pingback: Never a Dull Moment: Top Blooms for February | Rambling in the Garden

  15. As you know, there are not blooms to found here, at least not outside. You have so many! I think ‘Katherine Hodgkins’ is my favorite. Love that pale blue with a little dab of yellow.

  16. Cathy says:

    Your carpets of snowdrops are delightful, and even more exciting as you don’t know how long ago they were started. or exactly what might appear amongst them – that cheeky spiky one really stands out! Your Greatorex doubles have done well – I don’t think any of mine persisted for any length of time so it makes you wonder why. If you wanted to try baskets, I have a number going spare (I counted them – about 99 in total…!)… 😉 Every time I see a pretty ‘Beni-chidori’ like yours I wonder if I have space for one… hmm, it would be so at home here with all the other seasonal stalwatrs… My prunus-free post is at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/never-a-dull-moment-top-blooms-for-february/

    • Chloris says:

      You have 99 baskets? My goodness you were planning on planting a lot of snowdrops. My Greatorex are all doing fine, but ‘Greenish’ and ‘Fusby’ have gone awol this year 😣
      Japanes Apricot ‘Beni-Chidori is quite expensive but worth every penny. It smells lovely too.

      • Cathy says:

        They are 2 different sizes of baskets though, Chloris 🙂 And as for Beni-Chidori, you have tempted me into so many other things already that I daresay he will turn up on my doorstep one of these days too… 😉

  17. Well, my dear, the difference between your cold and grey February days and mine here in Ontario is that I am sitting here admiring your blooms and wishing we had even a few!
    Such lovely pictures brighten up a Canadian’s heart. Thank you!
    February is the cruelest month, no matter what the famous writer said. It’s neither fish nor fowl, not close enough to Christmas or Easter, and even further from summer and autumn. So I shall delight in your photos and pretend I’m being patient as we wait for our spring.

  18. Chloris says:

    Yes, what on earth was Shakespeare talking about? April is lovely. We sometimes get lovely days in February, but they have been few and far between this year. And next week it’s really going to turn to worms, with snow and biting easterly winds apparently. So all my little pretties will be dashed.

  19. Oh my goodness–spring has sprung in your garden! My situation is similar to Cynthias, and I agree totally about February. We currently are coated in ice, which is much worse than snow. I hope it will all melt soon. Then I will venture out and check on any signs of spring I can find. Cheers!

  20. Chloris says:

    Yes but it looks as if it is going to spring right back next week.
    Oh ice! Yes, it is far worse than snow, good luck and here’s to an early thaw.

  21. Annette says:

    I envy you for the snowdrop carpets, Liz, somehow I never seem to get a house that includes this sort of pleasure. Having said that, we used to have bluebell carpets in our garden in Ireland and oh, how I miss them! With all these flowers the weather can throw anything at you and why would you mind. Gorgeous garden! February is the longest month of the year even if they tell us the opposite but we’ll get over it. I’ve been meaning to share my top 10 too, hope I’ll get around to it. 🙂

    • Chloris says:

      You had a bluebell wood? How magical. I usually like February with its lighter afternoons and hellebores and snowdrops and the birds start singing. But this year has been so cold, and with a polar vortex promised, it looks as if spring has been cancelled.

  22. Christina says:

    Some many lovelies Liz, I know you’ve seen my post but here’s the link anyway. https://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/little-february-treasures/

  23. Pingback: Little February treasures – Creating my own garden of the Hesperides

  24. Smorgasbord of lovelies Chloris. All together such a feast for the eyes. Thanks

  25. Chloris says:

    Thank you Dorris, goodness know what will, happen in the garden next week. Everything will be covered in snow.

  26. Robbie says:

    500-year-old house now that is neat!!! My 50 yr old house is a toddler! I love that
    Katherine Hodges iris blue, have to get that one!

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