Top Ten February Blooms.

I just love February blooms but this year it has been difficult to find a chance to get out and enjoy them with constant winds and Biblical  downpours of rain.  I am a year- round gardener and wouldn’t dream of hanging up my spade for winter, but this year I have had to duck and dive and admit defeat on countless occasions. But never mind, you can have a look at some of my favourite February blooms from the comfort of your chair and that is the best place to be today.

The most eye catching plant in my February garden is the wonderful Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume. It actually comes from China, but it is highly prized in Japan where many varieties are available. I don’t know why it isn’t seen more often here because it is hardy and blooms for weeks starting as early as January. The flowers of ‘Beni-chi-dori’ which means ‘Flights of Red Plovers’ are the deepest pink and have a sweet almondy smell.  The tree grows to about 8 ft, mine hasn’t quite reached this yet, but after 8 years it is a good size.

Prunus mume ‘Beni-chi-dori’

Prunus mume ‘Beni -chi-dori-

I searched for the beautiful white form for several years after falling in love with it in Cambridge Botanical Garden.  I found one a couple of years ago and it is now a wonderful sight in February. It is quite compact and smothered in white, sweetly scented blooms. It is called ‘Omi-No-Mama’ which means ‘Memories of Mother’.  Well, I think it does, Graham Stuart Thomas wrote in his book. ‘Colour in the Winter Garden’ that it means ‘To have its own Way’ and this is because it sometimes throws up a rosy pink flower. I would love to have a little copse of these fabulous trees in my woodland garden but they are expensive to buy. The white one seems to be quite rare. Other blossom trees are coming into bloom now but these are very early as they start flowering in January and they get better and better as February goes by.

Prunus mume ‘Omoi-na mama’

The Cornelian Cherry tree, Cornus mas bears clusters of starry yellow flowers in February. It can grow to about 12 feet, in fact I had a huge one in my previous garden which was a wonderful sight against a blue winter sky. It used to bear fruit in abundance and I regret that I did not then know that the fruit is edible. When ripe they taste a bit like cherries. Quite often seedlings used to appear. This one  is one of those seedlings, it is about 5 ft high now and it has taken a few years to bloom well.

Cornus mas

Cornus mas

I have an early flowering camellia in the garden. I wish I could remember its name but this is one that I had in a pot for years and then planted out even though I don’t have an acid soil which it prefers. To my surprise it is flourishing  with healthy green leaves even after several years in the ground. Plants don’t always obey the rules. The flowers are double and a delicate shade of pink.

Camellia japonica

In a pot in the greenhouse I have a little Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’. I  bought this because I had seen it on  PBM garden blog. Susie’s  ‘Yuletide’ always seems to bloom for Christmas as its name suggests and as she is the most amazing flower arranger it always looks wonderful in her vases.  I have had to wait until February for a few blooms on mine. I think it needs a very sheltered spot here so I don’t think I will risk it outside.

Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Another calcifuge, ( acid-loving plant) is the rhododendron. I told a neighbour that she can’t possibly grow rhododendrons in her garden here. She confounded me by saying that she can and does.  Anyway, I am not going to risk my pretty Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ in the ground and it looks lovely in a pot.  Rhododendrons have compact root balls so you could probably get away with planting them in masses of ericaceous compost for a year or two, but I don’ think it would work long term. Despite its name this never blooms at Christmas.

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’

As Shakespeare said ‘Daffodils take the winds of March with beauty‘ but this year they are very early and the winds of February are flattening the taller ones. A pretty one which is always early is ‘Spring Dawn’ . It is not too tall and so copes quite well with the wind. I love it for its twisted petals and frilly yellow coronas.

Narcissus ‘Spring Dawn’

The ever-popular dwarf Narcissus ‘Tête-a Tête’ is not bothered by the wind at all. It is lovely in pots but if you plant it out it will make nice big clumps.

Narcissus ‘Tete -Tete”

One of my favourite daffodils is the native one Narcissus pseudonarcissus, this is the one which inspired Wordsworth’s poem. It seeds around happily and looks lovely with primroses.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Safe from the storms in the greenhouse I have a few pots of delightful little daffodils. Narcissus ‘Snow Baby’ is a darling miniature with perfectly formed white flowers.

Narcissus ‘Baby Snow’

Another white one is the hoop daffodil which is aptly named ‘Narcissus bulbodicum ‘White Petticoat’

Narcissus bulbodicum ‘White Daffodil’

I have a new Narcisssus bulbodicum this year and I love it. It is a hybrid bred in Holland. It is called Narcissus bulbodicum subsp. obesus ‘Diamond Ring’. It is the prettiest little daffodil and deliciously fragrant.

Narcissus bulbodicum subsp. obesus ‘Diamond Ring’

I love the early species crocuses; the little tommies, Crocus tommasianus which seed all over the garden are getting over now but they are a February delight, specially when the sun makes a rare appearance. If I plant new crocuses the squirrels watch me and dig them up but they don’t seem to notice the ones that are all ready there seeding about. I have given up planting them, I would like some different varieties but nature is doing a great job of spreading these little beauties around so I will content myself with them. They are a lovely shade of lilac and some of them are darker.

Crocus tommasianus

Now and then yellow ones crop up.

I have a few clumps of white ones.

Crocus

Here and there I have some of the big, fat, shiny Dutch ones but I don’t love them as much.

Crocus ‘Striped Beauty’

Of course there are still plenty of snowdrops to enjoy. My addiction to snowdrops is even more out of control than my addiction to jugs so I will just select a random few today.

Spring Snowflakes, Leucojum vernum slowly make large clumps but they don’t spread as quickly as snowdrops. They have round flowers with six petals of even size so they look like little lamp shades. They grow on short stems unlike the confusingly named Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum. The pointed  tips of the petals are green.

Leucojum vernum

You can get a variety which has two flowers per stem. This is called Leucojum vernum var. Vagneri. The green mark is much more pronounced on this one.

Leucojum vernum ‘ var. Vagneri

There is a yellow-tipped one called  Leucojum  vernum ‘Carpathicum’.

Leucojum vernum ‘Carpathicum’

I have my own variety which appeared in my  garden which is pure white with no markings on the tips.

Leucojum vernum

All over the garden I have groups of Leucojum aestivum but I have never planted it, they just appear themselves. The flowers are no bigger than those of Leucojum vernum and they aren’t the same pretty lamp shade shape. As they have such long stalks they are rather insignificant. Still they are quite pretty in a vase.

Leucojum astivum

Little irises make colourful displays in February. Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’ is one of the reliable ones which comes back each year. This one has poked up through the encroaching heather.

The Algerian Iris, Iris unguicularis  has been blooming for weeks but now it is joined by the Turkish Iris lazica which is very similar but with shiny leaves and even more blooms.

Iris lazica

My last post was devoted to hellebores and you might think that I have nothing further to say about the subject. But this morning torrential rain kept me out of the garden and when I went to the local farm shop to buy some eggs I found another Rodney Davy hellebore just as I had been saying I would like a few more of these beauties. It just jumped into my basket when I wasn’t looking.  The lovely thing about these hellebores is the beautiful marbled leaves. All my other hellebores have their leaves cut off in January as this displays the flowers better and the old leaves are liable to spread black Leaf Spot. But these beautiful leaves are part of the charm. So here is my latest beauty,  Helleborus ‘Dorothy’s Dawn’.

Helleborus ‘Dorothy’s Dawn’

Do join me with some of your February blooms. Spring is just round the corner and flowers are springing up everywhere.

 

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58 Responses to Top Ten February Blooms.

  1. Wow, I love the Hellebore. I have only seen white Flowering Apricot here, my grandmother had it fifty years ago!

  2. Oh, I think the Camellia is Pink Perfection.

  3. Pauline says:

    What an amazing selection of beautiful flowers you have, just love your flowering shrubs, the Prunus especially. February really is a wonderful month for interesting flowers and certainly tempt me into the garden.

    • Chloris says:

      I think February flowers are amongst the most exciting, I know you are a big fan of winter flowers Pauline. The Japanese Apricot is fabulous in both pink and white and very long lasting.

  4. What a show! They are all so cheerful, except one. ‘Wasp’ is too much like the real thing for comfort. If I look at it long enough, I can even hear it buzzing.

    We have had a warmer than usual winter with just an occasional cold snap and, like you, lots of rain. Thus, my Prunus mume, ‘Peggy Clark,’ bloomed only briefly in mid January.

    • Chloris says:

      Hello Marian, how lovely to hear from you. I have never seen Peggy Clark for sale in the UK. I just googled it and I think it’s beautiful. I am going to see if I can find one.

  5. Kris Peterson says:

    I envy you those beautiful flowering apricots. I’ve got a noID peach on my back slope but it hasn’t yet bloomed for the season (it was poorly sited by whomever planted it) and it’s never held the fruit long enough for it to mature. As usual, I also find myself coveting your collection of flowering bulbs. I’m determined to find myself a few Iris reticulata to plant next year. I had two big flower surprises this week: a single bloom on my Majorcan peony and 8 species tulip blooms (‘Lady Jane’). The peony doesn’t always bloom and I don’t think I’ve ever had more than 2 flowers in any season but it’s a pleasure to see it anyway. The true test of the tulips will be whether they survive to bloom another year.

    • Chloris says:

      Japanese apricots are divine and quite compact. Are the reticulated irises hard to come by over there? They are worth seeking out. Many of them are not long lasting so you have to treat them like annuals. Is that Peony cambessedesii? I’m hoping mine will bloom this year.

  6. tonytomeo says:

    Ah, snowflakes! I grow those instead of snowdrops. I did not plan it that way. They just appeared in the garden. I do not understand the allure of snowdrops. I am told I would if there was not so much blooming through winter.
    ‘Christmas Cheer’ used to be grown on the farm, and was actually quite popular. I was none too keen on it. The bloom started during our brief rainy season, and deteriorated as fast as it opened. I am told that it worked out better in the climates where they were sold. I mean, it is supposed to be a well rated cultivar for the Santa Clara Valley, which is less than ideal for some of the traditional rhododendrons. It is more important for them to do well for those who purchase them than it is for them to do well on the farm where no one else sees them.

    • Chloris says:

      You would indeed see the allure of snowdrops if you didn’t have much else to enjoy in January and early February. I love Christmas Cheer because it is quite compact and so early flowering.

      • tonytomeo says:

        I just saw the ‘Christmas Cheer’ yesterday, and it still looks great. That is not normal, but I will not complain. It bloomed late, and there has been no rain in a month. (Well, rain would be nice; but I won’t complain about the nice bloom.)

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    I am drooling! 😉 Until the snow melts here, I’ll make do viewing your lovely blooms, Liz.

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    My Narcissus bulbodicum has sadly not returned this year, I was hoping there was still time but seeing yours I realise that probably will not be so. I do like the leaves on your new hellebore.

    • Chloris says:

      I find many of them just put up grass like leaves and no flowers in the years after you get them, I don’t know why. Yes, Dorothy’s Dawn has amazing leaves.

  9. The Japanese Apricot is stunning. it would be so wonderful to be able to garden year-round. And to be able to grow Camellias. I’m just a little too snowy and cold in winter for those things to happen. It’s so encouraging to be able to visit blogs like yours to see some of the blooms that will be with us very soon, like the Daffodils, Hellebores, Snowdrops, and Irises. Thank you for that. 🙂

  10. alison41 says:

    What a wonderful feast of flowers! I enjoyed the prunus and the camellias most.

  11. Cathy says:

    Beautiful flowers and blossom, and the leaves on your new hellebore are very striking. Thanks for sharing all your spring colour!

  12. Tina says:

    You have so much a’bloom! I especially like the camellias, but all your lovely little bulbs flowers are lovely and spiring-cheery.

  13. Heyjude says:

    What a lovely sight on yet another dull and blustery day. You have so much blooming in your garden, I can’t choose a favourite as I like them all!

  14. You are certainly having a beautiful February. I was surprised to see that your camellia and rhododendron grow so well in pots. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever move back up north.

  15. What a feast for the eyes! My favourites have to be your blossoms. Absolutely exquisite

  16. Annette says:

    Who could possibly be or stay under a cloud with such an abundance of blossom in the garden. I hope you have a conservatory to enjoy them from inside 😀

    • Chloris says:

      No, I used to have a lovely conservatory in my old life, but not here. I don’t think it would like right on a 500 year old house. I’d love one though. Or better still an orangery.

  17. Anna says:

    As always you have a marvellous array of blooms for us to go weak at the knees for Chloris. My wish list always grows when I read your monthly favourites post. I have especially fallen for the prunues mume ‘‘Omi-No-Mama’. Does it need a sheltered spot? I hope that the weather perks up for you soon. I don’t like to think of you shivering as those winds blow in from Siberia.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Anna. Yes I think Omi-no-mama needs a reasonably sheltered spot. It’s worth seeking out though, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Rain and sleet blizzards today but hey, we’re nearly into March we must get a bit of spring weather soon.

  18. Cathy says:

    Oh a mass of delights – it can’t only have been 10 surely?! I haven’t done mine yet but I am not sure where to start – will try and photograph tomorrow. Dorothy’s Dawn was one of my newest hellebores – our elderly friend (97 now) is a Dorothy and it seemed appropriate to have her in the garden. And Molly’s White, for a similar reason! Love the all-white leucojum. My Christmas Cheer (which does flower at Christmas sometimes) has not flowered yet this year but it is perfectly happy outside in a fairly neutral soil with an added dollop of ericaceous compost every year. Thanks for hosting the meme, Chloris

  19. snowbird says:

    What a pleasure it is to see all these beauties while the hail beats down! Loved them all, so many blossoms in February! I especially loved the prunus blossom and those lovely white daffodils.xxx

  20. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I thought Leucojums were just a poor cousin of snowdrops and HX no idea there are so many! They are very pretty.
    I love your display of crocuses. They struggle to flower in my garden, so perhaps the soil is wrong, although other bulbs do quite well. Or perhaps it’s the weather: our spring might simply be too hot.

    • Chloris says:

      I love the smaller leucojums with their little lampshade flowers. Crocuses are wonderful when they spread into carpets. Perhaps they need a bit of winter cold to spur them into bloom.

  21. Pingback: Floral February Foray | Rambling in the Garden

  22. A gorgeous display, Chloris. That Camilla Japonica is very pretty. We had a major snowstorm last night, so I am living vicariously these days through posts like yours. Thank you.

  23. Most lovely blooms that are a feast to color starved eyes. Only snowdrops here so far and we have nothing like the variety you have of early blooms. I love your apricot tree. I looked it up and unfortunately it won’t grown in my zone here in the states. Too cold probably in the depths of winter, but it sure is lovely. Nothing that pretty here until late April or May. Thanks for sharing all your lovely blooms.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cindy. The Japanese Apricot needs a sheltered place in this country too but fortunately mine copes with the climate and looks wonderful. I think too much frost would ruin the flowers though.

  24. Love the white Prunus and the Crocus.

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