Thursday, March 29, 2012

Somewhat Vertically Challenged

Those familiar with the author may think this blog title was in reference to me.  Those who saw me crawling around on the ground with a camera may have thought I was challenged in some other way.  Let's just say I felt a kinship with the plants I photographed today.  Although the cold and windy weather brought an end to the beautiful magnolia and cherry blossoms, many of the early-blooming perennials are putting on a great show this week.  

I chose to start with a plant that many people despise because it grows as a weed and regularly invades turf: wild violet, Viola papilionaceae. Indeed, we did not plant it, but it thrives, especially on the south sloping lawn leading down to the big pond.   I personally like the blooms popping up all over in the grass.  It turns an otherwise brownish and dull area into a sea of purple.

I stopped short of photographing dandelions, and instead moved on to some of our great perennials planted near the Barn Ruins and around the house.


Virginia bluebell, Mertensia virginica


grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum

glory-of-the-snow, chionodoxa

Japanese kerria, Kerria japonica

pagoda dogtooth violet, Erythronium 'Pagoda'

bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' 

I photographed a few other plants that do not have spectacular blooms, but have very attractive foliage.


native pachysandra, Pachysandra procumbens


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Friday, March 23, 2012

Daffodils, Magnolias, Cherries, and More!

Sometimes I try to have a theme to my blog post, but the gardens just exploded in blossoms this week.  Spring is now officially here.  See what is blooming this week.
Summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum

As you can see, we have a variety of daffodils here.  My favorite this week was the white daffodil with the hint of yellow in the cup. I loved how it played off the winterhazel and star magnolia blooming in the distance.   If you look closely maybe you can see it too.

Hard to miss this incredible mass of forsythia putting on its best face for the first week of spring.

And now for the magnolias.  


Magnolia soulangeana

Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

'March til Frost' magnolia 

Magnolia kobus 
This one smells a little like pen ink.  I know, because I went to great trouble to get to the same height as this blossom just so I could sniff it.

And finally, the cherry blossoms.




Fun fact: all of Welkinweir's weeping cherries are natural weeping forms. In other words, they do not have the lollipop appearance that results when a weeping plant is grafted to a straight trunk.  Most weeping cherry varieties used commercially are grafted.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Compelling Combinations

Certain plants seem made for each other. The pink and yellow combination of Rhododendron mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink' and Corylopsis pauciflora--buttercup winterhazel--brighten up the steps leading to the Pinetum.


Buttercup winterhazel has beautiful bell-shaped buttery flowers best viewed from below, and is quite spectacular when adorned with a few raindrops.


We also have a Chinese winterhazel, Corylopsis sinensis, planted near the weeping European beech.

Rhododendron mucronulatum adds a delicate purple highlight to the steps leading up through the Hillside Garden.  When touched by the sun, the blooms appear slightly pink. 

And finally, Magnolia stellata has exploded this past week in brilliant white.  


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Friday, March 9, 2012

Sights and Smells of Spring

While walking around the gardens searching for the subjects of my next blog post, I came across this sight...

One of our resident groundhogs, whom I shall call Fred, out sunning himself in the Barn Ruins.  Or maybe searching for his shadow. I had to get closer, but disturbed his meditations in the process, and he fled to one of his secret passageways. Then, to my surprise and the groundhogs, I found myself mere feet above him!  I don't see a shadow...Fred says spring is here! And then he ran in fright toward the Spring House.

There is no holding back spring now.  The gardens at Welkinweir are exploding with the blooms and scents of spring.  Perhaps most spectacular right now is this white flowered Japanese pieris growing on Azalea Lane.  The plant is sagging under the weight of many wonderful white blossoms.

We also have a nice pink cultivar, Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wyckoff'.

Magnolia stellata is starting to bloom near the weeping European beech.  This bud looks very promising.

These last two plants not only look beautiful, but they smell delicious! My personal favorite is the delicate lemon scent emanating from Lonicera fragrantissima, winter honeysuckle, planted near the Barn Ruins.

And Viburnum x bodnantense: 'Dawn' viburnum, although still fairly young, has spectacular pink blooms with a pleasant aroma.  Come smell for yourself! Maybe Fred will pop up and say hello.

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