Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hello, Hellebores!

In the world of easy-care plants, Hellebores are probably my favorite.  They thrive in shade, can take dry or damp conditions, and they bloom their hearts out for months and months from late winter till late spring with a wide variety of flower colors and forms. 

The only maintenance that Hellebores require is a careful trim at this time of year, when new growth is emerging from the center of the plant, to remove last year's old foliage.  (I took these photos earlier today, while I was outside doing just that.)  I have a LOT of Hellebores, and it only took me a little over two hours to do all of them.

Most of the Hellebores in my garden are seedlings from the few named varieties that I bought at plant sales years ago.  Happy Hellebores reseed easily, and I am glad to have them spread as far as they want in the areas where they grow.  When seedlings grow where I don't want them, I dig them and move them to another spot, or I give them to friends.  I allow my shade garden to get a bit wild, so masses of seedling Hellebores (or Hostas or Italian Arum) are a good thing.

It looks like this year's Hellebore season should be a very good one.  Bloom time is just starting, with all of these flowers you see here and a LOT more still to come. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Spring is Coming!

As I have been out and about over the past week, I have seen unmistakable signs that spring will soon be here.

I spent three afternoons this month at Hollywood Cemetery, evaluating the roses in preparation for our Rose Volunteer Day on March 10.  The roses are still sleeping, but there are other plants springing to life.

A maple tree in full bloom.

A clump of snowdrops on a family plot.

Winter Jasmine.

Lawn full of tiny purple crocuses along one of the main avenues.

More crocuses.

During a walk in downtown Fredericksburg last week, I saw this lovely patch of snowdrops.

A friend and I were looking at a cabin near Harrisonburg on Monday.  The owner of the property was obviously a gardener.

A huge naturalized patch of Winter Aconite.

More Aconite, in another part of the yard.

Snowdrops.  I really love these!

Here in my yard, it's the beginning of Hellebore season.

Yesterday and today have been unseasonably warm ... 80 degrees both days with blue sky and bright sunshine.  It's been glorious!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Beautiful Bermuda

Last summer, I was approached via email by the president of the Bermuda Rose Society to be their guest at the society's annual luncheon (which was held last Friday).  I was told by friends that the Bermudians are warm and welcoming, and that their little country is a wonderland.  (Absolutely true, on both accounts!)  What follows is an attempt to share my trip with you.  

I left home in the dark last Thursday morning, heading for the Richmond airport.  Sunrise was glorious as I waited for my plane!

I flew from Richmond to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Bermuda.  This was my first view of the country.

Hello, Bermuda!

My itinerary for the trip was packed full of commitments and garden visits.  First stop was to the Holmes's house, to see their garden and to make sure that my laptop would communicate with their projector for the next day's presentation.  (Always important to get technical matters out of the way as soon as possible.)  

"Peggy Martin"

Another "Peggy Martin"

Next stop, the home where I stayed during my visit.

View from the back veranda.

View from my room.

After I settled into my room, I had a delicious dinner with my hosts, George and Marijka ... after which we had drinks and talked till late into the evening.

Friday morning was relaxed ... breakfast, then preparing for my program during the luncheon.

We were greeted by this sign at the luncheon location.

Our menu.

The room was full!

The arrangement on my table featured 'Perle d'Or', 'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis', and "Bermuda Windchimes"

It was a challenge to see the screen, because of the light in the room.  We made do.

My program was one of the most difficult that I have ever written, because I was asked to tell everyone at the luncheon about myself ... my history with roses, my garden, and the places where I volunteer.  As I struggled with this, all of the sudden I realized that I was introducing a foreign audience to my rose world in Virginia.  After I made this breakthrough, the program went together easily.

The rest of Friday was spent seeing the sights and visiting two gardens.

There were roses everywhere!  This 'Aggripina' was spilling over a wall in St. George.

Graveyard at St. Peter's Church in St. George.

'Archduke Charles' in the St. Peter's graveyard.

The Unfinished Church in St. George's.

(Forgive me from here on, because I was more focused on the gardeners and their gardens than I was on taking photographs.  There was even one garden where I didn't take a single photo.)

Michael and Michael's home.

View from the side veranda.

Entrance to their recently-completed Chinese garden.

The inside of the Chinese garden.

This Gnish was fabulous and perfectly placed.

Stairs to the upper garden.

Slat house full of wonderful plants!

This was the only photo I took at the second garden ... the beautiful harbor view.

Saturday morning, I was up and out early for a full day of garden visits.

Susan's home and garden.

Poinciana tree, which I was told has a spectacular display of red flowers later in the year.  It is lovely when it's leafless, too.

This is Sylvester.  He is a formerly-feral cat who adopted Susan as his human.  He follows her everywhere.

'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis'

Jeanette's home and garden.

The yellow rose is an unknown rose that the Bermudians call "Elm Lodge".

'Aggripina' grows over the entry of Pene's home.

I was particularly taken by the graceful nature of "Bermuda's Kathleen"

She is gorgeous and I must add her to the garden this year ... as a memento of my wonderful whirlwind visit to her homeland.

Pene made a garden out of the quarry on their property, from which came the stone that was used to build their house in the 1800s.

"Elm Lodge"

Pene's house.

We stopped for a quick lunch at Pat's house (my morning chauffeur).

'Aggripina' again.

Distant ocean view from Pat's house.

After Pat's house, I was handed off to Felicity and Diana for the rest of the day.


Statue of Daphne in the Waterville garden.

Diana and me.  "Say Cheese"

'Mutabilis' is one of my favorite roses.

So lovely!

Hugh and Susan's garden, looking toward their home.

Same garden, looking away from the house.

Hugh is telling me about the roses.

Susan and I are talking about the huge Epiphyllum that is spilling over the wall.  (Mine is dinky.  I have to grow it in a pot so I can bring it inside during the winter.)

Hugh shows me how he decorates his wall with wonderful things he finds while diving.

January lilies, a form of Hippeastrum, were in full bloom.

Saturday night, the rose society hosted a dinner party.  I was very tired ... but excited to continue to get to know the wonderful society members.

Blurry selfie in my party outfit.

Sunday, last day, breakfast with my hosts was delicious.  Staying with them was a complete delightful, conversation was easy, and I truly enjoyed their company.  It was difficult to say good bye.

Quick snapshot of the aftermath.

Clare picked me up and went to see the rose society's propagation area at Tulo Valley.  Most of the roses on the island come from their rose sale each spring.

The last garden I visited was Peter's.

'Bermuda Yellow Mutabilis' in this garden, too.

Poinciana tree, overlooking the harbor.

From Peter's house, we went to Clare's house for lunch ... where I didn't take a single photo.  After that, it was time for me to go to the airport and head for home.

Beautiful blue sky.

Bye bye, Bermuda ... till next time.

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