Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Wildflower: Cut-leaf Toothwort

On Sunday Meg and I took a nature walk together at the old Occoneechee Speedway Park. This was one of the first two NASCAR tracks that opened in 1949 and it closed in 1968. Our parks have been working on preserving it.

Last year our first visit there we saw thousands of Cut-leaf Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata just past its prime. So we hoped to see this  spring ephemeral fresher this year. Well I think we hit the target this year. Below are some examples of what we saw.

You don't normally see such full blooms like this one!
More of a normal plant, see the cut-leaf leaves?
Some plants can have a purple tint, not many were this purple.
These two Trout Lilies were trying to out show the Cut-leaf Toothwort. Lots of Trout Lilies were seen as well!
Thousands of Spring Beauties were seen as well. Normal Spring Beauties have five petals like these. On another post I'll show some with six, seven and nine petals.

Meg also found a Letter Box hidden under a hollow tree, we looked it up at http://www.atlasquest.com/. The box had a handmade stamp of a 49 Oldsmobile the first car the win a race at the speedway! There was also the letterbox with stamped notes from others that had found it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fallen Petals

Today my first trip outside I found maybe 50 blooms of Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles' on the ground in the back yard. Brought a big handful of them in and placed them in this bowl.
Later after doing all my honeydew stuff I met Meg in Chapel Hill for my first visit to the Coker Arboretum on the UNC Campus.I had heard they had lots of camellias. Saw lots of daffodils, trillium and hellebores before we found the camellias. Not as many as Duke Gardens, still some really nice large bushes.

Here is Camellia X 'Tiny Princess', the bush was maybe 20 foot tall and it was covered in blooms and the ground was covered entirely with fallen petals. Note the white in the background above are fallen petals. Below is the ground under 'Tiny Princess' it looked like this in at least a 10 foot diameter circle under the camellia.
We walked to one of UNC's Librarys. On the way back I found the mother of all fallen petals. These 3 or 4 magnolias were covered in blooms and the ground was covered with petals in an area about 25 foot by 100 foot AMAZING.
Had I know I'd be doing a post about fallen petals I'd taken a photo of all the magnolias and the fallen petals.

When I get more time I hope to do a full post on Coker and show off some of the camellias, daffodils, hellebores, primroses, snowflakes and starflowers.

A lot of you were taken in with our camellia 'La Peppermint' here is another bloom.

For Neil Jean. This is Jet Fire planted next to our February Gold. The cones were yellow when first opened, then slowly they turned orange. I did not get Tete a Tete wrong after all some are showing two heads on a stalk.

Going to end this post with a beautiful daffodil from Coker. Tried to find a name for it, but failed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mystery daffodil and new camellias in bloom.

Today I worked on a house in Durham with a creek in the front and another along the side. Though I might have seen my first dragonfly there. Arrived home at 5pm and walked the dogs around the garden and a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail flew by us, my first swallowtail of the year!

First things first. I found this all white large flowering daffodil in the old front flower bed. I'm sure it was planted by previous owner. I'd never noticed this beautiful daffodil in our garden of 12 years... There looks to be a cluster of at least 6-8 bulbs from the leaves that are out, but this is the only flower. It was next to or under a large juniper I cut down 3 years ago, might have been shaded out of the roots of the juniper staved it out. Looked on Brent and Becky's and could not find it? Neil Jean or anyone else have a clue to the name of this beauty?
The previous owners also planted the above scilla. These are lovely and thanks to my excellent gardening skills they have sprouted up every year under a Saint John's Wort shrub I planted years ago. I took photos of these on Sunday that were no so great but I noticed the upper flower had at least 6 ants on it.

Here is a mystery pink camellia  japonica that I purchased last year at our local Tree Frog Nursery, 3 miles from here. It was a typical landscape camellia and I liked it, so I bought it. Also wanted to support a local small business too! Anyway I took this photo Monday morning and that evening when I got home the bloom was on the ground from all the wind we had. Still has maybe 6-8 more buds to show us!

 Camellia japonica 'La Peppermint'
Here is is the most expensive camellia japonica we have in our garden. It was expensive because we bought it at Camellia Forest in a 3 or 5 gallon pot.. This is our first bloom, 3 more are on the way. I'm not overly excited about this one, but the next bud looks more interesting.

This large red flowering camellia sneaked up on me. Not sure of the ID, I think we bought it at Tree Frog Nursery last year. The deer almost ate this plant, the flower just appeared. We have nothing like this one in the garden it impresses me with the old world rose look to it!

Leaving our garden and going next door. These blue flowers were in the neighbors yard, she did not know what they were. Her husband that passed away in 1990 had planted them in the yard. Over 20 years ago and no maintenance, yet they still survive! I think we need to get some of these any one know what they might be?

These hyacinths I planted last fall, seems I lost the bags they came in, not really sure which they are. No big aroma yet. The one above is my favorite, love the color. The pink one below might be Pink Pearl.

Tete a Tete
We planted a lot of these little daffodils, they were real cheap and really big bulbs for such a small daffodil.
February Gold
We planted these with Tete a Tete because they bloom at the same time. Tete a tete were a few days ahead of February Gold and when they opened. It was hard to tell they were different without looking closely.
Barrett Browning
When I saw these blooming I knew it would be a favorite. But what was it? Barrett Browning looked huge on the bulb package, does this photo look huge? The flower is so flat it wide angles easily making it look bigger than it is.

Little Gem
These are only 6 inches tall, some have two blooms on one stalk. I think I got the ID correct? Planted them with a lot of crocus, but the crocus are finished in that bed.

Jonquilla Baby Moon
These one inch blooms were almost open when I got home tonight. I watered them and just before dinner I noticed two of them had opened. So little and so cute!

You should be seeing some butterflies and dragonflies here before long, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring's Arrival

Sitting back relaxing on our porch the evening before spring is to start we enjoy the first calls of the Pickerel Frog in our pond.

The first day of spring was very pleasant here it was sunny all day and reached 76 degrees. We actually had a butterfly list going 1 sulphur species, 5 Spring Azures, 1 Mourning Cloak and 2 anglewings that did not stick around for IDs. The pond had at least 12 Eastern Painted Turtles basking, 30 or more Eastern Red-spotted Newts (likely hundreds), Pickerel Frogs as well as Spring Peepers were calling. Along the pond I saw Northern Cricket frogs, Bullfrogs and Green Frogs.

Funnest thing I have seen in the pond was an Eastern Red-spotted Newt riding cowboy style on a frog twice its size. I think since we saw other newts mating, this one was trying to mate the stunned frog.

The peacock next door started calling again, great! I was hoping they had tired of the peacocks and gotten rid of them. If you were reading here last spring that male peacock called all hours of the night for months. We like having the windows open at night and the peacock is very loud.

No dragonflies or damselflies were found, they should be out now.

We took a short wild flower walk into our woods.
Wind Flower or Anemone
Just a few blooming in our ravine.
Trout Lily or Dog-toothed Violet, Erythronium americanum
These were just a few of hundreds in bloom on our property.

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis from our woods.
Meg found 4 blooming plants, usually that is about all we find. One of my favorite wild flowers!
Lesser Celandine, Ranunculus ficaria
Thanks to Edith Hope and Anne Tanne for IDing the mystery plant in my garden! These yellow flowers told the entire story. From what I have heard it is terribly invasive and it will likely be removed from the garden.

Crocus 'tricolor'
Crocus 'bluebird'
Just a few more crocus from our garden, I just had to show these off a little.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daffodils opened today finally

Finally some of the daffodils that came with our property opened today.! The new ones I planted last fall are getting close. Below is one of the smaller daffodils that almost opened today.

On Sunday Meg and I walked into our woods and found 3 Trout Lilies in bloom. This is our first native wildflower this year!
My work at Julia's has been very pleasant this week. While I've been finishing up the porch I constantly get the aroma of this Daphne at the front door.
Can you smell that? I get it from 50-60 foot away all day long.

A little walk around the corner and you find this hellebore, could there be 100 blooms maybe?

Julia's snow flakes, Leucojum aestivum! My first snow flakes, thanks to Darla for correcting me on this plant.

I took some cutting from Julia's garden on Tuesday, black fig and paper Bush (Edgeworthia}! Hope I can get something going on these cuttings. The black figs are supposed to be real tasty too.
Back in our garden the Hyacinth are getting ready. This one is one that was here when I bought the place, I think I'll have 5 new ones this year!
 Here is the Clematis armandii "snowdrift" I bought last year. It never grew at all last year, nothing!! This photo was taken 6 days ago, that new growth has grown at least a foot in the past 6 days! We intended on having it cover to back porch railing, it is now touching the railing, YEAH!

Here is our Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles' I bought it last fall, it had nearly 100 buds on the 3 foot bush back then. On Tuesday it started opening up those blooms! What a delightful bush all these 2 inch blooms. Julia has a slightly bigger one and it was blooming like crazy on Monday when I got to work.

Last thing the veggy garden. We have been eating arugula and mustard greens all week. These were planted last fall and somehow managed to live through out the winter. Two and half weeks ago I planted Sugar Snap Peas today I found my first pea sprout. Now where is my Swiss Chard?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Duke Gardens Camellias

Today it was supposed to be rainy, yet it didn't happen until 4pm. I dropped Meg off at pottery and went to see the spring camellias at Sara P Duke Gardens. WOW perhaps 50 species in bloom only few left not blooming yet. The Hellebores were in full bloom, unlike last weekend.

Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles' above and below from Sara P Duke Gardens. This camellia was developed right here in Chapel Hill at Camellia Forest!
This camellia we have in our garden and it has buds just like above.

Just below Crimson Candles was this incredible hellebore in full bloom.
Certainly my favorite of the day.
 Camellia japonica 'Greensboro Red' another local camellia named for Greensboro NC. We also have this in our garden and have not yet seen its blooms.

Chinese Willow leaf Magnolia, Magnolia biondii this was kind of scrappy but it had the coolest blooms on any magnolia I have ever seen.

 While we are on magnolias here is the other type blooming at Duke Gardens right now.

Magnolia x loebneri 'ballerina'

Magnolias at Duke Gardens are just starting so stay tuned to later posts if you want to see more of them.

Camellia japonica 'Shikbu'
Walked right by this one and the sun pasted behind the clouds and I walked back and found it. One of my favorites no question.
This hellebore struck me because of the rigid upright growth. The tag was broken and all I got for a name was eyhill Joy, maybe Honeyhill Joy?

Camellia japonica 'Pink Perfection' I agree! This closely resembles 'October Affair' which I featured last fall. "October Affair' is still blooming too;

This white crocus was huge at least 10 inches tall!
My macro photo of the day!
Get a load of those Carolina blue Skies and while at Duke.

This 10 foot tall Camellia bush is for sale it comes with a house on an acre in the Chapel Hill School District. A great deal just let Meg know is you want to buy it and her house!