GBBD February 2012

There isn’t much in bloom this time round compared to December and January thanks to the snow killing off anything which was still hanging on in there during our otherwise mild winter. Instead I’ll have to focus on the new growth and with each day there’s always an improvement – I’m actually shocked at the difference in just two days after the snow melted. Of course you all won’t see the differences as I’m not posting the photos from two days ago 😉 I’ve also noticed that a lot of the young leaves or fresh growth have died away on plants such as the Pulmonaria, and Ajuga leaving the borders once again quite bare.

We’ll start with the front window border again where Pulmonaria is slowly emerging and the primulas also gradually produce more leaves.

My eye has been caught by the purples coming through thanks to the Crocus Thomasinianus and Dwarf Irises. I also hadn’t realised I’d planted so many narcissi together, but I am looking forward to the nice clump I’ll have.
This clump of Thomasinianus has gone from 9 on the 12th to 17 on the 14th! I have a nice clump forming just there 🙂 Thomasinianus are so small, that really you need a large clump to make an impact.

In the back and side gardens the snowdrops survived the snow… And it’s becoming very apparent that I need to get tidying up over the coming weeks. For now I’m glad I left the dead growth though as no doubt it helped protect many of the plants beneath.

The Hellebores have not done so well in the snow, my attempts to protect them were naïve, but I do think if they’d had been in the ground then they would probably have been far happier. When I get the chance I will get planting them!

Thomasinianus has popped up underneath a Geranium in the Buddleja border… And looking at more young Hellebores I recently bought on the potting bench with Cyclamen coum in the background.

The Aster border doesn’t seem to have suffered too much under the snow, although the Calfornian Poppy isn’t very happy (it shouldn’t survive winter anyway, but mine always seem to). I’m glad to see the Scabious have survived though!

And finally some shots of the Cherry border; the amount of bird poo is getting ridiculous now! I’ve never seen it this bad! I’m going to move some of the feeders elsewhere so it isn’t all concentrated in one area as they fly into the Cherry tree.

Copyright 2011 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden.


134 thoughts on “GBBD February 2012

  1. It’s not really surprising that not much has survived considering the drop in temperature but most plants are hardy enough to struggle through. All the leaf cover that I left around my plants has been scuffled away by blackbirds looking for grubs I expect.

    • Hi Elaine,

      It is rather a shame that some of the growth I had has all disappeared 😦 Things were looking really nice and lush and then the snow set that back a little bit… oh well, I am sure they will begin to grow, especially now we’re back into 10+C.

  2. Lovely Iris reticulata, it’s amazing how they survive the frost and snow. Wouldn’t be without my “Tommies”, they look so lovely in the woodland in a patch of sunlight and thank goodness, are just starting to seed around. All your new growth shows that you will have plenty to look forward to in a few weeks time, such a hopeful time of year!

    • Hi Pauline,

      I really need to get planting bulbs in the back garden. At the moment they’re mostly concentrated in pots in the back and in the front garden. I seem to have relatively few in the borders of the back garden – at least not in places where I can easily see them! 😀

  3. Some gorgeous photos Liz – sorry my visit to your blog is v. long over due – making the most of a bit of a quieter time with work due to the weather! But I can see that changing now that things have started to thaw here! Happy Gardening – Miranda x

    • Hi,

      I have some ‘Pauline’ too, at least I used to but they may well have died… I haven’t seen any blooming yet but they do usually come out a little later than ‘Harmony’. I think I might need to restock them, as my numbers of pauline have gradually dwindled to only a few left.

  4. The snow wasn’t too bad here so most things seem to have survived ok. Those Iris are beautiful very striking colours at this time of year. I love seeing the new growth of perennials pushing through.

    • Hi,

      I’m really looking forward to seeing things grow over the coming weeks, just in the past week there seems to be quite a massive change with there now being plenty of bulbs poking through in most areas.

  5. Hi Liz, I love the large photo of the Iris, such a beautiful shade of blue! Methinks you have quite a lot of work to do with all the potted plants to put out when the weather gets kinder but I know you’ll enjoy it.

    • Hi Jan,

      Yes indeed I have a lot of work ahead of me! Even more so since I’ve bought a few more things this weekend!!! Eeeeeek. I need to get writing in my journal and planning where I’m actually going to plant them!!! 😀
      I got a few things planted this weekend, but not nearly enough… I’ll attempt to get some done after work; if not then I have a day off in a couple of weeks and will try to get it all done then.

  6. Hey Liz, I do enjoy seeing progress in the gardens of the bloggers I have come to know. I guess this February I can see the difference between you having snow & cold temps and us not. We are at pretty much the same stage just now – quite weird for me when you are always ahead of me.

    Great images. That iris caught my eye too. Happy GBBD 😀

    • Hi Shirley,

      I know it’s so weird! Especially when you compare it to January’s it feels like we’ve taken a step BACK. I’ve realise that a lot of the green leaves have rotten away such as on the Pulmonaria which only a couple of weeks ago were looking nice and healthy and growing well. Now they’re smaller and look like they’re clinging onto the very edge.
      It looks like it’s time for me to get out and start doing some weeding and sowing seeds! Things are moving quickly at the moment and I can spot differences on a daily basis at the moment 🙂

    • Hi Janet,

      Are your Crocuses later than normal? Or just a case of you still waiting for them when everything else has been early?

      If they are later than normal, then I must admit that’s a surprise! I’ll have to check when mine were blooming last year; in fact I think I might do a comparison thread at some point- later in the spring so I can compare everything!

  7. I now live in Florida, but I always loved it after the snow would clear and all the little sprouts would pop up. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Love the purple crocus (?) Is this where saffron can be harvested? I’m trying to grow an edible garden for the third year now. There are some pumpkin leaves out now (I planted the Halloween pumpkin guts) and arugala sprouts are growing!

    • Hi,

      For Saffron you’d need a specific species of Crocus, and of course a lot of them to have a good enough harvest to last a long time!
      Congrats on the veggies already growing! No sign of our Rhubarb yet, but I’m beginning to suspect they might have died as last year was far too dry for them and they were very unhappy.

  9. Your garden is so far ahead of my zone 5b garden–yours certainly looks like spring! I love the purple irises, and of course the hellebores. I’m going to have to do a major clean-up come spring, too, but considering the lack of snow we had this year, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t do it earlier. Happy Bloom Day, Liz!

    • Hi Rose,

      At times, it certainly feels like spring here! And with the council having cut the grass verges in the surrounding estes; they clearly think it’s spring! Maybe I ought to get my rake out and scar the garden and pull out the moss… I always leave all the dead stems, but with the plants growing so early I’m torn between clearing it all up to allow the new growth to come through and leaving it, in case we get more snow as they will help protect against the worst of the cold.

      One job I do want to get on with is planting the Hellebores in the ground as they’re still in their pots – a job for Sunday morning I think 🙂

  10. With the weather this year I’m just waiting for that first bulb to pop up this spring.
    I make my own compost tea and all the gardens got a drink of it in the fall.
    Nice pictures by the way.


    • Hi Danny,

      Good luck with your bulbs! Hopefully they are not too far away 🙂

      I don’t make any compost tea, but I do make my own compost. Unfortunately it wasn’t fully rotten by Autumn so I couldn’t use much of it on the garden to help mulch the plants so I did have to buy some mulch in. But hopefully now it will have rotten away nicely over the last few months and I’ll be able to spread it over the coming weeks!

  11. I’ve enjoyed perusing your garden posts and several other garden sites on your blog roll. My flower photography takes into many gardeners’ secret hideaways and is always a privilege to be there. Congratulations for being Freshly Pressed. After you read all the comments I’m certain you will get over the next few days, take a peek at or and check out my digital flower gardens. Again, congratulations.

  12. Ah, spring! What’s not to love about it — even though the calendar still says winter. Lovely photos. And I think it’s safe to quote “The Color Purple”: I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it. Thanks for noticing the color purple. Beautiful.

  13. Everything is just gorgeous. I’m especially in love with the Iris (just like all the other commenters!) and hellebores. Thanks so much for sharing, and congratulations on getting pressed!

  14. How lucky you are. I only see the buds on the tip of my Magnolia bush. I don’t even see a tulip or a daffodil pushing its way through.
    Great photos, keep the faith Spring is around the corner and things are going to pop, no explode, soon.

    • Hi,

      My Magnolia Stellata has fat buds on it too, and I hope it will bloom soon – although it’s unlikely for another month or so. I’ve a few small Daffodils beginning to emerge and quite a few Tulips too; my most developed so far are the Tulipa Turkestanica.

  15. Yes, my garden is starting to look like life is coming forward even though it hasn’t been a tough winter here in the Houston area we still had some dormant plants.

    BTW, love the rich color of your irises!

    Here’s to successful gardening! Cheers!

    • Hi,

      Most plants here are still domant, or only showing the very first sign of growth. I’m looking forward to getting out into the garden again to get some work done though. Then I can see what’s what! We’re back to above average temperatures now and the plants are quickly beginning to put on new growth. Perhaps the biggest surprises are various Clematis’ developing leaves already – in fact, they have been since January.

  16. I loved your photographs. You have more colour than I have at the moment, I have not seen any iris in bloom. I have noticed my Hellebores are starting to bloom even though some of their leaves have been frozen.

    • Hi,

      I hope your Irises bloom soon! Mine are just starting – although some are damaged by the snow, hopefully the rest will be fine and I’ll have a nice show once they all emerge.

  17. Dear Liz,

    Thats a strange thing your crocus, iris and primulas are at the same stage as mine and we are in the middle of Sussex- we have had snow and ice (-10c on three nights) but before that it was very mild …in fact on the Wednesday before Christmas I had summer bedding lobelia in flower in a pot next to an early flowering hellebore; by the way that pink hellebore is lovely a particually clean pink for hellebore. The hellebores here in the ground went flop in the snow but have picked up now its mild again. Good to see an English garden featured, best wishes Alison

    • Hi Alison,

      Ah, don’t like the hype and rhetoric fool you that it’s grim up north 😉
      Of course it helps that I have a suburban garden, so things are bound to bloom earlier than being out in the country.
      There have been many blooms which have only just recently been killed off by the snow – Rudbekia for one! It even managed throughout winter to produce new stems and blooms; it was so mild.

      The Hellebore is now beginning to right itself, but one stem has creased as it bent over, so I don’t think that stem will recover

    • Hi,

      Yes indeed I am/was! It’s been a bit mental but thankfully things are dying down now… It’s just a shame it was an otherwise boring blog post that was featured rather than something more interesting like a plant feature!!!
      Oh well 😀

  18. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous, especially this time of year! I’m in awe that you’ve been able to achieve blooms and your iris is magnificent. My snowdrops are still hibernating (that’s what I’m calling it and will continue to do so until I can face the harsh reality) and my hardy geranium show signs of life, but we’re months away from buds and blooms. Looking forward to reading and seeing more of your garden.

    • Hi Kate,

      Here it’s been a very mild winter (ignoring the brief snow spell a few weeks ago) so a lot of blooms are out much earlier than normal.
      There’s much more to come and I can see things will be quickly coming into bloom over the next week or two.

  19. Beautiful blooms…I absolutely ADORE those dwarf Iris…so lovely! I’m the same about cutting back all the spent foliage from the previous season…I can’t help but think it’s providing valuable insulation in case of late freezes!

    • Hi Scott,

      I also like to keep the dead stems because I find looking at bare ground far worse than looking at brown plants! 😀 Plus they look pretty if you get frost or snow on them.
      Hopefully no more frosts for us, although this weekend the temperatures are supposed to take another short dip before climbing again next week.
      Hard to believe we’re slowly creeping towards the end of February already???

  20. Firstly, great shots. Next I love the irises or whatever the purple flowers are. It’s funny to see northern gardens when our southern gardens are in full growing mode. Not that the summer has been particularly hot this season. Thanks for sharing

  21. Beautiful photos!! Are you using a macro lens or extension tubes? I’m a photographer and I’ve only tried a few “close ups” we do mostly portraits and weddings so I really haven’t had a lot of time to really work on it. I got some extension tubes and they work really well but since I’m not used to it, it takes me more time to get good images. I don’t have a lot but I do have a few macros on my website if you’d like to check them out. This spring when things start to bloom I’m going to really try and get some good ones!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi,

      Some of the photos are taken using a macro lens yes – just not on this particular post. In this one I only used my L lens.
      Typically I use a 100mm macro lens for the flower feature blog posts, but really it depends.

  22. Oh my,I may be a little late in getting here but wow I have never seen so many comments on a post. Its truly enjoyable to see all that is coming through in your garden and I am sure the recent snow wont set it back to much. The Reticulata is very special, they do well planted in pots here, even if left outdoors, but they are not so willing to flower if planted directly in my soil ..

    • Hi Alistair,

      Ah, well I wish I could claim it’s my magnetism and charisma that brought everyone here and all the comments; however it’s due to the kind powers of wordpress featuring my post that brought them all: I’ve gone down a little in the list but am still receiving plenty of comments, favourites and such for another few hours at least. It’s been a manic few days!

      The Iris bulbs do very well in pots here too, although I’ve never tried them in the ground as I know Slugs just love to make a quick meal of them – and my soil is heavy clay, so I cannot see them being happy. Although I do love having them in pots around the house, as the reality is at this time of year I’m not venturing out so much so can enjoy their blooms from inside.

  23. I’ve got an idea from it and my next post will be of this type. I’m a photographer and I LOVE your pictures. Great work in posting them here. I don’t know how to post two or three pictures in a row. But I’ll must learn this. Thanks for this great work.

  24. Beautiful photos! Makes me anxious for the snow to melt here, so I can wander around my garden in search of new sprouts and blooms! Love the close up of the iris with purple and yellow — so pretty!

  25. Thanks for an inspirational photo essay. In southeast Indiana, USA, we have had a mild winter but I’m always amazed at what’s already blooming in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.

    What a poor life we would have had if God hadn’t invented the color purple, no? Thanks for your beautiful work.

  26. I LOVE your little garden here!! Its soo cute and amazing! There is one up there that is purple and has a zebra kinda look leaf inside of it and a yellow one on top of that, what is this called?? I absolutely love it and I want to plant one of my own (: Thanks and again great!!!

    • Hi,

      It’s a dwarf Iris and this particular one is called ‘Harmony’. There are lots of types of them though – if you want to know what something is just hover over the image and a box will pop up telling you what’s in the image.

  27. Wow Liz! You went on wordpress dashboard! It’s terrific, I almost injured my finger scrolling down all the comments you got! You deserved something like this with the stunning pictures you always put on! Your garden is doing rather good, the melted snow is like a boost apparently! I have a few rain yesterday and finally something is sprouting (the bulbs) I hope they grow up soon coz I’m fed up with this winter…

    • Hi Alberto,

      It’s been seriously mental, and I’m still on the freshly squeezed page and the hits continue to come! I don’t think I’ll be able to reply to each and every comment though; it’s just too crazy.

      I’m glad to hear your bulbs are sprouting now! Here comes the sun!! 😀

  28. Yes, things are changing day by day. Our snow is almost all gone now. It rained today. I went to help my daughter clean her apt. today after work. I am looking forward to doing a yard walk tomorrow.

    You better get those hellebores planted!

    • Hi Sue,

      Glad to hear your snow is about gone and you can begin to see things growing now 🙂

      I saw my first Hoverfly and Queen Bee of the season today! 😀 So exciting!! I also managed to get two Hellebores planted… Only a few more to go now! I’m going to wait a little longer before I do the others until all my spring bulbs are coming through and I know where I can and cannot dig!

  29. Your little purple flowers are so pretty! I am experimenting with some flowers this year and seeing what will grow and what won’t. I am also making a chart to track growing times. I want to plant some bulbs–when is the best time? Now? Do they need to be popped in the fridge for a week or two to be forced into blooming? Again I am experimenting this year but would like to keep perennials in the middle/back of my flower bed and some annuals in the front that I can change out every year depending on what colors I want to emphasize.

    • Hi,

      It depends on the type of bulbs you want to plant. Spring bulbs are planted in Autumn and Winter or you can buy them ‘in the green’ in spring to plant out now but these are usually also more expensive. You don’t need to force them to bloom no. The weather over winter will do that for you.

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