April 2014: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

At this moment we are at sort of a pause in the garden. The early small bulbs are starting to wrap up, but the larger bulbs have not yet made their appearance.

2014-04-12 12.00.44
Common snowdrop with Virginia bluebell leaves emerging in the background.

The snowdrops are almost done.

Dragonfly/wrench with snowdrops.
Dragonfly/wrench with snowdrops. We bought this guy at an art fair from the artist, a welder from Indiana, who was just packing up. We had neither cash nor checkbook He told us to  mail him a check, which we did.

Their gleaming tepals are dropping and the grassy leaves are filling out.

Tommy Crocus.
Tommy Crocus.

The crocus are just past their peak, fading faster than we expected because of a couple of improbably warm days. The sun was shining, people wore shorts, and the crocus began to whither just a bit.

Crocus clumps scattered along the sidewalk border.
Crocus clumps scattered along the sidewalk border.

But now, as I write this post, it is snowing. We could have a couple of inches on the ground tomorrow morning. Yup. Welcome to Chicago.

Siberian squill.
Siberian squill.

The squill (Scilla siberica) are just starting to bloom but have not hit their stride. Squill is an incredibly easy bulb, spreads itself around enthusiastically but doesn’t make trouble. And I love that blue. Also, unlike crocus, the rodents leave them alone. What looks like grass in the background above is actually Siberian squill seedlings. As I said, they spread themselves around with abandon.

Narcissus 'Baby Moon'.
Narcissus ‘Little Gem’.

An early Narcissus I planted last fall, ‘Baby Moon’ has its very first flowers. ‘Baby Moon’ is only about 6″ tall. UPDATE: Actually, this is ‘Little Gem’. Annette of Personal Eden pointed out the error. Thanks Annette.  ‘Baby Moon’ blo0ms in May. I planted some of those last fall also.

Just a few more days...
Just a few more days…


You can see the flower buds on most of the other daffodils and a few look like they could pop with just a couple of warm days. Same thing could be said for the forsythia and spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

Young hellebore with flower bud.
Young hellebore with flower bud.

Oh, and I planted hellebores (Helleborus niger) for the first time last fall. Most haven’t done much yet, but a few of them have started to send up new leaves and there are a couple with flower buds. I’m excited.

So I have lots more bulbs and other spring flowers to look forward to. Just as soon as the snow melts. Again.

For more blooms visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

59 Comments on “April 2014: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

  1. Jason, I am so sorry about your everlasting winter. Thank goodness you and Judy have these lovely bulbs to enjoy while it plays out its last act (and I’m crossing my fingers that this WILL be its last act!) I’m enchanted by your pretty blue squills. I have very few spring bulbs, but I’ve been moved this year to incorporate a few more for next year. Scilla siberica is now on the list!

  2. Your flowering bulbs are so pretty, I must get around to planting some before it is too late. I can’t imagine what it must be like to garden in a snowy climate, probably a pain by the sounds of it.

  3. Wishing you some sunny spring warmth for those hellebores! I hope they flower nicely for you – mine took many years to get established but have excelled this year. I agree on squills – last autumn I replanted an area where they grow and it didn’t bother them at all, they just popped up all over as usual! 😀

    • We did in fact have about an inch this morning and it hasn’t melted yet, but hoping it will melt by evening. Right now it is exactly 33F, or 0C.

  4. That is extreme weather. I love the way the artist trusted you to mail the money – a lovely story. Here’s to that Hellebore – may it be a beauty!

  5. I always forget how far you are behind weather wise at this time of year. I think you must have a quicker transition from spring to summer than we do. It seems like ages since I was looking at snowdrops

  6. Beautiful flowers. I love your crocus and yellow daffodil. The only scilla we have grown successfully is scilla peruviana.

  7. This was so good until I read of more snow, I hope its brief and that spring returns quickly.

    • Well, they grow as far south as USDA zone 8. Not sure what that means for Italy, but it includes central Texas, so that’s pretty dang hot.

  8. Snowing again? Nightmare…I’ll make a mental note that I shall never move to Chicago! 😉 It’s the first time I actually realize what a difference it is weatherwise. As for the narcissus, I have to disappoint you. Baby moon is a jonquilla and looks very different to this one. Hope it gets over the snow!

    • Oops! Thanks for catching that! I checked and it is in fact ‘Little Gem’. Though I have planted ‘Baby Moon’ – but it hasn’t come up yet, it’s a late season Narcissus.

  9. I, in the past have noticed that in my garden the Hellebores do much better when planted in the spring and summer verses the fall and winter. Maybe just to cold for them to really get established when I planted in the fall/winter? Hopefully this might help in the future. I also have a love for the Scilla siberica, the bright blue is fantastic. I hope the weather starts warming up for you!

    • Well, that makes sense about the Hellebores. I’ll just have to see how they do this year … then there’s always next spring, right?

  10. Your snowdrops have done so well. Aren’t they all new this year? Quite a good show. Nice dragonfly and refreshing to be trusted. Hope this is your last snow. We have freeze warnings for the next couple days, though it was 80F over the weekend.

    • The snowdrops I have had for a while and are slowly spreading. Writing this I am looking out the window and the snow still hasn’t melted. Oof.

  11. Interesting. It seems like our gardens are in sync this year. Usually, Chicago seems way ahead of Madison this time of year. I’m so happy for you! Hellebores! I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. Mine seem to like a liberal layer of leaf mulch during the winter, and then I’m very careful about the timing of lifting the mulch. I try to wait until nighttime temperatures hang near freezing for a while. This year, I think I was a little premature, although they’re doing just fine–even after 20F last night (although I did cover them). I probably wouldn’t need to pamper them that much, but … what can I say, they’re Hellebores. Enough about that, but anyway I’m happy for you! Looks like a better forecast for the weekend and next week.

    • Here it went down to 27 last night. Did absolutely nothing to protect the hellebores, I had thought they were very hardy. I am looking forward to the better weather, which should start tomorrow.

  12. Aha! So squill self-sows? I saw seedlings in the bed with them, and wondered how Allium seedlings had gotten so far away from where they were planted. Good to know, I’ll leave them alone. Sorry you’re getting an April snow. It’s not unheard of, but it is a disappointment.

    • Wow, that’s even more out of kilter than our weather. I mean, it was 27 last night, but that’s far closer to our average than yours. I hear people saying that the polar vortex is the 11th plague.

  13. I may just lose my mind with this snow!! Lovely blooms so far and you are right…so much to look forward to!

  14. Snow in April now? I think you should move. But still you do have some pretty winter flowers in bloom. I love Scillas, lovely with little species Narcissucus.

    • There have been some notorious April snowstorms in Chicago, including one that brought down a Mayor (the unlamented Michael Bilandic). Not sure I can see myself living anywhere else, though.

  15. So many different blooms. Everyday this time of year must bring something new to admire. Hopefully we are done with the snow. I don’t mind snow on the early flowers so much, just prefer it in an March, not mid April.

  16. Those crocus look great. It’s nice you got a picture of them before they faded, here they came and went so fast I missed it…. of course that was just the few the rabbits missed!

  17. Love those squills, most keep remindign myself to add more. Hope you didn’t get too much snow. I’ve just come in from spraying the spring blooms with water to (hopefully) keep the from freezing. We’re just above 32!

    • It wasn’t a lot of money and he was leaving anyway. I think he considered it a decent risk. Plus we both look honest, I hope.

  18. Hello Jason, the crocuses look lovely, such a deep purple colour that really stands out against the backdrop of washed-out winter drabness. We don’t appear to have any crocuses or snowdrops in the new garden, but that should hopefully change now I’m on the case.

    • If you have lots of rodents you might want to skip the crocus and plant snowdrops with squill instead. Or try Colchicum bulbocodium, looks like crocus but with a pink flower, and unappetizing to rodents.

  19. Your weather amazes me, to think you had snow a few weeks back and now people have worn shorts. Wow!
    I love your dragonfly. So interesting.xxx

  20. Glad you have some vernal flowers in GBBD, Jason! Lovely crocus as always they delight eye in spring. Your hellebore started to grow and mine did not survived :((
    Have a nice GBBD!

  21. Did you get much snow? It snowed here but didn’t lay. But at last you have flowers! I’m tired of such crazy weather. I’d love a streak of warm days and slightly less warm nights for a few weeks.

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