February’s Spring Fling

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February’s Spring Fling

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru

Last week it reached over 60F for the second day in a row at Powell Gardens and the garden’s earth has responded with a splash of springtime flowers and the first songs of the spring peepers and chorus frogs. The foliage of many evergreen plants is also a beautiful contrast with tiny flowers of spring–and with the mild winter it all looks better than ever.

The Tommy Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus) are in full bloom and attracting the hungry spring honeybees.  This squirrel-proof crocus species and its cultivars are the only varieties we can successfully cultivate in most of our squirrel-friendly gardens (the squirrels dig up and eat all the others!).

Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum cultivar) are starting to swell for their springtime growth period.  This one has a lovely red-purple hue in the Island Garden’s living wall.  It’s amazing how many plants’ foliage looks great right now!

Sedum ‘Angelina’ is still in its winter colors atop the Island Garden wall, making it one of the finest perennials in an ornamental garden.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) is another of the first flowers of spring in full bloom in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Yucca ‘Color Guard’ may not have colorful flowers but its yellow-centered, evergreen foliage really captures the strengthening sunlight of the season.

The Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata) is a thicker-leaved, all green yucca that one day will become quite huge as a large evergreen shrub.  Look for Banana Yucca west of the Island Garden pools.

Nothing could be finer than the blue of the Reticulate Irises (Iris reticulata).  Look for these early (blue) birds on the Island Garden just east of the pools.

A related miniature iris (Iris histroides ‘Katharine Hodgkin’) is the closest to aqua-blue of any flower we grow.  It can also be seen above the living wall to the east of the Island Garden’s water pools.
Purplish-leaved, evergreen “Red Yucca” Hesperaloe (Hesperaloe parviflora) contrasts nicely with Yucca faxoniana in yellow-green to their side.   Someday this yucca will actually grow a short trunk and the Hesperaloes (we grew from seed and they bloomed last summer) will thicken up into quite a dense clump with many spikes of “hummingbird candy” flowers.

The beautiful evergreen leaves of Lily-of-China (Rohdea japonica) encircle a cluster of blooming snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.  The earliest flowers of spring always look best with a bit of evergreen perennials around them.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are close to peak bloom in the Rock & Waterfall garden with many drifts of this weather-tough but delicate beauty carpeting the garden’s ground.

Our tiniest yucca at the gardens is Yucca harrimaniaewhich is barely 5″ across.  It’s a nice companion with hardy ice plants (Delosperma sp.) and tiny cacti above the Living Wall on the Island Garden.

The yellow-edged leaves of Yucca ‘Bright Edge’ give it an extra splash of color in the the garden.  It epitomizes the bright spring time colors just peaking out throughout the gardens in this late winter season. Though winter will still give a few more bouts of reality, spring is definitely on its way but the gardens are filled with the earthly delights of a early spring fling.