March Madness

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March Madness

Categories: Blog, Garden Guru, Newsworthy

Saturday was an absolutely perfect spring day with crystal blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s.  Sunday brought an all day, soaking rain which we really needed and Monday brought summer and simply an EXPLOSION of flowers.  The calendar says mid-March but Mother Nature says it’s full blown SPRING!!!

The Star Magnolias (Magnolia stellata) are already in full bloom TODAY.  They are always my favorite breath of spring with a sweet fragrance so refined and perfect for the season.  They symbolize the fresh scents of earth and its rebirth.
The Saucer Magnolias (Magnolia x soulangiana) are also in bloom — not unprecedented this early but with a forecast of beautiful weather we can rest assure a frost won’t harm the flowers.  I love the sight of these flowers against an azure sky.
The rare Yulan Magnolia (Magnolia denudata ‘Gere’) is also in bloom by the conifer garden north of the Visitor Center.  This tree is considered one of the first plants ever cultivated for beauty rather than sustenance!  What better plant as a precursor to the Heartland Harvest Garden.  This cultivar was selected from a cemetery in Urbana, IL for its later flowering as the typical species blooms so early it always gets frosted — Gere was the family name on the nearest headstone.

Many of our rarer cultivars of Magnolias are just starting to swell and we predict their flowering will be at peak for the weekend.  Friends Members may sign up for a special tour of our nationally recognized collection of Magnolias on Saturday, March 17th.  This is Magnolia ‘March til Frost’ which has gorgeous burgundy goblet-shaped flowers in March but it reblooms through the season until fall’s frost.

A visit to Powell Gardens right now will bring on a wonderful “Daffodil Daze” as drifts of thousands of  naturalized daffodils grace the gardens.  This is the north edge of the Rock & Waterfall Garden with Narcissus’Ice Follies’ in the foreground and yellow ‘Jetfire’ in the background.

Narcissus ‘Carlton’ is an absolute classic ‘Large Cup’ daffodil that naturalizes well in our climate — these in the Perennial Gardens ‘Mixed Perennial Border’ have been here and thrived for over 20 years.  These just opened so the corona or “cup” is orange but it will quickly fade to darker yellow.

Narcissus ‘Las Vegas’ is a show girl with huge, two-toned flowers of white and yellow.  These are in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Narcissus ‘Orangery’ is a phenomenal amber with orange, flouncy corona or “cup” that is vibrant orange. Its only downfall is its heavy flowers nod so it needs to be cut or lifted for the best view.
Hellebores or Lenten Roses (Helleborus x orientalis) are also in full flower from the Island Garden, Rock & Waterfall and Perennial Garden in their shade-loving sites.  The streams through the Rock & Waterfall Garden are flowing once again and the Island Garden pools should be up and running by the weekend as well.
The hybrid Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera x purpusii) is abuzz with honeybees and wafting a lemony aroma that tickles your nose.  It is good to see so many honeybees out today — our wild bees are doing just fine.
Here’s an actual picture of Fabio (Red-winged Blackbird) on the Island Garden. Thank our volunteer David Earls for taking this beautiful image.  Fabio and another male Red-wing have set up territory on  the Island Garden and are awaiting the pools to be filled and visitors to arrive for them to show off to.  The gardens are certainly alive with a madness of new life from fabulous flowers to migrant birds and their accompanying songs.  Come out and enjoy this marvelous bounty NOW and let early spring’s beauty melt your cares away.