1. Today’s six will be quick and simple–just enough to prove that something is going on in the garden in spite of the schizophrenic weather we have been having in Alabama. One plant that can be counted on regardless of temperature shifts, however, is the hellebore pictured below and in the featured photo. I can’t provide anything more specific than hellebore in naming these. All of them I have throughout the garden–and there are many–came from one gift shovel-full of tiny plants that have reseeded and travel along a usually dry creek bed as well as having been redistributed by me to any empty bedding spot wanting some winter color. And, those colors range from white to lime to shades of pink.
2. Two Camellias japonica, ‘Grace Albritton’ and ‘Lady Vansittart Sport’ are usually in good form at the end of January. Grace Albritton has been blooming for some time. The first photo comes from the last days of December. The second was taken yesterday. Unfortunately, most of the full flowers have frozen recently; fortunately, more buds, though stunted, are waiting to open. Lady Vansittart, however, is offering little more than slightly cold-burned buds, although there are many of them.
3. In the wooded part of the garden, crane-fly orchards (Tipularia discolor) are appearing. This odd ground-level Alabama native wildflower is also sometimes called crippled crane-fly. Its dimpled leaves are easy to miss among woodland leaves; in fact, they will totally disappear before the plant blooms in late summer. The first photo below shows the new leaves and the remaining flower stalks of last year’s bloom. The second photo shows both the texture of the leaves and their surprising maroon undersides.
4. Not at all native to Alabama, leather leaf mahonia is a Chinese import that has been naturalized in Southeast US to the point of becoming rather invasive. Still, its thick evergreen leaves and bright yellow buds stand out in an otherwise brown landscape. I keep a few in the garden, but I cut the grape-like fruits in the spring and pull the small plants I find in other areas. From the condition of this year’s blooms, there might not be too many wayward plants to eradicate in 2022.
5. Clumps of daffodils are coming up in the wooded section of the garden. I’ve seen them in full bloom in another garden nearby, but these are in shaded understory spots, so they are far behind. Some ‘Ice King’ daffodils planted for the first time last year and a few allium are just beginning to break through in a cultivated bed. This bed does not get nearly enough sun either. I don’t expect a glorious display. I just hope I get some blooms.
6. Finally, a plant that I love and have no luck with. Snowdrops. This is a far as mine have made it right now. I hope for more.
Maybe I’ll have more success to report in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I suggest readers go the the site of The Propagator for links to what is going on in gardens around the globe and for guidelines for taking part in Six on Saturday.