Early season blooms have started to appear this week in tandem with some other solid signs that we’ve turned a corner away from winter and closer to the start of spring here in my neck of the woods. While most gardeners are raving about the snowdrops — and they are beautiful, no doubt — I was most delighted to see another, though less popular harbinger of the season, Eranthis hyemalis unfurling in the sun for the first time.
Gardeners often complain about the difficulty in establishing eranthis, but most of my experiences with this early bloom have been with plants that appeared mysteriously from nowhere and established themselves with no work at all.
Until recently I was unaware that witch hazel is cold tolerant in my climate. Here’s the evidence: a large witch hazel tree in full bloom just this morning in my friend’s garden.
We’re experiencing a warm and sunny spell here in Toronto that is lifting our collective spirits. Suddenly things are in bloom as if it is spring. But it isn’t really quite spring and I keep reminding myself that while all signs point to it, we could have another blizzard ahead of us just yet.
March is a deceptively soft and cuddly lamb, for now.
More witch hazel:
Considering the wide breadth of plant photos I took through our month in the Caribbean, it comes as a surprise how often I keep reaching for images of ginger family plants to show here. Perhaps it is because there are just so many more than I ever imagined, or perhaps because the remainder of he winter has been gray and these flowers are bold and BRIGHT. Whatever the reason, here’s another one.
The spiral growth pattern of this one is unique and I believe we saw a variegated version of it as well, but try as I might, I was unable to find a photo in my files. Meanwhile, I only have about 30 more rolls of film to develop (about 360 images) from that trip alone! There is also a bag of film with rolls dating back to last August.
I suppose it could be in there somewhere.
I first came upon this incredibly strange ginger (Zingiber spectabile) while touring a wonderful garden and wilderness retreat in Dominica called Papillote.
I need some colour today so I decided to pull out a photo of a false roselle (Hibiscus acetosella) flower, one of the most beautiful plants I learned about in St. Lucia.
Our friend David called it bronze roselle, but I haven’t been able to find references to that name online. I believe it is called false roselle because it is closely related to Hibiscus sabdariffa, the plant that is used to make sorrel. However, the part that is typically used to make the drink (the calyx) is small, hard and tough on this plant and didn’t seem like it would extract much flavour while the calyx on real sorrel (also called roselle) is plumper.
I’m planning to grow it this year but I imagine it is going to prove to be a bit of a challenge. The plant is big; David’s plants were about 5-7 feet tall. I think I’m going to have to sacrifice one of my the garbage bins I typically save for growing tomatoes. It’s also a long season plant — I’m planning to start my seeds next week to get a good jump on the season. Even if I don’t see flowers before the first frost I can’t imagine being disappointed. The deep red foliage catches the sunlight so beautifully and should pop when sat next to tall, green indeterminate tomatoes.