Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Delightful Winter Treat

Anyone recognize these spring blooming bulbs gone to seed?
Day 17
The Daily DuBrule

I just returned from four days in Boston and it is still dark outside as I get ready to go to the CT Horticulture Society Conference this morning. I can't wait to walk around in my gardens and see the progress that my earliest spring blooming bulbs have made since I've been gone as the weather has been really mild all week.

One of the very first bulbs to flower in February is Eranthis hyemalis or winter aconite. An established stand will look like a sea of tiny little yellow, upward facing buttercups nestled in the middle of star shaped leaves.

The reason they are such good perennial bulbs is that they ripen very slowly. The foliage remains for a long time and actually looks kind of cool in the garden. The star shaped seed pods are also quite ornamental. Look at the picture above and imagine the number of seeds that have dropped out of those open pods. 

Planting these little bulbs (actually they are tuberous roots) is an act of faith because they look like small, dried up rabbit droppings. It is hard to imagine when you are planting them the delightful show they will put on really early in the year or how fast they will spread and naturalize in your garden. I was totally hooked the year I saw thousands of them in bloom under a magnolia tree. I have been planting them in all my gardens ever since.

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