Tag Archives: vernal equinox

Spring Opening 2021

Vernal Equinox: March 20, 2021 5:37 am.

Spring officially arrived this morning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

After a week of severe weather warnings here on Thursday we saw only light rain showers on a day that sadly brought damaging tornados nearby and across the region. 

I managed only a couple hours of cleanup this week but it was satisfying to measure a bit of progress. A delivery of mulch scheduled for mid-week is a huge incentive to get busy weeding today.

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’

In fall of 2018 I layered tulip and muscari bulbs in a big blue pot. Last year a few tulips surprised me with blooms but muscari foliage was the bigger surprise. It never died back last summer, nor over the winter. So there is a tangle of leaves with little flowers now beginning to open.

Muscari ‘Armeniacum’

Muscari ‘Armeniacum’

After the winter a crinum lily is lifted way above ground.  I read it should be planted with soil up to the neck of the bulb, which it was, but like my daughter who couldn’t tolerate turtlenecks as a child, the crinum didn’t like being restricted either apparently.  Is the solution to dump more soil around it? It is already growing new leaves. I also read these bulbs could grow to 20 pounds so getting the planting right early on is important.

Crinum × powellii (Crinum lily)

I have tentatively identified a mystery plant in another pot as Matthiola incana (Stock). I think I pulled it up last fall by mistake and temporarily potted it until I could get back to it.

Matthiola incana (Stock -Giant Imperial Blend)

There is a very small clump of anemones starting to flower. Even one of these richly colored flowers is impactful when added to little bouquets of summer snowflakes and daffodils which I have been happily sharing with neighbors.

Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’

Some of the Liatris spicata ‘Blazing Star’ planted last year but enjoyed only by the rabbits have begun to emerge. The Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ is waking up. Spiraea seems very late this year but a few flowers have begun to show.

Liatris spicata ‘Blazing Star’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

The hellebores continue to open and now the garden is looking more colorful when viewed more than six inches away.

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Before I finish I must mention I am haunted by the recent tragedy in Atlanta. Please keep in your thoughts the Asian women who were targeted and murdered this week. Amidst such suffering in the world we must find a way to bring compassion into our hearts.

Helleborus x hybridus

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a productive and exciting spring!

Entering Spring

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spring equinox. Sunday (March 20, 2016) at 12:30 a.m. EDT

A week of spectacular weather, sunny and warm, encouraged the garden deeper into bloom.

Spirea, an old-fashioned passalong, could hold back no longer. This shrub disappointed last year but has redeemed itself with a dazzling pageant.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

The branches are laden with flowers.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Early blooming King Alfred were followed by Tete-a-tete daffodils. Both quickly finished their bright yellow displays for this spring once the temperatures increased. Fortunately the appearance of the white flowers of Narcissus ‘Thalia’ made a well-timed replacement.

Narcissus 'Thalia’ (Thalia Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (Thalia Daffodil)

I love white in the garden, but there is color as well.

What for weeks seemed like blooms on Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ actually are variegated bracts. Recently, deep red, tiny flowers have been exposed.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Multicolored pansies, planted in fall around the meditation circle, are filling out.

Pansies in Meditation Circle

Pansies in Meditation Circle

Anemone coronaria began flowering before Christmas but now are growing more vigorously. The blue-violet ‘Mr. Fokker’ is my favorite.

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Another old-fashioned garden staple, Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox) will soon decorate several of the borders.

Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox)

Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox)

The last frost day in piedmont North Carolina is mid-April, but spring has been set in motion.

Spring Again

March 20, 2014.  In the tiny speck of Northern Hemisphere that I call home the vernal equinox occurs today at 12:57 P.M. EDT.

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures arrived on schedule to welcome the change of the season, although winter threatens to return next with a chance of snow.

After this week’s ice storm most of the daffodils remain bent over, some have broken stems, but at least one is reaching toward the sun this morning.

This Narcissus 'King Alfred' weathered the recent ice storm

This Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ weathered the recent ice storm

A couple of weeks ago a friend brought me some moss from her yard to add to the existing small bits of moss that have sprung up along one edge of the meditation circle. The new transplants appear to be doing fine, enjoying all the recent moisture.

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

One of my favorite evergreen plants, Iberis sempervirens, is finally starting to bloom. This has almost completely died out in the mediation circle but there are a few patches elsewhere that have thrived for many years.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Happy Spring!

Spring Arrives!

Though the sun later broke through, the early morning was cloudy and cold when I walked through the garden looking for blooms. Forecasts warn of lows near freezing tonight and temperatures will dip into the twenties later this week. But here it is, March 20, 2013, and today is the first day of spring. The vernal equinox occurred at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

The early blooms of Helleborus have been a highlight since the first week of January.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The garden is waking up but shows no sign of hurry. Among the several patches of Phlox subulata a lone flower is open.

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’

A few little Muscari flowers began blooming this week. These were planted over a decade ago and barely bloomed at all last year, so it is nice to see them again.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Diminutive white flowers are beginning to fill the branches of a Spiraea I brought from my previous garden.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Iberis Sempervirens filled the meditation circle last year but most of what was planted there has died out. I blamed moles but also realize the site may not drain well enough for this plant. Fortunately it is tucked around the garden in other spots, a cheery little plant.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Last fall I finally remembered to add a few more daffodils to the garden. Just opened today is the first flower of the miniature Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ The garden was so overgrown when it was time to plant these bulbs, it was hard to find a good place for them. They were relegated to an old terra cotta pot, which worked out just fine.

Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’ has been blooming beautifully for a few weeks. I love the milky white streak that marks these blossoms.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Happy Spring!

Spring’s First Day

March 20, 2012. The vernal equinox occurred at 1:14 a.m. EDT, signifying the first day of spring for this Northern Hemisphere town of Chapel Hill, N.C.

To welcome spring this year I added several new spring blooming plants. One is a compact Jacob’s ladder cultivar, Polemonium ‘Bressingham Purple.’ Early on, this garden had contained a specimen of our native Spreading Jacob’s Ladder, Polemonium reptans, but it eventually was lost to drought.  Bressingham Purple is supposed to have purple foliage though it may depend on the light where it is grown. This one does not seem very purple.  The tag labels it as requiring sun to part-sun, so I chose part-sun. Even here it may require close monitoring and regular watering to keep it from drying out. I am already thinking of moving it to a shadier site.

Polemonium 'Bressingham Purple' (Jacob’s Ladder)

Another garden addition is the spring ephemeral Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells). These pink buds will open into light blue bell-shaped flowers and attract butterflies as pollinators. Virginia bluebells are native to North Carolina.

Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)