Bloom Report April 2024

How wonderful it is to live in a world with flowers. Right now, I can’t think of anywhere that it is more floriferous than Willowwood. Although it is still early spring, many tougher-than-they-look spring flowering bulbs and perennials are up and at it. Meanwhile, swelling buds and emerging shoots remind us that there’s much more to come. A stroll through the Rosarie is exemplative: among the bright daffodils contrasted by clumps of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, the flower buds of “prairie smoke”, Geum triflorum, are beginning to unfurl. 

Right now, the Rockery, adjacent to the Tubbs’ House, is awash in blue and yellow. Drifts of Scilla sibericaScilla(ChionodoxasardensisScilla (Chionodoxaforbesii ‘Violet Beauty’, and Anemone blanda are punctuated by Narcissus“Rip Van Winkle”, Primula elatior (known affectionately as “oxslips”), and emerging Mertensia virginica, the Virginia bluebell. I find the Narcissus “Rip Van Winkle” to be particularly appealing, their double flowers floating over a “sea” of blue Scilla like stars on a clear night. 

While the traditional tulip display is due later in spring, a few “species tulips” are out, gracing us with their adorable blooms. Throughout the property, but especially in front of the Tubbs’ House are the cheerful Tulipa turkestanica and T. humilus “Alba Coerulea Oculata”. 

The delightful emerging gradient of flower buds of Stachyurus praecox, adjacent to the Propagation House. The specific epithet of this one, “praecox”, is a Latin term that means “early”. This one will be in full flower very soon! If you cannot wait, throughout the woodwalk one can find the fragrant, dangling flowers of Pieris japonica. Resembling, but not closely related to the “lily of the valley” (Convallaria majalis) we have to look forward to later in the season. 

Of course, we cannot forget the real star of the show: the Hellebore! Throughout Willowwood you will find a plethora of Helleborus selections, ranging from the surprisingly charming H. foetidus to the creamy flowers of Helleborus x nigercors“Honeyhill Joy”, seen here in the Cornus Mas Bed.  

By Bonnie Semmling.

Last modified on April 2nd, 2024 at 2:11 pm