Bloom Report

We have moved to a new format this year for our regular bloom reports which allows posting of groups of images with each separate bloom report.

We hope you enjoy seeing Willowwood in bloom throughout the seasons.

Click a bloom report's title, below, to see the pictures within the report.

Anemone 'Bressingham Glow'

Late Summer Blooms 9.21.18

Willowwood’s annuals are still putting on a show for the finale of the growing season! If you need some cheery colors to brighten your day, you can visit the Rosarie to see the Cosmos sulphureus. These bright naturalizing annuals put on a gorgeous display of bright oranges and yellows. The cottage garden also has some late-season yellow blooms. The Senna alata have bright yellow candlestick shaped flowers. These plants are hard to miss at nearly eight feet tall but be sure to look up through the foliage to admire the fresh blooms! Our cannas are also still blooming throughout the gardens. One striking specimen this Canna ‘Red Futurity’ near the propagation greenhouse. It has brilliant red blossoms that are quite eye-catching. Keep an eye out as you walk around the property for these colorful blossoms before we store them away for winter! Some perennials worth looking for in the cottage garden are the Anemones and Asters. Near the wrought iron gate is Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Pamina' and along the back of the propagation greenhouse are Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Bressingham Glow'. Both varieties feature deep rose pink semi-double flowers that are classic Cottage Garden style. These perennials are long-blooming performers and will likely bloom until frost. While they are not native plants, I did see some bees happily pollinating them! For those who prefer native plants, the Symphyotrichum oblongifolium 'Raydon's Favorite' is also in bloom. New England Asters are a great late-season flower for pollinators and ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ is a shorter cultivar that makes a great addition to a home garden.


September 2018 blooms

Autumn is in the air! Today we heard the first rustling of dry leaves as our Gleditsia are losing their leaves already and blowing in the breeze. Summer always seems to fly by but at least the gardens are still lush with summer blooming flowers. For those planning a visit soon, the trip up the drive to the parking lot is delightful as the road winds along the meadows. The first meadows are reaching their Fall peak now as the grasses are producing tall brown seedheads and the goldenrods are continuing to bloom a bright, warm, yellow. The seed from the wildflowers in the meadow has been especially attractive to Eastern Goldfinches this year and we’ve had record numbers using the meadow as habitat. (Photo of goldenrod) Further up the drive, the Vernonia is in bloom! Another classic native plant that provides nectar for pollinators late in the season. Our newly established pollinator plants near the stone cottage are currently home to hungry monarch caterpillars on Asclepias incarnata. Soon they’ll begin their migration and use late-blooming plants like Vernonia for fuel. (Photo of Monarch Caterpillar). This week we saw both Monarch and Viceroy butterflies on the Vernonia. The viceroy was kind enough to rest with his wings open we were able to see the distinct horizontal black line across its wings. Another popular plant has been our cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis. In the Cornus mas bed near the Tubbs House is a large clump of these flowers that have been in bloom for several weeks. Most days we can spot a hummingbird visiting the flowers then darting away to rest in the branches of the Cornus mas. They are drawn to the tubular red flowers, which perform beautifully in the garden once established (Cardinal Flower photo) Nearby in the Cottage Garden, we have a show-stopping Hibiscus on display. Hibiscus ‘Raspberry Rose’ is a stunning shade of deep pink and gracefully towers over the sweeping masses of Phlox paniculata below. Annual flowers, such as our Zinnias, are still in full bloom as well, blissfully ignorant of impending frosts. Our panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’ is also showing off spectacular blooms around the corner in front of the propagation greenhouse. The Rosarie has been through significant changes this season as we’ve introduced an array of new plantings. One such new feature is Lagerstroemia ‘Lipan’, one of three crape myrtles planted in the Mediterranean Garden. It has prolific soft pink blooms that are doing exceptionally well during its first season in the garden. Throughout the Rosarie are also seasonal installations of Agave and Dahlias which will be on display until the cold weather forces them indoors for the winter. Be sure to take a look before the first frost! (Crape Myrtle photo, Dahlia photo)

Agave americana

Bloom Report 6.29.18

As the heat settles in here at Willowwood, be sure to stop by our vibrant ‘hot’ garden in front of the greenhouse. It is full of dark, black foliaged plants such as Lagerstoemia ‘Red Hot’ and various black sweet potato vines. It also has interesting textures from the fuzzy, sharp Solanum quitoense and vibrant flowers such as the Dahlia ‘Fascination’ and red flowering Canna. It is a bold annual display so be sure to see it during this season as it will change next year!

The other gardens are thriving from the wet spring we have had. In Pan’s Garden, behind the Tubbs house, the Astilbe ‘Deutschland’ is in full bloom. Notice how the graceful white flowers zigzag through the center of the garden and gently rustle in the breeze. Feel free to stop and sit on the back porch to enjoy the relaxing white and green garden.

White flowers are also on display in other nearby gardens. The two Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ are in full bloom outside the propagation greenhouse and the last of the lilacs to flower, our tree lilacs (Syringa reticulata) are still showcasing pale white flowers in the grassy lilac area.

The Cottage Garden (in front of the Tubbs House) is the most colorful garden now as the roses, poppies, and summer perennials are flowering. One native perennial, bee balm, is flowering in mass and attracting pollinators such as hummingbirds. Our bright red variety is Monarda didyma ‘Gardenview Scarlet’. One of my new favorites in the cottage garden is a poppy called Papaver somniferum var. ‘Pink Dawn’. It is stunning with its delicate shades of soft pink and lavender petals on silvery foliage.

Finally, we highly recommend that guests take time to visit the Rosarie behind the wooden barn. Staff have spent many days re-planting the garden and adding in new Mediterranean plants. This includes a large grouping of Agave, mostly Agave Americana. In addition, there are colorful Geranium, Salvia, Dracaena, and succulents such as Senecio, Echeveria, and Aeonium. Be sure to go early in the morning before it gets hot and take time to look at the many plants growing there.

Blooming 5/18/18

Willowwood is beginning to burst with lush foliage and colorful flowers from the plentiful rains the last few weeks. Visitors this week will see the Wisteria floribunda in peak bloom growing on rustic arbors throughout the gardens. The cottage garden is also beginning its display of alliums, cheerfully busting from the ground in explosions of color. The large purple orbs currently in bloom are Allium ‘Sensation’. These flowers in the onion family are a favorite!

Some other classic spring flowering shrubs and perennials are heralding Spring. Near the greenhouse, the blue star-shaped flowers of Amsonia tabernaemontana are in bloom and across the grounds, trees and shrubs in the Aesculus genus are beginning to bloom. One great location to see these is near the intersection of Patriot’s Path and the main drive. Here you can see a large Aesculus flava, yellow buckeye, and several Aesculus pavia, red buckeye, in full bloom. Aesculus parviflora, bottlebrush buckeye, is a butterfly magnet so keep an eye out for those long white flowers in the garden soon.

Finally, we all know what season it really is at Willowwood… Lilac Season! Our lilacs have been at their peak bloom this week. I recommend a walk through Highland Park (the grassy area across from the Stone Barn) to smell their sweet fragrance. Their cotton candy like groups of flowers are blooming in subtle shades of white, blue, purple, and pink. Here are a few to whet your appetite: Syringa ‘President Grevy’ (French lilac) and Syringa ‘Wedgwood Blue’ (Common Lilac). Come visit Willowwood soon to view the other beautiful lilacs in our collection!

Cherry Tree

Daffodils at WW 4.20.18

Despite the persistent snowfall and cold nights these past few weeks, Spring has (we think!) arrived at Willowwood. Leaves are beginning to unfurl, blooms to burst, and floral fragrance to waft among the trees. Visitors will be welcomed by masses of bright daffodils near the parking area and can wander behind the welcome kiosk to see the blooms of the hybrid Magnolia ‘Willowwood’ nearby. Magnolia x. loebneri ‘Willowood’ The Winter Garden, the area around the grass parking lot, is now full of hardy early blooming daffodils in cheerful, bold yellows and oranges. Be careful where you step- more daffodils are still emerging! Nearby in the grassy paths of Highland Park, our cherries and Forsythia are beginning to bloom. In addition, the Viburnum farreri ‘Candissimum’, fragrant viburnum, is not to be missed! Its soft white petals and sweet fragrance are sure to cheer anyone who still has the winter blues. We hope you enjoy these beautiful blooms as much as we do and come out to explore soon!

Witch Hazel in Snow

Early Signs of Spring

While it may not feel like SPRING (and we heard there is more snow predicted…), wonderful signs of Spring are already evident at the Willowwood Arboretum! In small patches of sun, the Hamamelis (witch-hazel), Eranthis( winter aconite) and Galanthus (snow drops) are in bloom and I saw a small patch of purple crocus as well. They warm the heart and the soul. We are on high alert for the first signs of daffodils and will let you know as soon as we see the first one. The Blue Birds have not arrived yet. Several of their boxes were blown down in the storms and these will be repaired and put back up as soon as our staff can reach them in the snow.