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Archive for February, 2011

February Blooms

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

It’s getting towards the end of February and my southern garden offers a few delights including Hellebores, most of the ones I grow are unnamed selections of Helleborus x hybridus except for a lovely clump of Helleborus ‘Ivory Prince.’  A camellia I planted last fall  called ‘October Magic Orchid’ ( Zone 7 to 9) is covered with semidouble blooms that are white  to blush with orchid pink .  A Camellia  sasanqua selected for its compact habit, 3 to5’ tall by 3 to 4’ wide, it must not realize it’s February. Southern Living is promoting this camellia as part of its plant collection .   Typically a fall bloomer, it’s a treat to have unexpected flowers in February.  Other bloomers include Edgeworthia chrysantha and a witchhazel  (I’m still not sure of the name) I purchased a few years ago from McMahan’s nursery.  My white Prunus mume has been a disappointment producing only a handful (they are lovely) of flowers.  I tell myself to be patient but how long will it take to become the pest that the pink flowered selection was in my former garden.  It sent seedlings up everywhere and was covered with blooms for weeks, even as a young tree.

Helleborus x hybridus in late February in my garden

Helleborus x hybridus with white flowers

Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' late February

Still to come are some of my favorites, daffodils of many types , sizes and shapes, tulips (red, a special request from my daughter)  and the reliable Leucojum aestivum, also known as summer snowflake, which blooms happily in the shade. 

While spring is not here yet, it’s on the way and will be here before you know it.  Now is a good time to plan what you will add to your garden.

Clematis Update

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Last night I attended a delightful lecture by clematis expert Lyndy Broder.  I first had the pleasure of visiting Lyndy’s garden in Stockbridge, Georgia about 9 years ago.  Her passion for clematis is evident everywhere one looks.  She views every tree and shrub she grows as a potential structure for displaying her hundreds of different clematis.  Gardening in Georgia she is also able to report on which clematis are best suited for hot, humid climates.  Her current passion embraces the native clematis of which ll are native to Georgia.  These include two very aggressive species, Clematis virginiana and Clematis terniflora, also known as sweet autumn.  To prevent spreading by seed, Lyndy recommends cutting off their flowers once they finish blooming.  Better behaved natives she grows include C. crispa and C. texensis, commonly known as red Texas clematis, a favorite of hummingbirds.   

Clematis 'Arabella'

For gardeners that are new to growing clematis Lyndy provides a list of the top ten clematis for extended bloom in Georgia from 2008.

For each plant she includes the type of clematis, a description and the bloom period.  I am happy to report that I grow C. ‘Arabella’ and have for the past three years.  I let it ramble and scramble through my perennials.   With spring approaching I can’t wait to add some more clematis to my garden.  There is also a list of sources Lyndy recommends which I include here.

Lyndy’s List  C. ‘Arabella’ (integrifolia) blue-mauve, blooms April-Sept., use trailing on the ground

C. ‘Betty Corning’ (viticella) pale blue, blooms May-August, climber 8-10’

C. ‘Duchess of Albany’ (texensis) bright pink, blooms April-Oct., climber 8-10’

C. ‘Etoile Violette’ (viticella) dark purple, blooms April-Oct., climber 10-13’

C. ‘Henryi’ (early large) white, dark anthers, blooms April-July, climber 10-12’

C. ‘Josephine’ (early large) double pink, blooms April-Sept., climber 8-10’

C. ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ (viticella) red wine, blooms April-Sept., climber 8’

C. ‘Princess Diana’ (texensis) luminous pink, blooms May-Sept., climber 6-8’

C. ‘Rooguchi’ (viticella) purple blooms April-Sept, 3’

C. ‘Venosa Violacea’ (viticella) white with purple veining, blooms

May-Oct., climber 8-10’

Clematis 'Rooguchi' with Hydrangea

As far as cultivation Lyndy recommends plenty of sunshine and a moist, well-drained soil.  When she plants she adds permatil to help ensure good drainage.  As far as pruning, if in doubt, it is better to prune less than more.

Mail Order Sources  Joy Creek Nursery (Oregon) Brushwood Nursery (Georgia) Woodlanders (South Carolina) for native clematis

Clematis 'Princess Diana' on Magnolia 'Little Gem'

Lectures of Note

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

On Saturday, February 5, 2011,  I participated in the annual symposium put on by the  Georgia Perennial Plant Association  at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, GA.  While all the talks were informative, I especially enjoyed hearing Dan Benarcik of Chanticleer  in Wayne, PA. His  presentation titled “Creating your own pleasure garden” featured many different aspects of Chanticleer, an amazing garden designed for pleasure.  I also enjoyed C. Colston Burrell’s talk “Finishing Touches”-The Power of Details in Design.  If you get a chance to hear either of these speakers, I recommend both of them highly.

On Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7:30pm – “Clematis for the Southern Garden: An Update” by Lyndy Broder, serves on the Board of Directors for the International Clematis Society.  This free lecture takes place at McElreath Hall,  the Atlanta History Center, 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA  Learn about some great new clematis including 10 natives for Georgia. For more information visit

Lyndy grows dozens of different varieties of clematis and artfully combines many of them with trees and shrubs in her garden. 

Clematis 'Ernest Markham' on Japanese maple

On Sunday, February 26, 2011, at the Southeastern Flower Show I will give a presentation at 4pm, titled “Plant this with That”- Get the most out of your garden with combinations for Year Around Interest

For more information about the Flower Show visit

Edgeworthia papyifera and Carex 'Evergold'