Hellebores!

People often refer to them as Lenten Roses and it’s easy to see why. They tend to bloom during Lent, and their flowers look a lot like and old fashioned rose with a single layer of petals. They are also call “hellebores” and belong to a family of evergreen plants, many of which are poisonous. In fact, the name “hellebore” comes from the ancient Greek. “Helle-” which means “to injure” and “-bore” which means “food”.  Their seemingly fragile flowers tempt us into thinking Michigan’s fickle springs will break these lovely plants, but even four inches of snow that bends the hellebores to the ground can’t defeat them. 

 

Though snow weighed down this hellebore, it became a lovely flower just a week later.
This hellebore, a transplant from a friend and was the bud that endured four inches of wet snow.
Spring in Michigan wanders in between sunlit days and cruel frosts that injure my hopes of warmth.  Yesterday the sun warmed the garden and me.  But there were frost warnings last night and today it is cold and windy.  Still, the hellebores nod. 
They aren’t the only ones.
Often the old magnolia in the front garden doesn’t get to keep its blooms because rain, wind, or a frost can knock down or kill the flowers. So far gets to stay dressed in its porcelain-like blooms.
The old cherry tree in the lower garden stands guard over a hosta bed. When there is a late frost, this old girl doesn’t produce fruit. So far, frost hasn’t nipped her potential for cherries.
Look what is budding out, way earlier than I expected. This is a French lilac, but its name escapes me, and so does the location of the book I wrote it down..
Here’s the magnolia as seen from the street.
Every time I pass a large garden center or Lowes, I have to stop and look at their patio umbrellas. It would be nice to have some shade in this little seating area. In a month the Dutchman’s Pipe will have formed its green wall of very aggressive vines.
Looking eat in the Secret Garden. I love the Japanese maple. I love my Secret Garden. I know its name is a cliche, but it’s what I wanted to create.
I have figured out that this hosta has to be Fire Island, though I don’t remember buying it or planting it. But, what a beauty!
It is easy for me to fall in love with the deep pink hellebores, but this flower, too, is beautiful.
Every spring I would pass redbud trees in bloom and wished I’d had one. And now I do, in the Secret Garden.

Catching the Late Afternoon Sun

Wandered through the gardens yesterday, camera in hand.  Here’s how the light played.

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I know I’ve posted a number of pics of this columbine, but it’s so pretty…

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That’s H. Halcyon, a medium sized hosta. It hangs onto its “blueness” all summer. It is a layer or two of wax that gives hostas like Halcyon their blues. Some varieties lose their waxy coating in hot weather which makes them appear greener..

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Abuja Drinking Gourd was Hosta of the Year in 2014. Mine has occupied this space for five or six years and it continues to charm me. I love its deeply textured blue leaves and the way they cup.

This charming and solitary allium popped up just over the fence from my lower garden.
This charming and solitary allium popped up just over the fence from my lower garden.

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The Cheddar Pinks have been teasing me with lots of bud. No any more.

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The old dogwood in the Secret Garden is in full bloom and hosts oodles of buzzy insects. Later when its flowers have turned to clusters of dark blue berries, birds find a feast, too.

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The hosta bed behind the garage in the Secret Garden is filling in. That is Great Expectations near the fence. Francee is nestled next to it. Next to Francee is Stained Glass, one of my favorites. It has wonderfully scented flowers, lovely color, and lots of texture. In front of Stained Glass is June, another Hosta of the Year in 2001. It is a sport of Halcyon.

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No one told me that Great Expectations was a difficult hosta to grow. It must like gravely soil and the dappled sun it gets in the Secret Garden. I love deeply textured hostas, and the fact that I can get all that color, size, AND texture makes this one of my favorites.

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I planted On Stage late last summer. I was first drawn just to the name, but I also liked the streaky leaves.

I think house sparrows finally whittled the opening to this birdhouse so they could build a nest.  Usually wrens have nested here, but with the larger opening, I suspect they will find a more secure nesting spot.  There are babies inside.  I had hoped to catch the bright yellow mouths, but they didn't cooperate.
I think house sparrows finally whittled the opening to this birdhouse so they could build a nest. Usually wrens have nested here, but with the larger opening, I suspect they will find a more secure nesting spot. There are babies inside. I had hoped to catch the bright yellow mouths, but they didn’t cooperate.