Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Bloomers in Tiger Gardens

Winter has hardly made an appearance here in my section of Tennessee and the blooms in the garden sure are putting on a great show with the unseasonably mild weather. I'm not complaining at all but hope the trees and shrubs don't break dormancy prematurely. If so there could be dire consequences for them. We are still experiencing the loss of large and mature trees due to the late freeze and subsequent drought of 2007. All gardeners who experienced that freeze will never forget it and I think it will be one for the history books that will be talked about for the next fifty years. At any rate the perennials, some early shrubs and bulbs are usually not too bothered by early blooming. The crocuses are a bit early in Tiger Gardens but the bees don't mind at all. Jimmy tried to catch a bee here and that didn't even faze the bees. And, he was not stung so that is good. Teenagers!
Quince is a never fail early bloomer. Quince is the only early red blooming shrub that I know of. I simply love the brilliant early red blooms. The shrub itself is not something to be desired though. It has a great deal of thorns and is nondescript the rest of the year. The one pictured above is 'Rubra'. I have two other types of quince blooming as well; which you'll soon see.
Have you ever seen the bloom of Petasites japonica? Me neither but I will as soon as this large bud opens its flowers. I purchased this plant from the University of Tennessee Trial Gardens in Jackson Tennessee during Summer Celebration one year. Petasites is a large plant that has leaves reminiscent of gunnera. Petasites likes a moist soil and can be quite invasive in the right (or wrong depending on your perspective) conditions so use care if you plant this plant. I planted mine behind Mr. Fix-it's garage in a wild area of the garden. It is not a terribly moist area but does get some runoff since it is a low area. So far during the past two and one half years that this petasites has been growing here I have had no issues whatsoever with it spreading. That may change at some point but so far it has behaved itself. It has a cool bloom though huh?
Christmas roses, aka Helleborus niger, are well behaved perennials. In fact, they are so well behaved that it is very hard to get them established in the garden. I've had this one since 2003 and with its two blooms it looks the best it has ever looked. Lenten roses, aka Helleborus species, are the complete opposite of Christmas roses. They take off pretty well. The major differences between the two as far as I can see from my garden is the bloom of the Christmas rose is about two inches across and is flatter. The leaves of the Christmas rose are also quite different.
Daffodils continue their march toward the big show to come in a another few weeks or so.
This quince is 'Texas Scarlet'. It is the quince that gifts me with real quince fruit nearly every year.
This gal is not a bloom perse, but a new addition to Tiger Gardens. My friend Sandra and her grandchildren gifted us with Speckles. She joins Cuddles in our garden. She has her own very elaborate rabbit hutch and lives out front where we can enjoy her company every day....

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Love both your Quince, I put three red quince in this winter. Have buds on them now. Hooray!!
    Cute bunny.

  2. Thanks for the information about Christmas rose vs. Lenten rose. And I'm curious about your Petasites. It looks like it will be one big giant bloom of smaller blooms together. Can't wait to see it! My quince and my crocuses have not started blooming yet, so I enjoy seeing yours and what's (hopefully) to come. I just noticed your notice to Pinterest users. I don't 'pin', but I've wondered about the practice of 'borrowing' other people's pictures. It seems they get passed around a lot.

  3. Love your blooms especially the Quince. I prefer the one that gives fruit. Do you use the fruit?. Will have to check & see if they will do good here. I remember Quince from when a child.

  4. Hi Lola, I tried cooking with my quince last fall but could not figure out how to make it soft and good. It was a complete bust but the fruit was cool though! I think quince will grow to zone 8B so if you are in this zone or higher you should have good luck with one. As you know quince are quite common here in Tennessee.

  5. Tina,

    Loved the crocus and bee photo. Your h. niger must need a better spot, mine is 3 years old and has had almost a dozen blooms this year.

  6. That bunny is a cutie! I've never seen a bee on crocus. Maybe I need to pay closer attention! I'm sure it was thrilled to have the snack. :o)

  7. I adore the early blooms and Speckles...snow this weekend....white already and more on the blooms will have to wait

  8. Speckles is very cute... we had a hard spring freeze and spring/summer drought in 2007 as well, but the freeze wasn't as bad here as in your area. The mature trees were OK but everyone's iris and early roses got zapped.

  9. Nice color for this early. Only color here is my bottle tree garden and the patches of white from the snow. That being said, it has been a very easy and mild winter. I am worried about the plants also. I planted 30 DD's down back last fall and they are on top of the drain field so will get more warmth than in another spot and with the warm winter I am really worried about them. I will be really disappointed if they do not come up. Oh well, sigh.

    Cute bunny!

  10. We have alot blooming too! But now it is very cold. I hope we don't have too much plant damage. Speckles is adorable! Carla

  11. Narcissus (other than Paperwhites) have just started here as well, ahead of schedule too.

  12. Funny to think that we have the same plants coming into bloom with you in TN and me in PA. The species H. niger is hard to grow. You need to try the new cultivars H. niger 'Jacob' and 'Josef Lemper'. Easy to grow and bloom from November to April.

  13. Spring already. You have such a lot in flower. I've never seen crocuses and daffodils blooming at the same time.

  14. Beautiful "winter" flowers and sweet bunny! Love that Christmas rose!

  15. Do your bunnies like each other and play together? There has not really been a winter here in GA this year. I am going to assume that we will have a second year in a row of early budding with little spring blooms. I hope we don’t have a bad freeze as so much is budding already….

    I planted many daffy bulbs so as to have some color in March but they are all blooming now. Grrrrrr... Oh well, the green foliage will be nice for a bit.