Thursday, January 01, 2009

First Bloom of the New Year

This tiny flower appeared yesterday on my small patch of Vinca minor (common periwinkle) covering up a manhole near my back sidewalk. At least four months early and braving frigid, 55+ mph winds, it is a little New Year's miracle. The bloom is barely the size of a pea, but it stood out to me in the stark gray-brown landscape.

Pat Howell of Deephaven Landscapes in Takoma Park, MD, who we profiled in the magazine last year, does an annual what's-of-interest-in-the-garden survey among her circle at this time of year then shares it with the Takoma Voice readers. This year, she has asked me to help and gather the images that folks send along with their responses. I'll post any here that I get in a week or so. Should be interesting to see if anyone else had a spring bud or two burst open ahead of schedule.

7 comments:

FirePhrase said...

I was in Central Louisiana over the weekend and saw these little white flowers growing all over the place. If I had to guess, I'd say they were jonquils, which I kind of thought were a spring flower. But you know me and the flora identification. I'd have thought even LA was too cold for flowers, but we saw them by the road and in gardens all over the Cane River area.

WashingtonGardener said...

I wonder if they were Snowdrops (galanthus)? They are due to pop out here in about 3-6 weeks so could very well be already up in Louisiana. They are some of the first blooms each year. Here is a link to see one:
http://www.fotosearch.com/IST506/5000-225/)

FirePhrase said...

I looked and looked (and again, me with the plant ID, not so much), but the closest I could find was on this blog (http://southernlagniappe.blogspot.com/2009/01/cypress-trees-knobby-knees-paperwhites.html). The ones she calls narcissus or paperwhites. The ones I saw seemed to be smaller and a little more fragile, and the leaves yellower, but the shape is about right. Good thing I didn't have my heart set on a job in horticulture - those pretty ones and those other pretty ones is about the extent of my ability to identify these things.

WashingtonGardener said...

Yes, those are paperwhite narcissus related to Daffodils. Our earliest Daffs come up here in mid-February.
Paperwhites for us are strictly indoors as they originate from Isarel and can't take our cold winters. Speaking of which, my paperwhites this year are still going gangbusters now and stinking up from kitchen -- this time I might be frugal and try to get them to store them and have them come back next winter indoors again -- I usually just compost the bulbs after all the blooms die.

minitasha said...

I've been told that the adorable vinca minor is an invasive in our area and should be expunged from our gardens. what do you say?

WashingtonGardener said...

Hi Minitasha -
Thanks for pointing that out. Yes, in some situtaions vinca minor can escape and become invasive innearby woods and parklands. In my very urban corner, that is not going to happen.
I think all discussions about invasiveness should be tempered with the facts. Meaning most all plants are "invasive" thugs given the right circumstances and ideal conditions. It is up to us gardeners to keep those plants in check by controlling their conditions. I guess you could say that is actually the real definition of "gardening."

jessica said...

Wow....nice blog
Thanks for sharing the informative with us..
cheer

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Jessica
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