WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Mar 24th, 2011

race for first flower

Mar 24

The first blooms of this year are a good week late compared to last year. It was a real horse race this year with 3 garden flowers in the running. Crocus, Vinca minor and Winter aconite ran bud to bud. It took a photo finish to declare a winner. Winter Aconite was the favorite, followed by Crocus with Vinca considered the dark horse in the race.

The first bud photographed was Crocus.

It’s still pretty uptight and not quite ready to open up yet. It did manage to show but it was a couple of lengths behind the others.

I knew the race was on when I spotted it. When I see these ready to bloom the Winter Aconite at my friend’s house are likely to have already flowered.

crocus bud

I don’t know how this pair of crocus managed to get into the back field but they’ve naturalized. After the 3 or 4 years I’ve seen them there I half expected to see more. They may be surviving but they’re not propagating. I think the quack-grass is giving them a hard time.

crocus flower buds

Winter aconite – Eranthis hyemalis

The favorite is just opening.
If the sun was out the Winter Aconite might have been a little faster out of the gate.

winter aconite- Eranthis hyemalis

Two flowers opened just enough to get a peek inside but not enough to win this years race.

winter aconite

…for a look at the flower fully opened you can check out the post from last year
March 17, 2010 – Winter Aconite

…and the winner is

Periwinkle – Vinca minor

vinca minor flower

I can’t say it was a complete surprise. Every year a vinca bloom or two opens around this time. This year it was just a bit earlier while the winter aconite was holding back waiting for the sun.

…and now for something completely different.

It’s been (I hate to say) cold. Daytime temps have been hovering just below freezing and dipping into the single digits at night. Ice season isn’t over yet.

A puddle had an invisible (to the camera) thin layer of ice suspended above the water’s surface. The ‘bubbles’ are actually water droplets clinging to the underside of the ice.

water drops on the underside of a thin ice sheet

Snow melt is feeding multiple little run-off streams while the cold nights attempt to hold back the flow. The result is minature frozen waterfalls. Pookey approved

tiny icy waterfalls

I took the next 2 photos yesterday while the sun popped out for a minute. I need to go back and see if I can get a better Lichen Landscape photo but this one will do for now. This landscape will be easy to find again since it’s on a rock pile in the middle of a corn field.

Lichen landscape - pixie cups

Of course I can’t go out back with out seeing a deer in the corn field. What I didn’t catch with the camera were the other 4 deer behind the rise. I might have been able to out wait this deer in order to stalk it if it wasn’t for my wildlife repellant. Pookey never saw them but they sure did notice her.

deer in corn stubble

Posted by WiseAcre on Mar 27th, 2009

First Flowers

Mar 27

I fully expected my first flower of the year would be Winter Aconite. I usually see them before Crocus but this year I found them on the same day. The Crocus only won the first flower award by a few minutes. It was pure chance. I could have walked the other way when I took the dog out for her daily adventure.

Crocus bloom

I can now officially declare my Days of Whine and Dozes are over. Well at least until late winter next year. But from now until then there will be no more whining about the cold or napping during the day.

Winter Aconite – Eranthis hyemalis

A pretty flower but the entire plant and especially the tuber is quite poisonous.

Winter Aconite flower Winter Aconite flower

Winter Aconite prefers shadier (deciduous shade) locations with humus rich soil that is moist (not wet) throughout the year.
It will reproduce easily and spread readily to form large colonies if planted in favorable conditions. After blooming the leaves will emerg but by summer the plants will go dormant and disappear.

Winter Aconite flower

The Winter Aconite was actually at a friend’s house. Once I spotted the Crocus I headed right over figuring the little yellow flowers must be in bloom. As you can see – I was right as usual 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’m perfect.

I once thought I made a mistake but it turns out I was wrong.