Some Garden Highlights of 2018, January to May

As I recall, winter was in no hurry to depart this year, and spring was tardy in arriving.


The snow came and went, then came again.


The bird feeders were busy during spells of frigid weather.

Snowdrops, Galanthus
Snowdrops blooming among the Hydrangea stems.


The Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) did not appear until mid-March, a bit later than normal.



And the Crocuses waited until the very end of March.

April seemed unwilling to rouse itself, as if all the plants were hitting the snooze button multiple times. I can’t blame them entirely, it’s harder to get up on extra-cold mornings.


But finally, the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) finally opened its tiny blooms of golden yellow.


And the Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) perfumed the air for passersby along the Sidewalk Border.


At the very beginning of May the garden decided to jump out of bed and start making up for lost time.


Species Tulips and Daffodils really began to make the place more cheerful, if not downright giddy.


By May the mid- and late-season Tulips were starting to catch up to their normal schedule. The container Tulips overwintered pretty well. The red ones above are ‘Fostery King’. They yellow brushed with red is ‘Suncatcher’. Both are new favorites of mine.

tulip suncatcher

Here’s another picture of ‘Suncatcher’. You can see that it is well-named.

tulips in containers 2


Here’s the walk to the front door with the Tulips at their peak. Other varieties here: ‘Couleur Cardinal’, ‘Princess Irene’, ‘Ballerina’.


Around the same time, the Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) came into bloom. I love the flowers, but the question I have to answer for myself is am I going to fight their self-sowing tendencies. They will crowd out any small and timid competitors, but then this border is full of tall plants who can shrug off the challenge.


It was a good spring for Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) and Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris).


Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) tends to be short-lived everywhere in the garden but here, around the southeast corner of the house. Here it self-sows happily and thrives, perhaps due to plentiful moisture delivered from a nearby downspout.





The container Daffodils were a success this year, though they bloomed surprisingly late in May.


For the first time we got a decent number of blooms from this orange Poppy that was a gift from our friend Linc.  It goes beautifully with the ‘Kit Kat’ Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii).

Allium sidewalk 2


Spring Alliums, like these ‘Globemasters’, did nicely this year. Those are Golden Alexander’s (Zizia aurea) in the foreground, and Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) in the back.


I was very pleased to see the Great White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) start to establish themselves in the Back Garden. They’re blooming here with Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica).

Overall, the arrival of spring was delayed this year, which caused some frustration. By the end of May, however, we were off to a satisfying garden year with some new plants joining old favorites. We’ll continue our review of the year with the next post.

39 Comments on “Some Garden Highlights of 2018, January to May”

  1. What an absolute wealth of beauty. I remember a few of these photos — or at least the flowers in them — but those snowdrops and the tulip-lined walk are new to me, and that collection of tulips is especially appealing. No wonder tulip mania was a thing, back in the day. There’s one flower I was surprised not to see: the Tithonia, or Mexican sunflower. That’s one you introduced me to, and it’s still one of my favorites of the flowers you grow.

  2. Lots of garden joy to look forward to in the year ahead, based on your experiences of 2018. I love the Trillium/Bluebell combo. That’s been happening in my garden, too, except that the rabbits ate the Bluebells once they were in full bloom. Grrr. Your potted Tulips along the pathway are stunning!

  3. Your post is a solid reminder of the delight we can get from our gardens. While I am in a new phase, I still long for the beauty of flowers. Your posts through the year will continue to fill me with that delight. Thanks, Jason, and have a wonderful and blessed New Year.

  4. Great pictures and ideas. All the bulbs spread out beneath the trees between sidewalk and street are well done and look very natural. My goal is to make a couple bulb planting areas look similar to what you’ve done.

      • I’ve had to help with many of my clients being on either house or garden tours… Mostly for charity… Let the commoners walk the castle kinda thing 😉
        And yes. If you don’t have a 100′ long boxwood hedge, you can’t ride.
        I’ve done 100s of designs down there… It’s all high maintenance plants in a very formal setting. Maaaaybe, I’ve done 10 that are close to cottage style. Sad. I love yours! 😍

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