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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Early Spring--hellebores, narcissus, forsythia and quince.

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Spring has come early this year and in these difficult times I sure am grateful for the happy flowers in the garden. The hellebores have been amazing with the mild weather. They are taller than ever, and with the helpful information I've learned from the Floret online course I'm unafraid to cut them, as I have no longer have trouble with them drooping. For instructions see this post: Hellebores 2020. Some varieties, such as 'Spanish Flare' from Walters Gardens have lasted well over a week.

'Spanish Flare' hellebore

Narcissus are lovely and they multiply each year. I am partial to the varieties which are called "pink", but which are actually a kind of salmony orange, but also the white and dark oranges. The yellows are nice, but I love the more unusual varieties, too. My favorite is the poet's narcissus--the last to flower and very sweet in fragrance. When we moved to this property there was one lone daffodil growing at the base of the stone wall that leads down to the river--an old road that has existed since the 18th century. The daffodil was a very old heirloom named Van Sion and it was here for a few years, then it disappeared and we have not seen it since. We must have seen the end of a long line of flowers that had existed here for over 200 years. Maybe it will appear again one spring. The road the daffodil sat upon was Cool Hollow Road, a long abandoned portion of a modern road which once ran past our house and down to the river, and for which our farm is named.

"Pink" daffodils

Forsythia are an introduced species and some do not care for their somewhat garish

addition to the landscape, but I must admit I am not one of those. I love them. They make the grey days of March bright and happy and are some of the first branches that can be cut and brought inside. I wouldn't want to be without them.

I feel the same about quince, another introduced species, but one that is not planted nearly so often. I absolutely love quince. Its form is unexpected and beautiful. I love the light pink variety 'Toyo Nishiki' which I shortsightedly planted under a cherry tree and have to prune every year to keep it from growing right up into the tree. But my favorite are my many white quince which are now mature specimens all around the large perennial garden. This year may be the first year in which they are NOT damaged by a late frost. Hopefully. But even when the first flowers are damaged by frost the plants always put out at least a few new flowers, but a year with no frosts during quince blooming is a luxury indeed.

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