Get Your Hands Dirty!

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Good morning, crocusus!

Some little friends popped up to say hello this morning!It’s so lovely that even in a (semi-) urban area like Central Square, we’re still pretty immersed in nature.

Cultivation and harvesting of crocus was first documented in the Mediterranean, notably on the island of Crete. Frescos showing them are extant at the Knossos site on Crete as well as from a comparably aged site on Santorini. This particular soft purple variety with tangerine stamen is called “Bonte.”

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Spring on the Banks of the River Charles

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold one of the first signs of Spring: The daffodil!

For those of us taking cues from nature (not gauging our seasons by the calender), March is full of promise. Early buds blooming, birdsong and butterflies. With daylight savings only ten days away, the promise of extra sunlight is already upon us.

Look for the pussy willow, tiny little pops of lavender and yellow crocus.

A favorite of mine (a la my grandma), “When willows bloom, Spring looms!”

So be patient, fellow New Englanders. Spring is upon us.

 

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Snowdrops in January!

Always an early bloomer (and a welcome sight), we spotted these confused little Snowdrops poking through the ivy in January! Part of the Amaryllis family, “Galanthus” translates to “milk-white flower” in Latin and is a worthwhile investment to any garden. Planted in large clusters, snowdrops have a dramatic effect and you won’t have to worry about deer or rodents getting to them.

Here at Jean Brooks Landscapes, we use Snowdrops in rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, in lawns, or along woodland paths. Maybe you’ve passed on them in the past for their simplicity but there are actually over 75 varieties of Galanthus so think again. You will be richly rewarded…

After a long New England winter, nothing matches the excitement of getting a glimpse of the first flower which is more likely than not, a sweet little snowdrop.

 

 

 

 

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A note from Jean…

Spring Bulbs:  2011 Picks

One of the most optimistic tasks for gardeners each year is planting spring bulbs.   As gardeners we are use to working hard and being able to stand back at the end of the day and see the results of our labors.  When planting bulbs, the best results are when it looks like we where never there!   This being said, the labor of tucking bulbs into the cool fall soil is worth every effort.  If you choose your bulbs wisely, you can have blooms from February to June.

This year, I would like to share with you some of my favorite and time tested performers. In order of bloom times, I recommend the following:

 

February:

Snow Drops:   Galanthus nivalis, with its bell-shaped flowers is the earliest of all bulbs.  And, yes, they will come up through the snow!

 

March/April:

Crocus:   Blue Pearl is pale blue with a yellow throat

 

April:           

Iris reticulata:   Harmony is a small bluebird-blue with bright yellow blotches.

Scilla siberica:    Spring Beauty has sky blue flowers on strong stems and is great for naturalizing.

Fritillaria:   Small flowered Meleagris, with its checkered pattern bell is also known as Snake’s Head.

 

April/May:           

Muscari or Grape Hyacinths.:  M. armeniacum is bright cobalt-blue and flowers for weeks.  Great planted under daffodils and early tulips. I love this bulb!

 

April/May:           

Narcissus: I pass on the strong chromium yellow daffodils but I do plant lots of creamy white Mt. Hood bulbs.  This is a classic trumpet narcissus that is tall and strong and blooms for a good two weeks.

Small-cup Narcissus are early blooming and naturalize beautifully.  I love Tete-a-Tete which is buttercup-yellow and the all-white Toto.  These are early enough to benefit from an under-planting of brilliant blue scilla siberica.

 

April/May:           

Tulips:  This is the toughest category to make recommendations because there are so many amazing choices.  I do not plant tulips as perennials but rather treat them as annuals because you cannot be sure they will come back year after year.  So this year, I am recommending a color combination I love which is Apricot Beauty,  Queen of the Night (deep purple to black) and White Triumphator tulips.

 

Good luck and if you need any help from us, I hope you won’t hesitate to call.

 

–Jean

 

 

 

 

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Spring Bulbs

With New England’s autumn fast approaching, it’s bulb planting time! Bulbs for spring are planted in autumn so that through a cold winter’s nap, they store enough energy for a display of blooming color.

Here at Jean Brooks Landscapes, we design spring bulb gardens that bloom from early spring to early summer and include both annually blooming tulips and perennial blooming daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinth- among others.

Let us know if you would like our help with your spring bulb design. info@jeanbrookslandscapes.com

And stay tuned for Jean’s very own picks and favorite bulb combos coming to a blog near you!