Today is leap day – an extra day in the year for me to enjoy the garden. The weather has gotten a little colder lately, but the plants don’t seem to mind. I have been popping up all over the garden this last week, because there has been much to see. I spent some time underneath the Norway maples across from the Native Plant Garden, hanging out with the thousands of purple crocus. I thought my bright yellow nicely complimented the rich colors they sported.
I went to the arboretum to see all the early blooming magnolias. There is the elegant star magnolia, with white strap-like petals and a nice fragrance. The Yulan magnolia has a slightly more creamy color and from a distance almost looks yellow, especially since it sits next to a beautiful Loebner magnolia. This tree is full of soft white flowers that have a soft pink center. The saucer magnolia by the Butterfly Garden is thinking about blooming, but I told it not too. It’s going to get cold and this tree always gets a little nipped on cold nights. Of course, it probably won’t listen to me either. And finally, there’s always someone who has to crash the party. This time an Okame cherry is jumping into the fray and putting out a showy pink display trying to upstage the magnolias.
I stopped briefly in the perennial garden to see all the daffodils and the Japanese paperbush in bloom there. They always brighten my day.
Finally, I headed over to the Camellia Garden. I’m not sure, but I may have saved the best for last. This garden is loaded with flowers! There are hundreds of different camellias in bloom right now. There are so many that I can’t begin to name them all, so I’ll pick a few for no particular reason. An interesting one that is found in the middle of the garden is the Camellia japonica ‘Fir Cone Variegated.’ There are layers of pink and white petals, slightly raised above each other making it look like a pine cone. Another is interesting plant is Camellia japonica ‘Tinsie.’ Its petals stay in a funnel shape and surround a mass of white petaloids. One of my favorites is the species Camellia lutchuensis, a shrub with very delicate leaves and tiny white flowers that have a pink tinge.
There are so many other great plants in the garden right now and I am grateful for this extra day to enjoy them. I hope you do to.