Winter Blooms: Pussywillow, Sweet Violet, and Snowdrops [Garden Photos]
Here is a collection of photos from my garden in February 2021.
In February, there is a lot more green things alive this year than previously. We've had such a wet winter, and yet the coldest days have not even yet arrived.
These catkins of the pussywillows are on full display in February.
The tree has no leaves. Instead it awakes to life by putting on a fur coat after the ice starts to melt. I usually harvest my best stems, clean them with soapy water, and dry them out indoors. The fuzzy catkins will stay preserved to enjoy all year long.
A delicate plant, yet a vigorous winter grower. Sweet Violet has a mild sweet aroma that is barely noticeable. It is actually meant to be eaten as a dessert. It would go well as a garnish on ice cream, in salad, or in a cocktail drink.
I always remind people, this is a highly invasive weed that will take over the lawn. Each flower drops a green spherical seed, about the size of coriander. When they fall, they will roll into any dark crevice they find, because the plant loves the shade. Once the leaves grow, they spread along the surface. They grow well along mossy tufts of ground.
To prevent Sweet Violet from spreading out of control, grow it in a pot with drainage, and a dish underneath to catch the seeds. This plant is impossible to overwater, as it loves cool, swampy, shady conditions. As long as it stays cool, it will also continue growing for weeks if you forget to water it.
Unlike African Violet, Sweet Violet is not an indoor plant. Sweet Violet is extremely hardy and will tolerate freezing temperatures, but indoors it will yellow and die in a few days.
My snowdrops grew back this year. This cluster was from the corms I planted under an Ash tree last year. I thought they were going to die because they did not come up strong last year. They look much more vigorous this year.
Snowdrops are one of the earliest flowers that come up in Winter. Earlier than Hyacinths and Daffodils.
Oddly, the weather is supposed to snow this weekend. I wonder if these plants are a predictor for the coolest precipitation in our climate area. If we get snow on the ground in the morning, I'll take a few photos of the snowdrops to see how they turn out.
Elsewhere, I'm noticing the Crocus is starting to ignite into growth. This dwarf variety never seems to do well. I can already see the purple blossoms coming out are getting shredded by the slugs.
I have another variety of crocus growing in a container that has stayed green all winter, and it bloomed in September/October, and it's supposed to bloom again in Spring. So go for the bigger Crocus varieties if you notice the dwarf varieties are not very productive in your garden.
Crocus flowers seem to bloom best when the weather is cold and sunny. Too much heat and moisture and they might wilt more quickly. This is why they grow well under tall trees where they are protected from direct rainfall, but still receive some sunlight under the cool shade. Tree roots will also provide protection from hungry rodents by making it harder for them to reach the buried corms (a corm is the bulb of a crocus flower).
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