Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Is Sprung!

Despite some roller coaster temps and rainy spells, I think we can safely say that spring has finally sprung here in Champaign-Urbana.
The small early spring bulbs have finished for the most part now, but the daffodils are still around. These yellow trumpet kinds are very cheerful and they stand up to the rain pretty well.
This small cup and white perianth (the outer petals) belong to Fragrant Rose, a lovely daffodil that I have planted in a circle around the base of the crabapple tree.

One of my very favorite daffodils is the narcissus called "Thalia." It's pure white and the clustering kind, with "reflexed" perianths (i.e., the petals are turned backward a bit and the cups hang downward). It's a small flower compared to some daffs, but it is so elegant.
Just in time for Easter is the so-called Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris. The stems are covered with a soft downy white "fur" and the purplish-blue petals are filled with fluffy yellow insides with a black center.
Another Easter favorite is the Lenten Rose, Helleborus orientalis. These long-lived perennials start blooming quite early and continue through the whole spring. Some are white, others reddish or purple, and there are new expensive hybrid strains that are red and white spotted. They take a while to establish and spread and prefer moist soil in shade.
The earliest of the little spring bulbs, the snowdrops Galanthus nivalis, are finished now, but the taller and later summer snowflakes Leucojum aestivus are blooming their heads off. These charmers return year after year without any special treatment. The white bells have tiny green dots on the end and are really sweet.
Many of the tiny, delicate species tulips (from which the well-known hybrids were all derived) are early bloomers and most are finished already. But the "tardy" little Tulipa tarda is making its show right now and it is spectacular.

The big cousins of the species tulips are displaying their bold colors and huge flowers all over town now as well as in our yard.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a woodland wild flower that blooms for just a short while in the spring. Native Americans used the root of this plant as a dye. There is a rare double form as well and a pink one, but I love the simple native variety shown here with a yellow anemone at its side.
Our bed under the ash tree has quite a lovely display right now that includes lots of the yellow anemones Anemone ranunculoides, some blue Anemone blanda, both white and the purple-checkered Fritillaria meleagris, and a yellow "pagoda" Erythronium.
 One of the joys of driving around town running various errands in the spring is the opportunity to see blooms in people's front yards. This place displayed not only tulips and daffodils but a nice line of cute little blue grape hyacinths.
 If you look in the blog archives, you'll see a post last spring about our discovery of a number of amazing weeping Japanese cherry trees. They are out in force once again this year, blooming like mad. Now we're seeing more and more of them in residential areas all over Urbana and Champaign. The above is a sweet close-up of the charming flowers.
 Here are a couple of examples (with a lovely PJM rhodendron at the left in the first photo) of weeping cherries in Urbana.
 The flowering quince are colorful and full this year too. I don't like their thorns and they aren't much to look at the rest of the year, but they are glorious for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment