Post by Marian Keith, Landscape Supervisor
I’ve come to expect warm temperatures and blooming things by early March after the oddly mild winters of the recent past. This year, persistently frigid weather has kept spring at bay, at least for now. In fact, we just finished shoveling a healthy load of snow as I write this on March 6th. Still, there have been signs of hope: we’ve spotted several flocks of sandhill cranes passing over Oliver Winery on their annual journey northward, cardinals and titmice have begun their predawn serenades, and the crocuses, snowdrops and hellebores are ready to burst open on the next warm, sunny day. Spring is at the doorstep.
By mid-March, the first daffodils should start opening, providing the first big splash of color. We have dozens of varieties representing a wide spectrum of colors, sizes and personalities, and add a few new ones each season. One of our newcomers, daffodil ‘Exotic Mystery’, bears pale, greenish-yellow, split-corona flowers that bloom in clusters atop tall stems in mid- to late April. Another new one, ‘Galactic Star’, promises long, flaring, creamy-white trumpets with ruffled edges that melt into rounded, slightly backswept, primrose petals. Sounds sweet, huh? It should begin blooming by mid- April.
Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch’ smiles on a sunny day in late winter.
Tiny but magical, daffodil ‘Hawera’ is one of my favorites.
Daffodil ‘Ambergate’ is unusual for its orangey-buff petals complemented by a dark orange cup.
Tulip ‘Black Parrot’, one of our staples, looks terrific with pale yellow daffodils.
Despite the extra effort they require, I can’t resist tulips for their big, lush flowers and delicious rainbow colors. We take special pains to protect them from deer and voles for your viewing enjoyment. This year I’ve aimed for some different combinations that depart from my usual “color recipes” of the past. One particular large sweep blends shades of scarlet, burgundy, and maroon with accents of white and cream, with a few other bulb varieties in complementary shades. Bet it will be beautiful!
Large-flowered alliums carry the show through May, bringing structural drama to the garden that is equaled by few other flowers. This year, look forward to the debut of Allium ‘Spider’, a hybrid between A. atropurpureum and one of my favorites, A. schubertii. Its large, violet starbursts should look just dreamy amid the warm blossoms of our amber Flower Carpet roses. Also new is ‘Summer Drummer’, with sturdy stems that can reach an incredible height of four to seven feet! Both these varieties are expected to bloom in June.
Come visit our main tasting room soon and treat yourself to a glass of delicious Oliver Wine and a stroll or a picnic amid the fresh flowers of spring. We cannot wait to see you!
Allium schubertii, a favorite of ours and a parent plant of the new hybrid, Allium ’Spider’. Photo by Jessie Keith
Statuesque Allium ‘Mars’ highlights the gardens in May