Monday, February 11, 2008

A Winter Walk That Felt Like Spring

Last January has been, with an average temperature of 6,5 C (42,8 F), the warmest but one since we, the Dutch, started recording these things in 1706. The warmest ever was January 2007, with a record breaking average temperature of 7,1 C (44,8 F). I wonder what February has in store for us.

The weather has been very good since last Thursday with lots of sunshine and hardly any wind at all, which makes a nice change from all the rain and winterstorms we had before. Last weekend was particularly good with maximum temperatures around 15 C (59 F). The average maximum temperature for February is 5,6 C (42 F), to give you some idea. But we have had days of 20 C (68 F) in February before, so 15 C (59 F) is not all that much out of the ordinary. But ordinary or not, I'm enjoying the lovely weather and am, just like all the members of the Bliss team, basking in the sun. There's no better warmth than that of our friend the sun.
Yesterday my garden club and I went to the Arboretum Trompenburg in Rotterdam for a nice Winter walk. But because it was so warm and nice outside, it felt much more like a lovely Spring walk.
There was a lot to see in the Arboretum Trompenburg and our walk with guide lasted for 1 1/2 hours. After that we looked around the Arboretum for another hour or so. We were amazed to see how much there was in flower already. Some of it was expected of course, but others not so much.
All these gorgeous Rhododendrons were in flower already, an unexpected pleasure. Arboretum Trompenburg has a collection of 700 Rhododendrons. They also house the national collection of Hostas, about 700 of them as well. I had not realised that there were so many different kinds of Rhodo's and Hostas.
The usual suspects for flowering were present too. We saw literally thousands of crocus, snowdrops and winter aconites and we also saw a lot of these;
the lovely Hellebores. They had quite a collection of them. I do so love these plants and their gorgeous flowers. I always enjoy turning up a bloom to see what surprise it has in store for me. Take this Hellebore here. When you look at it from above the flowers look a lovely white with just a hint of green. Then turn the flower upwards and ........................
you see a lovely freckled face, so very pretty!
This is the giant among snowdrops, and they had quite a few of them too, well thousands actually. If you can lay your hands on them, go on and buy them as they make more of an impact in the winter garden than the normal sized snowdrops. BTW it is best to buy snowdrops in the green, either when they are flowering or shortly after they have finished flowering.
The Arboretum Trompenburg has quite a lot of beautiful trees; this is a gorgeous cedar tree (Cedrus), but they also have 50 different kinds of beech trees and 50 kinds of oak. Trees can look beautiful in winter too, even if all their leaves are gone. Some of them have such beautiful bark, either the peeling kind or the colourful ones or even both. It's worth taking the bark into consideration before you decide on which tree(s) to buy.
See how pretty that peeling bark is?
The dead flowerheads on these Hydrangeas demonstrate that you should not clean your garden in autumn much, but leave it well enough alone. The pic doesn't do it justice, it was in reality much more beautiful.
Unfortunately I had some problems with my camera, the battery gave out even though it was newly charged, and I was unable to take as many pics as I had hoped. All in all I managed a measly 22. Must buy a new rechargeable battery for my camera! Luckily I was able to snap a pic of this plant, a lovely Camellia with very dainty white flowers, very elegant.
They had big pots filled with these irises (Iris reticulata), aren't they wonderful? We had a wonderful time in the Arboretum Trompenburg yesterday, it was so nice and peaceful in there, even though it is right in the middle of Rotterdam, a very big and busy city. We loved soaking up the sun and walking around the beautiful Arboretum, enjoying the beautiful sights. I hope that you have enjoyed it too!

copyright 2008: Y.E.W. Heuzen

Remember always that it is the overcoming of the difficulties in the gardener's way, the determination to succeed, that gives zest to the occupation. Did everything planted grow and flourish, gardening would be too tame. A lesson must be learned from every failure; with renewed patience persevere until success is reached.
Helena Rutherford Ely, A Woman's Hardy Garden, 1903


Chookie said...

The weather Down Under has been a bit strange lately too, so I have mentioned your post on my blog today. IS it global warming or just normal variation? Who knows?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Thank you for sharing your walk with us. It is a lovely preview to see what will be blooming here in a few weeks.

Hillside Garden said...

Schöne Impressionen deines Ausfluges! Die Helleboren lassen einen vor Neid erstarren!


Frances said...

What a gem in a big city and so nice that the weather cooperated for your trip. Isn't there a Japanese maple named Trompenberg? Love those double hellebores, maybe someday here.

Frances at Faire Garden

Naturegirl said...

Yolanda I am amazed at the Spring in your walk! We are freezing here with chills and winds and lots of snow!
I am soon travelling to a warmer climate and I then will see Spring in the desert!! These images warmed me up but for a while! Happy week to you and the Bliss team. hugs NG

Tracy said...

A wonderful walk--thank you, Yolanda! So much in bloom already, it is amazing. Those small irises are especially making my Monday sing a little better! Happy week ((HUGS))

jodi said...

Very nice to get a breath of spring, given that we're being pounded with a snowstorm--about 8 inches /20 cm down so far and still snowing. And blowing. Sigh. Talk about snowdrops!

Lis said...

Das kann man ja fast nicht glauben dass dort schon so viel blüht. Das muss ein wundervoller Park sein, aber für einen Besuch leider viel zu weit weg.
LG Lis

Karin A said...

Thank you for sharing those pictures from the parc. It really looks beautiful. Just what I needed today. :) The first christmas rose is striking. Well, I both like and don't like this mild weather. I'm longing for spring but is also worried about what's happening with the climate.

Have a nice week!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Oh, no! My keyboard's shorting out from all the drool!

Sherry said...

Im with Mr. MrGegor's daughter...gotta watch that drool. What great pictures!

Thanks for sharing your walk with us..

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Yolanda, What wonderful pictures and would have been in heaven if I had been with you. It sure sounds like you have been having some really nice weather. I can't wait. Nothing much going on here is the garden but it won't be long. As always thanks for sharing!!

Birgit said...

Was für ein wundervoller Auflug in den Frühling! Man kann es kaum glauben, dass dort schon soooo viel blüht. Ja, das Wetter und damit die Jahreszeiten spielen total verrückt.

Schöne Woche und liebe Grüße,

No Rain said...

Thanks for sharing your walk and the flowers and foliage you encountered. It does indeed look like spring.

kate said...

I like the Ely quotation - how true it is thatlessons are learned with each failure.

The Arboretum Trompenburg must have been wonderful. All those rhododendrons in bloom along with the Hellebores and spring bulbs would have been beautiful to see.

Ah, it's fun to come here and soak in a breath of spring!

Sharon said...

What a wonderful walk you had! You took so many wonderful pictures.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ladyluz said...

Arrgh....I'm homesick for Spring in Cornwall seeing everything coming up in the arboraetum. What a great place to visit.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss once again!

* Chookie: I don't think it's just normal variation as the weather here is breaking every record in the book for years now. So it is changing.

* Lisa: glad you could join me on this walk and also to see your blooms too. :-)

* Sigrun: those Hellebores do make a person envious. When I saw them, I wanted them all especially the one in the first pic. ;-)

* Frances: it is a gem, such a haven of tranquility right in the middle of Rotterdam. Those double Hellebores are wonderful, I agree. Don't know about that Japanese maple, will look it up, but it is entirely possible that one was named after this wonderful arboretum.

* Anna: still freezing and lots of snow? Poor you! How nice that you will be traveling soon to warmer places. Have a great week and it is nice to see you walking again!

* Tracy: you're welcome! Those irises are great, aren't they? The pic doesn't do them justice as their colour was much more intense.

* Jodi: good grief, you poor thing, what terrible weather you've been having. But spring will come for you too, so hang in there!

* Lis: it is a pity that the arboretum is too far away for you because I would have loved to show you their collection of 700 hostas this summer.

* Karin: that hellebore is gorgeous, I know, when I saw it I fell in love with it straight away. Must try to find one too to bring home with me. ;-)
Yes, I find it worrying too what is happening with our climate. :-(
Have a great week!

* MMD: - handing her a few tissues - never mind my dear, as long as you're enjoying yourself. ;-)

* Sherry: - handing her some tissues too - Glad you enjoyed it!

* Cliff: glad you enjoyed it so much. It would have been really nice if you could have joined us for real! At the moment we are enjoying spring weather and I'm making the most of it while I can.
It's good to hear that your garden will be waking up soon too!

* Birgit: I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw all those Rhodo's in flower but they were supposed to be in flower at that time as they are early ones. But to have such wonderful springlike weather in February is unusual, so let's enjoy it! Have a great week! LG

* Aiyana: it looks like spring and, more importantly, it feels like spring too.
The plants are 2 weeks ahead of their normal schedule.

* Kate: I liked that quote very much too. Come as often as you like to soak up a breath of spring as it will be some time yet before you can do that for real.
It was really wonderful to see literally thousands upon thousands of snowdrops, crocus and winteraconites in flower. It's such a pity my battery failed as I would have loved to show you those fields of spring flowers.

* Sharon: It was a wonderful walk but I wasn't able to take nearly enough pics. ;-)

* Pam: it is a great place to visit and I'm going there again in a few months time as I've fallen in love with that place.

marleen said...

Het oogt bijna als een zomerwandeling met al die fleurige plaatjes!
Prachtig die Helleborussen hoe groter de groep hoe mooier vind ik..;-)Idem met crocussen en sneeuwklokjes....

marl1 said...

3x raden welke bloem ik ben...:-)))))

Entangled said...

I was prepared to see hellebores and early spring bulbs, but rhododendrons? Wow.

It seems that while some places are unusually warm, others are unusually cold. I'm told that Bombay is having the coldest weather they've seen in 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Wow wow wow! It sure looks like spring has come to you! I love the look of the Hellebores.

Kylee said...

What a fun walk! Yummmmm...those hellebores. Mine are under snow at the moment. I just love them and hope I've got some pretty blooms yet to come.

Matron said...

There was a wonderful display of hellebores at the RHS Garden at Wisley last week. Every colour and every variety you can imagine. It was also snowdrop day there too!

Piondröm said...

Hi Yolanda!
It was fine to se how you have it in your country now in februari, Here in south of Sweden it is allso like spring,it is a little bit frightening ;7 you´l never now.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Hi Yolanda,

I love the spring countdown. It gives me hope.

I'm thinking after seeing those hellebores that I need to tidy mine up. They're almost ready to bloom, but are looking a bit shabby.

Thanks for the pre-spring tour!

Robin at Bumblebee

Betty said...

What wonderful pictures! What a fun day.....we do have beautiful camellias in bloom along with a few other plants......

Happy week to you....Betty

Ewa said...

Arborewtum Trompenburg appears very often in my google search when I look for some information about plants - there is many magnificent plants.
Thank you for this walk - it was real treat to look at all these blooms :)
Rhodos flowering? thats surprising.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome once again to Bliss!

* Marl1: het was er verrassend fleurig en het is jammer dat ik geen foto's heb kunnen maken van al die prachtige kuddes sneeuwklokjes, crocussen en winteraconieten.
Toch niet ook een Snapdragon he? ;-)

* Entangled: there's always something new to learn. I didn't know either that there are Rhodo's that flower in February until I saw them at the arboretum and asked the guide about them.
We've been having strange weather all over the globe. I heard from Chookie that it is much cooler than normal in Australia too.

* Nikkipolani: it's a very early spring but I'm not complaining. ;-)

* Kylee: snow again eh? Haven't seen that white stuff anywhere here, such a pity. But never mind the snow will protect all your plants until it melts away.
Looking forward to seeing all the pretty blooms of your hellebores!

* Matron: were there many varieties of snowdrops at Wisley? Hellebores are one of my favourite plants and I can never get enough of them.

* Ken: yes, it is a bit frightening to have spring so soon. You never know what kind of weather it will be next. If it starts to freeze then we will loose most of our pretty blooms.

* Robin: good, that's what it is there for. ;-)
Are the leaves looking shabby? It's OK to remove all the leaves, the plants will grow new ones soon enough.

* Betty: it's good to read that the camellias and other plants are in bloom in your neck of the woods too. Flowers cheer a person up.

* Ewa: that's right, Trompenburg has an enormous collection of trees and plants and lots of horticultural knowledge too. Glad you enjoyed the walk! These Rhodo's are early flowering ones and it is quite normal for them to be in flower in February. At Trompenburg they have 700 different kinds of Rhodo's.

Thanks for all the comments, I enjoyed reading them!

Libbys Blog said...

Its even better having a day out in January in the 'sunshine' thank you for sharing this with us!

lenie said...

daar zit ik dan met mijn 2 rodo's .....pfffff, wat mooi daar ..wil ik ook eens heen hoor je hebt me er helemaal nieuwsgierig mee gemaakt ;))
fijne dag gewenst ....met mooi weer , zit hier al voor de tweede dag in de mist !

A wildlife gardener said...

What a lovely arboretum with wonderful Spring bulbs, such as the exquisite hellebores, and peeling-bark trees. with the sun and like-minded friends for company it must have been a memorable day for you. BTW...loved the pics of Merlin in the last post...handsome or what :)

Marian said...

Wow, dat de Rhododendrons al bloeien!
Er was trouwens heel veel moois te zien daar en dat al in februari,
zijn jullie al eens in de Levenstuinen van het Groot Hontschoten geweest (Teuge)?
Vast wel denk ik.
Je irisjes doen het erg leuk in de pot.

Rosehaven Cottage said...

Isn't the sunshine just wonderful?!?! I enjoyed the cyber-tour of the arboretum so much! And thank you for the tip on snowdrops. I didn't know that. Now I want to go and find some and put them in!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

P.S. Whisker Lickin's are cat treats made by Purina that come in a tartar control variety. All our kitties get them to keep their teeth nice and shiny.

Annie in Austin said...

The 2 and 1/2 hours must have flown by in such beautiful surroundings, Yolanda - especially since you were able to be with other gardeners as you walked around.
Rhododendrons and hellebores are very exotic to my eyes!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Poppins said...

In Sweden we also have a warm winter. Here in the south it is nearly spring.
We do celebrate Valentine's Day - it is called Alla hjärtans dag (Day for every heart).

Poppins said...

In Sweden we also have a warm winter. Here in the south it is nearly spring.
We do celebrate Valentine's Day - it is called Alla hjärtans dag (Day for every heart).

Barbara said...

This was indeed a lovely walk in the Spring garden. Thank you for takeing us with you. The white double helleborus is great, great, great!!! Here my camelias slowly start to open their blooms too. I'm looking forward to "real" Spring time with all its colour...
Have a nice Valentine day!

marl1 said...

OT- Tuurlijk een snapdragon..;-))) En...ik heb iets leuks voor Dolly.....

Curtis said...

Did someone say a Hosta collection with 700 hostas. I am so there.

Zathyn Priest said...

Looking at these lovely photographs has given me even more inspiration to get out into my backyard and turn it from weeds into something beautiful. Thank you!

Zathyn Priest

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss. It's great to see that so many of you felt inclined to comment on this post.

* Libby: you're welcome!

* Lenie: Trompenburg is erg de moeite waard, ik ga er zelf ook weer heen dit jaar. Al die Rhodo's in bloei lijkt me wel wat en al die 700 verschillende Hosta's, die wil ik ook wel eens zien. Hier hadden we alleen op woensdag mist en donderdag gewoon somber. Vandaag, vrijdag, schijnt de zon weer volop.

* WG: It was a wonderful afternoon to spent in such a gorgeous arboretum. Oh yes indeed, Merlin is a very handsome chap!

* Marian: het zijn vroegbloeiende soorten. Ja, in de Levenstuinen ben ik ook al eens geweest. Het is er prachtig!

* Cindy: sunshine is great, especially this time of year. If you buy snowdrops bulbs you run the risk of them being too dried out and then they won't come up. Buying in the green means you get healthy snowdrops that will flower next year too. Thanks for the tip, I'll see if I can get those cat treats here too.

* Annie: the hours went very quickly, they always do when you're having fun! One person's common flower is another's exotic one! ;-)

* Poppins: I noticed on several Swedish blogs that you're having quite a mild winter in Sweden. Love that Swedish name for Valentine's day.

* Barbara: that double white one was my favourite too. Unfortunately they didn't have any for sale.

* Marl1: uiteraard Snapdragon. Kom zo even kijken wat Dolly betreft.

* Curtis: yep, 700 different kinds of Hostas. Great isn't it?

* Zathyn Priest: welcome to Bliss and I'm glad you got inspired to go out into your backyard and turn it into something beautiful too.

Thanks for all the lovely comments!

Marian said...

* Marian: het zijn vroegbloeiende soorten.

Nou, toch wel èrg vroegbloeiend dan!