A Garden Blog About Saying Goodbye

I'm a gardener in Chicago, IL, and I'm leaving my garden behind at the end of the year - The Last Garden is about my garden's final year. Share & Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: February

Yes, I realize Elizabeth Lawrence is completely right about flowers every month of the year, but in order to fulfill her prophecy, your butt must be in gear throughout the fall and winter. Mine wasn't, so I have only this meager offering for you this month:

Bland photo? Maybe. I find it cheerful.

My lovely racing paperwhites have opened, and to my delight, the yellow 'Grand Soleil d'Or' Tazetta daffodils I grew this year do not have the overpowering, slightly sickening and obscene-metaphorical-description inducing scent of their white cousin, 'Ziva.' Instead, the cheerful yellow and orange flowers have a lemony daffodil-y scent - there's an undertone of that strong powdery Paperwhite scent, but it won't rile most people's instinctive paperwhite-scent anger. At least, not for the first few years.

Yes, it's dramatic, but I think it's just melodramatic.

My only other offering, shame on me, is a burgundy-flowered African Violet that I got from the grocery store just yesterday. I know, it's cheating, but I haven't got any bloom fertilizer for the Saintpaulia I do have. Everybody, a lesson: for blooms in February, remember to fertilize for flowers.

You can see now that only a very flashy Saintpaulia will interest me.

Also, my primrose this year, which bloomed wonderfully for a few weeks, then apparently decided it was too good for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Too bad, primrose:

Before it stopped blooming, the flowers began to pale - probably
for want of fertilizer.

Since I have failed to provide enough flowers this year, and presumably no one reading this has access to previous winter flower photos of mine (?), here is a peace offering of  a previous winter bloom. You know, since I missed last month.

Bauhinia purpurea or Orchid Tree, New Year's Eve, 2008, Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico. If you live in zones 9, 10 or 11, get this tree, it is gorgeous.

Well, since my old forced bulb photos continue to be elusive, this was my only option! If you're feeling starved for the tropical feeling, and you live in Chicago, there are a number of places you can head to. My current favorite is the Garfield Park Conservatory, free to the public and open every day of the year, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other gorgeous greenhouses in Chicago include the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the tropical and semitropical Greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. There's also the McCormick Bird House and Regenstein Small Mammal & Reptile House at Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Amazon Rising exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium, if you're really desperate or you have children who must be entertained.

If you don't live in Chicago, check out places like universities, zoos, children's museums and aquariums for unexpected, but welcome, greenhouse experiences. Here's a list of gorgeous Conservatories and greenhouses throughout the country - I can vouch for Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory & Greenhouse Complex at the Denver Botanic Garden, as I was just there last October and it. Was. Gorgeous.

Phew, long tangent. Greenhouses are important, though, in late winter. Photos I was tempted to include because they are gorgeous, but didn't because they contained no flowers, and also were not taken in February:
  • A tribute to my fallen Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis, RIP Nov 18, 2010) (Also, I think that wins some kind of phrasing award.)
  • A gorgeous blood-red Mexican sunset, with volleyball (New Year's Eve, 2008)
  • Beautiful rime-covered Geum leaves (Dawn, March 17, 2010)


  1. Like the yellow daffodils - have not yet tried forcing bulbs but sights like this keep tempting me.

  2. aloha,

    i love that red bauhinia - i have a white one posted on my recent post

    thanks for sharing

  3. RBell, Go for it. The flowers never seem to last as long as you want them to, but they're worth every minute you get. Paperwhites are really easy to begin with - the hardest thing to deal with is their flopping. Pebble-force them in a tall vase and they'll be held up by the sides of the vase, saving you the work of turning them each morning.

  4. Love your flowers. What's this about cheating LOL A bloom is a bloom.

    Goldenray Yorkies

  5. Oh, daffodils are always so cheerful! Your "cheat" flower is beautiful. I love the primrose photo. And the vibrant tropical bloom is gorgeous.