March in the Garden

It is still looking more like spring than winter here, and amazingly the flowers are coming into bloom.  I am so afraid that our Blackberry Winter will nip all these flowers. Blackberry Winter is what we locals call a cold snap, and often a freeze, right when the blackberry bushes begin blooming – usually early April. Recently, I went to the Biltmore House, and showed some of the wonderful costumes in their Designed for Drama exhibit. While we were there, we did some walking around the gardens. Normally there would not be anything blooming in February, but due to the early warmth, lots of flowers are coming out too soon. All around are Bradford Pear trees and Golden Forsythia starting to put on a show. The cherry trees are starting to bloom with their delicate pink blossoms.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Little clumps of daffodils are popping up here and there.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Believe it or not, these are azaleas! They shouldn’t be in bloom for two more months.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This beauty is a variety of crocus dwarf iris?  There were several beds of these guys around Antler Village at the Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

One thing I appreciate about winter is the architecture of the bare limbs of plants and trees. This gorgeous thing is a giant wisteria vine along an arbor leading into the Biltmore Gardens, likely close to 100 years old. It covers this arbor, and is stunning in spring.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

This is a Japanese cutleaf maple, wonderful twisted trunk and branches, almost resembles a giant bonsai. In spring, this will be covered in red leaves.  There is such grace in this form.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Just down the path from the arbor is this spray of white flowers covering several bushes. I didn’t get the marker for what they are.  But I know they shouldn’t be blooming yet.

Biltmore Gardens Winter at From My Carolina Home

Back at home, the seedling are starting to put up small leaves. I need to replant some of them a bit deeper.

March Garden at From My Carolina Home

The best part of February was the progress on the amaryllis. The bud came out in mid-February, with 2 blooms. Previously the flower spike had four, so I need to repot it this year. It must need more nutrients than I can give it with just fertilizer, and needs new soil. Excruciatingly slow, it took four days to get partially open.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Then one flower opened fully, beautiful dark red. The other followed a few days later.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

Both flowers fully opened, just lovely. I moved it out of the kitchen over to the pub table to protect it from damage.

Amaryllis Bulb Year 4 at From My Carolina Home

The bad news was there was going to be a major thunderstorm with possible hail on Wednesday night, then below freezing temperatures for three nights beginning Thursday night.  As I raced home from BOM club and errands on Wednesday trying to beat the rain, I found this when I got home.

Hyacinths 2

The hyacinth bulb I planted last year has come up and begun blooming. I knew the freeze would kill it, do I dug it up and put it in a pot in the Carolina room out back.  Then, looking at the flower beds truly for the first time in a few weeks, I was not pleased to see all this growth, in every bed! All three iris beds, the tulips, and the gladiolas are all coming up!


I needed to get them all covered before the rain hit, just in case there was hail. Plus, they need to be protected from the mid-20s overnight temperatures we will have for three nights. Racing against the oncoming storm, I managed to get them all covered with sheets or fabric, weighed down with lattice bits, extra pots and gutter remnants. The forecast for Saturday night is 24 degrees, a hard freeze.

Covered bulbs

As I went to the veranda for extra pots to use, I found the jump-ups were already in full swing, and blooming! So I picked up that pot and put it in the Carolina room too.

Jump ups on veranda

As I worked, I also saw that the bargain snapdragons that I got for less than a dollar made it through the winter and are growing.  They have doubled in size from the original plantings. They got covered too.


The planter box was covered as well with a piece of lattice and a drop cloth. I just hope that there isn’t a lot of wind, and that the covers all stay in place for the next couple of days.  There are daylilies and irises here.

Iris bed raised

I’ll have more gardening chores to do this month.  Transplanting the seedlings to set them lower in the dirt (which encourages stronger root growth according to my gardening book)  and thinning them out will best be done between the 5th and the 12th when the moon is waxing.  A PBS show on NC gardening has given me a couple of good ideas for new plants for the garden this year, so I will try to find these in my local garden centers – variegated weigela and red salvia.   I need to order my torenias too, the garden center grows them, and sets aside a flat for me each year.  Still keeping in mind that the last frost date for here is April 15, planting outside will have to wait in spite of this warm beginning.  I just hope that the freezing temperatures overnight and over the weekend don’t damage the local apple crop, or my bulbs.

Are you doing any garden chores or planning?  Or are you enjoying the last of summer in the southern hemisphere?



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27 thoughts on “March in the Garden

  1. Linda Hodges

    The little purple flowers you said were part of the crocus family are known in England as irises. Such a beautiful flower. My garden looks very sad at present. Only one or two of my helibore have survived in my pots this year. No other colour in sight. Will need to get down to the jobs soon but unfortunately, we have had very cold and wet weather of late. Love your interesting and varied blogs.

  2. Shirley

    I agree the blooms are such a welcome sight, but way too soon. Here in Michigan we are experiencing the up and down temperatures every week. So far the fruit trees are safe, but there is concern about the maple trees and the sap for maple syrup. We are seeing the geese migrating north also.

  3. Leslie

    Nice to see it is spring somewhere! Here this morning it is -25 Celcius. Not a leaf or flower to be seen for a couple more months! 🙂

  4. Karen Johnson

    Here in Vancouver, Washington, we have had the wettest February on record! Ugh! I’m really sick of these dark & dreary days. There are little signs of spring here & there, but the ground is too sopping wet to really do anything outside. So…..sewing! Enjoyed your pictures.

  5. BJ

    Your garden pictures make me itch for spring! Here in southwest Montana we still have several feet of snow on the ground, so I think I’ll see my daffodils sometime in May! I hope your newly awakened plants survive the rain, hail and cold temps.

  6. Judie

    You make me miss my flower garden so bad! We just moved to Oregon three years ago, so I am still trying to get used to the long winters and snow. We are still getting snow, so spring is not in sight. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful pictures. I truly enjoy them.

  7. Jennifer Rauch

    Ohboy has Mother Nature outdone herself keeping us wondering this year! My bulbs are up too, but house has northern exposure, so no blooms on the tulips or daffs yet. Iris here are always the last in the neighborhood to bloom = a good thing this year. My oregano is popping up, so on a cleanup day last weekend, I potted up some for the plant swap on our Earth Day @ the Recycle Center! We have 2 Weigelia (sp?) bushes out front, & they are so interesting to watch change colors throughout the bush from day to day!

  8. lois92346

    You sure had your hands full. I hope your valiant efforts to protect your plants pays off. It’s certainly better than doing nothing. Fingers crossed on my end.

  9. You are the best! I looked at the garden from the porch yesterday as we sat eating lunch during a downpour. I felt sorry for the iris plants and wished the daffodils well in the coming freeze. I did nothing practical.

  10. Pat Evans

    While hail could certainly wreck havoc with the leaves of your tulips and daylilies, the cold won’t bother them that much. Even the snapdragons will be okay. I have snapdragons winter over in western NY even with our long, cold, and snowy winters. But it is nice to see spring color.

  11. Hello Carole! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the flowers and bushes on your Garden walk. You are so correct about the architecture of the growth of the trunks and branches on so many bushes and trees. They truly are worth the time to stop and admire while they are fully exposed. Hopefully, the fruit trees and so many other valuable beautiful plants and flowers of our world will not be damaged by the freezing that keeps happening. Like your section of this United States, here in Southern Oregon we have not actually left the freezing cold temperatures yet. Which is uncommon and we are having the same problems you are facing. My daffodils were actually coming up while it was snowing, in the past month several different continuous nights we have encountered below freezing temperatures but my “Naked Ladies” are popping up for the first time since I transplanted them 2 years ago. The Daylillies, Irises, Rhubarb and several other plants and or flowers I can not remember their names are also showing up. It really is amazing they have all survived without any help from me, so I have just left them be. But, I did make the comment to hubby that it is March and I have not been out to do all of the first of Spring duties in the garden. I sure hope that all of your superb attention will save each and everyone of your spectacular beauties! I know I would have done the same thing. Have a wonderful day!

  12. Mary Jean Cunningham

    Hope all your hard work saves everything in your garden. There are cherry trees and daffodils blooming here in Philadelphia in sunny spots while some trees and bushes are starting to swell with buds. Going to be below freezing for a few days but then back up into the 60s again next week. It makes me wonder what April will be like, when a lot of these plants would normally flower – guess we better appreciate them now as they can’t flower again until next year, but it certainly is not the norm!

  13. Clare Moore

    Here in New Zealand we have just come into Autumn (fall) and the mornings are now coming with quite a heavy dew. I am in the North Island (Hawkes Bay) and we dont get very cold winters by your standards. Everything stays in the ground. We do get some good frosts (so we think!) down to about minus 2-3. Snows only once in every 20-30 years, but out in the surrounding hill areas they get lots of snow. We can see it every morning. Our snapdragons have been wonderful this year after a bit of a slow start. Right now we are enjoying the Monarch butterflies as we grow quite a bit of milkweed (swan plant) for them. My husband is dotty about them LOL. Hope all your plants survive the onslaught.

  14. dezertsuz

    Yes, my forsythia and hyacinths are blooming, too, and a few tulips which are surviving still have put up leaves. Other people have all the flowering trees – pear, tulip, redbud, etc., and it’s beautiful, but I worry about another freeze. We are not as high as you are, and this valley is a bit protected, but we do have Friday night at 26, so I hope it isn’t for too long and everything survives that! Thank you for sharing all the gorgeous photos here. Your amaryllis is amazing.

  15. The bulbs will probably be alright… iffy on the apples. I think my plums bit the dust last night 😦 My apples are just starting to form buds so they may have made it. Not that I will get to eat any because the squirrels eat them all before they are even ripe,

  16. We have had that “Blackberry Winter” experience with our apple trees. Some years when they are just about ready to bud out (early April) we can get a hard freeze again, with temps in the 20s, and then the blossoms freeze. Our Feb has been really mild, too, but there’s not nearly as much coming jp and blooming as what you’re experiencing. Fingers crossed that you don’t get any hail!

  17. Nancy L.

    Hello from Portland, OR. Weather here for this weeks` report is still very wet, with some threat of mixed snowy conditions in the higher hills around and snow has been prevalent in the mountains – our Mt. Hood recreation areas are enjoying lots of snow this season
    All varieties of bulbs are showing their green foliage and some are blooming or will be before long in my yard and others around. They are the species that show first anyway, but weather patterns have made noticeable changes in timing the past 2 or so years for some plants, pushing slightly later bulbs to show up earlier – other things attempted reblooming late in the season last year — we had a longer, warmer summer season. Plants that came sooner than usual caused bloom times to be closer together and then be gone almost all at once instead of more staggered. This is zone 8a here.
    Wanted to add to one other poster`s comment about your “variety of crocus” mentioned. It actually is a dwarf bulb iris – don`t have the technical category name at the moment. I have many of these little iris in my yard and love them. I intentionally purchased many colors a few years back from a catalogue titled Brent and Becky`s Bulbs in their Fall issue. Some are available locally now in spring and are already blooming in small pots — more limited in color choices here. Was excited when I received that catalog one year, unsolicited and discovered the variety of color choices and variety of blossom style, too in these little iris. Fun. Yours looks like one variety called Katherine Hodgkins, which is a popular one in the little garden sections of some food markets, as well as the nurseries around my area. If you have had them for a while, you may know that the skinny foliage ends up growing some 3 times taller than the 4″ tall blooms, as the foliage continues on for a time before fading — feeds the bulb. They are so cute, I think. I didn`t know the greenery would grow so tall when I first had them, so a bit surprising with that part of their cycle.
    I enjoy your mailings of all the categories of interests you have.

  18. We still have snow here, but warming through the weekend with rain for next week instead of snow….maybe, they change the forecast a lot this time of year.😊

  19. I still have a couple more weeks here in the midwest before I see blooms, but I am thoroughly enjoying seeing yours and the ones at the garden! I planted about 70 tulip bulbs last year, so this year I am anxiously waiting t see my hard work!

    But seeing yours is helping me be more patient ha ha!

  20. I always enjoy a trip to Biltmore…I can’t believe all the blooms so early, especially the azaleas. We had frost this morning, such crazy weather. I enjoyed your post and have a great weekend!

  21. Phyllis Smith

    Computer has been on the outs for over a week and now trying to catch up. We are to have temps in the freezing area tonight so have been busy trying to cover up my plants myself. I covered my big gardenia bush that is the height of my front porch with a large piece of fabric and I hold it down with the edges clipped onto the branches with clothes pins and it works great and doesn’t hurt the bush So maybe you can try that to help cover your bushes. I also use stakes and drape cloth over some of my young lilies and other small plants and hold material onto the stakes with twist ties. I have also used large jars over the small plants that aren’t too big and protected them. Your plants look like they have a great beginning, can’t wait till they all start blooming. Hope you can use some of my ideas, also buckets or large unused planters are great for covering from the cold. Have a great evening. Phyllis

  22. Laurie

    Beautiful pictures! We are having very spring like temps too, but have a freeze coming this weekend and a prediction of snow. Our Bradford Pears are in full bloom and we have been enjoying them this week, if we get the freeze, it will be over. Hope your plants survive any remaining freeze. Thanks for sharing with us this week at Brag About It!

  23. It’s beginning to look an awful lot like spring where you are. Our day Lillies are trying to pop up but’s it’s much too cold. Mother Nature gave us a few warm days and now the plants and the birds are very confused.

  24. Jann Olson

    You really are early this year. I think we are right on track. My daffodils are about to bloom and they always bloom in march. We had gorgeous weather today and I have been in the garden all day. Mowed the back lawn, racked beds, and planted pots for the porch. I even spent a bit of time in my shed. It was so fun to be back inside. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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