Tag Archives: summer snowflake

An early spring garden tour

Even with temperatures dipping into the 40’s here in Central New Jersey and wind gusts of up to 40 mph, I still managed to spend a good deal of time in the great outdoors¬†garden on Sunday. There was still dead perennial foliage to be removed, a first wave of weeds to eradicate and the never ending task of cutting down all of the ornamental grasses. When there is an available window of time for garden chores, you take it, no questions asked.

After the “tasks” were completed for the day, I grabbed the camera and did my best to capture what’s going on. Things seem to have slowed down a bit in the garden after the colder weather arrived this past week but there are still signs that we are in fact moving forward. And that is a good thing.

Bud break on the Viburnum ‘Amber Jubilee’ promises stellar foliage is coming in the very near future.

viburnum emerging


Same goes for the Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ which lived comfortably in a container last season but has now made the jump to the big leagues and is in a very prominent spot in the garden.

emerging foliage


Variegated Siberian Iris will enjoy it’s first spring in my garden and here’s hoping it enjoys it’s stay.

emerging iris


Bee Balm rosettes threaten to take over all other perennials and I’m OK with sitting back and watching how it will all play out.

emerging bee balm


Daylilies … um … are green or whatever.

daylily emerging


The cool season ornamental grasses are showing signs of life as seen here with Calamagrostis ‘El Dorado’.

grass emerging


The buds on Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ have turned to their usual pre-blooming pinkish hue and it won’t be long before that killer scent is wafting in my front windows and carrying me away to my happy place.

viburnum bud


I couldn’t bring myself to cut down the Panicum ‘Northwind’ yet. With nothing but cold temps and wind on the horizon, I still need to watch them dance a bit more before I can bid them goodbye.

northwind blowing


And on to the bulbs.

Daffodils, not the most original and unique of blooms but it is still color and they come back without fail year after year after year. An underrated attribute I do not take for granted.



More Narcissus not too far away.

daffodil buds


daffodil buds 2


Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) is starting to bloom and is one of the few bulbs that can withstand wet soil conditions over the winter. Hence, I have got a lot of it. Loved how the back lit sun was captured here.



leucojum 2


The Hyacinth blooms are mini in stature but I’m just psyched that they came back at all again this year. It is the first time I’ve had repeat bloomers. It’s the little things that make me happy.



Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ (Summer snowflake)

I have failed miserably trying to grow tulips.
I have never been able to successfully get a hyacinth to bloom … even once. 
Even daffodils have been a bit of a challenge for me. 
I was ready to throw in the towel on bulbs all together a few years ago, considering my growing conditions – poor draining clay soil, numerous rabbits and deer. 
But after a Google search on “moisture loving bulbs”, I finally found a bulb that has survived for multiple years for me, the Summer Snowflake:

To actually see a bulb peaking through the soil in early spring is a thing of extreme joy for me:

Here is some information on the Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’):
  • Size – about 18″ tall by 24″ wide
  • Survives in zones 4-8
  • Prefers full sun to partial shade
  • Typically blooms in late April here in zone 6B
  • Has been deer resistant to date

Some additional photos: 

The leaves are strap-like and glossy and form a vase shaped clump: 

As the blooms appear, the leaves and flower scapes take on a bit of an arching shape:

As for the actual blooms, each “bell” is made up of six equal petals each marked with a green dot at the tip:

While most of my bulbs are relatively young (3 years), I expect them to multiply as the years progress so I will soon be looking at some serious drifts each April/May.

The foliage has already emerged here with the warm temps and I am pumped to see how they perform.  
Now it is time to get out of here and do a Google search for some more wet tolerant bulbs …