IAVOM and More


Hippeastrum ‘Blossom Peacock’

After spending nine mid-January days in Washington, DC, I was thrilled to arrive home early last week to find blooms, inside and out, including the first flower on a Hippeastrum I ordered just before Christmas. I chose ‘Blossom Peacock’ from Brent and Becky’s online catalog because it was described as Brent’s favorite for its incredible symmetry, color, and mildly sweet fragrance. Now, I think it’s my favorite too.


‘Blossom Peacock’ illuminated by the morning sun.

As soon as the bulb arrived, I “planted” it in a container of pebbles, but as the flowers opened and the top-heavy stalk tilted one way and another, and I worried I might have to cut its stem before finding it could be squeezed, bulb and all, into an upright glass vase. Moved from the kitchen window to the sunporch, where it shines each morning in the early light, I can barely take my eyes off it.

Today, it’s perfect for In a Vase on Monday, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

The first warm welcome home, however, was hailed by ‘Peggy Clarke’, a Japanese flowering apricot (Prunus mume), which I spied even before turning into the driveway.


Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clarke’

Although the small tree’s common name would lead you to believe it’s native to Japan, where it was first found in cultivation by Europeans, it’s actually indigenous to China and Korea. In China, the plant is commonly called mei, or plum, and it’s known as one of the three friends of winter along with pine and bamboo.

Like others of its kind, ‘Peggy Clarke’ blooms January to March when the weather is mild. Its 1-inch wide, rosy-pink, double flowers, each accented with a red calyx and many long, thread-like stamens, perfume the garden with a spicy-sweet fragrance. Today, which is rather warm for the season, the tree is buzzing with a variety of bees and other insects in search of nectar and pollen. Some buds, however, are still tightly closed, waiting for winter’s next warm spell.


‘Peggy Clark’ close up.

Surprisingly, I also found paper bush (Edgeworthia chrysanthia) beginning to open its fragrant flowers and ‘Wisley Supreme’ witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) in full regalia, with epaulets flying.


Edgeworthia chrysantha (so hard to photograph!) with it’s bell-like clusters of flowers just beginning to open.


‘Wisley Supreme’ Hamamelis mollis

In the week that followed, I was glad to have these cheerful friends as I was caught off guard by a debilitating cold while struggling with a full schedule of meetings, appointments, and work. Then, when the weekend arrived, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to enjoy a quiet Saturday and Sunday.

Now, it’s time to be up and at ’em again, and I’m excited to see a week of fine weather ahead. Fingers crossed for an afternoon or two in the garden.

For those hoping to hear a little about the Women’s March on Washington, I’m happy to share. It was an amazing event, though I was sad to see later (on television) that much of the rhetoric from the rally was not representative. Madonna….really? I don’t think 1 in 10,000 would say she speaks for them.  Certainly I wouldn’t.

It was a great crowd, very friendly, patient, and upbeat, and lots you didn’t see in the
media. Varied ethnic and religious groups participated, as well as disabled persons. There were lots of young families with children, many mother and daughter pairs, and an astounding number of young people under 30, including young men.

All in all, it was a positive and hopeful experience. The March on Washington might not make an immediate impact on policy, but I believe it will make all the difference for those engaging in human rights for the first time.

Here’s my favorite image of the day–a little girl named Maeve promoting equality on her third birthday!


Marching on Washington, January 21.



34 thoughts on “IAVOM and More

  1. johnvic8

    I had two huge ‘Peggy Clark’ flowering apricots in my Chapel Hill garden. I miss them. I wrote about them in my eBook…about the one year I had what seemed like thousands of apricots that ripened, fell, and were hosts to hundreds of yellow jackets. My yard smelled of alcohol. It happened only once in the ten years we were there. Wonderful winter color.

  2. Marian St.Clair Post author

    John–I had a pair in my previous garden that produced fruit one year, but I’m glad to say I gathered them up (to keep them away from the dogs) before they had a chance to ferment.

  3. Judy Vick

    Love the photographs of your beautiful flowers ! But mainly wanted to tell you how great it was of you to attend the march in D.C. Many of us wish we could have been right there with you ! And you’re right, Madonna and Ashley Judd just detracted from the cause with their crude language !
    I think America, and hopefully Mr. Trump, were positively affected by the numbers at the march.
    My new motto is Winston Churchill’s old one : Keep Calm and Carry ON ! 🙂
    Judy Vick

  4. Mary Hancock

    My son and daughter-in-law participated in the March in SF. They felt they had to do it. Wish I could have joined them.

  5. Cathy

    Oh what an exciting time you have had, both with the march and back home in your own garden 😀 Such an exquisite amaryllis in your vase too – so very lovely

  6. Kris P

    Your Hippeastrum and the awakening flowers in your garden are a joy to behold, Marian. Thanks too for marching in Washington! The Los Angeles marchers were with you.

  7. susurrus

    I have no idea what Madonna was thinking of. It’s a weird world when the well-known can effortlessly command attention so one unhelpful voice is at risk of outweighing hundreds of thousands of hopeful, insightful, everyday voices speaking in unison.

    That’s a glorious picture of ‘Peggy Clark’. I was trying to get a good picture of apricot blossom at the Huntington yesterday, without much success.

  8. An Eye For Detail

    That pink is just so beautiful on the “Peggy Clark.” My first daffodil appeared this weekend!! And the hellebores are having a grand time in the garden. Pretty soon the busy, busy time of year will start!

  9. Eliza Waters

    Thank you for the beautiful and hopeful post, Marian! Super pretty amaryllis and I’m adoring the plum blossoms. Wish I had a few sprigs for a vase for my table. 🙂

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Eliza–I’m sorry to say they wouldn’t last long, the plum blossoms are better left on the tree where they go on forever. However, the witch hazel is good in a vase for nearly a week.

  10. germac4

    Your Blossom Peacock looks lovely in your sunporch, I bet that room is a joy in all seasons. We have a Japanese flowering apricot in our front garden, and it is lovely, and a real talking point because it flowers in the winter months.
    So pleased to hear about the peaceful marches that occurred all around the US …and in other parts of the world, here in Australia there were marches in all the major cities. I agree with you, many people are seriously engaging in human rights issues for the first time.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Geraldine–We love the sunporch, but I never seem to have enough time to sit down. At first, I said I would never work there, but lately I have just so I can enjoy it more often.

  11. Gloria Ballard

    Beautiful blooms, and that Hippeastrum is stunning! And thanks for another first-hand view of the Women’s March in D.C. It clearly was amazing there, and here in Nashville, across the country and around the world.

  12. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Oh, Flowering Apricot … be still, my heart. Your sun room is lovely. Isn’t it great to have a room like that? (Yours is a lot neater than mine, though.) Thanks for the update on the Women’s March. I’m glad you’re feeling better after your cold.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Beth–Well, I guess I cheated a little…the photo doesn’t show the table on the other side of the room, which is currently piled up with papers, plants, and paraphernalia for an upcoming flower show:^)

  13. Chloris

    Lovely treats to come home to. I love Peggy Clark, I haven’ t seen it here. I have Beni- chidori but it is still in tight bud. Lovely Hippeastrum too, and what a good idea to plant it in a narrow glass vase. I hope you are feeling better now and can get on in the garden.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Chloris–I just realized I misspelled ‘Peggy Clarke’, because it has the “e” on the end (and which I’ve just corrected in the post). I remembered because I wanted to tell you the name of the hybridizer– W.B. Clarke–and that the tree was named after one of his daughters. There is also a ‘Rosemary Clark’ with double white flowers, plus a weeping form with double-pink flowers named ‘W.B. Clark’. I looked up Beni-chidori and love the color. I had something similar planted near the river (can’t remember the name), but a beaver got it.

  14. Frogend_dweller

    This a very cheering post, full of lovely things. I really enjoyed it. Great idea to put the Blossom Peacock in a heavy glass vase. It looks great, but Peggy Clarke is just perfect.

  15. Brenda

    Lovely blooms and photos. I worry that little Maeve will have to fight all over again for what rights women have slowly wrested out of tight fists and closed minds. Those minds and fists are on full display these days, often topped with smug smiles. It’s heartbreaking really.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s