I am at home in Michigan for a few days since this week is my school's spring break, though I am still working on my senior thesis. Spring is just barely beginning here, so while the temperatures are largely above freezing and the last snow banks are slowly starting to melt, there is not really anything flowering outside as of yet. I thought, however, that I should post a few pictures of what is flowering inside...
Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) - This little specimen is putting on lots and lots of buds at the moment; this is the first one to open.
Abutilon x hybridum - This is the last surviving plant from the first batch of Abutilons that I ever grew from seed
While out grocery shopping earlier today, my mom and I also bought a beautiful, and fragrant, bouquet of stocks (Matthiola incana), in color somewhere between purple and magenta.
The bouquet of stocks (Matthiola incana) in a pale green vase from Detroit's Pewabic Pottery, which continues to make ceramics and tiles to Arts-and-Crafts designs
Finally, I used today's mild weather to check on the garden and particularly some of the somewhat tender plants that receive special, on-site winter protection, such as the Japanese fiber bananas (Musa basjoo) and crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica). Among the new plants in this category is a needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), which I picked up at a local Walmart last spring (See my post on this surprise find here). I considered it an experiment, since I do not know of any palms of any species having been successfully overwintered outside in this area. Yet when I carefully peeked inside the contraption of burlap, dry leaves, and a styrofoam cone that my parents erected to protect the little palm, I found the leaves poking out just as dark green and shiny as they had been last year. Of course, the plant might still have sustained damage to the stem or roots but the seemingly healthy leaves are nevertheless a good sign. I am therefore carefully optimistic that this relatively rarely grown palm species may become a long-term resident of the garden.