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A busy Sunday precluded time to take pictures and write a post, so today I give you two, two, TWO posts in one!  I’ll start with the monthly garden party hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  On the fifteenth of each month, she invites garden bloggers all around the world to show off what is currently blooming in their gardens and to share it with other bloggers via her blog site.  It’s a great way to see things outside of your own climate zone and meet new gardening friends!

There’s still a foot of snow in my zone 5b garden, so once again, I can highlight only houseplants, such as my grandmother’s African violets:020This violet, which I inherited about ten years ago, is, to say the least, vigorous!  It blooms frequently and profusely.  It sprouts new plantlets prolifically.  Every other year, I need to unpot it, cut the plants apart, and re-plant them, as I explained here two years ago.  You can see that this pot contains four healthy plants.  When it’s finished blooming, in about a month, I’ll put it under the knife:022A Cyclamen that a student gave me at Christmas is blooming again:028And of course, Old Reliable, the Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) is covered with its cheery cherry red flowers:033The three of these plant are happy in my north-facing living room window where they receive plenty of bright light, but no direct sun:036

The primroses in the kitchen windowsill are on their last legs, I think, but still colorful:

038I have a number of plants that are about to bloom!  Hippeastrum ‘Gervase’ is set to open two flowers in this, its third year:041While I have success getting my Amaryllises to re-bloom, I find that they are not as strong in successive years, sending up just one bloom stalk and not as many flowers as when they are new.  Time to do some reading!

Two other Amaryllises are coming along.  ‘Elvas’, new to me this year, bloomed a month ago and has now sent up a second bud full of its frilly double blossoms:012I don’t know the name of this one.  I ordered it last year, and it is supposed to be ‘Elvas’.  However, when it bloomed last year, it looked nothing like I expected.  I call it Hippeastrum Amaryllis ‘Not Elvas’.  If I recall correctly, it is pale-peach colored:048Aside from the Amaryllises, I’ve had little success with my bulb-forcing this winter.  However, one pot of tulips may bring me satisfaction.  Here is Tulipa ‘Charming Beauty’, a peony flowering tulip in shades of yellow and apricot, about to open:024Finally, it seems that one of my Christmas cacti wants to celebrate Easter this year!  It bloomed nicely between Halloween and Thanksgiving last year, so this is a surprise!027With luck and cooperation from Mother Nature, I hope to be showcasing flowers out-of-doors on April’s Bloom Day!

Now here’s my vase for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday party.  I call it “Branching Out”:090The weather today was quite mild and the snowpack has shrunk to below my knees, so I felt secure in venturing outside to cut some Forsythia and Pussy Willow boughs to force into early indoor bloom.

Here are my footprints to and from the Forsythia bushes:053Some of these prints are over a foot deep!  It was a bad day for the zipper on my left boot to fail!

This is the three-foot snow bank I climbed atop to reach the Pussy Willow that grows at the edge of my cul-de-sac:057It did help me reach the high branches!

And here is where I fell on my bum!  I have to admit that I thought the impression it left would look more dramatic than this:056Well, let’s get back to the vase.  It’s a collection of Forsythia and Pussy Willow branches, along with several from a tree whose name I don’t know.  The unknown branches show new growth and decently developed buds, so I’m hoping to see some spring green leaves unfurl over the next couple of weeks.  It’s very much a “Wait and See” arrangement!098Ideally, the yellow Forsythia flowers will open at the same time the velvety Pussy Willow catkins emerge, but that may be too much to ask!  Again, “Wait and See”!

After photographing the arrangement against a dark,pattern-free wall, I moved it into the living room, where it will spend the next few weeks.  Sometime soon I will pull the Easter decorations out of storage and bedeck these branches with pretty painted eggs:083It shares the table with a bouquet of grocery-store daffodils, combined with left-overs from two other recent store-bought bouquets and a short, fresh-cut Pussy Willow twig.  123Soon I will have my own daffodils to cut and arrange in vases.  While I was outside today, I heard geese high above me, flying north.  In their calls, I heard the promise of green grass, mild breezes, and sunny days ahead!071