Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2017

Moraea polystacha

Winter has arrived here just over the last week.  I was in out in California last week.  When I left all was sunshine and glorious fall.  When I returned the flowers almost all frozen off.  Twenty degrees will have that kind of effect.  Especially when we hadn’t had a killing frost yet.  This is well past our normal first frost date, but we have often had flowers lingering on to mid-November.  Not this year.  That’s why i’m leading off with the above greenhouse Moraea for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day this month.  Most of the outside plants that still have glimmer of flower are just barely showing as in the following cases.

Last of the Fall Crocus

Daphne collina x cneorum

Stachys lavandulifolia

Delospermum ‘Gold Nugget’

Anyway, you get the idea.  Most of the flowers have moved south for the winter.  Just a few stragglers.  There’s always the brilliant orange-red of the pyracantha to lend consolation.

Pyrachantha ‘Mohave’

Fortunately there is the greenhouse to provide regular encouragement as we recreate a less temperate springtime.  The lovely little North African Hyacinthoides lingulata is very much in bloom now.

Hyacinthoides lingulata

I find the blue stamens and pistil very striking.

I also grow the Cyclamen hederfolium in the greenhouse, though I think it would be it would be quite hardy outside.

Cyclamen hederifolium

And of course there are the ever-present, ever-blooming oxalis.  I’ll share just a few more of the many species.

Oxalis purpurea ‘Cherry’

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis engleriana

All this serves to remind me that there will be flowers, even if goes to twenty degrees on a regular basis (which I’m not wishing for).  We did get the tractor ready for snow removal today just in case…

Chinese Alpines

Chinese Alpines Order

I’ve been meaning to put in a plug for Chinese Alpines.  For several years I’ve bought seed from Bjørnar Olsen who lives in China.  This spring he sent a letter saying that he was joining together with a friend, August Wu, to form Chinese Alpines.  They plan to sell bulbs and plants as well as the seeds which Bjørnar has provided in the past.  I received the my first order from them last month and everything is as nice as I would have expected.  If bulbs don’t grow I expect it will be my fault, not theirs.  I’m particularly interested in seeing if I can grow Fritillaria Karelinii, which is very showy in this image from the Fritillaria Group of the Alpine Garden Society.

Fritillaria Karelinii (from Fritillaria Group website)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2017

Crabapple in bloom

Well this is a very unusual flower to see in October.  In fact, I can never remember seeing crabapples blooming in the Fall.  Not only the crabapples but the apples themselves are blooming right now.  So for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day let’s just note that climate change is not just affecting icebergs and glaciers.

It’s been very dry for us with unseasonably warm weather to go with it.  Many of the flowers that were in bloom in September are still blooming now, like the lovely Japanese Anemone.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

And the Toadlilies

Toadlily (Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

So I’m going to focus on some of the more unusual individuals flowering around the yard and greenhouse, beginning with a little saxifrage from Far Reaches.

Saxifraga fortunei ‘Select’

Back in the alpine bed is a planting of Lithodora that has been expanding it’s living space since we planted it this spring (from Oliver Nurseries).

Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’

Lithodora has never overwintered with us but this clump seems most likely to do so.

Nearby is the Stachys that we planted this spring.

Stachys lavandulifolia?

Although this was sold to us as lavandulifolia, it looks nothing like what we had seen in Colorado.  It could be cultural or it could also be that this is a different plant.

Also in the alpine bed, I should give some credit to the little clump of Erodium that has been flowering continually since spring.

Alpine geranium (Erodium reichardii ‘Roseum’)

It is hard to go into the greenhouse right now without noticing the large Pomegranate which has become a centerpiece.  And it’s fruit are starting to literally crack open.

Pomegranate opening up

One of the little treasures in the greenhouse is a small scilla relative from North Africa that was just started as a bulb this year.

Hyacinthoides lingulata

It’s just starting to open up and promises to be very nice at this time of year.  Thank you Pacific Bulb Society bulb exchange.

There is also a very nice little Viola that I grew from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Society seed exchange.

Viola chaerophylloides ‘Benizuru’

I think this one can probably go outside but I may propagate it first.

There is a very nice Cyrtanthus in full bloom and many wonderful Oxalis celebrating their rebirth after a dry summer.

Cyrthanthus branchyandrus

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Oxalis purpurea ‘Lavender & White’

And the last item of the day is a new acquisition from the PBS bulb exchange in June.

Seemania Namatanthodes in bud

Seemania Namatanthodes in pot

This South American plant (Argentina/Bolivia) looks to be a real winner.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2017

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

Well, it’s fall here in Maryland and some of the usual suspects are providing our flowers for Bloom Day.  Japanese anemone are robust and reliable, as well as incredibly beautiful.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

Some of the other regulars are in the following pictures.

Trycyrtis ‘Autumn Glow’

Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

St. John’s Wort ‘Hidcote’

In the wildflower patch, the wild asters are currently the star of the show, attracting insects of all sorts.

Wild Aster

In the cutting garden the standouts are the Tithonia.

Tithonia

Beth has shown they look really nice next to the Salvia ‘Black and Blue’.  They are also quite tall so it’s easy to see them from underneath as well.

Tithonia from underside

A similar color comes with the Atlantic Poppy which took forever to start blooming but now has a new flower every day.

Papaver atlanticum ‘Flore Pleno’

Inside the greenhouse we have blooming for the first time the Scilla maderensis.  It seems to open just a few of the flower elements per day so that it’s never completely in flower for us.

Scilla maderensis

It is nevertheless interesting and exotic which goes a long way to getting space in the greenhouse.

Looking down on Scilla Maderensis

The first of the Oxalis are coming into bloom now.

Oxalis melanostica ‘Ken Aslet’

There are three species blooming now, but the rest will extend the blooming season into January at least.

It’s worth noting that one does not live by flowers alone.  The garden fruits and vegetables have been abundant this year, pushing us to new recipes and uses for the crops…

Vegetable garden production

Kieffer Pears

Collecting Seeds

Blackberry Lily (Iris domestica) seeds

Seeing some of the fall seeds is a good reminder that it’s a good time to pack up all those seeds you’ve been carefully collecting all season long to share with the various seed exchanges.  You did remember to do that right?  If you didn’t it’s still not too late.  Many flowers hold their seeds well through the summer and into the fall.  They are not always so easy to see and harvest as the blackberry lily (which by the way is a bit too common for most seed exchanges).  Some of the species Peonies are still carrying their seeds right now.

Paonia obovata alba seeds

Generally, however, it takes a bit more effort to select and harvest seeds.

As an example I picked a few handfuls of Primula sieboldii back in June and put them in an uncovered plastic bowl.  This week I put these primula seeds through my seed strainers.  You don’t have to have seed strainers but it makes the process a lot easier.  Mine were designed for sifting for gold but the process is the same.  They stack one on top of the other and the gold (seed) sifts down to the bottom tray.  Here are a few pictures showing the process.

Screen 1

Primula sieboldii with seed pod highlighted

Screen 2

Screen 3

Screen 4

The resulting Primula sieboldii seeds from screen 4

As inspiration here are the original Primula sieboldii which I obtained the seeds from.

Primula sieboldii in April

As a word to the wise, which I wasn’t with some very nice Allium seeds, don’t put seeds that are still moist in a sealed container, or they will just rot over the summer.

In the end I sent off 22 packs of seeds to the Alpine Garden Society, the Scottish Rock Garden Society, and the North American Rock Garden Society.  Besides sharing with others this will give the donor first pick privileges when the seeds are distributed this winter.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2017

The Cutting Garden

It’s been an amazing start to the month of August.  The temperatures and rainfall have been more like what we expect for the fall, but the days are still the extended light of summertime.  It’s made for lush garden growth with both flowers and vegetables producing abundantly.  The birds, bees, and butterflies have all been appreciating the flower seeds and pollen.

Swallowtail on Cosmos

The front circle bed also shows the abundant August flowering with a lot of black-eyed susans (the Maryland state flower) and purple echinaceas. There are also gaura, rudbeckia. lavender, cardinal flowers (red lobelia) and alliums in the mix.

Front bed

Elsewhere in the yard the great blue lobelia has returned again.

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

It’s supposed to be a short-lived perennial but shows no sign of disappearing.  Nearby is a Roscoea that is becoming an August regular.

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

I was surprised to see a few flowers returning to one of the Epimediums.  Don’t recall seeing that before.

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Pretty in Pink’

Another flower returning to bloom is the Canna lily ‘Orange Punch’ but it’s not surprising to see frequent flowering of the Canna lily.

Canna ‘Orange Punch’

A fall favorite are the toad lilies and the first of these is now in bloom.

Tricyrtis ‘Autumn Glow’

In the middle of the yard we have several Anemone ‘Wild Swan’.  These are noted for the purple blush on the back of the flower, but for me they are not the best of the Anemone clan.

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ from the back

In one the Alpine beds there is a little Anemone multifida that has wonderful red flower color.

Anemone multifida ‘Rubra’

Next to it are a great many Gentiana paradoxa.

Gentiana paradoxa

This a marvelous plant with a very extended flowering time.

Turning our collective eyes to the greenhouse, the Cyrtanthus elatus has put out a lovely cluster of flowers.

Cyrtanthus elatus

Think of this as a more elegant Amaryllis, pretty enough that I brought it inside.

The greenhouse also has the very pretty formosa lily which could be moved outside but I have not done that yet.

Formosa lily (Lilium formosanum)

Another Lily-like plant is Calostemma luteum (actually in the Amaryllis family) from Australia.

Yellow Garland-Lily (Calostemma lutea)

An especially pretty South American plant is Habranthus marinezi

Habranthus martinezi

A more common Habranthus is the Rio Grande Rain Lily and it’s also in bloom right now.

Habranthus tubispathus v. texensis

I also found the the greek cyclamen not only in flower but trying to break the bonds of its container.

Cyclamen graecum trying to escape their prison

Cyclamen graecum

Let me leave the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with new flower for me from the greenhouse.  This is a very cute little dwarf Nerine.

Nerine masoniorum

This is a very distinctive little South African native with multiple flowers showing dark stamens against a light pink background.  Very nice.  So what are you growing in your garden for bloom day?

Summer Crabapple Delight

Dolgo Crabapples

We have grown crabapples for many years in the front yard without ever making good use of the fruit.  Of course the abundant white flowers in the springtime are delightful and the pretty summertime fruit have always been appreciated but we never harvested them for eating.  Until now that is.  Our youngest son was inspired by the sprightly taste of the fruit.  He picked a bunch of them and made a couple of galettes, one with the crabapples and one with blueberries, apricots, and peaches.  Both were quite good, but the crabapple one was really special.  Think of the best rhubarb pie you’ve ever tasted.

Galettes in prep

Two Galettes

This was so good, that he went out this week and picked another batch of the crabapples.

Dolgo Crabapples

The remarkable thing about these little crabapples is that a very high percentage are without blemish or insect damage and this is without any spraying at all.  This is quite a contrast with our normal apple trees.

This is a very active time outdoors right now.  I thought I would also share another of the interesting spiders that we have run across.

Phidippus johnsoni jumping spider.

I always find the jumping spiders have considerable personality.

And another interesting tidbit is the arrival of the rain lilies.

Pink Rain Lily (Habranthus robustus)

We have grown these very hardy rain lilies for many years and they seem early this year but we had some strong rains and up they came.  I had also moved one of the Zephyranthes from the greenhouse last year and seems to be doing fine, though it is supposed to be a zone 8 plant.

Zephyranthes rosea

I would also note in passing that this is a good time to be gathering seeds for the various seed exchanges.  Some are quite easy to find like the Zephyranthes.

Zephyranthes seeds

Lastly I’ll close this post with one of the prettiest lilies I’ve come across (unnamed at the moment).

Unnamed Pink Lily

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2017

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Let me lead off with this lovely South African native that I featured in my last post.  It is still fully flowering following our recent travels and you can see how lovely it is.  Like many of the South African bulbs it is growing in our greenhouse (probably would go to zone 8, but that’s not us).  It’s well worth the wait to finally see this in flower.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Outside we have many flowers in bloom right now, as do most gardens I suspect.  The staggering fragrance of lilies calls for first attention.

Lilium ‘Anastastia’

Every year the lilies seem to come back and dominate the summer.  Anastastia is a particularly tall and strong Oriental/Trumpet hybrid.

Lily Oriental-Trumpet ‘Anastasia’

Another reliable Orienpet is ‘Scherezade’.

Lilium Oriental/Trumpet Scheherazade

It makes for a spectacular display in the house.

Lilium ‘Scheherezade’ arrangment

Other lilies of note follow

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium ‘Casablanca’

And then there are the daylilies, a different genus but similar in many ways.

Red Daylily

Outrageously golden daylily

And let us not forget the iris family.  Several types of Crocosmia are in bloom right now too.

Crocosmia – x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’

And our winter was gentle enough that the gladiolas that I failed to dig last year all came back in abundance.  It’s the best crop of glads we have ever had.  They’ve been blooming for a month now.

Glads in abundance, including ‘Margaret Rose’ and ‘Jester’

The Echinacea in the front bed are putting on a fine show right now.

Echinacea in the front bed

And the sunflowers are abundantly flowering in the vegetable garden in many sizes and colors.

Sunflower

Burnt-colored Sunflower

In the alpine bed the first flowers are showing on the Gentian paradoxa, and this earlier than I ever remember seeing them in bloom.

Gentian paradoxa

Altogether it’s a fine showing for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, as evident by Beth’s flower vase arrangement.

Some of Beth’s flower pickings for today in the late afternoon sunlight