Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2019

Aquilegia buergeriana v. oxysepala

The surprise for this month’ Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (in a month that has been full of flowers) is this striking Aquilegia that is almost 4 feet tall.  It is also volunteering in places where I didn’t plant it, but that’s all right for now.

Aquilegia buergeriana v. oxysepala

Aquilegia buergeriana v. oxysepala

I grew this several years ago from seed obtained from Growild in Scotland and I was immediately captured by the color combo.  Nearby is a related plant grown from the same source.

Semiaquilegia adoxoides fl. pl. Alba

Of course we also have the old reliables.  

Peony ‘Festiva Maxima’

Rhododendron ‘Chionoides’

Allium triumphant in the front bed

A striking addition to the front bed is this dark purple salvia from Plant Delights

Salvia ‘Amistad’

Recently I’ve been noticing that the extravagant foliage of the podyphyllums hides some lovely flowers.  The p. delavayi has dark red flowers.

Podophyllum delavayi

But even prettier flowers are on the podophyllum pleianthum

Podophyllum pleianthum

Podophyllum pleianthum flowers

Back at the alpine bed the various dianthus are putting up a spectacular show right now.

Dianthus petraeus subsp. petraeus

Dianthus petraeus subsp. petraeus

And the saxifraga’s are illustrating their value in troughs.

Saxifraga x longifolia

In one of the more recent troughs i’ve now added a little horned rampion that came from one of last year’s seed exchanges.

Phyteuma sieberi (Horned Rampion)

Let me close by noting that son Josh has planted many allium in the orchard as potential deer deterrent and wonderful eye candy.

Allium around young peach tree

They are wonderful mixed in with all the meadow flowers we have growing right now.

Allium as accent in the meadow garden

Besides the buttercups and daisies that we get naturally Josh has added crimson clover to the mix.

Buttercups and clover

Crimson Clover

We are continuing to run a couple of weeks ahead of last year, with again a powerful amount of rain in the mix.  Currently our rainfall is 60 % above normal and it has left the ground wet and fields green and lush.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2019

Ferraria ferrariola in the greenhouse

Well, I guess it’s a typical March Bloom Day.  The weather has oscillated from snowfall to 60 degrees of beautiful.  The last snow we had was last week and it disappeared almost as fast as it came.  With 70 degrees yesterday.

March 9 snow

Heather in the snow (Kramer’s Rote Heather)

But this week we are back to spring bulbs in abundance.

Winter Aconite in abundance

The Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) are spreading vigorously and my thought is take some of the seed that appears this year and help things along by spreading it other places.

The first Iris has popped up in the front yard beneath the Stewartia

First Iris

And the first Scilla are flowering in the woods.

Puschkinia scilloides

A very special Hellebore is preceeding its brethren with charming striped flowers.

Helleborus thibetanus

And the Adonis are still flowering in various parts of the yard.  Especially nice is the orange variant, Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

In the alpine bed the Draba is the first to appear

Draba hispanica growing in a piece of tufa rock

And beside it the first flowers are appearing on the Aubretia.

Aubretia

In the greenhouse, where I tend to think of it as South African spring, the exotic Ferrarias are capturing a lot interest at the moment.

Ferraria sp.

There a number of other unusual flowers at the moment that make nice indoor treats

Babiana purpurea

Geissorhiza inaequalis

Moraea vegetata

But for the indoors I have to give the most credit to the Clivias which have been spectacular this year.

Spectacular Yellow Clivia

Hall of Clivia at the front door

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2019

Well a couple a snowfalls have put a definite damper on our flower show for this January Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  The view out the back door gives a sense of our surroundings this mid-January day.

Backyard after fresh snowfall

Nonetheless there are couple of stalwarts that have seen fit to bloom despite the snow.

Pink Camellia

I have no idea the name of this camellia.  I brought it back from California in my lap many years ago as one gallon $2.99 supermarket acquisition.  I grew many years in the basement before I realized that the camellias were likely hardy enough to survive outside.  For a winter like this one where we have yet to see temperatures below twenty degrees, this plant will flower from December onward.  When it’s freezing cold the flowers will get browned off at the edges but usually we can grab a nice bud in the opening stage and enjoy it in the house before that happens.

And, of course, if they are not covered by snow, the snowdrops will persist in flowering well into spring.

Snowdrops

The other flowers for us are from the greenhouse.

Firelight Gold daffodil on block wall

Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Firelight Gold’

Notice the number of buds forming in this pot.  I will definitely need to divide these after they go dormant.

Narcissus Roy Herold seedling

Beyond the greenhouse it’s also worth looking at flowers in preparation, for example the Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia buds

And some remarkably early Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia (early)

I amazed each year the early appearance of flowers on this single Jeffersonia dubia.  It looks like it is predisposed to flower much sooner than Jeffersonia ought to be waking up.

I’ll close with a picture of the large pileated woodpecker that has been working on our big tulip poplar…

Pileated Woodpecker

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2018

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Peppermint’

Well, it’s very cold and wet at mid-December and though I searched around I could find nothing in the way of flowers outside.  I won’t count the weeds even though a scraggly dandelion tried to rise up to greet me.  Instead we turn to the greenhouse where some reliable December flowers are happening.  

The hoop-petticoat daffodils with their little megaphone shaped flowers are the earliest of the daffodils that we grow, typically flowering in early December in the greenhouse.  They are native to Spain and are widely spread around the iberian peninsula and Morocco.  I received mine from the Pacific Bulb Society in one of their many bulb exchanges.  In fact most of the flowers I am about to share came from the PBS.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Peppermint’
Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

A favorite for it’s early blooming is a South African plant, Daubenya stylosa.

Daubenya stylosa

It’s bright color is an attractor for humans and it is also a magnet for slugs.

This fall I planted a few more Hyacinthoides which are striking for the blue interior flower parts.

Hyacinthoides lingulata
Hyacinthoides lingulata

An old reliable flower for this season is the first of our freesias to bloom.

Freesia alba

As it turns out we have one more flower contributor for this season.  The Amazon lily, which lives in the house for the cold weather, is putting out flowers.

Amazon lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

So that about wraps it up for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  Here are the newly planted seeds and bulbs from the PBS that will show up on this blog in the future.

Future flowers from the Pacific Bulb Society

And outside the closest we come to flowering are the big fat buds on the camellia which asks only for mid-winter thaw…

Camellia in bud

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2018

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)

Yesterday’s Bloom Day began with a snowstorm that ended up depositing 6 inches by the end of the day.  Early on you could still see the corydalis pictured above and one of the camellias in the front yard.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’ in the snow

Anticipating the snow, I had taken pictures around the yard the day before, including the same camellia.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

Yet another fall blooming camellia was in the side yard.

Camellia x ‘Survivor’

Hardiness is generally not a problem for camellias in our area but getting blooms at the right time can sometimes be problematical.  The spring blooming camellias are loaded with buds but they will sometimes pop open in a December thaw only to be burned off in the next freeze.

Also still blooming this week before the snowfall was the blue sage in the orchard.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

This sage has been in constant bloom since early summer.  Similarly the Viola jooi in the Alpine bed has come back into bloom again.

Viola jooi

There aren’t a lot of other flowers right now because we finally had our first freeze last week and many things got burned off.  One last remnant is this knockout rose.

Knockout Rose ‘Pink’

In preparation for the freeze, we covered up the newly planted Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’.

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

This is the third try for this lovely Mahonia which is only marginally hardy here.  We are hoping that covering it up will help it get through the winter.

We also gathered pine needles from the driveway and made a little nest for the pomegranate planted in the orchard.

White Pine needles on the driveway

Pomegranate tucked in for the winter surrounded by the last few zinnias

This is another of those plants where we are pushing the survival limits.

Otherwise we need to go into the greenhouse for flowers in November.

Oxalis in the greenhouse

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis luteola just opening

In closing I want to share an early November picture of a lovely Amur Maple in the front yard.

Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

In some areas of the country this is seen as invasive but for us it’s been very well behaved and a seasonal favorite.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2018

Lilium ‘Anastastia’

Over the years July has consistently meant lily time on our hillside.  Some like the Anastastia pictured above are rampant growers and others are singular specimens.  Almost have wonderful fragrance that makes you turn your head as you walk by.  This year I failed to do a good job of tying up the Anastasia, which want to be 8-10 feet tall, and so they are flopping over the fence.  But large segments come into the house for closer appreciation.

Lily Oriental-Trumpet ‘Anastasia’

Oriental lily ‘Stargazer’

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium Oriental ‘Josephine’ (this is supposed to be much darker pink according to the pictures online)

Orienpet Hybrid Lily ‘Scheherazade’

Oriental lily ‘Marco Polo’

Oriental Lily ‘Time Out’

Of course a gardener cannot live on lilies alone.  Other flowers abound.

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica)

Golden Daylily

Red Daylily

Pink Phlox

Zinnia in the pasture

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) in the orchard

Echinaceas in the front bed

In the alpine bed, the same gentians that were just starting last month continue to be in flower.

Gentiana dahurica

Gentiana dahurica from above

In the greenhouse the Haemanthus that appeared in bloom for the first time last year are once again flowering.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Having had a wonderful time making Apricot jam over past few weeks

Apricots simmering in the pot

Apricot jam in the jar

We are now looking forward to a nice looking crop of peaches.

Redhaven Peach

Well, that’s a summary of where we are on this very dry Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  No rain for several weeks now, and hoping for a thunderstorm tomorrow….

Paeonia time

Paeonia rockii

Well this year the beginning of May is hello time for the first of the Peonies.  My favorite is probably the species Paeonia rockii shown above.  It’s named for Joseph Rock, an early 20th century plant explorer.  There are many hybrids derived from this tree peony.

Actually the first Peony to bloom for us is Molly the Witch.  Although it doesn’t have the yellow color that the Mollys are famous for, it’s still a very pleasing flower.

Molly the Witch (Paeonia mlokosewitschii)

The next one in line is another species Peony, Paeonia osti.

Paeonia osti

And then we have two herbaceous species.  One is Paeonia obovata.

Paeonia obovata

And then a larger flowered, stronger growing version, Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae.

Paeonia obovata var. ‘Willmottiae’

Both of these are characterized by lovely foliage and large, exotic-looking seeds on into the Fall.

And then we have the larger, well-established tree peonies.

Pink Tree Peony

Pink Tree Peony

Other highlights right now are the Moroccan Poppies that overwintered in the Alpine Bed.  

Morrocan Poppy (Papaver atlanticum)

I had no reason to expect that these would be evergreen all winter and then come on like gangbusters as the season progresses.

Morrocan Poppy (Papaver atlanticum)

Next to them are several Lewisias.

Lewisia cotyledon hybrid

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Peach’

Also in the same bed is the Pink Betony that I am absolutely loving this year.  It is feathery to touch and abundant in it’s flowering.

Stachys lavandulifolia

In one of the troughs at the front of the greenhouse the Gentians are doing what Gentians are supposed to do.

Gentiana acaulis

In another trough a campanula (whose name I have forgotten) is having pronounced bloom out of the tufa rock with Viola pedata nearby.

Campanula? out of tufa

It’s worth noting that this is also the time of year to be grabbing seeds to share with other gardeners in the seed exchanges.

Harvesting Adonis seeds

Eranthis seeds

I was also very pleased to see that the Jack in a Pulpits had moved further up the slope of our backwoods toward the house.  Two more clumps were found at least 70 feet further up the hill than ever before.  I’m amazed that they spread so fast.

Jack in a Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum )

Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring.  One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata.  This little member of the Iris family has a common name of  bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans.  It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night.  For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening.  When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent.  The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above.  When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant.  Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.

Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da!  Clearly a sign of spring.

First daffodil

Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed

Winter Aconite galore

They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.

There are number of Hellebores making their presence known.  More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom.  One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.

Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.

And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.

Hepatica japonica pink