Well, I missed last month’s posting to GBBD (first time in ten years) and I feel somewhat guilty so I have a couple of special items for this posting. Back in April I received as a gift one of the largest plants I’ve ever gotten in a box in the mail (from ForestFarm).
It was a Gordlinia grandiflora, a relatively rare hybrid derived from a cross between Franklinia alatamaha and Gordonia lasianthus in 2003. It’s a relatively small tree with absolutely gorgeous camellia-like flowers.
It’s begun flowering now and should continue through September…
Another special item for us this year is the Princess Flower. I started this from a small 4 inch pot from Putnam Hill Nursery last year and it didn’t flower. So I carried it over in the greenhouse and repotted it at the beginning of the season. It has taken off over the last two months and it’s now 5 foot tall and still growing. In the meantime I found another specimen growing in a pot twice as big as mine and just coming into flower. Nonestop flowering is what it yields.
It will need to go into the greenhouse again but wow, what flowering!
Otherwise it’s pretty normal summer flowering for us.
The Allium are flowering in a couple of places
The Crepe Myrtle is finally in flower for the season
the Cestrum has recovered from its winter dieback
And the Crinum is showing its numerous hanging flowers
In the vegetable/cutting garden the Glads have yielded abundantly
and the Tithonia and Sunflowers are ten foot tall at least.
In the greenhouse there are multiple pots of Cyrtanthus in flower
as well as a particularly nice Sinningia
If we weren’t so busy picking fruits and vegetables I might actually finish weeding the greenhouse:)
Oh, I should mention that my excuse for missing last month’s posting was a trip to California where we relived our youth by driving down the California Coast.
It was a wonderful trip…
This bird has been a frequent visitor to our garden this last week so I thought you might want to join him in perusing the flowers at Ball Road for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.
It’s very much the Azalea time of year hereabouts. What is especially nice this year is that we dug four layered offspring from this plant last year and they are now to be found in other parts of the yard.
One of our favorite Azaleas is beside the deck. Azalea ‘Visco Sepala’ came from White Flower Farm many years ago, though it’s originally from England. It has a spectacular fragrance.
Naturally at the same time the tree peonies are stepping up to the plate.
Nearby is another very nice perennial.
And a very distinctive Japanese Maple that is worth building a garden around
We also have a reliable showing of Lamium by the garage where it outcompetes the weeds.
One could easily get lost with trying to account for all the things in bloom right now. If we go back to the Alpine bed there are some special repeat performances.
I want to take a few minutes out to share our meadow-like pasture. Last year son Josh, cut the pasture ultrashort and then seeded the area with crimson clover and wildflowers from Wildseed in Texas. The result has been wonderful. It’s easy to get lost in just the crimson clover.
But amidst the clover are wallflowers, peas, flax, sweet william and POPPIES.
We also have for the first time Five Spot
As an ending point for this already long posting let me share the Viburnum on the hillside that overlooks these wildflowers.
It’s hard not to give credit to the daffodils for giving this spring a wonderful start on this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day
There are flowers literally everywhere on our property right now. Spring bulbs, flowering trees and wildflowers are making it a joy to walk about the yard. The hellebores, like the daffodils are in full display-mode.
The various Erythroniums are displaying their hanging flowers from pink to yellow to white.
The standard trout lilies have been fully in flower the past two weeks in the raised bed by the deck.
However, the same plants in the woods have never flowered. I transferred them years ago and they have propagated like mad but do not flower. Apparently I’m not alone in this observation.
The main thing blooming in the woods at this point are the bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Another wild flower is the Star of Bethlehem that is popping up in the lawn right now. I should probably plan to move it to the woods where it can spread freely.
Among the other things flowering right now are the double-flowered Japanese Quince, much bigger than normal quince flowers.
I noticed that the miracle pear tree is covered by flowers this year.
We call it the miracle pear tree because it was completely flattened by a teenager’s car when it was young. I was able to stake it up in place and it miraculously recovered.
A number of the plants flowering now stem from Illahe Nursery in Oregon. Several Freesias, Watsonias, a Babiana, and the Iris shown below have been really strong growing beautiful plants.
The Babiana has an unbelievable number of buds.
Well that’s a sampling from our hill on Ball Road. Enjoy the Spring!
Well another Bloom Day and another year has come to pass. Today’s flowers include some very unusual participants for a December flower show. First and foremost is a Gentiana acaulis which would normally be waiting for spring to share its vivid blue colors. Instead a single flower has challenged the season.
As I went around the yard I saw several other features that illustrate just how warm it’s been this Fall. The Mahonia which is lucky to even be surviving here in Maryland has decided to put up some yellow flowers.
I even see color on the first of the spring cyclamen. And the Adonis and Snowdrops are budding up.
The heather which flowered most of last winter has it’s first blooms showing.
We have two spring flowering Camellia japonicas that are putting out lovely flowers and of course the fall flowering Camellia sasanquas are putting out many flowers.
And in the greenhouse the first of the Narcissus ‘Silver Palace’ are filling the pot.
Of course the flowers are one thing, but one of the items that really sparks the Christmas show is the hollies. Between the very large American Holly and the supporting cast of English Holly and Blue Holly we have more berries than you can possibly imagine.
It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for the middle of the summer. Our garden is like many at this time of year. Mostly annuals, crepe myrtles, and the last of the lilies dominate.
There are a few flowers worth noting. The Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ has returned from it’s winter dormancy and will bloom until late fall.
We have a lot of annuals in the picking garden as well as the glads and dahlias.
The annuals and shrub flowers are great for attracting insects and birds, many of them very photogenic. I was struck by this little bluebird overlooking the garden.
The butterflies and other insects are striking.
August is also prime time for harvesting
Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and the picture above is NOT what our garden looks like. The picture is from the same day last year. This year you have to search really hard to find flowers amid the ice and snow. We are probably 2 weeks behind last year in flowers. Here is the same set of Adonis this year.
February has been super dreary with low temperatures, cloudy days, and intermittent snow. What follows is my attempts to find some flowers for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. First of all we must give credit to the snowdrops which persist no matter what.
And then there is that first hybrid Hellebore which started flowering in December.
Likewise the Heather hybrid that started flowering in November just continues to ignore the crummy weather.
The Camellia’s have hung in there too, although I know they would like warmer weather.
Usually I would expect to see the first witch hazel blossoms by now, but I must say they are much smaller and more beaten back than usual
Aside from those instances in the outside world we have to turn to the greenhouse plants. This Lachenalia came from Gettysburg Gardens last year.
It is multiplying rapidly in the greenhouse.
There is also another Cyrtanthus which I think I have identified based on descriptions on the Pacific Bulb Socity site.
And then lastly, a very cute little false yellow crocus which provides it’s own grassy leaves and bright yellow flowers for multiple weeks.
This was the first snow we’ve had this year and indeed the first really cold weather.
This was definitely a different and unusual Christmas. One to regret the things we missed and to be thankful for the things we still have. Our youngest son ended up spending the Fall with us and then on through Christmas. He has sparked the rediscovery of the many things that we associate with the holiday season around Ball Rd. There are many large and small things that connect us with past shared memories.
In addition we jointly watched the Christmas Revels celebration in Cambridge. It was great fun and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to move forward into the new year with contemplation of the way the human community has moved from the dark to the light over centuries. On the night before Christmas we tuned into the Follen Unitarian Church in Lexington, MA where the Reverend Claire Feingold Thoryn delivered a marvelous sermon discussing the Christmas Weed Tree of Toledo, Ohio and what that means for the rest of us.
Finally I should mention that I had a chance before Christmas to preview a new book written by a good friend.
Tropical Plants and How to Love Them will be available in March but it can be ordered now on Amazon. It is a wonderful exploration of tropical plants for the temperate gardener and I think a great many people will enjoy both the authoritative descriptions and Marianne’s always entertaining writing style. Highly recommended!
Last year, which now seems like ages ago, we joined an Alpine Garden Tour of Spain and Portugal that was focussed on the various Narcissi that grow naturally there. For us it was intended to be little bit earlier taste of Spring than we would normally get here in Maryland. We began with several wonderful days in Porto getting a sense of the culture and the cuisine. Then we met up with our guide and headed out to our first destination in the hills near the Serra da Estrela National Park
As you can see from the citrus, the climate is indeed a notch warmer than our Maryland zone 7a. But, as it turned out, the first couple of days were definitely on the cool side and we were bundled up with our warmest clothes. This short movie clip will give you a sense of what it was like to go plant exploring those first two days.
At the end of the day we came back to the warm farmhouse for a lovely meal and after dinner drinks.
After two days in the mountains we drove down the coast past Lisbon. Along the way we encountered lovely rock rose on the hillsides.
These are widespread in Portugal but are apparently zone 8-10 in the U.S.
We ended up at Cape Espichel. The weather was warmer but still not what one would call spring-like.
The flowers were incredible though.
It was here where we began to realize that as nice as the Narcissi were the really special aspect of the trip was the display of terrestrial orchids. These are plants we just don’t get in the U.S.
For the balance of the trip we were located near Ronda, Spain in lovely farmhouse that dates back to Roman times. The couple managing the hotel were a wonderful source of information about the area. For four days we traveled out into the surrounding hills looking for flowers.
The picture below gives a good sense as the environment with a sense of discovery around every corner.
One morning found us out in a pasture that was full of beautiful little white Narcissi
But also the characteristic Fritillaria of the area.
Another day took us to top of a local peak where we could look out across the Asphodelus to the surrounding countryside.
It turns out that the animals really don’t like Asphodelus (Onionweed) so it is everywhere.
Some of the towns we went through are very picturesque white villages hanging on the mountainside.
And with more orchids nearby.
This was, ironically, near the time when the covid-19 was beginning to spread rapidly around the world. It was striking to see this image in one of the villages.
As it turns out we left Spain on one of the last flights before all travel shut down. Nonetheless we will keep in our thoughts this lovely part of the world with beautiful flowers and remarkable scenery. I leave this post with this image of Ronda as a place to be returned to someday.