Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2024

Stewartia malacodendron

Well I’m later than ever this month because we were on travel again for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  But I will try to quickly share some of the most interesting of the many flowers on display this month.  First and foremost is the Stewartia shown above.  It is also known as Silky Camellia because it’s part of that family and it is also a native tree (the Carolinas) though the chances that you have ever seen one are probably not very high.  It’s basically an understory tree that doesn’t stand out unless you are looking for it.  But oh my the flowers are wonderful.  This year is the first time we have ever had so many flowers on this very small tree (maybe 8 feet tall at the moment).

Stewartia malacodendron with many flowers

Another tree that is very nice right now is the Chinese Dogwood

Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

I really have to look at this from the second floor of the house to get full appreciation of it’s upward facing flowers.

And as long as we are talking about trees I should mention the Golden Full Moon Maple with it’s delightful lime green leaves.

Golden Full Moon Maple (Acer Shirasawanum)

Nearby is one of our oldest Rhododendrens

Rhododendron ‘Chionoides’

The flowers cut from this shrub are incredibly long-lasting in the house.

The first of the lillies is adding to our garden pleasure.

Enchantment Lily

While the roses, peonies, and Iris continue to provide flower after flower

Tess d’Uberville rose

Crocus Rose

Light Pink Tree Peony

Iris gracillipes

Beth has been bringing in many of the garden flowers for the kitchen counter.

Garden Harvest

Another nice item is the Chinese Ground Orchid and I like the purple one the best.

Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid)

In the Alpine bed we have a very nice Rock Rose that is flowering up a storm.

Rock Rose (Cistus albanicus)

Cistus albanicus outgrowing its location in the alpine bed

And nearby a trough has a dianthus overflowing the container.

Dianthus overwhelming a trough

And I should mention the Clematis which is always very striking.

Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’

There is also a flower on the giant Podophyllum in the side yard

Podophyllum delavayi

Podophyllum delavayi flower

Finally let me mention the Evening Primrose which has decided to make a home in the pasture on Sunset Hill.

Oenothera speciosa in pasture

Pink Eveing Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2024

Picking basket

It seems sometimes that Springtime comes all at once and this is one of those occasions.  We wait through much of the winter looking for a crocus or a snowdrop to peek through and then when temperatures come like they have this month we have an explosion of flowers for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many daffodils, hellebores, and camellias all asking for a place at our dinner table.

The camellias have been amazing this year where they have somehow avoided the usual cold spells that often brown the blossom edges.

Camellia japonica white

Camellia japonica double pink

Camellia japonica double pink

This particular double pink is absolutely huge for this local area, probably twelve feet in height now.

And the hellebores bloomed up a storm this year.  For the first time I did not cut back the old leaves and I have to say I didn’t really notice a problem.  The flowers poked right up through the leaves and they’ve been wonderful.  I guess that’s what happens in nature when gardeners aren’t busy cutting off last year’s leaves.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Peppermint Ice’

It also a banner year for our daffodils.  I can remember reading years ago that I would have dig old clumps of daffodils and spread them if I wanted to keep them happy.  I have to conclude that such is not the case.  Everywhere I look the daffodils are both thickening their clumps and voluntarily spreading to surrounding spaces.

Narcissus ‘Edinburgh’ on Sunset Hill

Narcissus ‘Chromacolor’ in the woods

A new one for this year is from Quaffs

Narcissus ‘A Million Kisses’

This is one of the largest daffodils I’ve ever seen.

The trees are also coming into bloom.  I’ve seen the first apricot and peach blossoms.  And the Star Magnolia is doing its thing.

Magnolia stellata

One of the nice things about the star magnolia is that it almost never gets burnt off like some of the other magnolias.  So once again I’m pretty confident that spring is actually here.

Last year I cut away an old lilac that had been overshadowing a thirty year-old bush cherry.  And now the little bush cherry is a delight.

Scarlet Gem Bush Cherry

Along the fence in the front yard the Edgeworthia is fully in flower.

Edgeworthia by front fence

And the little Anemone blanda are popping everywhere in the yard and the woods

Anemone blanda

The alpine bed has a little nest of Ornithogalum amidst other things.

Ornithogalum fimbriatum in alpine bed

Right next to the Ornithogalum is a lovely little Armeria doing what sea thrifts do well.

Armeria juniperifolia

If we go back into the woods (which is a pleasure right now) the path has many pleasures.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’ on woodland path

The bluebells are budding up and there are many daffodils but the Corydalis are enjoying their moment.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Nearby is one of the nicer Podyphyllums that we have (courtesy of Far Reaches)

Podophyllum aff. hemsleyi x versipelle

Finally if we go into the greenhouse we find an unusual Gladiolus that came to us ten years ago via the Pacific Bulb Society.

Gladiolus tristis

And lastly here is a yellow Clivia which is so carefree and always a delight to see.

Yellow Clivia

Happy Spring to All!

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2023

Crepe Myrtle

Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again and I would like to begin by celebrating the crepe myrtles that provide a summer flower show.  As you can see from the above image the red one has been with us for a very long time.  It’s well over the garage roof.  The bark is wonderful and the individual flowers are lovely one and all.

Individual Crepe Myrtle flowers

We also have a white one down in the pasture and it seems to be growing nicely.

Crepe Myrtle white

Flowers that we see every day are the Princess Flowers on the back porch.

Princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)

Both we and the hummingbirds look forward to our daily dose.

The Hydrangeas are also prolific and and an everyday summer flower show.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Looking around the yard you have appreciate just how dry it has been here.

Dry ground

We are currently at 75% of the normal rainfall and that has left us with many dead plants from my spring planting.  Yes we run hoses but there are many places on 7 acres that are not accessible the hoses.  I have a set of watering cans but that only covers the time when I’m actually here.

Watering Cans

Despite all that, and with help of hoses, we do have some more flowers to share.  As always the Allium millenium are reliable summer color.

Allium millenium

And I noticed (after one of the few thunderstorms that we’ve had) the Cyclamen hederifolium are starting to bloom.

Cyclamen hederifolium

As we wander out to the garden it is clear that the annuals provide a spot of color.

Annuals in the veg garden

And nearby the sunflowers are on display

Sunflower

More Sunflowers

The vegetable garden is also where we find a steady supply of gladiolias

Gladiolus ‘Princess Margaret Rose’

And despite the drought we have a good supply of vegetable and fruit.  I notice that the raspberries are starting their fall crop.

Fall Raspberry crop

And we been bringing in peaches and pears.

Harvesting Pears (Crispie)

That’s it for now, I’ll go back to doing my rain dance…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2023

Stewartia malacodendron

Although it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I am leading off with a flower that finished blooming last month.  It came into bloom at the end of May and I was so frightfully impressed that I have purchased yet another of these trees.  I promise another posting on the Stewartias because they are well worth sharing.

Currently the Stewartia japonica which we’ve had for years is just now coming into bloom

Stewartia japonica

In the meantime the other striking flowers at the moment are the lilies.  Just a few of them are showing right now but they are lovely

Yellow Lily in the Herb bed

Asiatic Lily ‘Forever Susan’

Lililum ‘Istanbul’

Lilium ‘Purple Marble’

There is also a very late and very large Azalea at the front of the house

Xtra Large White Azalea

The rest of flowering is more or less normal roses, penstemon, and annuals.  One exception is the Evening Primrose out on the bank to the pasture.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

This wildflower came along on its own and appears anytime we don’t mow to close or too often on the pasture hillside.

We have been busy picking and eating fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries).  Mostly it’s what we expect but for many of them they are bit on the small side given the extremely dry weather we’ve had (can we say drought?).  The exception is the wild cherry tree at the entrance to our forest.

Wild Cherries in Blossom

This tree is just one of many wild cherry trees in our forest.  Most of them seem to have come from bird-planted seedlings from the original orchard that we planted forty years ago.  They all have reasonable taste and the birds love them.

WaxWing in the Cherry Tree

This gives some idea of the density.

But the really surprising thing is that one of the smaller trees with branches actually close to the ground has absolutely marvelous cherries and they grow without being sprayed.  Just pick them.

Josh picking at the xtrasweet wild cherry

This is one of the bowls he brought in the other night.

Wild Cherries

Of course the other thing we get is as a bonus is all the birds visiting at this time of year.

Waxwings Sharing Mulberry

I’ve even seen the bluebird in the cherry tree, though he spends most of his time harvesting grubs in the grass.

A very blue bluebird

Life is good.  Now if we could just get some rain…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2023

Stayman Apple Blossoms

Well of course there are so many flowers for the April Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day that it is difficult to choose what to share.  Let me begin with the apple trees.  Though some of the varieties are definitely showing the biennial bearing effect we still have other trees that are loaded with beautiful blossoms.

Granny Smith Apples in full bloom

The pears and peaches have mostly finished blooming and the cherries are just finishing.  In general flowers are running ahead of the normal flowering cycle as it’s been dry and hot in Maryland.

Other trees in bloom right now are the dogwoods and the redbuds.

Redbud in the front yard

Daffodils are everywhere in bloom.  Even though we’ve have had hundreds of daffodils already, some are still in bud.  Other bulbs showing up right now are the Fritillaria imperials in the front bed

Fritillaria imperialis and Peony in the front bed

and Tulips that I put in the woods with Erythronium last year.

Tulips and Erythronium in the woods

Also in the woods are Shooting Stars that are actually allowed to flower now that the deer are gone.

Shooting Star in the woods

A long-time component of our woods walk are the Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) that have naturalized in abundance.  And some of the bluebells are pink or white.

Pink Bluebell

One strange little bulb that I noticed this year is this little ornithogalum that has taken hold in the back lawn.

Ornithogalum in the back lawn

In terms of strange little plants this little polygala is spreading nicely in the alpine bed.

Polygala chamebuxus

Nearby is one of the Daphnes which contribute to the alpine bed on a regular basis.

Daphne in the Alpine bed

In this same shady Alpine bed there is a small columbine that comes back every year.

Aquilegia flabellata v. nana

And on the sunny side of the alpine bed there is an Asperula doing very well.

Asperula pontica

Along with a delightful Pulsatilla

White Pulsatilla in the Alpine bed

But even more surprising to me is this little Stachys that I planted back in 2017 after seeing it at the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs.  This is the first time it has really poured over the wall in the way I had hoped.

Stachys lavandulifolia

I should also share this double-flowered Quince which provide a particularly striking flower.

Double-flowered Quince

There are many, many other flowers but I think that’s true for everyone at this time of year.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2023

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (or was yesterday anyway) and February really marks the serious start of spring flowers.  Adonis, Winter Aconite, Crocus, Daffodils, Snowdrops, Witch Hazel, Primrose, Camellias, and Hellebores are all in flower.  We spent three and half weeks in California and it was delightful to see the flowers that had popped up in our absence.

Adonis remains one of my favorite flowers but only the early-blooming ‘Fukujukai’ is currently in flower.

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

The biggest impact flower at the moment is the winter aconite.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) in the front yard

Winter Aconite (Erantis hyemalis)

We actually have several Eranthis hyemalis cultivars with different shades of yellow.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Orange Glow’

Eranthis ‘Schwefelglanz’

They are all quite willing to expand and I am finding new specimens each year in the yard and forest in places where I did not plant them.

Winter Aconite in the woods

Another highlight at the moment is the Crocus tommasinanus (which also keeps expanding it’s spot).

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

The witch hazels are all in bloom

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Witch Hazel ‘Diane’

We also have numerous clumps of snowdrops that are not only clumping nicely but also spreading out into the lawn

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice’

Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’

The Camellia japonica that I brought back from California on my lap in the 70’s continues to put out early flowers.

Camellia japonica red

And as I mentioned the Daffodils and Hellebores are beginning to do their thing.

First Daffodils

Helleborus x ericsmithi ‘HGC Winter’s Song’

Helleborus x hybridus PDN Yellow

The first early primroses (Primula vulgaris) are now showing up.  I don’t know why more people are not growing this lovely British wildflower which is anything but vulgar.

Primula vulgaris

Meanwhile in the greenhouse there are many South African plants beginning their season

Veltheimia bracteata

Babiana framesii

Freesia single Blue

Yeah, I know the name doesn’t match the color in this Freesia but it’s all I have to go on at the moment.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2023

Hamamelis x Intermedia ‘Diane’

Just a quick post for the month with the least flowers on display.  Our Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day finds that the winter has been mild but most plants are just fattening up there buds for the months to come.  There are a few exceptions.  The Witch Hazel shown above is joined by several others on the hillside but none are as spectacular in bloom as ‘Diane.

The snowdrops are popping out.  Even a few that have migrated into the lawn.

Galanthus elwesii

And the first of hybrid Hellebores is now in flower (not counting ‘Jacob’ which appeared a month ago)

Helleborus x ‘Winter’s Song’

There are othe plants just on the verge

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ just opening

And I can see colorful buds on the Peonies.

Paeonia caucasica buds

The cyclamen are also noteworthy for the lovely patterns they create as they continue to spread in the yard.

Cyclamen hederifolium leaves

And in the house we have steady stream of flowers from the greenhouse (especially Cyrtanthus) and some new orchids that arrived as Christmas and birthday gifts.

A new orchid for the house

Finally I should point out that we did plant the Christmas tree last week to provide a future landmark in the pasture.

Xmas tree planting for 2023 (Canaan Fir)

This is also the month for planting the seeds obtained from the NARGS seed exchange.

Planting the NARGS seeds

As always there are great expectations.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2022

Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’

Just a few items for this GBBD since I’m a day late (as usual).  The blue monkshood shown above is sometimes called the autumn flowering monkshood because it comes to the very end of the season.  But wow, what a flower.  We’ve never grown it before because it is extremely poisonous but it has a long history of being grown in perennial gardens.

Also in the front yard I found the first of the fall blooming in Camellias.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Northern Lights’

This was planted last spring and I was surprised to see it in flower before any of the other sasanquas.

The first of the toad lillies are in flower now

Toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Sinonome’

Otherwise there are many of the carryovers from previous months still in bloom.

Colchicum ‘Bornmuelleri’

Princess Flower

Plectranthus

Cyclamen hederifolium

Out in the garden in raised beds the calendula continue with their wonderful flowering.

Calendula

Calendula

And with regard to raised beds I should mention that Josh and I installed a third raised bed for next year’s gardens.

Assembling new raised bed

And as we head out to the pasture there are late flowering sunflowers

Late Sunflower

as well as some of their smaller relatives

Swamp Sunflower ‘Helianthus angustifolius’

Gallardia in the pasture

I do have to take note of the Dahlias still coming into the house

Dahlia ‘Bodacious’

And the beautiful beautyberries by the driveway

Beautyberry

Finally let me close with our new approach to harvesting chestnuts.

Harvesting Chestnuts

Just stomp on the spiny balls and wiggle the lovely chestnuts out…