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

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2017

Anemone multifida ‘Rubra’

I will lead off this very late Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with a lovely little anemone that came from the NARGS seed exchange three years ago.  It’s not spreading but seems to be holding its own in the Monument bed.

I am always surprised that two of Arisaemas hold off until June.  Their colleagues begin back in April.  But just when you think that winter has finished them off, the Arisaema candidissimum and Arisaema fargesii come popping up through the ground.

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema fargesii

It is also surprising to see the Freesia laxa return every year.

Freesia laxa

According to the books this little corm is not viable in our climate.  Not only has it returned but it’s jumped the tracks and moved to another garden bed as well.

I have it growing now next to the reliable Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’.

Brodiaea Queen Fabiola

That’s a white Callirhoe in the front of the image.

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba ‘Logan Calhoun’

And they all mix together like this.

Star flowers, wine cups and Fressia.

In the same garden bed we have a bright yellow Butterfly Weed.

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

This is very popular with all the butterflies and bees.  For example this swallowtail was cruising around the yard.

Zebra Swallowtail

Nearby we find a lovely clematis growing up a trellis.

Clematis ‘Krakowiak’

Also by the garage there is a marvelous foxtail lily that came from Far Reaches.

Eremurus stenophyllus

Back in the monument bed there is the first of the Asiatic lillies coming out.

Asiatic Lily ‘Netty’s Pride’

And a chinese ground orchid that is a little taller than our other ground orchids.

Bletilla ‘Brigantes’

Back in the Camellia bed, emerging through the rapidly growing Japanese Anemones is a very pretty Astrantia.

Astrantia ‘Sunningdale variegated’

If we go back to the Alpine bed, as I do several times a day, a very nice dwarf plant in the Campanulaceae is just finishing.  I cannot read the label but I suspect it’s an Edraianthus.

Edraianthus sp?

Just finished now is also another pasque flower.

Pulsatilla campanella

Also in the alpine bed is a new gentian that we found at Oliver Nursery this spring.

Gentiana cachemirica

In the greenhouse there are a few picture-worthy objects as well.

Ornithogalum fimbrimarginatum

This is a two-foot tall Ornithogalum that came from the PBS bulb exchange.

Another PBS acquisition is this Pine Woods Lily.

Alophia drummondi (Pine Woods Lily)

I almost forgot to mention the Stewartia.  It has been a consistent flowering tree for June 15th.  This year it is loaded with flowers but only one is actually open now.

Stewartia japonica

However, life is not flowers alone.  It is the peak time for our berries, especially the blueberries.

Blueberries at their peak

It’s a joy picking blueberries.  We brought in gallons last night.  I’m convinced the only reason we can do so is that just behind the garden we have a very large mulberry tree and an equally large Bird Cherry that provide even greater interest for the birds.

Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)

Speaking of birds I’ve seen some really nice ones on my early morning bird watching including this Baltimore Oriole yesterday.

Baltimore Oriole eating cherries

Well, that’s a glimpse of our garden right now.  What’s happening in your garden?

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2016

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

It has been a generally hot and dry (read depressing) summer for our garden).  In early August we awoke to find that we had drawn down the well with watering and so had to forego our normal watering plan.  So my looks around the garden prior to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day were fewer than they might otherwise have been.  We did still water Beth’s new raised bed and the Nasturtiums and Calendulas have responded by blooming all summer long and into the Fall.

Calendula

Calendula

Many of the other flowers in bloom are a testament to how well some species can survive in adversity.

Alstroemeria 'Sweet Laura'

Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Venturing out onto our ultra-dry hillside which never gets watered at all anymore, I found several champions of the survival school.

Buddleia

Buddleia

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtle

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Notice the spider on the Lemon Queen and it’s very adaptive coloration.

Spider on Lemon Queen

Spider on Lemon Queen

The butterflies are also very attracted to Lemon Queen.

butterfly on Lemon Queen

butterfly on Lemon Queen

I also saw a lovely Monarch Butterfly on the Tithonia in the vegetable garden.

Monarch on Tithonia

Monarch on Tithonia

One very noteworthy Fall-blooming flower is the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  I’m becoming more of a fan every year and it’s a good thing because it keeps spreading of its own volition.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Another fall bloomer was a bit of a surprise.  This Sweet Autumn Clematis was something I pulled out three years ago and I was surprised to see it return in two separate places this year.

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

It’s a lovely flower but can get too aggressive if left to its own devices.  I will probably try to transplant it to the woods.

In the alpine beds I have two erodiums that are returning to bloom right now.

Erodium chrysantha

Erodium chrysantha

Erodium

Erodium

In the greenhouse I have just finished restarting all the oxalis.  At the same time the Bulbine has come back into flower.

Bulbine frutescens

Bulbine frutescens

And one of the cyclamens has taken on a very distinctive flowering by simply spilling over the edge of the pot with a great many flowers and no leaves at all.

Cyclamen graecum

Cyclamen graecum

Lastly just to note that man (or woman) does not live by flowers alone.  The raspberries are joining the apples as delectable fruits to be harvested this month.

raspberries ready for harvest again

raspberries ready for harvest again

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2016

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia'

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Well, if you had to pick a theme flower for this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it would the lilies.  Despite the dry weather we have been experiencing, they are exploding all over the yard, especially the hybrids between orientals and trumpets (aka orienpets).  They are tall, fragrant, floriferous, and individually stunning.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' single bloom

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ single bloom

In the house they make quite a display too.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' in the house

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ in the house

Here are some others of the lily orienpet persuasion.

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade'

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade' single flower

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’ single flower

Orienpet Lily 'Pretty Woman'

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Of course, even the old-fashioned orientals are pretty spectacular.

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental Lily 'Casablanca'

Oriental Lily ‘Casablanca’

Oriental Lily 'Muscadet'

Oriental Lily ‘Muscadet’

And then a new one added to collection this year is Lilium henryii hybrid.

Lilium henryi hybrid 'Madame Butterfly'

Lilium henryi hybrid ‘Madame Butterfly’

There are course still many annuals and some of the standard perennials, but one of the species that has asked for special recognition is the Crocosmia.  These wonderful bulbs from the iris family are durable, productive and beautiful, year after year.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora 'George Davison'

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora ‘George Davison’

Another new plant for us is the popular anemone ‘Wild Swan’.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' front

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ front

It is especially characterized by the purple markings on the back of the petals.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' back

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ back

In the greenhouse we have several noteworthy arrivals.  First a very unusual Pineapple Lily.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This is only found in the wild between 7000′ and 8000′ in South Africa.   At some point I might experiment with growing it outside.

Also from South Africa is member of the Amaryllis family, Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus.

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

A little Cyclamen is flowering from seed planted in 2013.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium

And a welcome returnee is this rain lily.

Habranthus brachyandrus

Habranthus brachyandrus

One of the fun things for me is finding the unusual animals that populate the yard, if you take the time to notice them.  Last week it was this wonderful dime-sized spider that caught my eye.

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

 

Seed Tales

Labeled Tulipa sprengeri, (Zephyranthes dicrhomata?)

Labeled Tulipa sprengeri, (Zephyranthes dicrhomata?)

I was pleased to see a bud coming out of my planting of Tulipa sprengeri this past week.  But what emerged is very likely Zephyranthes dichromata.  That’s pretty much par for the course on starting some of these unusual plants from seed.  You can wait years for a seedling to emerge and then discover that it was either a mislabeled package or some friendly neighboring pot contributed some viable seed.  It’s likely that the Zephyranthes jumped from a neighboring pot because they do seed freely.  But then there are the successful outcomes like the big Paradisea that is just finishing in the greenhouse right now.

Paradisea lusitanica

Paradisea lusitanica

This is a beautiful lily-like plant more than 2 feet high that came from seed distributed by the Pacific Bulb Society in the spring of 2013. It grows wild in the mountains of Portugal and might be barely hardy here.  Another successful seed sowing from the PBS in 2013 was Dichelostemma multiflorum which grows wild in California.

Dichelostemma multiflorum

Dichelostemma multiflorum

I’ve planted a lot of seeds over the past few years and managed to lose of lot of my seedlings last year when the water timer failed while we were on vacation.  I’ve kept all those pots just in case, but decided last week to go through the hundreds of pots and reclaim the soil and pots.

Hundreds of pots to be reclaimed

Hundreds of pots to be reclaimed

I was delighted to find that some of those pots had seedlings just starting.

Brimeura amethystina seedling

Brimeura amethystina seedling starting 3 years later

 

Fritillaria meleagris seedling

Fritillaria meleagris seedling

This all serves as a reminder that you have to patient to allow good things to happen.  Another sort of patience comes with waiting for the first flowers.  Four years ago I bought a tiny little seedling of Paeonia rockii from Wrightman Alpines.  It has taken until this year to produce it’s first flowers.  I think you will agree that it was worth the wait.

Paeonia rockii

Paeonia rockii

Another delightful species Peony that is flowering right now was obtained from Plant Delights

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

So returning to topic of planting seeds I should note that many of the seeds come up in abundance.  They are often very cute as they so immediately resemble the plants that they will eventually become.

Draba parnassica

Draba parnassica

 

Antennaria rosea ssp pulvinata seedlings

Antennaria rosea ssp pulvinata seedlings

 

Phyteuma scheuchzeri seedlings

Phyteuma scheuchzeri seedlings (BotanyCa)

 

Silene acaulis seedlings

Silene acaulis seedlings

 

Gentiana dahurica seedlings

Gentiana dahurica seedlings (BotanyCa)

Altogether, looking at the three alpine seed exchanges that I participate in, the results are just short of 50% of the seeds successfully started so far.  In other words, so far, so good.

The other part of the seed topic is collecting the ones that are appearing right now.  Many of the spring ephemerals are putting out seeds in quantity now.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Schwefelglanz' seeds

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’ seeds

 

Hepatica seeds

Hepatica seeds

Often the spring emphemerals have elaiosomes on the seeds that make them attractive to ants.  So there is a brief 3-5 day window when you can just knock off the seeds to collect them.  Otherwise, if they fall, the ants will gather them up and take them home for planting.

Ant carrying Hepatica seed

Ant carrying Hepatica seed

And, of course, every seed is not only a potential new plant, but also acts as currency if you are involved in seed exchanges.

Let me close with a few more of the flowers that have bloomed over the past two weeks.

Tulipa humilis 'Alba Caerulea Oculata'

Tulipa humilis ‘Alba Caerulea Oculata’

 

Corydalis turtschaninovii 'Eric the Red'

Corydalis turtschaninovii ‘Eric the Red’

 

Borage

Borage

And lastly a beautiful new Allium from Odyssey Bulbs

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

Joyful Moments

Eranthis pinnatifida opening

Eranthis pinnatifida opening

My granddaughter raised a question in a video-chat dinnertime conversation the other night which was something along the lines of ‘what would you be doing when you are happiest?’  For me it is somewhere between lying on the grass in the warm sun contemplating the leaves overhead and the discovery of ‘new’ plants that are the result of what I planted last year and have completely forgotten about.  The latter has been happening a lot lately.  Either because I forget more than I used to or I was really busy planting last year.  Day after day I am finding delightful new additions to our garden and it makes it really rewarding to explore the yard as though it were a new place each day.  Last week it was Scolliopus biglovii (how’s that for a mouthful), a Christmas present from last year that I had quite forgotten about.  Probably no flowering this year, but still a nice surprise.

Foetid Adders Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii)

Foetid Adders Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii)

And now this week the Eranthis pinnatifida.

Eranthis pinnatifida

Eranthis pinnatifida

I discovered this little gem in an issue of the International Rock Gardener that focused entirely on Eranthis.  I hadn’t any idea there were so many variations of the Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) which we have grown for forty years.  We imported the Eranthis pinnatifida from England last year.  At the same time I ordered a creamy yellow cultivar of Eranthis hyemalis from Lithuania and that was visible for the first time this week as well.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Schwefelglanz'

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

Yet another new arrival this week was a rather unusual Fritillaria that we also obtained from Augis’ bulbs.

Fritillaria stenanthera 'Ihnatshai'

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Ihnatshai’

This promises to be a very interesting flower as it opens up.

The small species Iris are also showing up in the Monument bed just now.

Iris danfordiae

Iris danfordiae

And then there are the three yellow flavors of Adonis — plain, special, and extra-special.

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai'

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Adonis amurensis 'Sandanzaki'

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

In the greenhouse the Ferrarias are continuing to open up.  Here are three flavors of Ferraria crispa.

Ferraria crispa

Ferraria crispa

Ferraria crispa ssp.nortierii

Ferraria crispa ssp.nortierii

Ferraria crispa

Ferraria crispa

The wonderful Scilla peruviana has flowered extravagantly and earned a spot inside the house.

Scilla peruviana in pot

Scilla peruviana in pot

Also in the house right now is a pot of Freesia.

Freesia leichtlinii

Freesia leichtlinii

And soon to be arriving is this Tulbaghia that is just opening up.

Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

I was busy photographing the water droplets on the Aeonium in the greenhouse when a surprising visitor popped in front of my lens.

Waterdrops on Aeonium

Waterdrops on Aeonium

Jumping Spider (Sitticus pubescens?)

Jumping Spider (Sitticus pubescens?)

I’m just guessing at the species from web photos.  There are a lot of spiders in the world.  Anyway, that was another joyful moment…

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2015

Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

Well I have very mixed feelings for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  There are a few flowers like the beautiful gentians in the alpine bed.  But it is also the dog days of August with over a week since the last rain and no rain in the immediate future.  On top of that we returned from vacationing on Cape Cod to find that the water pump had stopped a week ago and all the elaborate water timing I had set up was a total fail.  It was bad enough for the outdoor plants surviving the drought-like conditions, but the worst casualty was the greenhouse.  With no water the greenhouse becomes an oven.  I can’t even bear posting the picture of what the greenhouse looks like.  The bulb things will survive but the alpine seedlings that were painstakingly started this year were devastated.  Focusing on the positive, there is a splendid Cyrtanthus hybrid which found the desert-like conditions just to its liking.

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Another little bulb in flower right now is a Barnardia from Japan.

Barnardia japonica

Barnardia japonica

Out in the very dry yard, the first thing that strikes you as it hangs over the porch is a lovely Limelight Hydrangea.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

In the perennial beds there are two very striking lobelias that capture one’s attention.

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Lobelia x speciosa (Compliment Deep Red)

Lobelia x speciosa (Compliment Deep Red)

This one was brought up from Plant Delights this spring.

There is also a cute little Rosularia from Wrightman Alpines that I noticed flowering on one of the pieces of tufa.

Rosularia sedoides

Rosularia sedoides

There are lots of annuals that give us picking flowers for inside the house.  I noticed a clearwing moth hanging on one of the verbenas.

Clearwing Moth on Verbena

Clearwing Moth on Verbena

For the annual flowers in the garden the Mexican Sunflowers have totally dominated over the zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, etc.

Tithonia dominating annuals

Tithonia dominating annuals

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2015

Anastasia en masse

Anastasia en masse

We returned from our trip to the Dolomites to find that there had been pretty constant rainfall while we were gone (and that has continued).  The temperatures have also stayed 5-10 degrees below normal.  This meant that we had a LOT of mowing a weed pulling to do, but we also didn’t have to waste a lot of time dragging hoses around the yard.  The lilies were in full bloom.  It is marvelous to walk out in the yard and get knocked over by the lily fragrance.

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Oriental Lily 'Casablanca'

Oriental Lily ‘Casablanca’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Trumpet Lily 'Lady Alice

Trumpet Lily ‘Lady Alice

Lilium 'Pink Perfection'

Lilium ‘Pink Perfection’

Besides other lily varieties there are also the day lilies blooming in gay profusion right now.

Daylilly 'Apollodorus'

Daylilly ‘Apollodorus’

Many annuals are also happening right now but of a couple of perennial standouts are as follows:

Stachys officianalis

Stachys officianalis

Crinum powelli

Crinum powelli

Hydrangea 'Blue Billow'

Hydrangea ‘Blue Billow’

Yes, the ‘Blue Billow’ is very pink.

From the greenhouse we have a couple of little cuties.

Habranthus tubispathus

Habranthus tubispathus

Calydorea amabilis

Calydorea amabilis

And lastly though the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is mostly about the flowers, I think it’s worth noting a couple of beneficial insects that I saw on the flowers.

Tachynid Fly

Tachynid Fly

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

The Tachinid fly parasitizes caterpillars, including monarch larvae, but on balance it’s a very useful contributor to the garden.  The Widow Skimmer Dragonfly grabs small flying insects out of the air and it’s like having your localized air force to guard the space over your garden.