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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2019

Eastern Swallowtail (Dark Form) on Zinnia

It’s appropriate to feature a zinnia for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post because they are all over the place — in vegetable garden, by the driveway, and in the orchard.  It’s hard to disagree with a flower that comes from seed so easily and lasts all season long.  In fact zinnias were the first flower we planted when we got inspired to start gardening fifty years ago.  We read a book by Jeanne Darlington (Grow Your Own) that led us to scratch a little garden plot next to our student housing.  There have been a lot more flowers since …

Typically we have Dahlias and Glads in the vegetable garden just for picking.

Dahlia ‘Bodacious’

And son Josh planted a lot of wildflowers around the property this spring.

California Poppy reblooming

Including especially zinnias and sage in the orchard, but also this particularly pretty variety of basil.

Basil in flower

My eye tends to get distracted by the perennials, especially those that are giving a bonus rebloom.

Daphne x susannae ‘Tage Lundell’

Delosperma congestum ‘Gold Nugget’

There is also a nice little patch of Colchicum in with the wildflowers in the backyard.

Colchicum ‘Byzantium’

As you walk down the driveway it’s hard not to notice the Viburnum with it’s berries hanging out into the drive.

Viburnum wrightii

In the greenhouse I found the Scilla maderensis budding up a few days ago.

Scilla maderensis

And now the flowers are opening up.

Scilla maderensis opening up

This is also the oxalis time of the year.

Oxalis bowiei

One after another, the Oxalis break into bloom from early September into February.

I’ve also found myself reading up about Zephyranthes and their close relatives Habranthus.  These are both part of the Amaryllis family and they are spectacularly easy to grow.   They are often called rain lilies because the rapid appearance of the flowers in late summer.  I’ve had the yellow forms (like Zephyranthes smalli and Z. jonesi, or Habranthus texensis) for a number of years, but what I’m discovering is that the pink and red forms of the family are really special.

This little Habranthus has white flowers that are tinged pink on the outside.

Habranthus magnoi

And these two Zephyranthes are both of the pink persuasion mixed with white.

Zephyranthes miradorensis

Zephyranthes labuffarosea

This last one is especially large for a Zephyranthes.  It was found in Mexico on a red mountain, therefore it’s name.  Most of the Zephyranthes prefer a southern climate (say zone 8), but they are easy to overwinter in a pot.  They make abundant seeds which will start popping up in other pots if you don’t pay attention.  I’ve got a number of pots that I thought were tritoma or babiana or some other bulb, only to realize that they were actually Zephyranthes volunteering to use an empty pot.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2019

Swallowtail on Tithonia

In the midst of hot days in August it is a reliable pleasure to see butterflies in great abundance throughout the garden.  For this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day posting let me begin with some shots of the butterflies that are everywhere right now in Maryland.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Ligularia

Clouded Sulphur on Tithonia

It’s also a good time of year to spot the Hummingbird or Clearwing Moth.  They are very distinctive with almost invisible wings as the flit about the flowers.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth on Buddleia

Here are some of the standard flowers around the yard right now.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Gentiana paradoxa

Allium ‘Millenium’

Sage ‘Black and Blue’

And of course the glads are still blooming in the cutting garden.

Gladiolia ‘Princess Margaret Rose’

New for us in the Cestrum that we added this year.

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

And a little more unusual is the diminutive Anemonopsis with it’s waxy flowers.

Anemonopsis macrophylla

We also take advantage of the August flowers in the house as well.

Sunflowers live inside too

And then from the greenhouse

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Lastly let me note a seeding success with these hardy camellia seedlings started from seeds purchased from Camellia Forest.

Camellia oleifera seedlings

These should be interesting to grow outside in Maryland.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2018

Iris ensata ‘Flashing Koi’

June is a month for spectacular Iris, Clematis overflowing the fences, Roses flowering abundantly and flowers of many kinds reaching fruition.  For this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, I’ll share some of the things that struck my eye this week.

One of the reasons for growing flowers is to attract the many butterflies that enliven the yard.  And what better to grow than the different kinds of Butterfly Weed.  The normal Asclepias tuberosa comes without effort in our pasture and feeds the monarchs later in the year.  But in the yard we are also growing Swamp Milkweed for different kind of color.

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

And an extremely heavily flowered cultivar is ‘Hello Yellow’.

Asclepias ‘Hello Yellow’

Here’s the evidence that Butterfly Weed is a good name.

Great Spangled Fritillary on Asclepias

I remembered last year that two of the Arisaemas were very slow to appear, finally showing up on June 2nd.  This year Arisaema candidissimum came on May 31 and Arisaema farghesi poked out of the ground on June 2nd again.  Talk about reliable.

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum

Just walking around the yard here are some of the other flowers.

Pink Astilbe

Lilium asiatica ‘Blackout”

Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’

Clematis ‘Krakowiak

This Clematis is climbing up the huge Black Lace Elderberry.

Clematis climbing the Black Lace Elderberry

In the alpine bed there a couple of lovely gentians that we’ve never grown before.  Both are the result of seed exchanges.  The Gentiana dahurica is a good 18″ high and spreading, probably to big for the alpine bed in the long run.

Gentiana dahurica

The Himalayan Gentian has the same delicate fringing that I like on other Gentians.

Himilayan Gentian (Gentiana cachemirica)

But it also has multi-colored buds that are lovely even before they’ve opened.

Himilayan Gentian (Gentiana cachemirica)

Nearby is the first blooming of a Stachys that came for seed last year.

Stachys spathulata

And up on the porch is a spectacular bulb from Peru that is a variation on the normal Peruvian Daffodil.

Hymenocallis ‘Sulphur Queen’

I should also note that life is not just flowers at this time of year.

Pea Row is Abundant

A Quick Harvest of Fruit and Veggies before dinner

We’ve been bringing in a steady diet of peas, strawberries, and raspberries.  And now the blueberries are about to start.

There is one other flower worth sharing though.  For many people the Corydalis lutea is described as a weed, but I find it’s a wonderful fern-like spreading ground cover.

Corydalis lutea

What’s growing in your garden?

 

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 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)

 

A Link to Nepal

View of the mountains from the road between Pokhara and Kathmandu

View of the mountains from the road between Pokhara and Kathmandu

Nepal is an incredibly rich and diverse country with a landscape that ranges from the jungles of Chitwan on the Indian border to the highest mountains in the world.  In between are all stages of beautiful rivers and terraced hillsides.  There are 6000 species of flowering plants, 900 species of birds, and over 600 species of butterflies.  But even with all of that diversity it was the wonderfully friendly people that left us with indelible memories.  Their small land accommodates a great many cultures and traditions but seems to rank tolerance very high on their scale of values.  I’ve put on SmugMug a set of our images from 3 weeks in Nepal.  Here are a few samples.

A young mother who was happy to have me photograph her child

A young mother who was happy to have me photograph her child

Little girl at Boudhanath Stupa

Little girl at Boudhanath Stupa

Green Sapphire, Heliophorus androcles, wings closed

Green Sapphire, Heliophorus androcles, wings closed

Baby Elephant in elephant grass

Baby Elephant in elephant grass

Asian Pied Starlings

Asian Pied Starlings

Osbeckia stellata

Osbeckia stellata

Annapurna South reflection

Annapurna South reflection

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2014

Sea Shells Cosmos with Silver-spotted Skipper

Sea Shells Cosmos with Silver-spotted Skipper

We have much to be grateful for on this mid-August Bloom Day.  This summer has featured remarkably pleasant weather.  Perhaps not quite as much water as we might have chosen but the lower temperatures have compensated nicely.  Perhaps it’s all to make up for the remarkably difficult winter that we went through this past year.  In any case the flowers are doing very nicely thank you.  I won’t go through the various daisies, daylilies, and annuals that are blooming right now, instead featuring some of the flowers that are still a little bit unusual for us.

The Astrantia ‘Moulin Rouge’ came from Far Reaches out in Washington State.  This is a great source for unusual plants of all sorts.

Astrantia 'Moulin Rouge'

Astrantia ‘Moulin Rouge’

It bloomed earlier in the year but has now decided to start all over again.

Now blooming in its second year for us in this Roscoea from Thimble Farms in British Columbia.

Roscoea purpurea 'Spice Island'

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

Not only did it survive the winter but it has prospered and has several stems now.

Nearby is this blue Lobelia which came from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Club seed exchange in 2013.

Blue cardinal flower (Lobelia syphilitica)

Blue cardinal flower (Lobelia siphilitica)

This looks to be quite hardy in Maryland and provides wonderful color over an extended period.

Another good plant for color at this season is this summer flowering Allium.

Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa'

Allium senescens?

These are always attractive to various bees and other insects.

The Canna Lily ‘Yellow Punch’ is a new addition this year from Plant Delights.

Canna Lily 'Lemon Punch'

Canna Lily ‘Lemon Punch’

Like all the Cannas it’s a constant source of flowers.  I had hoped to see its partner ‘Orange Punch’ which unfortunately didn’t make through the winter.

This little Lily is a Longiflorum-Asiatic Hybrid that is blooming out of season because I planted it very late.

Lilium 'Brindisi'

Lilium ‘Brindisi’

I always like the Toad Lilies for their late and exotic flowers.  They are also very hardy and easily divided.

Toad lily 'Tojen' (Trycirtis)

Toad lily ‘Tojen’ (Trycirtis)

Tricyrtis 'Autumn Glow'

Tricyrtis ‘Autumn Glow’

Some other pieces of color in the yard are shown below.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

Cyclamen purpurascens

Cyclamen purpurascens

Paeonia mlokosewitschii seeds

Paeonia mlokosewitschii seeds

Note that the viable seeds are the black ones.  The red ones, though beautiful don’t have any purpose at this point.

And even though I dismissed the annuals at the beginning there are a couple of picture worthy items from the cutting garden.

Zinnia (prob from Benarys Giant Mix)

Zinnia (prob from Benarys Giant Mix)

Sea Shells Cosmos

Sea Shells Cosmos

And then lastly one more shot of the ever-present butterflies, this time on the Joe-Pye Weed.

Swallowtail on Joe-Pye Weed

Swallowtail on Joe-Pye Weed