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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

Collecting Seeds

Blackberry Lily (Iris domestica) seeds

Seeing some of the fall seeds is a good reminder that it’s a good time to pack up all those seeds you’ve been carefully collecting all season long to share with the various seed exchanges.  You did remember to do that right?  If you didn’t it’s still not too late.  Many flowers hold their seeds well through the summer and into the fall.  They are not always so easy to see and harvest as the blackberry lily (which by the way is a bit too common for most seed exchanges).  Some of the species Peonies are still carrying their seeds right now.

Paonia obovata alba seeds

Generally, however, it takes a bit more effort to select and harvest seeds.

As an example I picked a few handfuls of Primula sieboldii back in June and put them in an uncovered plastic bowl.  This week I put these primula seeds through my seed strainers.  You don’t have to have seed strainers but it makes the process a lot easier.  Mine were designed for sifting for gold but the process is the same.  They stack one on top of the other and the gold (seed) sifts down to the bottom tray.  Here are a few pictures showing the process.

Screen 1

Primula sieboldii with seed pod highlighted

Screen 2

Screen 3

Screen 4

The resulting Primula sieboldii seeds from screen 4

As inspiration here are the original Primula sieboldii which I obtained the seeds from.

Primula sieboldii in April

As a word to the wise, which I wasn’t with some very nice Allium seeds, don’t put seeds that are still moist in a sealed container, or they will just rot over the summer.

In the end I sent off 22 packs of seeds to the Alpine Garden Society, the Scottish Rock Garden Society, and the North American Rock Garden Society.  Besides sharing with others this will give the donor first pick privileges when the seeds are distributed this winter.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2017

The Cutting Garden

It’s been an amazing start to the month of August.  The temperatures and rainfall have been more like what we expect for the fall, but the days are still the extended light of summertime.  It’s made for lush garden growth with both flowers and vegetables producing abundantly.  The birds, bees, and butterflies have all been appreciating the flower seeds and pollen.

Swallowtail on Cosmos

The front circle bed also shows the abundant August flowering with a lot of black-eyed susans (the Maryland state flower) and purple echinaceas. There are also gaura, rudbeckia. lavender, cardinal flowers (red lobelia) and alliums in the mix.

Front bed

Elsewhere in the yard the great blue lobelia has returned again.

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

It’s supposed to be a short-lived perennial but shows no sign of disappearing.  Nearby is a Roscoea that is becoming an August regular.

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

I was surprised to see a few flowers returning to one of the Epimediums.  Don’t recall seeing that before.

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Pretty in Pink’

Another flower returning to bloom is the Canna lily ‘Orange Punch’ but it’s not surprising to see frequent flowering of the Canna lily.

Canna ‘Orange Punch’

A fall favorite are the toad lilies and the first of these is now in bloom.

Tricyrtis ‘Autumn Glow’

In the middle of the yard we have several Anemone ‘Wild Swan’.  These are noted for the purple blush on the back of the flower, but for me they are not the best of the Anemone clan.

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ from the back

In one the Alpine beds there is a little Anemone multifida that has wonderful red flower color.

Anemone multifida ‘Rubra’

Next to it are a great many Gentiana paradoxa.

Gentiana paradoxa

This a marvelous plant with a very extended flowering time.

Turning our collective eyes to the greenhouse, the Cyrtanthus elatus has put out a lovely cluster of flowers.

Cyrtanthus elatus

Think of this as a more elegant Amaryllis, pretty enough that I brought it inside.

The greenhouse also has the very pretty formosa lily which could be moved outside but I have not done that yet.

Formosa lily (Lilium formosanum)

Another Lily-like plant is Calostemma luteum (actually in the Amaryllis family) from Australia.

Yellow Garland-Lily (Calostemma lutea)

An especially pretty South American plant is Habranthus marinezi

Habranthus martinezi

A more common Habranthus is the Rio Grande Rain Lily and it’s also in bloom right now.

Habranthus tubispathus v. texensis

I also found the the greek cyclamen not only in flower but trying to break the bonds of its container.

Cyclamen graecum trying to escape their prison

Cyclamen graecum

Let me leave the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with new flower for me from the greenhouse.  This is a very cute little dwarf Nerine.

Nerine masoniorum

This is a very distinctive little South African native with multiple flowers showing dark stamens against a light pink background.  Very nice.  So what are you growing in your garden for bloom day?

Summer Crabapple Delight

Dolgo Crabapples

We have grown crabapples for many years in the front yard without ever making good use of the fruit.  Of course the abundant white flowers in the springtime are delightful and the pretty summertime fruit have always been appreciated but we never harvested them for eating.  Until now that is.  Our youngest son was inspired by the sprightly taste of the fruit.  He picked a bunch of them and made a couple of galettes, one with the crabapples and one with blueberries, apricots, and peaches.  Both were quite good, but the crabapple one was really special.  Think of the best rhubarb pie you’ve ever tasted.

Galettes in prep

Two Galettes

This was so good, that he went out this week and picked another batch of the crabapples.

Dolgo Crabapples

The remarkable thing about these little crabapples is that a very high percentage are without blemish or insect damage and this is without any spraying at all.  This is quite a contrast with our normal apple trees.

This is a very active time outdoors right now.  I thought I would also share another of the interesting spiders that we have run across.

Phidippus johnsoni jumping spider.

I always find the jumping spiders have considerable personality.

And another interesting tidbit is the arrival of the rain lilies.

Pink Rain Lily (Habranthus robustus)

We have grown these very hardy rain lilies for many years and they seem early this year but we had some strong rains and up they came.  I had also moved one of the Zephyranthes from the greenhouse last year and seems to be doing fine, though it is supposed to be a zone 8 plant.

Zephyranthes rosea

I would also note in passing that this is a good time to be gathering seeds for the various seed exchanges.  Some are quite easy to find like the Zephyranthes.

Zephyranthes seeds

Lastly I’ll close this post with one of the prettiest lilies I’ve come across (unnamed at the moment).

Unnamed Pink Lily

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2017

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Let me lead off with this lovely South African native that I featured in my last post.  It is still fully flowering following our recent travels and you can see how lovely it is.  Like many of the South African bulbs it is growing in our greenhouse (probably would go to zone 8, but that’s not us).  It’s well worth the wait to finally see this in flower.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Outside we have many flowers in bloom right now, as do most gardens I suspect.  The staggering fragrance of lilies calls for first attention.

Lilium ‘Anastastia’

Every year the lilies seem to come back and dominate the summer.  Anastastia is a particularly tall and strong Oriental/Trumpet hybrid.

Lily Oriental-Trumpet ‘Anastasia’

Another reliable Orienpet is ‘Scherezade’.

Lilium Oriental/Trumpet Scheherazade

It makes for a spectacular display in the house.

Lilium ‘Scheherezade’ arrangment

Other lilies of note follow

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium ‘Casablanca’

And then there are the daylilies, a different genus but similar in many ways.

Red Daylily

Outrageously golden daylily

And let us not forget the iris family.  Several types of Crocosmia are in bloom right now too.

Crocosmia – x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’

And our winter was gentle enough that the gladiolas that I failed to dig last year all came back in abundance.  It’s the best crop of glads we have ever had.  They’ve been blooming for a month now.

Glads in abundance, including ‘Margaret Rose’ and ‘Jester’

The Echinacea in the front bed are putting on a fine show right now.

Echinacea in the front bed

And the sunflowers are abundantly flowering in the vegetable garden in many sizes and colors.

Sunflower

Burnt-colored Sunflower

In the alpine bed the first flowers are showing on the Gentian paradoxa, and this earlier than I ever remember seeing them in bloom.

Gentian paradoxa

Altogether it’s a fine showing for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, as evident by Beth’s flower vase arrangement.

Some of Beth’s flower pickings for today in the late afternoon sunlight

 

A Lesson in Patience

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis in bud

I have been growing Haemanthus humilis sap. humilis since 2013.  The seeds were obtained from a contribution from Jim Shields to the Pacific Bulb Society as part of their bulb and seed exchange program.  The plants came pretty quickly the next year but I have waited and waited for any indication that they would like to flower.  And then, as luck would have it this bud appeared the day before we were scheduled to leave on a ten day trip to Colorado.  And as I looked more closely I saw that other pots were also in bud.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis budding

Fortunately my son was able to get a couple of shots later in the week showing their progress and it looks likely that they will still be in bloom when we return home.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis in flower

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

This is all a testament to patience as you wait for plants to reach their potential.  These pots were full of plant with no indication of flowering, so I was beginning to wonder if they were worth repotting.  It’s also another endorsement for the Pacific Bulb Society which is a wonderful resource for bulbs from all over the world, not just via the bulb exchange which they carry out but for the comprehensive information that is provided by members.

As another example of a plant obtained from the PBS this Eucomis was in flower when I left.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This was obtained from small bulbs distributed by the PBS (also in 2013).

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 May 2017

Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum)

Wow, a very busy day yesterday in gardenland.  I discovered the horned poppy shown above had returned after a year’s absence in flowering as I was catching up with the vegetable garden on an absolutely gorgeous spring day here in Maryland.  My cup runneth over with chores at this time of year, but the weather has been most cooperative (at last!).  I tilled the garden, finished weeding the strawberries, planted out the veggies started in the basement, seeded much of the rest of the garden, put in more glads and dahlias, and meanwhile Beth and Josh were weeding and pruning like mad.

Getting the garden planted

As usual on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I will share some of the flowers of interest blooming around the yard.  It’s worthwhile to step back from my close-up images to see the wide array of flowering plants right now.

Front Garden Circle

I’ve noticed that some folks tend to think of ‘garden’ as the larger scale perspective, whereas I often get caught up with the specific flowers.  This little blossom on the Kalmiopsis leachiana, for example, is almost hidden amidst the surrounding Daphne.

Kalmiopsis leachiana amid daphne spent flowers

Another small distinctive flower that first bloomed last fall and is repeating already is this little Delphinium.

Delphinium cashmerianum

A constant volunteer for us is this little pink columbine that we inherited from Beth’s mother.

Aquilegia light pink

In the garden leading to the greenhouse gateway, there is a floriferous Callirhoe variant.

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba ‘Logan Calhoun’

A quite distinctive plant is this allium which is just finished blooming and looks like it has little onions for seed pods.

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

The very fragrant Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’ is also just at the end of its blooming.

Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’

By the back porch there is a lovely Bougainvillea that has overwintered in the greenhouse.

Bougainvillea pink and white

Of course, it’s hard not to miss the peonies in May.

Paonia ‘Sweet Shelly’

We also have yellow flowered peony that has been with us for thirty years.

Yellow Shrub Peony

The name has long since disappeared.

And the old stalwart, Festiva Maxima.

Paonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

We brought this one with us from Alexandria in 1975 and have planted it in many places around the property.  It thrives everywhere, even in the pasture with no real care.  The fragrance is wonderful and they make great cut flowers.

Paonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Another plant that thrives on neglect is Baptisia.

Baptisia x variicolor ‘Twilite Prairieblues’

These grow right by the pasture with no assistance whatsoever.

The various iris species also have a celebration time in May.

Bearded Iris pink cultivar

Iris tectorum

At the back of the garage we have very large Black Lace Elderberry that is fully in flower right now.

Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

One of my favorite alpine plants is the Edrianthus pumilo which grows in a nicely formed cushion in the Large Trough by the greenhouse.

Edrianthus pumilo

Let me leave you with a couple of the birds which have shown up recently in the yard.  First a bluebird which is probably nested nearby.

Bluebird salute

And a Yellow-rumped warbler which is more likely just passing through but is the first instance I’ve seen on our hillside.

Yellow -rumped Warbler