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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 March 2019

Ferraria ferrariola in the greenhouse

Well, I guess it’s a typical March Bloom Day.  The weather has oscillated from snowfall to 60 degrees of beautiful.  The last snow we had was last week and it disappeared almost as fast as it came.  With 70 degrees yesterday.

March 9 snow

Heather in the snow (Kramer’s Rote Heather)

But this week we are back to spring bulbs in abundance.

Winter Aconite in abundance

The Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) are spreading vigorously and my thought is take some of the seed that appears this year and help things along by spreading it other places.

The first Iris has popped up in the front yard beneath the Stewartia

First Iris

And the first Scilla are flowering in the woods.

Puschkinia scilloides

A very special Hellebore is preceeding its brethren with charming striped flowers.

Helleborus thibetanus

And the Adonis are still flowering in various parts of the yard.  Especially nice is the orange variant, Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

In the alpine bed the Draba is the first to appear

Draba hispanica growing in a piece of tufa rock

And beside it the first flowers are appearing on the Aubretia.

Aubretia

In the greenhouse, where I tend to think of it as South African spring, the exotic Ferrarias are capturing a lot interest at the moment.

Ferraria sp.

There a number of other unusual flowers at the moment that make nice indoor treats

Babiana purpurea

Geissorhiza inaequalis

Moraea vegetata

But for the indoors I have to give the most credit to the Clivias which have been spectacular this year.

Spectacular Yellow Clivia

Hall of Clivia at the front door

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2019

Moraea elegans

I thought I would start this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with a bright and cheerful Moraea from the greenhouse.  This is one of the prettiest bulbs in existence.  It flowers for only a short time, so I was glad to catch it just as it opened.  It’s also been reclassified as Homeria where it becomes a noxious weed according to the USDA.  Since it’s hard to keep growing even in cultivation it’s hard to understand how it earned that distinction.

Nearby is a little scilla from Syria

Scilla cilicica

Like many of the small squills, this one has startling dark purple anthers

Outside the greenhouse the world has a few flowers but mostly it’s all in anticipation of things to come after the ice and snow of the last week.

In particular the snowdrops have been doing their part.

Galanthus elwesii

Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Blewbury Tart’

And the Winter Aconite are just beginning to appear. 

Winter Aconiter (Eranthis hyemalis)

but most of the rest are playing a waiting game

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ waiting in the wings

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Paonia caucasica in bud

Pictures of trees and shrubs show why the flowers are not in a big hurry yet.

American Holly

Dwarf Cryptomeria covered in ice

I think it’s fair to guess that by this time next month we will be covered in flowers.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2019

Well a couple a snowfalls have put a definite damper on our flower show for this January Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  The view out the back door gives a sense of our surroundings this mid-January day.

Backyard after fresh snowfall

Nonetheless there are couple of stalwarts that have seen fit to bloom despite the snow.

Pink Camellia

I have no idea the name of this camellia.  I brought it back from California in my lap many years ago as one gallon $2.99 supermarket acquisition.  I grew many years in the basement before I realized that the camellias were likely hardy enough to survive outside.  For a winter like this one where we have yet to see temperatures below twenty degrees, this plant will flower from December onward.  When it’s freezing cold the flowers will get browned off at the edges but usually we can grab a nice bud in the opening stage and enjoy it in the house before that happens.

And, of course, if they are not covered by snow, the snowdrops will persist in flowering well into spring.

Snowdrops

The other flowers for us are from the greenhouse.

Firelight Gold daffodil on block wall

Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Firelight Gold’

Notice the number of buds forming in this pot.  I will definitely need to divide these after they go dormant.

Narcissus Roy Herold seedling

Beyond the greenhouse it’s also worth looking at flowers in preparation, for example the Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia buds

And some remarkably early Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia (early)

I amazed each year the early appearance of flowers on this single Jeffersonia dubia.  It looks like it is predisposed to flower much sooner than Jeffersonia ought to be waking up.

I’ll close with a picture of the large pileated woodpecker that has been working on our big tulip poplar…

Pileated Woodpecker

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2018

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)

Yesterday’s Bloom Day began with a snowstorm that ended up depositing 6 inches by the end of the day.  Early on you could still see the corydalis pictured above and one of the camellias in the front yard.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’ in the snow

Anticipating the snow, I had taken pictures around the yard the day before, including the same camellia.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

Yet another fall blooming camellia was in the side yard.

Camellia x ‘Survivor’

Hardiness is generally not a problem for camellias in our area but getting blooms at the right time can sometimes be problematical.  The spring blooming camellias are loaded with buds but they will sometimes pop open in a December thaw only to be burned off in the next freeze.

Also still blooming this week before the snowfall was the blue sage in the orchard.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

This sage has been in constant bloom since early summer.  Similarly the Viola jooi in the Alpine bed has come back into bloom again.

Viola jooi

There aren’t a lot of other flowers right now because we finally had our first freeze last week and many things got burned off.  One last remnant is this knockout rose.

Knockout Rose ‘Pink’

In preparation for the freeze, we covered up the newly planted Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’.

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

This is the third try for this lovely Mahonia which is only marginally hardy here.  We are hoping that covering it up will help it get through the winter.

We also gathered pine needles from the driveway and made a little nest for the pomegranate planted in the orchard.

White Pine needles on the driveway

Pomegranate tucked in for the winter surrounded by the last few zinnias

This is another of those plants where we are pushing the survival limits.

Otherwise we need to go into the greenhouse for flowers in November.

Oxalis in the greenhouse

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis luteola just opening

In closing I want to share an early November picture of a lovely Amur Maple in the front yard.

Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

In some areas of the country this is seen as invasive but for us it’s been very well behaved and a seasonal favorite.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2018

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

As has been the case for many other October Garden Blogger Bloom Days the double flowered Anemone Japonica hybrid shown above has been the bell-ringer.  It produces many outstanding flowers and they can be cut and brought into the house.  It is modestly aggressive like all of it’s kin, but they pull out easily when they go where you don’t want them.

Another fall favorite are the various toad lilies.  Probably the most abundant for us is Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

It goes well with the New England Asters that are nearby

New England Aster

I was pleased to find that two spring plantings of fall camellias have produced flowers this year.

Camellia sasanqua ‘White’

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

This last one is loaded with flowers, maybe 20-30 buds.

Two Roses from the springtime have some very nice buds to remind us of what they will do for us next year.

Rosa ‘Crocus Rose’ (David Austin)

Rosa ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (David Austin)

Back in the Alpine Garden one of the Daphnes is flowering once again.  And with a marvelous fragrance of course.

Daphne collina x cneorum

And in a small trough that I inherited and can take no credit for there is a lovely little red sedum that has been flowering for the last month.

Sedum (cauticola?)

We have a number of plants in pots that will have to find a nice place for the winter.  One of them is the Plectranthus sitting on the back porch.  It has been a real winner.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Another non-hardy plant that is flowering strongly for the first time for us in Nerine Sarniensis.  It looks like it will produce many offsets in the future.

Nerine sarniensis

In the greenhouse are many little pots of Cyclamen graecum.  While they are not hardy, they are quite willing to jump into neighboring pots.

Cyclamen graecum

As a postscript I should add that this has been a really strange season for many trees, including our apples.  However the Kieffer Pears have outdone themselves, producing so many pears that a major branch of the tree broke off.  I have been having daily sandwiches of brie and pear.  Highly recommended.

Kieffer Pear

Well that’s about it for our garden, what about yours?

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day Sept 2018

Yellow Chysanthemums

Well, it’s been a strange time for flowers on this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  While we have dodged the hurricane bullet that hit the folks in the Carolinas, the weather has been unusual to say the least.  To date we have had over 52 inches of rain compared to the normal of 29 inches through mid-September.  On the one hand we have the traditional flowers for September like the mums shown above.  And some remarkable Dahlias from the garden.

Dahlia ‘Winkie Colonel’

Dahlia ‘AC Ben’

But we have also had the Apples drop most of there leaves in July and August and they are now re-blooming.

Apple Blossom in September

Many other trees have dropped their leaves and the Azaleas out front are blooming again.

Azalea reblooming in September

Despite the strange weather there are still a set of interesting flowers to find around the yard, for example this Roscoea.

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

And in the greenhouse the rather unusual large Scilla maderensis is flowering once again.

Scilla maderensis

Some other items of note include this six foot tall Canna that came from a friend this year.

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’

The Knockout Roses are continuing to bloom.

Rose ‘Knockout Pink’

And the Perennial Pea is blooming once again despite our attempts to remove it.

Lathyrus latifolius

We have found that Phlox also reappears from long ago planting with or without our tending to it.

Self-seeded Phlox

And in the orchard the Blue Sage has been in continuous bloom since late spring.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

Some of our outside work is getting set aside because of several nests of Yellowjackets.  They took up residence in one our large pots on the deck and also in the ground by one of the raised beds.  These guys seem impervious to chemicals and according to the web can be quite dangerous (not something we want to test since I for one am allergic to wasp venom) and there are hundreds of them.

Yellow jacket wasp

Finally, let me note that this is time for packing up your seeds to send off to the various seed exchanges.  By becoming a seed donor, you get first choice when you participate in the seed exchanges organizations.  Check out the North American Rock Garden Society for example.

Packing up Seeds