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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

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2018

Sunflower glory

It’s been hot but with enough rain to grow the weeds and sunflowers to magnificence.  So I will dedicate this belated Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day posting to the many sunflowers in the garden.

Sunflowers reaching for the sky

Some of them are easily ten feet tall.

Sunflowers way high up

But they are all wonderful for birds, bees, and humans alike.

Sunflower

Sunflower

A close namesake is the Mexican Sunflower

Tithonia rotundifolia with Bee

Tithonia are also very popular with bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The vegetable garden also features gladiolus in quantity.

Gladiolus ‘Black Cherry’

The glads get displayed in the house.

Glads in the house

Along with several kinds of Cyrtanthus from the greenhouse.

Cyrtanthus sanguineus

Think of Cyrtanthus as smaller, more refined Amaryllis.

Also in the greenhouse right now are the little scilla relatives from Japan

Barnardia japonica

In the Alpine bed we find the most recent Gentian to come into bloom.

Gentiana paradoxa

The gentians, with the various species, span spring to fall with flowers, and all of them have delightful complex flowers.

Another little tidbit in flower right now is the anemonopsis

Anemonopsis macrophylla

I have been trying to flower one of these for years and this is the first one to share it’s dainty little waxy flowers.

Out in the orchard there are zinnias around the new apple trees.

Zinnias in the orchard

Of course gardeners do not survive on flowers alone.

Early August harvest basket

Japanese Pear ‘Nijiseiki’

Raspberries ripening again

That’s about it on a hot summer day.  We are running 15 inches over normal for rain to this point.  I’m wondering what the fall will bring…

 

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2018

Lilium ‘Anastastia’

Over the years July has consistently meant lily time on our hillside.  Some like the Anastastia pictured above are rampant growers and others are singular specimens.  Almost have wonderful fragrance that makes you turn your head as you walk by.  This year I failed to do a good job of tying up the Anastasia, which want to be 8-10 feet tall, and so they are flopping over the fence.  But large segments come into the house for closer appreciation.

Lily Oriental-Trumpet ‘Anastasia’

Oriental lily ‘Stargazer’

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Lilium Oriental ‘Josephine’ (this is supposed to be much darker pink according to the pictures online)

Orienpet Hybrid Lily ‘Scheherazade’

Oriental lily ‘Marco Polo’

Oriental Lily ‘Time Out’

Of course a gardener cannot live on lilies alone.  Other flowers abound.

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica)

Golden Daylily

Red Daylily

Pink Phlox

Zinnia in the pasture

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea) in the orchard

Echinaceas in the front bed

In the alpine bed, the same gentians that were just starting last month continue to be in flower.

Gentiana dahurica

Gentiana dahurica from above

In the greenhouse the Haemanthus that appeared in bloom for the first time last year are once again flowering.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

Having had a wonderful time making Apricot jam over past few weeks

Apricots simmering in the pot

Apricot jam in the jar

We are now looking forward to a nice looking crop of peaches.

Redhaven Peach

Well, that’s a summary of where we are on this very dry Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  No rain for several weeks now, and hoping for a thunderstorm tomorrow….

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2018

Pink Rhododendron by the back fence

Well, I’m late for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again, but my excuse is that I returned from California late in the day and I was lucky just to get some pictures much less get them posted.  The next day saw mammoth rain storms that have closed roads and bridges all over Frederick County.  At the moment we’ll just feel lucky that we live on the top of a hill.  Actually it’s not just luck.  We lived on a part of George Washington’s River Farm in our previous house complete with flooded basements so we compensated for that.  I think you are allowed to learn only one thing each time you move.  Anyway there were a few charmers in bloom when I got back, although a few hot days had accelerated through a few blooms.  As noted above the Pink Rhododendron above is one of our favorites.

Our best Rhododendron

It’s cousins, the Azaleas, are also showing magnificently.  Two particular examples are Exbury Hybrids.

Exbury Azalea ‘Gibraltar’

Exbury Azalea ‘Klondyke’

The first of the herbaceous Peonies is in bloom as well.

Peony ‘Sweet Shelly’

Two of the many Columbines are worth noting as well.

Aquilegia buergeriana var. oxysepala

Pink Columbine

Right nearby to the Pink Columbine is the first sighting of the Clematis ‘Niobe’ for the year.

Clematis ‘Niobe’

At the side of the garage is a very reliable Korean Lilac.  

Persistent Korean Lilac

We forgot about planting this one twice and assumed it was dead in dried out pot.  Each time it returned to life so I finally gave it a good home and it is happily blooming now.  Right next to it is a quite cute little Enkianthus that is blooming now.

Enkianthus alatus

One of my favorite rock garden plants is Edraianthus.  One is blooming in a little trough right now.

Edraianthus serpyllifolius

Edraianthus serpyllifolius in trough

Another Edraianthus just coming into bloom is one of the best cushion plants we have.

Edraianthus pumilio

Another trough specimen is the Silver Sax at the back door.

Sliver Sax in bloom (Saxifraga x ‘Southside Seedling’)

In the greenhouse a white-pink Bougainvillea is fully in bloom.

White-Pink Bougainvillea

Time to move this one outside.

Also there is a Zephyranthus with pretty notable color.

Zephyranthes katheriniae ‘Rubra’

And the Pomegranate in the greenhouse is well into bloom.

Pomegranate in flower

Finally Beth has been picking Iris for use in the house.

Bearded Iris in the house

And let me close with a picture I took in California of one of the plants from the Univ of Calif Botanic Garden (deserving of a blog post all on it’s own)

Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus cinerascens v. Ehrenbergii )

Turning the Corner to Spring

Double Pink Camellia japonica

This Camellia has been flirting with blooming all winter long but now it’s buds have finally gotten clearance to bloom and they are blooming abundantly.

We were in Boston for Easter and it was delightful to return to a flower-filled garden.  The Corydalis and Chionodoxa are instant scene stealers.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Chionodoxa forbesii

There are many other nice Corydalis but here are two that I like in particular.

Corydalis solida ‘Decipiens’

Corydalis kusnetzovii x C.solida ‘Cherry Lady’

Many of the Scilla are of a similar hue to the Chionodoxa but quite different in detail. Look at the anthers in particular.

Scilla biflora

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ anther detail

Once again I can’t say enough good things about Primula vulgaris.  It’s very self-sufficient and flowers for a long time.

Primula vulgaris

A particularly nice Anemone is ‘Green Hurricane’.  The contrast between the early leaves and flowers is stunning.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

While most of the Adonis are finishing two of the special ones are just starting.

Adonis amurensis ‘Pleniflora’

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

Meanwhile in the alpine bed, the Pulsatilla have justified all the effort it took to make them a comfortable home.

Pulsatilla grandis

Pulsatilla campanella

The little Draba rigida comes three weeks after the hispanica.

Draba rigida

Meanwhile I notice that I have a bud on the Alpine Poppy grown from seed last year.  This should be fun.

Papaver alpinum

In the greenhouse there’s a bright red Tulip on display (from tiny bulblets planted last year)

Tulipa linifolia

And some spectacular Tritonia including this one.

Tritonia crocata

And a really nice Gladiolia hybrid

Gladiolus huttonii × tristis hybrid

Also a nice little Ixia that has many, many blooms.

Ixia flexuosa

(All four of these bulbs from the Pacific Bulb Society).

Of course the greenhouse also contributed to the inside of the house where we have some magnificent Clivia on display.

Yellow Clivia

Orange Clivia

And the many Daffodils and Forsythia that Beth has been harvesting.

Daffodils galore

Forsythia in bloom

And given the date can the bluebells be far behind…

Bluebells close to blooming

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2018 (very late!)

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Golden Lotus’

A very belated GBBD posting.  I returned from a week in Florida to find that the spring had not really moved along very far in my absence.  There were a number of the regulars in flower, but since the weather has now delivered one of the heaviest snowstorms of the winter, it’s probably just as well that some of the plants waited a little longer.  The Hellebore pictured above is one of many of it’s clan in bloom, but it’s one of my favorites.

The crocus are fully in bloom now.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

This particular clump under the cherry tree expands every year.  Unlike some of the species crocus which seem to lag from competition with each other.

Another spectacular tommy that I’ve lost the name of is this striped variety.

Crocus tommasinianus

The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.

Iris histrioides ‘Major’

It’s interesting to note that the Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’ which is very compact and close to the ground in the Alpine bed is taller and quite lovely in one of the humus-filled garden beds.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

Also making an early spring entry are the little Hacquetia.  The noticable parts are the big bracts whereas the flowers are the little tiny yellow guys.

Hacquetia epipactis

One of my favorite plants for early spring are the Primrose vulgaris.  There is nothing common or vulgar about these little yellow/white flowers spreading every year.

Primula vulgaris

Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.

Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’

I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.

Scilla biflora ‘Roseus’

In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.

Aubretia ‘Blue Beauty’

And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.

Pulsatilla grandiflora

In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.

Freesia ‘Red River’

Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.

Sparaxis Hadeco Hybrid

Moraea sp. MM 03-04a blue

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

Lachenalia unicolor

One of the greenhouse plants we can’t overlook is the Portuguese Squill.  It’s a real enjoyment to watch it go through it’s flowering.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana flower detail

And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.

Ferraria crispa v. nortieri

For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow.  Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.

 

Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring.  One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata.  This little member of the Iris family has a common name of  bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans.  It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night.  For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening.  When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent.  The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above.  When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant.  Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.

Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da!  Clearly a sign of spring.

First daffodil

Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed

Winter Aconite galore

They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.

There are number of Hellebores making their presence known.  More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom.  One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.

Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.

And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.

Hepatica japonica pink

It’s Adonis Springtime

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’

All it took was a lovely 50 degree day to bring lots of flowers into bloom.  Especially lovely is this spectacular Adonis from the Chichibu mountain region of Japan.  The entire six year-old plant keeps slowly expanding and it is worth the wait.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ in the late afternoon light

And I discovered this year that the seed that I planted from this flower in 2013 has finally yielded a flower as well.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ Seedling

Of course the yellow flowered Adonis cannot be ignored on a sunny day either

Adonis ‘fukujukai’

These intrepid early flowers had company today.  Even the Jeffersonia, which is way out of correct timing, has flowers appearing.

Jeffersonia dubia

And I discovered as I scraped leaves away that the Helleborus thibetanus was also in flower under the leaves.

Helleborus thibetanus

It was not surprising to see that more of the Eranthis are also in bloom.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwelglanz’

And the alpine bed had the first flowers on the very nice Draba hispanica.

Draba hispanica

Of course, I shouldn’t ignore two little Moraeas that are blooming in the greenhouse.

Moraea macronyx

Moraea ciliata

Altogether it was really nice to follow up the snowfall of yesterday with work in the yard pulling off the leaves and revealing treasures.