Articles

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…

 

 

 

 

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

 

A New Flower for December

Oxalis palmifrons

I have been growing Oxalis palmifrons since 2013 without a hint of a flower to be seen.  This year, upon my return from Thanksgiving in Boston, I was surprised and happy to see the first buds on the little Oxalis palmifrons (obtained from Plant Delights).

Oxalis palmifrons

You may remember that Oxalis palmifrons has these delightful little palm-like leaves, and the flowers are just a marvelous bonus!

Oxalis palmifrons

In the greenhouse there are still more Oxalis in bloom.

Oxalis massoniana

Oxalis caprina

And the Daubenya that blooms very reliably for Thanksgiving.

Daubenya stylosa

I remember first seeing it at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden over a Thansgiving holiday.

Also in bloom from the greenhouse (though I’ve brought it into the house to enjoy) is the first of the small Narcissus for this year.

Narcissus catabricus ‘Silver Palace’

I actually counted 24 blooms in the pot tonight.

In the house for the winter time is the Amazon Lily.  Characteristically this one flowers every thanksgiving holiday in celebration of the fact that it belonged to Beth’s mother who always used to prepare the thanksgiving meal for the family.  And it flowers again outside in July.  This year it seemed to outdo itself with flowers which carried a wonderful fragrance we had not noticed before.

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

Bear in mind that this plant has been in the same pot for about 30 years with only occasional watering.

Something funny happened on the way to the greenhouse to take some of these pictures.  Despite the fact that we have been down to 20 degrees in mid-November, the subsequent weather has only hovered around freezing for the lows.  I noticed a very spritely little wallflower in bloom.

Cascade wallflower (Erysimum arenicola)

And then the first of our nominally spring-blooming camellias.

Camelia japonica red

How’s that for the beginning of December in Maryland…:)

Jewels of Spring

Hepatica americana pink

It’s that time of year when I wish each day would linger so that we can enjoy all the jewels of springtime that are popping up day by day.  I’m so busy outside that I’ve not kept up with recording all the flowers coming into bloom right now.  The spring ephemerals are always at the top of my enjoyment list.  Many of them are small, transitory, and wonderfully beautiful.  Hepaticas come to mind with their small hairy leaves and colorful stamens.

Hepatica japonica purple

Hepatica japonica red and white

But there are many competitors for my eye.  Here are a few that have come in the last few weeks.

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

Pulsatilla grandis

Primula allionii ‘Wharfefdale Ling’

Geum reptans

This is a new plant grown from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Club seed exchange last year.

Corydalis kusnetzovii x C.solida ‘Cherry Lady’

A new addition from Augis Bulbs last summer.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Erythronium dens-canis ‘Rose Queen’

Jeffersonia diphylla

Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’

Arisaema ringens

Anemone blanda ‘Violet Star’

Spring Beauty ‘Clatonia virginica’

Fessia hohenackeri (note the stamens)

A favorite combo – Chionodoxa and Anemone blanda

Of course, even in springtime the greenhouse is contributing it’s part.

Ferraria ferrariola

Moraea sp. MM 03-04a blue

Tritonia ‘Bermuda Sands’

Scilla peruviana

A wonderful plant.  I have some outside as well and last year they managed to flower.

Paradisea lusitanica

This comes on a 3 1/2 foot stalk.  I’m going to try putting it outside this year.  It’s marginally hardy in our area and it would be wonderful if it succeeds.

And then lastly the greenhouse provided a lot of color to the house

Clivia in the Entryway

Almost Missed Them

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

With so much happening out of doors right now it would be easy to pass by some of the things happening in the greenhouse.  At the back of the greenhouse I almost missed seeing the flowers of this lovely evergreen Einkianthus.  I’m usually looking at the pots, especially when for what is just popping up from seed and I had already concluded there were no flower buds on this Einkianthus.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this shrub has many flowers on it (the first time for us).  Apparently the flowers follow the leaves.  The drooping bells are much larger and prettier than the normal Einkianthus alatus, but the plant is probably not hardy here.  We put the pot in the ground after last frost.

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

It is especially easy to miss the Moraeas since the flowers have very short duration.  But the colors are marvelous from these little plants from the iris family.

Moraea macronyx

I don’t know if the torn petals were from normal wear and tear or some critter.  But what was left is lovely.  Wait till next year.

Two more stunning Moraeas follow.

Moraea tripetala ssp. tripetala

Moraea elegans

I should have more Moraeas over the next few weeks.

There are also several lachenalias in bloom.

Lachenalia unicolor

And a marvelous little ornithogalum.

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

This one may be worth a try outside.

And another almost missed is this lovely hesperantha.

Hesperantha falcata showing unopened bud as well

On a hunch I went out to the greenhouse after supper and found the hesperantha was blooming although all the buds had been tightly closed at 3pm.  Apparently this hesperantha specializes in serving the nighttime insects.  How many of those we have in Maryland right now I’m not sure.  I first grew this plant several years ago and then lost the parent but I had saved the seed and this is the first child of that mother plant.  By the way all of these plants except the Einkianthus came from the Pacific Bulb Society‘s seed and bulb exchanges.  It’s a marvelous source of botanical marvels.  Besides opening at the night the Hesperantha falcata exudes a lovely scent to attract all of us late night flower hunters…

Hesperantha falcata

Hello Springtime!

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai'

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Is it just me or has spring been incredibly slow in arriving this year…

Anyway, with a few warm days it looks like all the normal players are contributing to the daily walk around interest in the yard.  Key for me are always the Adonis which got a little bedraggled from the back and forth of snowstorms and freezing ground.  But even the special Sandanzaki is beginning to bud out.

Adonis amurensis 'Sandanzaki' just opening

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ just opening

The little species crocus have been popping out in the lawn where I scattered them years ago

Small mixed species crocus in the lawn

Small mixed species crocus in the lawn

And there is an especially nice tommassinianus that I would recommend to anyone.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Roseus'

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Roseus’

Just today the little histroides iris that has been threatening to bloom since December has finally opened up.

Iris histrioides 'George'

Iris histrioides ‘George’

Another standard for the early garden is the primrose that dots the spring pastures in England.

Primula vulgaris

Primula vulgaris

With things starting to pop outdoors it is ironic that some of the most fascinating flowers right now are in the greenhouse.  There’s a spectacular Moraea that opened up today.

Moraea elegans in bud

Moraea elegans in bud

Moraea elegans

Moraea elegans

And a little Romulea that is the first of its clan to flower this year.

Romulea monticola

Romulea monticola

A couple of years ago (thanks Dick) a friend gave me some peruvian scilla bulbs that I potted up for the greenhouse.  Mine were in the outside garden and have since perished from two really cold winters in succession.  Anyway these squill have chosen to flower out of the pots this year and they are spectacular.  There are 5 bulbs in each pot and this what just one of them looks like.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana

There’s a another Oxalis that I got from Brent&Becky last fall.

Oxalis adenophylla

Oxalis adenophylla

It has lovely crinkled foliage and is said to be hardy as well (I put a few in the flower bed so we shall see).

We have three good sized Clivia and they are flowering now as well.  Nice enough that they earned a spot in the house.

Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata

Everyone should have clivia, they are so carefree and reliable.

And last but surely not least the first of my Ferrarias has come into bloom.

Labeled as Ferraria uncinata but I think it is more likely one of the crispa forms

Labeled as Ferraria uncinata but I think it is more likely one of the crispa forms

Starfish lily is another of the names that the Ferrarias go by.  It is hard to imagine a more complex curling of the flower petals (claws) than on the Ferraria.  This was another acquisition from the Pacific Bulb Society’s Bulb Exchange.  I don’t know of any other way to get these little jewels.  Can you picture what a field of these looks like in South Africa?

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – April 2015

Daffodil bouquet

Daffodil bouquet

As I was gathering up pictures for this post, I found it hard to stay focussed on the task.  Each image I came across seemed to lead me down a path of ‘what was the name of that flower?’.  I clearly need a garden elf who goes around checking on labels.  Anyway, let me begin by saying April is, as always, a time of flower abundance so that Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is necessarily a picking and choosing of which flowers to display.  The daffodils are everywhere and their fragrance dominates the inside of the house and all of the gardens.  But it is also a time to revel in the Hellebores who, though they started much earlier, have not gone away at all.

Helleborus x hybridus 'Kingston Cardinal'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Kingston Cardinal’

Helleborus x hybridus 'Cotton Candy'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Cotton Candy’

Helleborus x hybridus 'Peppermint Ice'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Peppermint Ice’

Helleborus hybrid ‘MG Apricot’

Helleborus hybrid ‘MG Apricot’

In contrast, it is worth noting that this is the peak time for the spring ephemerals which clamor to be appreciated for their very short time on the stage.  They are generally around for just a few days at most and require getting down on your hands and knees to see the wonderful details.

Anemonella thalictroides

Anemonella thalictroides

Anemonella thalictroides 'Shoaf's Double Pink'

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Shoaf’s Double Pink’

Corydalis solida 'Cantata'

Corydalis solida ‘Cantata’

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia (light colored)

Jeffersonia dubia (light colored)

Hepatica nobilis 'Lithuanian Blues'

Hepatica nobilis ‘Lithuanian Blues’

Erythronium dens-canis 'Rose Queen'

Erythronium dens-canis ‘Rose Queen’

Erythronium americanum in abundance

Erythronium americanum in abundance

Bloodroot colony (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot colony (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Sanguinaria canadensis Multiplex

Sanguinaria canadensis Multiplex

A longer lasting springtime favorite is the Roadrunner trillium.

Trillium pusillum 'Roadrunner'

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

In the orchard and the woods the cherries are in bloom.

Sweet Cherry blossoms

Sweet Cherry blossoms

And alpine bed and troughs feature some distinctive flowers that are not usually part of the Maryland landscape.

A host of Aubretia

A host of Aubretia

Saxifraga apiculata alba

Saxifraga apiculata alba

Vitaliana primuliflora

Vitaliana primuliflora

Inside the house, the clivia is trying hard to make us focus on indoor flowers.

Clivia miniata makes a statement

Clivia miniata makes a statement

And lastly, since I am well past the normal posting time, let me close with the latest Cypripedium that we added from this year’s visit to Plant Delights.  It’s a ahead of it’s season because I’ve just taken it from the greenhouse.

Cypripedium 'Emil'

Cypripedium ‘Emil’

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2015

Aubretia overcoming the winter cold

Aubretia overcoming the winter cold

I think this little aubretia blossom aptly describes the effects of winter snowstorms and frozen ground for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  We had a couple of nights with single digit temperatures where I added another heater for the greenhouse just to make sure.  We’re now back to the twenties at night and thirties-forties daytime which is more of our typical wintertime. The flowers outside are still scarce to find though.  There’s a few violas that Beth planted last fall that are remarkably resilient despite being smashed by the snow.

Fall planted viola

Fall planted viola

Similarly the Jacob hellebores have been smashed to the ground but are still sharing their flowers with us.

Helleborus niger 'Jacob'

Helleborus niger ‘Jacob’

It’s not too hard to look around and find evidence that there are flowers ready to burst forth if they are given the slightest excuse.  Even the Cyclamen Coum which seems quite out of season has several buds showing.

Bud on Cyclamen coum 'Lake Effect'

Bud on Cyclamen coum ‘Lake Effect’

I have the slavonia pasque flower growing in one of the large troughs.  It has the most intricately hairy buds showing above the ground.

The hairy buds of Pulsatilla halleri sup. slavica

The hairy buds of Pulsatilla halleri sup. slavica

For more flowers we have to go into the greenhouse where the oxalis are still holding forth.

Oxalis purpurea 'Skar' bud opening

Oxalis purpurea ‘Skar’ bud opening

Oxalis purpurea 'Skar'

Oxalis purpurea ‘Skar’

The Oxalis purpurea have been blooming since October.  More recently a lovely little Oxalis obtusa has popped up.

Oxalis obtusa 'Peaches and Cream'

Oxalis obtusa ‘Peaches and Cream’

I’ve taken to bringing one of the oxalis into the kitchen to enjoy the unwrapping and folding of their blossoms each day.

In the house we have just one orchid in bloom.

Moth orchid

Moth orchid

That’s it from a cold Maryland hill.  I figure we are less than two weeks from January 21 which I shall now designate officially as post-Solstice.  This is roughly the ground temperature analog to the December Solstice that marks the shortest day of the year.  I figure that from January 21 onward the ground temperature should get warmer and warmer.  I don’t want to say that I can’t wait because I actually enjoy each and every day of the march toward springtime ephemerals.  Bud by bud, shoot by shoot, and flower by flower the world will be coming alive again…