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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 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

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 July 2016

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia'

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Well, if you had to pick a theme flower for this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it would the lilies.  Despite the dry weather we have been experiencing, they are exploding all over the yard, especially the hybrids between orientals and trumpets (aka orienpets).  They are tall, fragrant, floriferous, and individually stunning.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' single bloom

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ single bloom

In the house they make quite a display too.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' in the house

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ in the house

Here are some others of the lily orienpet persuasion.

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade'

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade' single flower

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’ single flower

Orienpet Lily 'Pretty Woman'

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Of course, even the old-fashioned orientals are pretty spectacular.

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental Lily 'Casablanca'

Oriental Lily ‘Casablanca’

Oriental Lily 'Muscadet'

Oriental Lily ‘Muscadet’

And then a new one added to collection this year is Lilium henryii hybrid.

Lilium henryi hybrid 'Madame Butterfly'

Lilium henryi hybrid ‘Madame Butterfly’

There are course still many annuals and some of the standard perennials, but one of the species that has asked for special recognition is the Crocosmia.  These wonderful bulbs from the iris family are durable, productive and beautiful, year after year.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora 'George Davison'

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora ‘George Davison’

Another new plant for us is the popular anemone ‘Wild Swan’.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' front

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ front

It is especially characterized by the purple markings on the back of the petals.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' back

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ back

In the greenhouse we have several noteworthy arrivals.  First a very unusual Pineapple Lily.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This is only found in the wild between 7000′ and 8000′ in South Africa.   At some point I might experiment with growing it outside.

Also from South Africa is member of the Amaryllis family, Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus.

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

A little Cyclamen is flowering from seed planted in 2013.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium

And a welcome returnee is this rain lily.

Habranthus brachyandrus

Habranthus brachyandrus

One of the fun things for me is finding the unusual animals that populate the yard, if you take the time to notice them.  Last week it was this wonderful dime-sized spider that caught my eye.

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

 

Seed Tales

Labeled Tulipa sprengeri, (Zephyranthes dicrhomata?)

Labeled Tulipa sprengeri, (Zephyranthes dicrhomata?)

I was pleased to see a bud coming out of my planting of Tulipa sprengeri this past week.  But what emerged is very likely Zephyranthes dichromata.  That’s pretty much par for the course on starting some of these unusual plants from seed.  You can wait years for a seedling to emerge and then discover that it was either a mislabeled package or some friendly neighboring pot contributed some viable seed.  It’s likely that the Zephyranthes jumped from a neighboring pot because they do seed freely.  But then there are the successful outcomes like the big Paradisea that is just finishing in the greenhouse right now.

Paradisea lusitanica

Paradisea lusitanica

This is a beautiful lily-like plant more than 2 feet high that came from seed distributed by the Pacific Bulb Society in the spring of 2013. It grows wild in the mountains of Portugal and might be barely hardy here.  Another successful seed sowing from the PBS in 2013 was Dichelostemma multiflorum which grows wild in California.

Dichelostemma multiflorum

Dichelostemma multiflorum

I’ve planted a lot of seeds over the past few years and managed to lose of lot of my seedlings last year when the water timer failed while we were on vacation.  I’ve kept all those pots just in case, but decided last week to go through the hundreds of pots and reclaim the soil and pots.

Hundreds of pots to be reclaimed

Hundreds of pots to be reclaimed

I was delighted to find that some of those pots had seedlings just starting.

Brimeura amethystina seedling

Brimeura amethystina seedling starting 3 years later

 

Fritillaria meleagris seedling

Fritillaria meleagris seedling

This all serves as a reminder that you have to patient to allow good things to happen.  Another sort of patience comes with waiting for the first flowers.  Four years ago I bought a tiny little seedling of Paeonia rockii from Wrightman Alpines.  It has taken until this year to produce it’s first flowers.  I think you will agree that it was worth the wait.

Paeonia rockii

Paeonia rockii

Another delightful species Peony that is flowering right now was obtained from Plant Delights

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

So returning to topic of planting seeds I should note that many of the seeds come up in abundance.  They are often very cute as they so immediately resemble the plants that they will eventually become.

Draba parnassica

Draba parnassica

 

Antennaria rosea ssp pulvinata seedlings

Antennaria rosea ssp pulvinata seedlings

 

Phyteuma scheuchzeri seedlings

Phyteuma scheuchzeri seedlings (BotanyCa)

 

Silene acaulis seedlings

Silene acaulis seedlings

 

Gentiana dahurica seedlings

Gentiana dahurica seedlings (BotanyCa)

Altogether, looking at the three alpine seed exchanges that I participate in, the results are just short of 50% of the seeds successfully started so far.  In other words, so far, so good.

The other part of the seed topic is collecting the ones that are appearing right now.  Many of the spring ephemerals are putting out seeds in quantity now.

Eranthis hyemalis 'Schwefelglanz' seeds

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’ seeds

 

Hepatica seeds

Hepatica seeds

Often the spring emphemerals have elaiosomes on the seeds that make them attractive to ants.  So there is a brief 3-5 day window when you can just knock off the seeds to collect them.  Otherwise, if they fall, the ants will gather them up and take them home for planting.

Ant carrying Hepatica seed

Ant carrying Hepatica seed

And, of course, every seed is not only a potential new plant, but also acts as currency if you are involved in seed exchanges.

Let me close with a few more of the flowers that have bloomed over the past two weeks.

Tulipa humilis 'Alba Caerulea Oculata'

Tulipa humilis ‘Alba Caerulea Oculata’

 

Corydalis turtschaninovii 'Eric the Red'

Corydalis turtschaninovii ‘Eric the Red’

 

Borage

Borage

And lastly a beautiful new Allium from Odyssey Bulbs

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2015

Anastasia en masse

Anastasia en masse

We returned from our trip to the Dolomites to find that there had been pretty constant rainfall while we were gone (and that has continued).  The temperatures have also stayed 5-10 degrees below normal.  This meant that we had a LOT of mowing a weed pulling to do, but we also didn’t have to waste a lot of time dragging hoses around the yard.  The lilies were in full bloom.  It is marvelous to walk out in the yard and get knocked over by the lily fragrance.

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Oriental Lily 'Casablanca'

Oriental Lily ‘Casablanca’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Trumpet Lily 'Lady Alice

Trumpet Lily ‘Lady Alice

Lilium 'Pink Perfection'

Lilium ‘Pink Perfection’

Besides other lily varieties there are also the day lilies blooming in gay profusion right now.

Daylilly 'Apollodorus'

Daylilly ‘Apollodorus’

Many annuals are also happening right now but of a couple of perennial standouts are as follows:

Stachys officianalis

Stachys officianalis

Crinum powelli

Crinum powelli

Hydrangea 'Blue Billow'

Hydrangea ‘Blue Billow’

Yes, the ‘Blue Billow’ is very pink.

From the greenhouse we have a couple of little cuties.

Habranthus tubispathus

Habranthus tubispathus

Calydorea amabilis

Calydorea amabilis

And lastly though the Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is mostly about the flowers, I think it’s worth noting a couple of beneficial insects that I saw on the flowers.

Tachynid Fly

Tachynid Fly

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

The Tachinid fly parasitizes caterpillars, including monarch larvae, but on balance it’s a very useful contributor to the garden.  The Widow Skimmer Dragonfly grabs small flying insects out of the air and it’s like having your localized air force to guard the space over your garden.

Picture This – Best of 2014

Greenhouse during snowstorm

Greenhouse during snowstorm

Many garden bloggers will recall that Gardening Gone Wild used to run a regular photo contest where people shared there images from the garden.   It was fun activity which encouraged one to take on certain challenges in photographing the garden.  Well, Saxon Holt, at Gardening Gone Wild has restarted the Picture This activity.  As a first challenge he has asked that we post our favorite photos from 2014 and select one for submission to the Picture This photography contest.  This actually struck a chord with something that I had been meaning to do anyway in response to the annual suggestion from Les at A Tidewater Gardener.  I post so many pictures in a year that it is somewhat of a task to go back through the years images and choose the best, but that being said here goes…

The picture of the Greenhouse is not so much a picture of high technical quality but one which captures a moment that sets forth the whole year.  We had a difficult winter that ended up making every flower that survived that much more of a special gift.  The other pictures are mainly of flowers that track the progress of the year.

February

Ferraria ferrariola

Ferraria ferrariola

It was the first year I grew ferrarias.  They are spectacular in every respect.

Oxalis compressa double

Oxalis compressa double

Nearby and almost at the same time as  the ferraias was a delicate oxalis that was especially charming seen from the side and rear.

March

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai' in the snow

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ in the snow

The adonis are so wonderful at combatting the snow, even as early as they come into flower.

April

Scilla siberica 'Spring Beauty'

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’

You have to kneel down to see those blue stamens, but wow are they ever spectacular.

Erythronium tuolumnense

Erythronium tuolumnense

This is a Sierra Nevada endemic that is one of the parents of the commercially successful ‘Pagoda’ erythronium.  It has an almost ethereal purity.

May

Paeonia lactiflora 'Krinkled White'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’

Speaking of purity, it is hard to exceed the golden stamens on white petals featured on this peony.

June

Tausendschon rose

Tausendschon rose

Sometimes the profile of a flower is more effective than the full on in your face shot.  I wish that this were actually my rose, when in fact I took the shot while touring Maryland gardens in June with the Four Seasons Garden Club.

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum

Then there are the flowers that are not strictly flowers that stick in your memory.  This is my favorite arisaema.

British Soldiers

British Soldiers

Finding the British Soldier Lichen on our garden fence post was one of the treats of the year.  Not only are they useful, but they are exceedingly beautiful if you look closely.

July

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)

I think it was about 10pm when I photographed this Epiphyllum in bloom.  It was busy extending an invitation to the local bats.

August

Hoverfly (Allograpta obliqua?)

Hoverfly (Allograpta obliqua?)

What I especially like about this picture is the way the colors overlap between the fly and flower…

September

Anemone × hybrida 'Whirlwind'

Anemone × hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

 

There are so many of these perfectly formed anemones in September that you wonder that more people don’t given them space in the garden.

One of the constraints of the Picture This photo contest is that I now have to select one of the above for my entry.  I like so many of these, but if I have to choose one it will be the Peony ‘Krinkled White’ as it appeared in June.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Krinkled White'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’

Turning of the Season

Colchicum autumnale 'Pleniflorum'

Colchicum autumnale ‘Pleniflorum’

We’ve had our first killing frost right on schedule — October 25th.  However, it just barely hit the most tender plants and many others are enjoying the extended nice weather we’ve had since then.  Especially the Colchichum that I planted in the revived wildflower bed.

Cochicum autumnale 'Byzantium'

Cochicum autumnale ‘Byzantium’

I’ve been able to get in some delightful gardening outside including planting some of our bulb order in the new garden (daffodils, corydalis, erythroniums, scilla, and chionodoxa).  I also put some Chiliean crocus in the alpine bed.  It was an opportune time to do some transplanting too.  I put in a Virginia Waterleaf that I had been saving up for the last six months.

Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

This is a very interesting looking plant just for the leaves but the pictures on the internet promise very pretty flowers as well.

I continue to be fascinated by the Oxalis which are flowering in the greenhouse right now.

A profusion of Oxalis bowiei blooms

A profusion of Oxalis bowiei blooms

I have to thank Diana Chapman of Telos Rare Bulbs for alerting me to the interesting variety in Oxalis bulbs.

Oxalis bowiei from the back

Oxalis bowiei from the back

Oxalis hirta 'Gothenburg'

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Oxalis hirta 'Gothenburg'

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

 

Oxalis hirta

Oxalis hirta

Oxalis luteola 'Glauca' MV 5567

Oxalis luteola ‘Glauca’ MV 5567

Oxalis luteola 'Glauca' MV 5567

Oxalis luteola ‘Glauca’ MV 5567

I have seen aphids attacking the Oxalis, but I’ve also seen some natural protection.

rab spider waiting for visitors to the Oxalis

Crab spider waiting for visitors to the Oxalis

On a warm afternoon I also found many Ladybird Beetles trying to get into the greenhouse (it’s not hard, they just need to find the open windows).

Ladybird beetle on outside greenhouse

Ladybird beetle on outside greenhouse

There were perhaps fifty on the outside looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  I helped many of them out.  And in return they were busy in the greenhouse.

Ladybird beetle scarfing up tiny aphids in the greenhouse

Ladybird beetle scarfing up tiny aphids in the greenhouse

I’ve also noticed a Praying Mantis eggcase in the greenhouse which is a nice sign for next spring.