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.
But we have also had the Apples drop most of there leaves in July and August and they are now re-blooming.
Many other trees have dropped their leaves and the Azaleas out front are blooming again.
Despite the strange weather there are still a set of interesting flowers to find around the yard, for example this Roscoea.
And in the greenhouse the rather unusual large Scilla maderensis is flowering once again.
Some other items of note include this six foot tall Canna that came from a friend this year.
The Knockout Roses are continuing to bloom.
And the Perennial Pea is blooming once again despite our attempts to remove it.
We have found that Phlox also reappears from long ago planting with or without our tending to it.
And in the orchard the Blue Sage has been in continuous bloom since late spring.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the other regulars are in the following pictures.
In the wildflower patch, the wild asters are currently the star of the show, attracting insects of all sorts.
In the cutting garden the standouts are the 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.
A similar color comes with the Atlantic Poppy which took forever to start blooming but now has a new flower every day.
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.
It is nevertheless interesting and exotic which goes a long way to getting space in the greenhouse.
The first of the Oxalis are coming into bloom now.
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…
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.
Many of the other flowers in bloom are a testament to how well some species can survive in adversity.
Venturing out onto our ultra-dry hillside which never gets watered at all anymore, I found several champions of the survival school.
Notice the spider on the Lemon Queen and it’s very adaptive coloration.
The butterflies are also very attracted to Lemon Queen.
I also saw a lovely Monarch Butterfly on the Tithonia in the vegetable garden.
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.
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.
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.
In the greenhouse I have just finished restarting all the oxalis. At the same time the Bulbine has come back into flower.
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.
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.
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.
In the house they make quite a display too.
Here are some others of the lily orienpet persuasion.
Of course, even the old-fashioned orientals are pretty spectacular.
And then a new one added to collection this year is Lilium henryii hybrid.
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.
Another new plant for us is the popular anemone ‘Wild Swan’.
It is especially characterized by the purple markings on the back of the petals.
In the greenhouse we have several noteworthy arrivals. First a very unusual Pineapple Lily.
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.
A little Cyclamen is flowering from seed planted in 2013.
And a welcome returnee is this rain lily.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was delighted to find that some of those pots had seedlings just starting.
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.
Another delightful species Peony that is flowering right now was obtained from Plant Delights
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.
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.
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.
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.
And lastly a beautiful new Allium from Odyssey Bulbs
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.
Besides other lily varieties there are also the day lilies blooming in gay profusion right now.
Many annuals are also happening right now but of a couple of perennial standouts are as follows:
Yes, the ‘Blue Billow’ is very pink.
From the greenhouse we have a couple of little cuties.
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.
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.
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.
It was the first year I grew ferrarias. They are spectacular in every respect.
Nearby and almost at the same time as the ferraias was a delicate oxalis that was especially charming seen from the side and rear.
The adonis are so wonderful at combatting the snow, even as early as they come into flower.
You have to kneel down to see those blue stamens, but wow are they ever spectacular.
This is a Sierra Nevada endemic that is one of the parents of the commercially successful ‘Pagoda’ erythronium. It has an almost ethereal purity.
Speaking of purity, it is hard to exceed the golden stamens on white petals featured on this peony.
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.
Then there are the flowers that are not strictly flowers that stick in your memory. This is my favorite arisaema.
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.
I think it was about 10pm when I photographed this Epiphyllum in bloom. It was busy extending an invitation to the local bats.
What I especially like about this picture is the way the colors overlap between the fly and flower…
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have to thank Diana Chapman of Telos Rare Bulbs for alerting me to the interesting variety in Oxalis bulbs.
I have seen aphids attacking the Oxalis, but I’ve also seen some natural protection.
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).
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.
I’ve also noticed a Praying Mantis eggcase in the greenhouse which is a nice sign for next spring.