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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2023

Camellia ‘Yume’

Once again our best December flowers for GBBD are the camellias.  The one above was purchased at Camellia Forest Nursery which is probably the best source for camellias in the whole country.  It took a few years to get to flowering but now has probably a dozen buds on it for this year.

Its older cousin is the red camellia sasanqua which has a record number of flowers this year.

Camellia sasanqua red

Camellia sasanqua red

Even the camellia ‘survivor’, which flowered earlier than the others, still has a few flowers left on.

Camellia ‘Survivor’

Elsewhere around the yard there are still a few things that have withstood the 25 degree temperatures that we’ve seen so far.  In particular the Japanese Quince is loaded with early blossoms.

Japanese Quince

And the heather has more flowers than I’ve ever seen on it.

Krarmer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

Krarmer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

One little surprise in alpine bed is a cute little polygala

Polygala chamaebuxus

When you actually go inside the greenhouse there are some very lovely flowers in process.

Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)

Oxalis luteola

And some oranges just about ready to harvest

Satsuma dwarf Owari

One item from the greenhouse that has made it into the house is very striking Nerine from Far Reaches

Nerine ‘Pink Triumph’

I should mention too that when I went out to the woods yesterday I found the dark black berries from the Blackhaw Viburnum hanging in the tree.

Blackhaw Viburnum

A reminder of the flowers that will come in the springtime.

I should also mention that I spent early yesterday morning ordering seeds from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to acquire unusual seed from all over the world.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2023

Crepe Myrtle

Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again and I would like to begin by celebrating the crepe myrtles that provide a summer flower show.  As you can see from the above image the red one has been with us for a very long time.  It’s well over the garage roof.  The bark is wonderful and the individual flowers are lovely one and all.

Individual Crepe Myrtle flowers

We also have a white one down in the pasture and it seems to be growing nicely.

Crepe Myrtle white

Flowers that we see every day are the Princess Flowers on the back porch.

Princess flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)

Both we and the hummingbirds look forward to our daily dose.

The Hydrangeas are also prolific and and an everyday summer flower show.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Looking around the yard you have appreciate just how dry it has been here.

Dry ground

We are currently at 75% of the normal rainfall and that has left us with many dead plants from my spring planting.  Yes we run hoses but there are many places on 7 acres that are not accessible the hoses.  I have a set of watering cans but that only covers the time when I’m actually here.

Watering Cans

Despite all that, and with help of hoses, we do have some more flowers to share.  As always the Allium millenium are reliable summer color.

Allium millenium

And I noticed (after one of the few thunderstorms that we’ve had) the Cyclamen hederifolium are starting to bloom.

Cyclamen hederifolium

As we wander out to the garden it is clear that the annuals provide a spot of color.

Annuals in the veg garden

And nearby the sunflowers are on display

Sunflower

More Sunflowers

The vegetable garden is also where we find a steady supply of gladiolias

Gladiolus ‘Princess Margaret Rose’

And despite the drought we have a good supply of vegetable and fruit.  I notice that the raspberries are starting their fall crop.

Fall Raspberry crop

And we been bringing in peaches and pears.

Harvesting Pears (Crispie)

That’s it for now, I’ll go back to doing my rain dance…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2023

Stewartia malacodendron

Although it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I am leading off with a flower that finished blooming last month.  It came into bloom at the end of May and I was so frightfully impressed that I have purchased yet another of these trees.  I promise another posting on the Stewartias because they are well worth sharing.

Currently the Stewartia japonica which we’ve had for years is just now coming into bloom

Stewartia japonica

In the meantime the other striking flowers at the moment are the lilies.  Just a few of them are showing right now but they are lovely

Yellow Lily in the Herb bed

Asiatic Lily ‘Forever Susan’

Lililum ‘Istanbul’

Lilium ‘Purple Marble’

There is also a very late and very large Azalea at the front of the house

Xtra Large White Azalea

The rest of flowering is more or less normal roses, penstemon, and annuals.  One exception is the Evening Primrose out on the bank to the pasture.

Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

This wildflower came along on its own and appears anytime we don’t mow to close or too often on the pasture hillside.

We have been busy picking and eating fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries).  Mostly it’s what we expect but for many of them they are bit on the small side given the extremely dry weather we’ve had (can we say drought?).  The exception is the wild cherry tree at the entrance to our forest.

Wild Cherries in Blossom

This tree is just one of many wild cherry trees in our forest.  Most of them seem to have come from bird-planted seedlings from the original orchard that we planted forty years ago.  They all have reasonable taste and the birds love them.

WaxWing in the Cherry Tree

This gives some idea of the density.

But the really surprising thing is that one of the smaller trees with branches actually close to the ground has absolutely marvelous cherries and they grow without being sprayed.  Just pick them.

Josh picking at the xtrasweet wild cherry

This is one of the bowls he brought in the other night.

Wild Cherries

Of course the other thing we get is as a bonus is all the birds visiting at this time of year.

Waxwings Sharing Mulberry

I’ve even seen the bluebird in the cherry tree, though he spends most of his time harvesting grubs in the grass.

A very blue bluebird

Life is good.  Now if we could just get some rain…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2023

Stayman Apple Blossoms

Well of course there are so many flowers for the April Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day that it is difficult to choose what to share.  Let me begin with the apple trees.  Though some of the varieties are definitely showing the biennial bearing effect we still have other trees that are loaded with beautiful blossoms.

Granny Smith Apples in full bloom

The pears and peaches have mostly finished blooming and the cherries are just finishing.  In general flowers are running ahead of the normal flowering cycle as it’s been dry and hot in Maryland.

Other trees in bloom right now are the dogwoods and the redbuds.

Redbud in the front yard

Daffodils are everywhere in bloom.  Even though we’ve have had hundreds of daffodils already, some are still in bud.  Other bulbs showing up right now are the Fritillaria imperials in the front bed

Fritillaria imperialis and Peony in the front bed

and Tulips that I put in the woods with Erythronium last year.

Tulips and Erythronium in the woods

Also in the woods are Shooting Stars that are actually allowed to flower now that the deer are gone.

Shooting Star in the woods

A long-time component of our woods walk are the Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) that have naturalized in abundance.  And some of the bluebells are pink or white.

Pink Bluebell

One strange little bulb that I noticed this year is this little ornithogalum that has taken hold in the back lawn.

Ornithogalum in the back lawn

In terms of strange little plants this little polygala is spreading nicely in the alpine bed.

Polygala chamebuxus

Nearby is one of the Daphnes which contribute to the alpine bed on a regular basis.

Daphne in the Alpine bed

In this same shady Alpine bed there is a small columbine that comes back every year.

Aquilegia flabellata v. nana

And on the sunny side of the alpine bed there is an Asperula doing very well.

Asperula pontica

Along with a delightful Pulsatilla

White Pulsatilla in the Alpine bed

But even more surprising to me is this little Stachys that I planted back in 2017 after seeing it at the Yampa River Botanic Park in Steamboat Springs.  This is the first time it has really poured over the wall in the way I had hoped.

Stachys lavandulifolia

I should also share this double-flowered Quince which provide a particularly striking flower.

Double-flowered Quince

There are many, many other flowers but I think that’s true for everyone at this time of year.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2023

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (or was yesterday anyway) and February really marks the serious start of spring flowers.  Adonis, Winter Aconite, Crocus, Daffodils, Snowdrops, Witch Hazel, Primrose, Camellias, and Hellebores are all in flower.  We spent three and half weeks in California and it was delightful to see the flowers that had popped up in our absence.

Adonis remains one of my favorite flowers but only the early-blooming ‘Fukujukai’ is currently in flower.

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

The biggest impact flower at the moment is the winter aconite.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) in the front yard

Winter Aconite (Erantis hyemalis)

We actually have several Eranthis hyemalis cultivars with different shades of yellow.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Orange Glow’

Eranthis ‘Schwefelglanz’

They are all quite willing to expand and I am finding new specimens each year in the yard and forest in places where I did not plant them.

Winter Aconite in the woods

Another highlight at the moment is the Crocus tommasinanus (which also keeps expanding it’s spot).

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

The witch hazels are all in bloom

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Witch Hazel ‘Diane’

We also have numerous clumps of snowdrops that are not only clumping nicely but also spreading out into the lawn

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice’

Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’

The Camellia japonica that I brought back from California on my lap in the 70’s continues to put out early flowers.

Camellia japonica red

And as I mentioned the Daffodils and Hellebores are beginning to do their thing.

First Daffodils

Helleborus x ericsmithi ‘HGC Winter’s Song’

Helleborus x hybridus PDN Yellow

The first early primroses (Primula vulgaris) are now showing up.  I don’t know why more people are not growing this lovely British wildflower which is anything but vulgar.

Primula vulgaris

Meanwhile in the greenhouse there are many South African plants beginning their season

Veltheimia bracteata

Babiana framesii

Freesia single Blue

Yeah, I know the name doesn’t match the color in this Freesia but it’s all I have to go on at the moment.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2023

Hamamelis x Intermedia ‘Diane’

Just a quick post for the month with the least flowers on display.  Our Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day finds that the winter has been mild but most plants are just fattening up there buds for the months to come.  There are a few exceptions.  The Witch Hazel shown above is joined by several others on the hillside but none are as spectacular in bloom as ‘Diane.

The snowdrops are popping out.  Even a few that have migrated into the lawn.

Galanthus elwesii

And the first of hybrid Hellebores is now in flower (not counting ‘Jacob’ which appeared a month ago)

Helleborus x ‘Winter’s Song’

There are othe plants just on the verge

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ just opening

And I can see colorful buds on the Peonies.

Paeonia caucasica buds

The cyclamen are also noteworthy for the lovely patterns they create as they continue to spread in the yard.

Cyclamen hederifolium leaves

And in the house we have steady stream of flowers from the greenhouse (especially Cyrtanthus) and some new orchids that arrived as Christmas and birthday gifts.

A new orchid for the house

Finally I should point out that we did plant the Christmas tree last week to provide a future landmark in the pasture.

Xmas tree planting for 2023 (Canaan Fir)

This is also the month for planting the seeds obtained from the NARGS seed exchange.

Planting the NARGS seeds

As always there are great expectations.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2022

Flowers over the fireplace

I’ll begin this seasonal GBBD post with an image of the Christmas greens and flowers over the fireplace.  The Japanese quince has been flowering on and off again all Fall.  The the red Camellia sansanqua continues to provide a regular supply of beautiful blooms.

This is what the full plant looks like.

Camellia sasanqua red

and the individual flowers

Camellia sasanqua red

Nearby is another fall Camellia that we brought home from Camellia Forest some years ago.

Camellia x ‘Yume’

In the front yard (risking deer damage) is another fall bloomer.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic Orchid’

There are only a few plants in flower besides the Camellias and the Quince.  One is the first of the Hellebores (also known as Christmas Rose).

Helleborus niger HGC® ‘Jacob’

I noticed in walking the yard that some of the plants in bud are well worth thinking about as we wait for Springtime.  The Edgeworthia is almost better in bud than in flower.

Edgeworthia in bud

And there are several other plants starting to bud up

Cyclamen coum flower buds

First Daffodil buds (Rijnveld’s Early Sensation)

Paeonia caucasica buds

But it is December so one of our seasonal events is to buy a balled and burlapped Evergreen for our Christmas tree.  In this case a Canaan Fir seemed to be the most attractive in our size range.

Canaan Fir

After our Christmas elves finished their handiwork it really looks quite splendid

Our Christmas Tree

It will head for the forest in January.

Also inside right now is a pot of Cyrtanthus (like miniature Amaryllis)

Cyrtanthus mackeni

Besides prepping for Christmas the other thing that goes on this time of year are the various seed exchanges.  On December 15th every year the North American Rock Garden Society releases the listing of seeds available through the seed exchange.  This year there were 2400 different seed varieties available and the contributions came from all over the world.  In my case the seeds I’ve requested came from contributors in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, Finland, Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.  If you have any interest in growing unusual plants from seed I highly recommend exploring the NARGS seed exchange.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2022

Dahlia in the house

Well it’s Bloom Day for September and the weather has been spectacular the past week.  There are a great many annual flowers in the garden such as zinnias, cosmos, nasturtium, calendula, and daisies.  I’ll just represent them all with the this big Dahlia that Beth brought into the house.  And then maybe Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) since it has grown to spectacular heights (at least 12 feet) this year.

Tithonia

Another annual that has grown on our porch this year is Plectranthus.  It was overwintered in the greenhouse and then took a while to catch hold in the spring.  But it now looks spectacular (and it makes a good cut flower in the house as well).

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ in detail

Another back porch item is the Princess Flower which continues its daily vivid flowers

Princess Flower (Tibouchina urvilleana)

At the front porch is the very green welcoming garden that Beth built with deep black rectangles.

Entrance Garden

And a particularly striking addition this year is a Carex with pink flowers that we brought back from Plant Delights this spring.

Carex scaposa

From the greenhouse comes a very striking hyacinth relative from Madeira.

Scilla madeirensis

A few other items struck me as I walked about the yard.  There are marvelous peony seeds at this time of year.

Peony Seeds

The Pyracantha and Hyacinth have intertwined to create a lovely combination.

Intertwining of pyracantha (mojave) and hydrangea (limelight)

And a newly planted Arisaema consanguinum looks for all the world like a mother hen for the neighboring Cyclamen.

Arisaema consanguinum and cyclamen hederifolium

Then there are the still good-looking repeats from last month.

Cestrum x ‘Orange Peel’

Crepe myrtle white

And I discovered that the Clematis which I tried to remove at least two other times has sprung up again among the roses.

Clematis paniculata

This is a particularly beautiful and vigorous plant that is happy to take over your garden.

And if you go for a walk on the hillside you will see the Colchicum doing their fall explosion of color.

Colchicum ‘Giant’

The other thing that happens now are berries and other fruit.

Viburnum wrightii

Fig fruit ready for picking

Potomac Pears at harvest time.

And then I’ll close with one of the workers in the greenhouse that keeps the pests at bay.

Jumping Spider in greenhouse