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 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 April 2018

Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Snow Cone’

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day time and one of the fun parts of posting the monthly flowers is discovering those things that I had forgotten that I previously planted.  Amongst those is the Snow Cone Bloodroot pictured above.  All Bloodroots are good, this one is just a notch above.

Another newcomer to this blog is the single pink Anemonella from Hillside Nursery.  I went on quest last year for a strong pink Anemonella after seeing one at my son’s house in previous years.  He has since lost that plant which was exceptionally pink compared to the normal ‘Pink Pearl’ as it is now marketed.  In any case the one gracing our flower bed is very nice indeed.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Single Pink’

Another Anemonella variant that I posted on recently is Green Hurricane.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

Many of the Anemone’s are flowering right now too, including this very complex nemerosa.

Anemone nemorosa ‘bracteata pleniflora’

Close by are the Corydalis.

Corydalis solida ssp. incisa ‘Vermion Snow’

Corydalis turtschaninovii ‘Eric the Red’

This one, as I’ve noted before is named for the leaves, not the beautiful blue flowers.

One cannot pass by the Camellia bed which has many of the spring ephemerals without seeing one of my favorite trilliums.

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

And the Leucojum are like snowdrops on steroids

Leucojum vernum

Even this far into April the Hellebores continue to provide wonderful flowers.  One that particularly catches my eye is Amethyst Gem.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Amethyst Gem’

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Amethyst Gem’

This year I decided to give the Primula kisoana another try.  You have to be cautious with this because it wants to spread, so I put it in with the other thugs.

Primula kisoana

I had a minor revelation this week when I thought I had finally succeeded in bring a Shortia into bloom.  However, it turns out just to be Shortia lookalike, but pretty nonetheless.

Oxalis griffithii – Double Flowered

Back in the Alpine beds we have several returnees from previous years.

Aquilegia flabellata v. nana

Androsace barbulata

Primula allionii ‘Wharfedale Ling’

and a new Iris/potentilla combination

Iris babadaghica and Potentilla neumanniana ‘Orange Flame’

And it’s also worth noting that while I tend to get caught up in the small spring ephemerals, there are many other flowers about.  The early Rhododendron in the front yard is always spectacular.

Rhododendren carolinianum

Rhododendren carolinianum

There are many, many Daffodils, both in the yard and in the woods/pasture.

Narcissus ‘Monte Carlo’ in the woods

And the various fruit trees are mostly just coming into bloom.  The apricot is finished, the cherries and peaches just starting, and the Kieffer Pear is flowering as though there is no tomorrow.

Wild Cherries blooming in the woods

Kieffer pear tree

Kieffer pear tree blossoms

As I close this post, it’s worth noting that this spring is well behind previous years in terms of the number and progress of things in bloom.  But I’m good with that.  It gives more time to appreciate everything as it’s happening. 

Summer Crabapple Delight

Dolgo Crabapples

We have grown crabapples for many years in the front yard without ever making good use of the fruit.  Of course the abundant white flowers in the springtime are delightful and the pretty summertime fruit have always been appreciated but we never harvested them for eating.  Until now that is.  Our youngest son was inspired by the sprightly taste of the fruit.  He picked a bunch of them and made a couple of galettes, one with the crabapples and one with blueberries, apricots, and peaches.  Both were quite good, but the crabapple one was really special.  Think of the best rhubarb pie you’ve ever tasted.

Galettes in prep

Two Galettes

This was so good, that he went out this week and picked another batch of the crabapples.

Dolgo Crabapples

The remarkable thing about these little crabapples is that a very high percentage are without blemish or insect damage and this is without any spraying at all.  This is quite a contrast with our normal apple trees.

This is a very active time outdoors right now.  I thought I would also share another of the interesting spiders that we have run across.

Phidippus johnsoni jumping spider.

I always find the jumping spiders have considerable personality.

And another interesting tidbit is the arrival of the rain lilies.

Pink Rain Lily (Habranthus robustus)

We have grown these very hardy rain lilies for many years and they seem early this year but we had some strong rains and up they came.  I had also moved one of the Zephyranthes from the greenhouse last year and seems to be doing fine, though it is supposed to be a zone 8 plant.

Zephyranthes rosea

I would also note in passing that this is a good time to be gathering seeds for the various seed exchanges.  Some are quite easy to find like the Zephyranthes.

Zephyranthes seeds

Lastly I’ll close this post with one of the prettiest lilies I’ve come across (unnamed at the moment).

Unnamed Pink Lily

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2016

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

A few days ago it looked we were finally overcoming the 40 inches of snow that absolutely clobbered us at the end of January.  You could see finally see little spring delights like the Winter Aconite peeking through.  The first daffodil was unhappy but it was at least about to open up.

First Daffodil (probably Rijnveld's Early Sensation)

First Daffodil (probably Rijnveld’s Early Sensation)

But such was not to be for very long.  We got more snow this weekend and once again the flowers are pretty much hidden.  Even the redoubtable Hellebores are looking pretty shopworn for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.

Hellebore in the snow

Hellebore in the snow

Some things look pretty good in the snow like the holly and the witch hazels.

Blue Holly in the snow

Blue Holly in the snow

Hamamelis xintermedia 'Diane'

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

But I can see lots of damage from the volume of snow.  Several small shrubs (camellias and daphnes) have badly broken branches just from the weight of that snowfall.

You can imagine flowers like this snow covered Clematis seedhead.

Clematis 'Waterfall' seedhead

Clematis ‘Waterfall’ seedhead

But once again we turn to pots in the greenhouse for more colorful flowers.  The potted daffodils are continuing to flower and the lachenalias are all coming into bloom right now.

Lachenalia namaquensis

Lachenalia namaquensis

There is a very pretty little star flower that blooms right now.

Ipheion uniflorum 'Charlotte Bishop'

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Charlotte Bishop’

And a wurmbea that I think is flowering for the first time for me.

Wurbea stricta

Wurmbea stricta

And a Tritonia that flowered in February last year as well.

Tritonia dubia

Tritonia dubia

Dubia for those who wonder about such things means ‘doubtful’ as in not conforming to standard.  Anyway, it looks pretty nice to me.  It’s another South African native that looks like a miniature glad.

Lastly, another plant flowering for the first time for us is a little Scilla from Turkey that has the most marvelous dark purple stamens.  It is said to be hardy in Michigan so it will probably go outdoors this year.

Scilla cilicica

Scilla ciicica

All of these five plants from the greenhouse came from seed distributed by the Pacific Bulb Society in 2013.  They constitute a pretty good example of what you can obtain by joining the Pacific Bulb Society.  Despite the name, the society is inhabited by bulb experts from around the world and they are most generous in sharing their seeds, bulbs, and expertise.

C&O Canal at Noland’s Ferry

Trail along the C&O canal

Trail along the C&O canal

We’ve had a wonderful extended Autumn with many clear sunny days.  On one of them last week we took a morning walk along the C&O canal.  This national park is only 15-20 minutes from our house.  The overall park is essentially a biking-hiking-running trail that extends 185 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD.  Noland’s Ferry is at the 45 mile point along the trail and is a broad leaf-strewn walkway in this season.  There are other parts of Frederick County that are lit up with color this time of year, but along the canal it’s mostly greens turning to yellow.  Nonetheless one of the joys of walking is noticing that which is not visible from car or bike.  We walked about 2 miles down the trail towards Washington and then returned, moving at a pace that encouraged observation.  Even at that pace we noticed things on the return part of the trail that we had missed on the outgoing trip.

Some of the most striking elements were fungi.  The Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus looks like a waterfall frozen in time.

Bear's Head Tooth Fungus (Hericium americanum)

Bear’s Head Tooth Fungus (Hericium americanum)

The Jelly Ear Mushroom is said to be good to eat, but we limit ourselves to puffballs (which we have eaten many times).

Jelly Ear Mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Jelly Ear Mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae)

And then there was this very phallic white mushroom which I’ve not been able to identify.

Pure White Mushroom

Pure White Mushroom

Along the trail was a very tiny snake, about the size of a worm.  It seems likely this this is an Eastern Smooth Earthsnake.  They do have babies in the fall but they are not very big in any case.  It eats earthworms, slugs, snails, and soft-bodied insects.  On balance that’s the kind of diet I can  appreciate.

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae )

Eastern Smooth Earthsnake (Virginia valeriae )

There were two interesting fruiting plants that we noticed.  Spicebush is a smallish native shrubby tree that is found in wooded lowlands.  It has plants of both the male and female persuasion so it will be interesting to return in spring to see if we can identify them.

Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)

Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin)

And the Eastern Wahoo is another small native tree that has what seem like packages of pink candy hanging from its branches.

Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

The leaves had not yet turned but like its relative, the Euonymus alatus, the Eastern Wahoo should have strongly colored red leaves.

At one point we looked up and noticed a tree with remarkable orange foliage.  At first I thought sugar maple, but that is not common with us at all.  When I got home and did a little research, it was pretty clear to me that what we saw was Black Maple.  This is a close cousin to the Sugar Maple and as many of the same positive attributes.  It would be worth trying to propagate in our forest.

Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

Black Maple (Acer nigrum)

Black Maple leaf (note the typical 3 lobes)

Black Maple leaf (note the typical 3 lobes)

A Spectacular Carolina Weekend

Crepe Myrtles define the entrance

Crepe Myrtles define the entrance to JC Raulston

We just spent a marvelous weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina in an escape from the last snowstorm (I hope) to hit Maryland this year.  We had planned this weekend for a visit to the North Carolina nurseries but when a significant snowstorm threatened for last Thursday, we decided to skip town on Wednesday and I’m glad we did.  It gave us an extra day to visit nurseries and gardens in the ‘Triangle’ area.  Even four days is not sufficient to see all that this area offers to plant lovers.  There are three major gardens in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill and we went to each.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University in Durham is what I would characterize as a display garden.  It’s well funded and beautiful and has lots of examples of how to make a dramatic landscape.

Broad Allée with Winterberry on edges

Broad Allée with Winterberry on edges

It had many lovely individual plants including this daphne which illustrated how daphnes want to look in the wintertime as opposed to the burned leaves on ours.

Daphne getting ready for bloom

Daphne getting ready for bloom

The North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill also appears to have a lot of financial backing and it’s focus seems to be well-coupled to the University’s effort to encourage the use of native plants.

North Carolina Botanical Garden

North Carolina Botanical Garden

It’s set next to woodland trails and seems to get a lot of visitors for that reason.

But our favorite was the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh.  This is a plantsman’s paradise.  Many examples of exotic and unusual plants from all over the world including this dwarf Dawn Redwood.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Schirrmann's Nordlicht'

Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Schirrmann’s Nordlicht’

It was still a little early in the season for any of these gardens but the Ralston captured our hearts.

One of the ulterior motives for this particular weekend was to attend an An Evening with the Plant Explorers at the JC Ralston.  This was a wonderful event with 4 1/2 hours of tales of plant exploring mixed in with socializing and plant auctions.  Anyone who thinks Latin is a dead language needs to attend one of these events.  The plant auction was particularly interesting because it was often for plants that had been part of the explorers’ talks.

Plant auction

Plant auction

In particular we were taken by a marvelous Einkianthus, the likes of which we had never encountered.

Einkianthus description

Einkianthus description

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

Well, in the end this was our take-home plant from the auction…

The other main component of the weekend was visiting nurseries.  First and foremost was Plant Delights (which has a bonus of a very nice garden as well).  As usual we found many wonderful plants that jumped into our car.

Plant Delights collection

Plant Delights collection

There were three crates like this one that we brought home including many new hellebores.

And then we went out to Pine Knot Farms where the focus is hellebores.

Pine Knot Farms

Pine Knot Farms

And we came away with even more hellebores as well as multiple cyclamen from John Lonsdale and a Mahonia confuse ‘Narihira’ (which we had seen at Raulson) and Edgeworthia chrysantha from Superior Plants.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

John Lonsdale says that Edgeworthia survives for him in Pennsylvania so I have high hopes for it in Maryland.

Lastly we stopped at Camellia Forest and picked up four new camellias and two exquisite miniature Rhododendrons.

Rhododendron indicum 'Kokinsai'

Rhododendron indicum ‘Kokinsai’

Altogether a wonderful weekend, and by the time we arrived back home the spring was waiting for us…

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Hamamelis × intermedia 'Diane'

Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Diane’

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis

Let me close with one more shot of that Einkianthus which I hope will be with us for a long time…

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

A Very Late Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for June 2013

Blackout Asiatic Lily

Blackout Asiatic Lily

Ok, so it’s way too late for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, but my excuse was traveling for over two weeks in Scotland (which should be the subject of another post).  But I use these monthly postings as a way of tracking what is happening in the garden not only from month to month but from year to year.  It helps me track how the garden evolves.  We were lucky for this trip that the weather included ample rainfall so that with the sprinklers I had set up there was none of the loss of plants that can happen with a vacation that lasts that long.  I had been most concerned about the new troughs (see last post) but they seem to have done very well, including the centerpiece Lewisia tweedyi which is notoriously difficult in our climate.  Even the new plants that I started this year in the Tufa rock in the front garden are looking healthy.

Replanting of Tufa with Gentian, Arabis, and Campanula

Replanting of Tufa with Gentian, Arabis, and Campanula

On the other hand the Meconopsis that I planted earlier this spring is showing no real growth in what has been perhaps the best possible Meconopsis (cool and wet) spring for a Maryland garden.  I totally missed the rest of the Spuria Iris (note to self, order more Spuria Iris) and the blooming of the Formosan Lily which I had ordered in from Far Reaches this year before discovering how easy they are from seed (I have lots of seedlings growing in the greenhouse).

The most impressive plants in the yard right now are probably the large stands of Blackout Asiatic Lilies.  They are spreading abundantly and the color is an eye-popping very dark red.

Cluster of Blackout Lilies

Cluster of Blackout Lilies

Another patch of Blackout Lilies with Rozanne Geraniums

Another patch of Blackout Lilies with Rozanne Geraniums

Speaking of eye-popping, the new Echinacea variety that Beth planted in the front garden is stunning and floriferous.

Echinacea purpurea 'PowWow Wild Berry'

Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’

But then again it did win the AAS award in 2010.  Also in that front bed the Calandrina that I had order in from California continues have many bright red-pink flowers opening daily.

Calandrinia spectabilis

Calandrinia spectabilis

The Front yard also has the Stewartia in bloom.

Stewartia japonica flower

Stewartia japonica flower

The many flowers open up over an extended period.

Two Iris’s were vying for attention as well.  One is a Japanese Iris that I purchased several years ago from Plant Delights (Agripinella) and the other has no identifying tag but is lovely nonetheless.

Iris ensata 'Agripinella'

Iris ensata ‘Agripinella’

Yellow Iris (unknown)

Yellow Iris (unknown)

I was pleased to see that, although very late to the party, two more Arisaemas had appeared.  One is Arisaema fargesii which has great big glossy green leaves to go with the brown-red pitcher and the other is Arisaema candidissimum, this one with a very white pitcher.

Arisaema candidissimum (White form)

Arisaema candidissimum (White form)

Arisaema candidissimum (White form) front

Arisaema candidissimum (White form) front

The hillside along the drive has it’s normal abundance of wild pea and crown vetch blooming in gay profusion.

Wild Pea (Lathyrus latifolia) and Crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.)

Wild Pea (Lathyrus latifolia) and Crownvetch (Coronilla varia L.)

Weeds struggle to invade their private battleground.  We also have a very nice sedum that has taken hold nicely behind the garage.

Sedum floriferum 'Weihenstephaner Gold'

Sedum floriferum ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’

Nearby is an alternate version of Butterfly Weed that has a matching yellow color going with the sedum and a huge St. John’s Wort.

Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow'

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

In the greenhouse I found a cute little South African native with many small yellow flowers.

Albuca aurea flower detail

Albuca aurea flower detail

The growth habit is similar to Ornithogalums.   I need to move this pot out into the herb garden for the summer.

The vegetable garden had done well in our absence.  There are a boatload of peas to pick and the beans are just starting.  And especially relevant the blueberries are just coming into picking time, so we didn’t miss any of those.

Blueberries starting up

Blueberries starting up