This is the middle of the gardening year with abundant flowers, never enough rain, and rarely the time to think about what chores to take on next. For Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I thought it appropriate to lead off with the exotic center of Stewartia Japonica. The last flowers are just finishing up on this wonderful tree. It not only flowers abundantly but has exquisite bark as well.
But the dominant theme for this time of year is LILIES. They are popping out like mad with their extravagant blooms. Some are super tall (Scheherzade) or small (Madame Butterfly), but all are worth paying attention to. Beth often brings them into the house for the fragrance. Here are some of our lily companions.
And at the same time that we are bringing lilies into the house the gladiolias are coming into bloom.
This year I noticed a particular red and white that is large and very frilly. No name yet but I will research that.
In the garden there is a lovely long row of glads and dahlia with flowers still to come.
Our hardest working gardener is son Josh, and he has put a wall of sunflowers on the border of the garden
At the same time there was a volunteer sunflower in the vegetable garden that we just let grow. I would estimate that it stands about 12 feet tall at this point.
I should mention that we put a barn owl box in the pasture.
It’s too late this year but hopefully we get a family next year to take of some of the small critters.
Nearby is a wildflower patch that Josh created by covering the existing grasses with a tarp until he was ready to plant. It’s worked out quite well.
And then lastly, because we live not by flowers alone, here’s an update on the upcoming orchard fruit.
This month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day falls upon my mother’s birthday — her 100th birthday, something very worth celebrating. She has always loved flowers and we shared many moments of picking flowers and harvesting fruit.
And though her body is slowly losing the capabilities it once had, as recently as 18 month ago (pre-covid) we could still share humor and memories.
So as I look around our garden today, I know that I owe a lot my appreciation for gardens and gardening to my parents and grandparents. Today is also my father’s birthday (though he died more than 20 years ago) and their wedding anniversary. They were married at the start of World War II and this courtship poem that he sent from his barracks is an example of the many poems my father wrote during their life together
Meanwhile back here on the hillside we are harvesting gallons of peas and strawberries. Last night we pitted many of the wild cherries that yield every year without spraying or special care.
We’re thinking we should at least plant the seeds
The birds are happy to help out but they mostly work on the cherries that are beyond our reach.
Meanwhile the blueberries are starting to come in and they combine well with cherry juice.
But wait. There are still flowers worth mentioning. A lot of lilies are making their annual appearance.
But also some special additional items worth noting.
In the herb garden the perennials are making quite a statement as encouragement to the hummingbirds.
In the greenhouse there are many Zephyranthes popping up, but they don’t seem to follow any respect for my attempts at labeling.
I peeked in and saw this Hymenocallis blooming the other day (if you don’t catch it quickly it’s gone)
Before leaving this rather long post I do need to mention the Stewartia malacodendron. We have grown Stewartia japonica for years and it’s a wonderful tree with beautiful flowers and bark. It’s just about to come into bloom. But its cousin S. malacondendron bloomed about two weeks ago and it has truly remarkable flowers, well worth the time invested in getting to grow outside of its North Carolina origins.
Well there are so many flowers at this time of the year for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it is difficult to keep track of them all. I’ll give you just a smattering today and think back to all that I should have shared from the last month. The little ice plant shown above is one of many plants exploding out of our alpine bed. Very happy in our zone 7 landscape.
The species peonies and tree peonies are all done and we now moving on to the Itohs and the herbaceous
Our row of bearded Iris is very happily blooming.
Ever since we stopped weeding them amid the grass they have not had borers which used to be a perennial pain.
The early azaleas are pretty much done but the rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas are still blooming.
I’ve particularly liked the compact and floriferous Calanthe discolor, a reliable favorite from the orchid family.
The best of the Clematis remains Niobe though there are number of others in bloom
It’s also worth noting that you can just eat flowers every night and we are always happy to see the strawberries arriving. We have probably 75 feet of row for strawberries and peas that are just starting up.
And in the orchard there are oh so many peaches, pears, and apples getting started.
Back in the alpine bed we have a number of nice items happening.
Particularly nice is a little rock rose that I got from Wrightman’s Alpines last year after seeing them in the wild in Spain.
I think are just barely hardy in Maryland but they seemed to make through the winter and you see the number of buds on them.
On one of the nights recently i caught the orchard looking particularly spending in the evening light and I’ll close with those images.
I’ll lead off this GBBD posting with colchicum which has been spectacular this fall. They are hardy, reliable, and beautiful — the sort of qualities that beg for planting more. So I did…
It’s been all in all a marvelous fall here in Maryland. Mostly bright sunny fall days with just enough rain to keep everything going well. Altogether we are 8 inches ahead of the usual rainfall here. The annuals have continued to bloom and I noticed that the cosmos along the fence line have decided on a fall renewal of their blooms.
And the calendulas in the raised bed are bright and beautiful.
Under the cherry tree in the back yard a clump of cyclamen hederifolium is putting up flowers before the leaves are showing.
Japanese windflowers are spectacular as usual for this time of year.
And they are joined by various instances of toad lilies (such a strange name for exotically beautiful flowers).
The canna lily that returned from last year is soldiering on in a very crowded garden bed.
And month by month the cestrum continues a flowerful statement at the back gate.
I noticed that the beautyberry bush is covered with its distinctive purple berries right now.
In the alpine bed by the greenhouse there is a rather striking little saxifrage from Japan.
In the greenhouse itself the oxalis are dominating the show.
But there is also a rather special scilla that I brought into the house.
These are not easy to find, but they seem to be quite reliable bloomers.
While I was out in the vegetable garden I found many more dahlias still in bloom
and lots of monarch butterflies visiting the many tithonia.
In addition I found a very distinctive moth that I had never seen before.
Of course, it’s important to note that at this time of year, one does not live on flowers alone.
We have been bringing in bowl after bowl of raspberries for the last 6 weeks.
And finally to cap it off here is the apple pie that we made for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day…
Well there are many flowers blooming for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but the lilies have captured my attention. These are just the first of the lilies coming down the pike but they capture the eye when you walk about the yard. Besides ‘Netty’s Pride’, another contender for attention is this additional Asiatic hybrid.
In Beth’s herb bed we have a brilliant yellow whose name has long since passed.
Then there also the Martagon lilies with their clustered flowers.
This last one is a striking red. So much so even in the catalog that I have already ordered more for planting this fall even before I saw this one in bloom. We are beginning to attribute such actions to covid-brain around here…
A lily-wannabe that is pretty in its own right is the Alstromeria ‘Sweet Laura’.
Among the other highlights are two gentians with lovely blue flowers
And then there is this Asclepias cultivar with stunning clusters of bright yellow flowers.
Nearby is Hypericum having one of its most floriferous years ever.
In many places we have triteleia showing up from plantings that go back many years.
And for a spot of orange we added a little calceolaria this year from Sequim Rare Plants out in Washington State. I’m sure it’s not hardy here, but worth the experiment.
A delightful surprise was to see the pointy little head of the arisaema candidissimum finally show up.
Every year I am at the point of giving up on this plant given that many other arisaemas have long since put up there leaves. And then lo and behold, up it comes. And it’s relative in lateness arisaema fargesii arose the next day. Both are stunning arisaemas and well worth the wait.
Of course it’s important to add that around here fruit and vegetables are dominating the gardening scene. We’ve been picking strawberries for three weeks and now the raspberries and blueberries are bursting forth.
We also have cherries from the wild trees in the forest.
We figure these are seedling planted by the birds from our original orchard trees (and they are now 30-40 ft tall). I picked some from the best tree today.
It is a very flower-filled time for the GBBD post. Like everyone, we have flowers blooming everywhere and part of my dilemma is always where to focus my time and attention. The species peony shown above led me down an internet road trying to untangle the details of peonies with glabrous styles, purple anthers, and smooth undersides of leaves. On top of that it was just a lovely little peony that I cannot recall acquiring.
There are many other peonies, either flowering or about to flower. I have to admit that I am partial to the species peonies.
Nearby the Iris japonica are taking over their region of the garden.
These are definitely spreaders so you want to choose their location with care.
Similarly I’ve noticed how some of the anemones and primroses are happy to spread each year.
Thinking of spreaders, I have tried to move the Cascadian Wallflower from parts of the garden each year and it always finds a new place to make an appearance. But it’s so lovely it’s hard to not just appreciate it.
In addition an orange flowered wallflower reappeared from a wildflower mix that went in last year.
The yard as a whole is blessed by the things which happen in the mid-Atlantic April, like azaleas, viburnums, dogwood, and flowering fruit trees.
While out in the orchard, things are in extravagant bloom this year.
The Spitzenburg is one of the finest apples you will ever taste, but when you look at the trunk of this little guy you have to be grateful that it is producing any apples at all.
Hidden around the yard are still some smaller gems that i look forward to each year.
And when we go back to the troughs, the first Gentiana is showing up.
The alpine beds themselves are both chock full of interesting things like daphnes, stonecress, iris, poppies and the like.
Particularly noteworthy is a little Lewisia returning to claim its space.
and an Androsace which is always welcome.
As well as the always striking Bird’s Foot Violet.
In the greenhouse itself are still things which worth sharing or bringing into the house. The Ferrarias have been blooming since February.
Other South Africans include two Ixias, tritonias, and Ornithogalums.
And, of course, we continue to harvest daffodils from our years of planting.
Hoping this post finds the reader healthy and able to enjoy the spring.
Spring has been rapidly moving onward in the mid-Atlantic. Bringing us, for one thing, the first flowering of a lovely peony above that we acquired from John Lonsdale two years ago.
We like the rest of society have been dutifully staying at home and, in our case, appreciating all the horticultural bounty that nature has to offer. This year many of the plants are well in advance of the norm. Although our nominal last frost date is 2-3 weeks from now the flowering fruit trees (even apples) are already in bloom. Especially bountiful are the blossoms on the Asian Pear.
Even the Kwanzan Cherry is fully in flower, fully two weeks ahead of last year.
I had the intent to track the progress of the garden a bit closer than usual, but I find myself jumping from one object to another as the plants keep popping up. Erythroniums are especially lovely in the spring, sort of a precursor to the larger lilies to follow. We have a raised bed by the deck that is crammed full of trout lilies (Erythronium americanum). This is what it looked like a week ago.
Many years I ago I dug some of these and moved them out to forest in multiple locations. Although the plants have succeeded marvelously in the woods, despite deer and other animals, they do not flower. They spread like mad but they seem to have no interest in flowering. So last year I thought I would inspire them by planting in their midst some horticultural cultivars which have always flowered in the yard (Erythronium ‘Pagoda’). And, indeed, they shot up lovely looking buds which the deer promptly chopped off. Perhaps the E. americanum are simply wiser than me and know that it would be foolish to flower in the forest.
In any case we still have Erythronium to enjoy in the yard.
Another spectacular genus to enjoy right now are the Epimediums. Beth was gifted with two Epimediums years ago that established large and lovely clumps at the back fence. Not only are the flowers lovely, but the leaves are beautiful in the own right.
Other Epimediums are well established in other parts of our garden.
Some more traditional parts of the garden probably include this very hardy and early azalea.
A spectacular little primrose hybrid.
Multiple trilliums such as the T. grandiflorum
Daphne at the front fence
And a new japanese quince that I received as a father’s day gift last year.
But gardens are not made with flowers alone. There are some special green things on their way right now. The little Pteridophyllum has the glossiest green, fern-like foliage at the start of the year.
Peltoboykinia comes from the high mountains of Japan but seems to be happy here in Maryland.
Multiple variants to may-apples are on their way.
And the first of the Arisaemas is on its way.
While i’m in the yard, I still need to mention the star flowers that have been a real pleasure this year. This little Ipheion has been flowering for weeks now.
As we go back to the Alpine bed there are a lot of flowers calling for attention
Two that always stand out are the Pulsatilla and the Armeria.
And at the greenhouse entrance is a trough with a delightful little Androsace that has been a regular participant in our springtimes.
But before I leave off posting for today, let’s take a walk to the forest, through the garden gate and past the very large wild cherry trees.
Our trail leads us past many clumps of daffodils that have been planted over the years, past scilla, toothwort, hepatica, anemone, muscari and bluebells
To a very special clump of daffodils with haunting green eyes.
Arguros is the Greek word for silver and seems appropriate for this treasure.
May this posting find you healthy and able to enjoy the world around you.
As has been the case for many other October Garden Blogger Bloom Days the double flowered Anemone Japonica hybrid shown above has been the bell-ringer. It produces many outstanding flowers and they can be cut and brought into the house. It is modestly aggressive like all of it’s kin, but they pull out easily when they go where you don’t want them.
Another fall favorite are the various toad lilies. Probably the most abundant for us is Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’
It goes well with the New England Asters that are nearby
I was pleased to find that two spring plantings of fall camellias have produced flowers this year.
This last one is loaded with flowers, maybe 20-30 buds.
Two Roses from the springtime have some very nice buds to remind us of what they will do for us next year.
Back in the Alpine Garden one of the Daphnes is flowering once again. And with a marvelous fragrance of course.
And in a small trough that I inherited and can take no credit for there is a lovely little red sedum that has been flowering for the last month.
We have a number of plants in pots that will have to find a nice place for the winter. One of them is the Plectranthus sitting on the back porch. It has been a real winner.
Another non-hardy plant that is flowering strongly for the first time for us in Nerine Sarniensis. It looks like it will produce many offsets in the future.
In the greenhouse are many little pots of Cyclamen graecum. While they are not hardy, they are quite willing to jump into neighboring pots.
As a postscript I should add that this has been a really strange season for many trees, including our apples. However the Kieffer Pears have outdone themselves, producing so many pears that a major branch of the tree broke off. I have been having daily sandwiches of brie and pear. Highly recommended.
Well that’s about it for our garden, what about yours?