Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2021

Rhododendron carolinianum

All the usual suspects are in bloom now for this April Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  Daffodils everywhere, first azaleas, dogwoods, peonies opening up, and spring bulbs of every sort.  I’ll focus on some of the things that catch my attention on a morning walk.

It’s hard not to notice the Kwansan double-flowered Cherry when you walk out the back door.

Kwanzan Cherry in first bloom

In the backyard the Epimediums are special right now.  There are two in particular that came as mother’s day gifts from Garden Visions years ago and are now quite substantial in size.

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

Another Epimedium that I like a lot is the Wushanense variety with its red leaves and white flowers.

Epimedium wushanense ‘Sandy Claws’

There are also several instances of Erythronium cultivars that add to the explosion of Trout lilies that surround the deck.

Erythronium californicum ‘White Beauty’

There are several spots where we have lovely clumps of star flowers

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Tessa’

In addition to the Peonies that are imitating being in flower because of the falling quince flowers, there are other Peonies almost in flower.

Peony with imitation red flowers

Paeonia caucasica

The first of the Arisaema and Podophyllum are poking through the ground.

Flower buds on Podophyllum delavayii

Especially nice was to see a return of the very rare Podophyllum x inexpectatum which I thought we had lost to animals.

Podophyllum x inexpectatum

The Camellias continue to dominate the flowering landscape

Red/white camellia

So many camellias

A new addition is the Loropetalum (marginally hardy for our area)

Loropetalum newly added to herb bed

I should not forget the Adonis vernalis which wraps up our Adonis flowering

Adonis vernalis

And the Iris tuberosa which has a nice flowering this year

Iris tuberosa

One of my favorite small troughs features a very nice dwarf Daphne

Daphne in one of the small troughs

Daphne detail

If we go back to the alpine bed the reliable Armeria is nearing peak bloom growing out of tufa rock

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

And back in the forest there are many daffodils and the first of the Jack-in-a-Pulpit

Narcissus ‘Chromacolor’ in the woods

First jack-in-a-pulpit in the woods

In the greenhouse it is Spring in South Africa

Tritoma crocata

Ferraria divaricata

It’s also worth mentioning that because we made an early start on the season in the basement this year we have been eating green salads for the last 6 weeks and the plants are even happier now that they can come outside.

Salad greens brought from the basement

We’ve also put the first tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in the garden

Tomatoes from basement

There are flowers on the fruit trees, strawberries, and blueberries.  Life is good…

Flowers on the blueberries

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2020

Fall Camellia white hybrid

We are still in an extended Fall season that has been remarkably temperate.  The weatherman says we could have frost any day now, but meanwhile we (and the plants) have been enjoying the mild weather.  The prettiest flowers for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day are the Fall Camellias.  Not only do they have the wonderful evergreen leaves, but the flowers are lovely and pickable for further reflection in the house.

Fall Camellia red

This particular camellia is particularly rewarding because I cut it way back and was ready to remove it after a hard freeze when I noticed a little green shoot coming out.  It’s now almost to the size it was originally and is covered with buds.

A bit more surprising is to see a flower on one of the Spring camellias.

Camellia japonica pink

This will get blasted when that frost comes along.

As you go about the yard it’s hard not to notice the wonderful color of the Japanese maples this year.

Japanese Maple in color

Dwarf Japanese Maple in fall color

And the green patterns on the cyclamen are also very striking.

Cyclamen hederifolium

In the front yard the yellow corydalis has continued its unabated flowering.

Corydalis lutea

Back in the vegetable garden the annuals are still flowering, though running out of steam.

Marigold

Most striking by far are the calendulas.

Calendulas

Calendula

And the greenhouse has offered up a South African native Nerine.

Nerine undulata

As a side note, I tried growing Leonotis this year after seeing it in flower just last year for the first time.  I was looking forward to that mane of orange yellow flowers that you can see in the catalogs.  Unfortunately it looks as though, even with our long season this year, we may not have enough time to see the flowers before frost.

Leonotis leonuris

So my plan is to see if this South African native will grow back from the roots next spring and maybe get an earlier start.  Stay tuned.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2020

Colchicum autumnale ‘Pleniflorum’

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.

Cosmos fall rebirth

And the calendulas in the raised bed are bright and beautiful.

Calendula (Alpha from Johnny’s Seeds)

Under the cherry tree in the back yard a clump of cyclamen hederifolium is putting up flowers before the leaves are showing.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Japanese windflowers are spectacular as usual for this time of year.

Japanese anemone ‘Whirlwind’

And they are joined by various instances of toad lilies (such a strange name for exotically beautiful flowers).

Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

The canna lily that returned from last year is soldiering on in a very crowded garden bed.

Canna ‘Lemon Punch’

And month by month the cestrum continues a flowerful statement at the back gate.

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

I noticed that the beautyberry bush is covered with its distinctive purple berries right now.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

In the alpine bed by the greenhouse there is a rather striking little saxifrage from Japan.

Saxifraga fortunei ‘Beni Zakura’

In the greenhouse itself the oxalis are dominating the show.

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

But there is also a rather special scilla that I brought into the house.

Scilla madeirensis

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

Decorative Dahlia

and lots of monarch butterflies visiting the many tithonia.

Monarchs in the garden

In addition I found a very distinctive moth that I had never seen before.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea)

Of course, it’s important to note that at this time of year, one does not live on flowers alone.

Raspberries yielding fall crop

Raspberries in abundance

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…

An Apple Pie from the orchard

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2019

Swallowtail on Tithonia

In the midst of hot days in August it is a reliable pleasure to see butterflies in great abundance throughout the garden.  For this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day posting let me begin with some shots of the butterflies that are everywhere right now in Maryland.

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Ligularia

Clouded Sulphur on Tithonia

It’s also a good time of year to spot the Hummingbird or Clearwing Moth.  They are very distinctive with almost invisible wings as the flit about the flowers.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth on Buddleia

Here are some of the standard flowers around the yard right now.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Gentiana paradoxa

Allium ‘Millenium’

Sage ‘Black and Blue’

And of course the glads are still blooming in the cutting garden.

Gladiolia ‘Princess Margaret Rose’

New for us in the Cestrum that we added this year.

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

And a little more unusual is the diminutive Anemonopsis with it’s waxy flowers.

Anemonopsis macrophylla

We also take advantage of the August flowers in the house as well.

Sunflowers live inside too

And then from the greenhouse

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Lastly let me note a seeding success with these hardy camellia seedlings started from seeds purchased from Camellia Forest.

Camellia oleifera seedlings

These should be interesting to grow outside in Maryland.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2019

Moraea elegans

I thought I would start this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with a bright and cheerful Moraea from the greenhouse.  This is one of the prettiest bulbs in existence.  It flowers for only a short time, so I was glad to catch it just as it opened.  It’s also been reclassified as Homeria where it becomes a noxious weed according to the USDA.  Since it’s hard to keep growing even in cultivation it’s hard to understand how it earned that distinction.

Nearby is a little scilla from Syria

Scilla cilicica

Like many of the small squills, this one has startling dark purple anthers

Outside the greenhouse the world has a few flowers but mostly it’s all in anticipation of things to come after the ice and snow of the last week.

In particular the snowdrops have been doing their part.

Galanthus elwesii

Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Blewbury Tart’

And the Winter Aconite are just beginning to appear. 

Winter Aconiter (Eranthis hyemalis)

but most of the rest are playing a waiting game

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ waiting in the wings

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Paonia caucasica in bud

Pictures of trees and shrubs show why the flowers are not in a big hurry yet.

American Holly

Dwarf Cryptomeria covered in ice

I think it’s fair to guess that by this time next month we will be covered in flowers.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2018

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)

Yesterday’s Bloom Day began with a snowstorm that ended up depositing 6 inches by the end of the day.  Early on you could still see the corydalis pictured above and one of the camellias in the front yard.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’ in the snow

Anticipating the snow, I had taken pictures around the yard the day before, including the same camellia.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

Yet another fall blooming camellia was in the side yard.

Camellia x ‘Survivor’

Hardiness is generally not a problem for camellias in our area but getting blooms at the right time can sometimes be problematical.  The spring blooming camellias are loaded with buds but they will sometimes pop open in a December thaw only to be burned off in the next freeze.

Also still blooming this week before the snowfall was the blue sage in the orchard.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

This sage has been in constant bloom since early summer.  Similarly the Viola jooi in the Alpine bed has come back into bloom again.

Viola jooi

There aren’t a lot of other flowers right now because we finally had our first freeze last week and many things got burned off.  One last remnant is this knockout rose.

Knockout Rose ‘Pink’

In preparation for the freeze, we covered up the newly planted Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’.

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

This is the third try for this lovely Mahonia which is only marginally hardy here.  We are hoping that covering it up will help it get through the winter.

We also gathered pine needles from the driveway and made a little nest for the pomegranate planted in the orchard.

White Pine needles on the driveway

Pomegranate tucked in for the winter surrounded by the last few zinnias

This is another of those plants where we are pushing the survival limits.

Otherwise we need to go into the greenhouse for flowers in November.

Oxalis in the greenhouse

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis luteola just opening

In closing I want to share an early November picture of a lovely Amur Maple in the front yard.

Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

In some areas of the country this is seen as invasive but for us it’s been very well behaved and a seasonal favorite.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2018

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

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’

Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

It goes well with the New England Asters that are nearby

New England Aster

I was pleased to find that two spring plantings of fall camellias have produced flowers this year.

Camellia sasanqua ‘White’

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

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.

Rosa ‘Crocus Rose’ (David Austin)

Rosa ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (David Austin)

Back in the Alpine Garden one of the Daphnes is flowering once again.  And with a marvelous fragrance of course.

Daphne collina x cneorum

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.

Sedum (cauticola?)

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.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

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.

Nerine sarniensis

In the greenhouse are many little pots of Cyclamen graecum.  While they are not hardy, they are quite willing to jump into neighboring pots.

Cyclamen graecum

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.

Kieffer Pear

Well that’s about it for our garden, what about yours?

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