Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2021

Dahlia ‘Bodacious’

We have a steady supply of flowers from the both the perennials and the picking garden for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  The dahlia above has been flowering for most of the summer.  

The Tithonia in the garden give some idea of the good growing weather that we have had.

Tithonia in the garden

I always enjoy seeing the black and blue sage coming back because it was never supposed to be hardy in our area.  The bees enjoy it in particular.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Bee on Salvia

Nearby the David Austin ‘Crocus Rose’ is making a comeback.

Crocus Rose

And right beside it the continually blooming Cestrum

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

I also enjoy that the Cyclamen comes up at this time of year both in the ground and in the greenhouse

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen graecum

Other flowers can be seen in the wildflower patches

Wildflower patch

Asters in wildflower patch

In the Alpine bed I discovered a Pulsatilla that is definitely blooming well out of season

Pulsatilla pratensis ‘bohemica’

Pulsatilla pratensis ‘bohemica’

In the greenhouse itself there is not only this striking Sinninglia species

Sinninglia sp.

But also a rather puzzling Buddleia which is coming up in nominally Gentianella pot.

Buddleia davidii

Elsewhere the berries in the yard are striking.

Blue Holly in berry

Viburnum wrightii

Viburnum wrightii

Finally to note once again that since we can’t survive on flowers alone, we have been bringing in lots of fruit.

Kieffer Pears (and a few liberty apples)

And for the first time Figs

Figs

I highly recommend homemade sourdough bread with brie, pear, and fig — yum…

100 Years today! — A VERY SPECIAL BLOOM DAY

Frogs with Hydrangea

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.

Mom picks the Iris at Ball Rd

Mom in our garden in 2005

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.

Mom nursing center

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

A Letter

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.

Wild Cherries (Big Cherry Sue – the name of the tree)

We’re thinking we should at least plant the seeds

Cherry pits

The birds are happy to help out but they mostly work on the cherries that are beyond our reach.

Brown Thrasher with Cherry

Meanwhile the blueberries are starting to come in and they combine well with cherry juice.

Blueberries, ice cream, and wild cherry juice

But wait.  There are still flowers worth mentioning.  A lot of lilies are making their annual appearance.

Red Asiatic hybrid lily

Asiatic Lily ‘Forever Susan’

But also some special additional items worth noting.

Spigelia marilandica

Callirhoe involucrata (Wine Cups)

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

In the herb garden the perennials are making quite a statement as encouragement to the hummingbirds.

Monarda and Heliopsis in the herb garden

In the greenhouse there are many Zephyranthes popping up, but they don’t seem to follow any respect for my attempts at labeling.

Red Zephyranthes

I peeked in and saw this Hymenocallis blooming the other day (if you don’t catch it quickly it’s gone)

Hymenocallis guerreroensis

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.

Stewartia malacodendron

 

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 March 2021

Helleborus in profusion

Well there has been an explosion of flowers over the last two weeks.  We are back to a more wintry cold and windy day today, but we have had some stunning sunny days which have moved us well into Spring.  Perhaps nothing captures the change for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day so much as the Hellebores.  The variety of shapes, sizes, and colors is remarkable.  Here are a few examples

Helleborus ‘Kingston Cardinal’

Helleborus Ice N’ Roses Red

Hellebore white/pink double

Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

A little plant of Helleborus thibetanus is not to be missed.

Helleborus thibetanus

The Camellias are all in fat bud or flowering at the moment.

Double Pink Camellia japonica

It’s also the time for the daffodils to begin all over our hillside.  One of the pleasures of each year are the small clumps in the woods.

Narcissus ‘Little Gem’

Also in the woods are couple nice Scilla that are fun to come upon.

White Squill in the woods

Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’

Like the Daffodils they are not bothered by the animals and are gradually expanding.

There are a number of Iris histroides in flower now.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Iris histroides ‘Finio’

This last is a new addition from Odyssey Bulbs.

The cyclamen coum have been a real pleasure this year.  We had never had spring cyclamen before.

Cyclamen coum

The first of the Hepaticas is out in bloom.

Hepatica x media

The first Glory of the Snow are also making their appearance

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

They run wild in our pasture and there will be many more on the way.

Back in the alpine area I was pleased to see the Dionysia make a very early appearance

Dionysia involucrata

In the same trough is a Saxifrage that is not far behind.

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

On the sunny side of the alpine beds the Draba hispanica is moving rapidly through flowering

Draba hispanica

Right next to the Draba the Aubrieta is beginning to flower with many buds visible as well.

Aubrieta ‘Royal Red’

And the small Asphodelus that I acquired from John Lonsdale is coming into flower as well.

Asphodelus acaulis

And in the greenhouse there are rampant pleasures as the plants imagine that we live in the tropics.Amaryllis Green-Red

Scilla peruviana

Lachenalia unicolor

And then finally a spectacular Ferraria

Ferraria crispa

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2021

Camellia sasanqua red

Well the fall camellia next to the garage continues to be our most reliable bloomer for Garden Blogger Bloom Day and the wintertime.  It’s hard not to imagine the backyard without the camellias.  They are such a continuing delight.  The hybrid that I picked up from the camellia society a couple of years ago has been blooming all winter long as well, but the flowers are starting to decrease in size.

Camellia hybrid white/pink

Meanwhile the first of the spring camellias is blooming again.

Camellia japonica red

Some of the other flowers around the yard are pretty reliable participants in the late winter/early spring bloom.

1st Snowdrops

Japanese Quince

Helleborus niger HGC® ‘Jacob’

But it’s worth noting that we have never seen this red heather blooming persistently over the winter.

Krarmer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen flower buds on the Cyclamen coum in January.

Cyclamen coum flower buds

I wanted to include a picture of the buds on one of the other Hellebores as well.  This is a particularly dark foliaged plant with dark red flowers as well.  It looks like it wont’ be long till this one is in bloom.

Helleborus ‘Ice and Roses Red’

In the greenhouse we have more Narcissus showing up.  This is a particularly nice one (note the buds yet to open)

Narcissus romieuxii ‘Atlas Gold’

We have also decided (in response to Covid) to upgrade our basement lighting and get an early start on the planting year.

New LED light added for starting seeds

And as a result here are the little plants from the seeds that I planted last week on my birthday…

First seedlings for 2021

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2020

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’

Well it is December so it’s not surprising that the first Hellebore is blooming for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  Helleborus Niger is always well ahead of it’s compatriots in providing winter bloom.  Nonetheless it’s still the camellias that are providing the most stunning flowers around our hillside.

Hybrid Fall Camellia

Hybrid Fall Camellia detail

Red Camellia sasanqua

Red Camellia japonica

The camellias are pretty consistently with us for the fall and then on again off again until into the springtime.  More surprising is the heather that is blooming right now.

Kramer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

And there is also a little ice plant that is flowering way out of season.

Delosperma cooperi

You can see white tips on the snowdrops and the adonis are also coming into bud.

Adonis buds

But we are expecting 10 inches of snow tomorrow (the first real snow we’ve had this year), and that means the plants are likely to slow down for awhile.

In the greenhouse we have a number of early daffodils in bloom.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

And there is also the beautiful wavy-flowered Nerine undulata still flowering after more than a month of bloom.

Nerine undulata

We have put up our traditional live Christmas tree, this time a Canaan Fir.

Canaan Fir Christmas Tree

This will be planted out in the pasture after the holidays.

December 15th is also the first day for choosing seeds from the North American Rock Garden Society’s Seed Exchange.  I was up early this morning (late last night) putting in my request for my 35 1st choice seed packets on the list.  This is great fun and I would encourage everyone to get involved.  There are 2480 taxa available including many rare and unusual varieties that you will not find from commercial sources.

NARGS Seed Exchange

 

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