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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2021

Amarine tubergenii ‘Zwanenburg’

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day as we move securely into the Fall.  The leaves are changing but we see no signs of lower temperatures in Maryland as yet.

The Amarine above is a first time bloomer for me, but comes with a little background.  I bought it just this Fall from Quackin’ Grass Nursery and then as it was coming into bloom I discovered that I had another one that I had bought from the same place this Spring.  No sooner did I put those two in the ground but I then found that I had bought a smaller bulb of that plant from Rare Plants back in 2017 and it too was now coming into bloom (for the first time).  So apparently this plant is consistently appealing to me.  It is a hybrid between Amaryllis belladonna and Nerine bowdenii.  It’s somewhat questionable whether it will be hardy for me here in zone 7 (Nerines would not normally be hardy here), but I have planted two of them and we shall see.

Since it’s related I should mention that Nerine sarniensis (from the Greenhouse) is also flowering now bearing out my continuing interest in Nerines.

Nerine sarniensis

The above picture is from the kitchen and right nearby is a bowl full of vegetables showing the wonderful bounty from this year.

Vegetable yield in October

We’ve also had a lot of pears that we are still enjoying for dinners and desserts.  And the raspberries are still making their appearance.

Raspberries still coming in

The flowers outside still have a lot of the same participants that we’ve had for the past few months.

Double Decorative Dahlia Purple

Dahlia ‘Bodacious’ still yielding

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

Cosmos in the wildflower patch

In addition there are a few new faces on the Fall horizon

New England Aster

Japanese Anemone ‘Whirlwind’

Colchicum ‘Giant’

Colchicum ‘Dick Trotter’

Toadlilly (Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

In addition I thought it was interesting to note that I completely missed the start of flowering for the fall camellias.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Double Rainbow’

Camellia x ‘Survivor’

There are lots of buds on these and other Camellias so I need to pay more attention.  And similarly I’ll end by paying attention to the many oxalis showing up in the greenhouse now.

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Finally all summer long we’ve a beautiful showing of flowers from the potted plectranthus.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

I’ll need to find a place in the greenhouse for a part of this plant over the winter.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2021

Naked Ladies in the Garden

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for the middle of the summer.  Our garden is like many at this time of year.  Mostly annuals, crepe myrtles, and the last of the lilies dominate.

There are a few flowers worth noting.  The Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ has returned from it’s winter dormancy and will bloom until late fall.

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

We have a lot of annuals in the picking garden as well as the glads and dahlias.

Annuals in the cutting garden especially Tithonia

Dahilia’s still abundant in the cutting garden

The annuals and shrub flowers are great for attracting insects and birds, many of them very photogenic.  I was struck by this little bluebird overlooking the garden.

Bluebird baby with attitude

The butterflies and other insects are striking.

Monarch on Tithonia

Bee on Tithonia

Swallowtail on Buddleia

Clearwing moth on Buddleia

August is also prime time for harvesting 

Music Garlic

Contender Peach

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2020

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Anastasia’

There are many things blooming at this time of year, but none more assertively demands the attention of your senses than the large oriental lilies.  There are other flowers for Garden Blogger’s Bloom day, but i’m going to focus on the lilies.

First and foremost is Anastasia which is so tall and has so many flowers that it is a major task to keep it upright each year.  This year we were late so the flowers are bound together in a way that makes them hard to pick.  Nonetheless Beth managed to put some on the fireplace.

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Anastasia’

Anastasia on fireplace

The last carryover from some of the species lilies was this very special hybrid from lilium henryi.

Lilium henryi hybrid ‘Madame Butterfly’

But most of the focus is on the orientals right now.

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Lilium oriental ‘Casablanca’

Lily oriental white/yellow

This last one sits next to Lilium ‘Casablanca’ but is clearly not the same.  It’s twins are in other parts of the same bed, but in the center not way over to the edge where this one’s 6 foot tall flower is way out of size.  Is this ‘Time Out’?  If so my other ‘Time Out’ is quite different with the yellow suffused, not in a stripe.  I’ll have to buy more lilies to sort out the difference…

Another instance of a lily not being where I put it is this Scheherezade.

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Scheherazade’

It sits across the garden pathway from where the main clump of scheherazade was located.  I say was, because this spring the gardener, in a fit of unusual weeding activity broke the stem off the main clump of the Lilium ‘Scheherazade’.

Back in the house again the Stargazer lilies got removed before I could photograph them outside.

Stargazer lilies on mantel

Now there are other flowers in the garden.  In particular I would point out the Hydrangea ‘Blue Billow’ not merely because it has never bloomed blue for us, but because it really contributes to the monument bed at this time of the year.

Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Billow’

There are several spots where the crocosmia are blooming.  What a marvelously reliable flower.  Kind of like a compact glad that you never have to care for.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

The greenhouse has two zephyranthes cultivars that I particularly like.

Zephyranthes miradorensis

Zephyranthes katherinae rubra

And there are sunflowers that get collected along with annuals from the vegetable garden.

Sunflower collection

Finally I should note that we’ve had a bumper crop of garlic, this first 1/3 of which is now drying out in the garage.

First third of the garlic harvest drying in garage

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2017

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

Well, it’s fall here in Maryland and some of the usual suspects are providing our flowers for Bloom Day.  Japanese anemone are robust and reliable, as well as incredibly beautiful.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

Some of the other regulars are in the following pictures.

Trycyrtis ‘Autumn Glow’

Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

St. John’s Wort ‘Hidcote’

In the wildflower patch, the wild asters are currently the star of the show, attracting insects of all sorts.

Wild Aster

In the cutting garden the standouts are the Tithonia.

Tithonia

Beth has shown they look really nice next to the Salvia ‘Black and Blue’.  They are also quite tall so it’s easy to see them from underneath as well.

Tithonia from underside

A similar color comes with the Atlantic Poppy which took forever to start blooming but now has a new flower every day.

Papaver atlanticum ‘Flore Pleno’

Inside the greenhouse we have blooming for the first time the Scilla maderensis.  It seems to open just a few of the flower elements per day so that it’s never completely in flower for us.

Scilla maderensis

It is nevertheless interesting and exotic which goes a long way to getting space in the greenhouse.

Looking down on Scilla Maderensis

The first of the Oxalis are coming into bloom now.

Oxalis melanostica ‘Ken Aslet’

There are three species blooming now, but the rest will extend the blooming season into January at least.

It’s worth noting that one does not live by flowers alone.  The garden fruits and vegetables have been abundant this year, pushing us to new recipes and uses for the crops…

Vegetable garden production

Kieffer Pears

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2017

Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum)

Wow, a very busy day yesterday in gardenland.  I discovered the horned poppy shown above had returned after a year’s absence in flowering as I was catching up with the vegetable garden on an absolutely gorgeous spring day here in Maryland.  My cup runneth over with chores at this time of year, but the weather has been most cooperative (at last!).  I tilled the garden, finished weeding the strawberries, planted out the veggies started in the basement, seeded much of the rest of the garden, put in more glads and dahlias, and meanwhile Beth and Josh were weeding and pruning like mad.

Getting the garden planted

As usual on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I will share some of the flowers of interest blooming around the yard.  It’s worthwhile to step back from my close-up images to see the wide array of flowering plants right now.

Front Garden Circle

I’ve noticed that some folks tend to think of ‘garden’ as the larger scale perspective, whereas I often get caught up with the specific flowers.  This little blossom on the Kalmiopsis leachiana, for example, is almost hidden amidst the surrounding Daphne.

Kalmiopsis leachiana amid daphne spent flowers

Another small distinctive flower that first bloomed last fall and is repeating already is this little Delphinium.

Delphinium cashmerianum

A constant volunteer for us is this little pink columbine that we inherited from Beth’s mother.

Aquilegia light pink

In the garden leading to the greenhouse gateway, there is a floriferous Callirhoe variant.

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba ‘Logan Calhoun’

A quite distinctive plant is this allium which is just finished blooming and looks like it has little onions for seed pods.

Allium (nectaroscordum) tripedale

The very fragrant Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’ is also just at the end of its blooming.

Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’

By the back porch there is a lovely Bougainvillea that has overwintered in the greenhouse.

Bougainvillea pink and white

Of course, it’s hard not to miss the peonies in May.

Paonia ‘Sweet Shelly’

We also have yellow flowered peony that has been with us for thirty years.

Yellow Shrub Peony

The name has long since disappeared.

And the old stalwart, Festiva Maxima.

Paonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

We brought this one with us from Alexandria in 1975 and have planted it in many places around the property.  It thrives everywhere, even in the pasture with no real care.  The fragrance is wonderful and they make great cut flowers.

Paonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Another plant that thrives on neglect is Baptisia.

Baptisia x variicolor ‘Twilite Prairieblues’

These grow right by the pasture with no assistance whatsoever.

The various iris species also have a celebration time in May.

Bearded Iris pink cultivar

Iris tectorum

At the back of the garage we have very large Black Lace Elderberry that is fully in flower right now.

Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

One of my favorite alpine plants is the Edrianthus pumilo which grows in a nicely formed cushion in the Large Trough by the greenhouse.

Edrianthus pumilo

Let me leave you with a couple of the birds which have shown up recently in the yard.  First a bluebird which is probably nested nearby.

Bluebird salute

And a Yellow-rumped warbler which is more likely just passing through but is the first instance I’ve seen on our hillside.

Yellow -rumped Warbler

 

A Moving Experience

Dusk on the Hill

The latest Gardening Gone Wild Photo Challenge involves motion of various sorts in the garden.  The specific theme “Show the Motion” discusses how you can set out to use motion to enhance your normal photos in the garden.  Following the judge’s suggestions I set out at dusk one evening to see if the camera, tripod and I could capture the fireflies that dance around the garden in the evening.  One of the by-products of wandering around the hillside in the evening with a tripod is that you get a wonderful light on the flowers just as the sun is going down.  The colors are exceptionally strong without being blown out as they would be in mid-day.

Rock Garden at Dusk

Rose Garden at Dusk with Luxor Lilies

It turns out that the time period during which you can shoot with a long exposure, still get the garden elements, and let the fireflies dance is fairly limited — about 1/2 an hour.  I tried various exposures, zoom levels, ISO’s, etc. but the difficulty is you can’t really see and appreciate the arcing tracks of the fireflies until you return to the computer.  In the end it’s a very random thing as to whether the fireflies will actually choose to light up in sync with your camera, but it’s fun to try!  For example here is a shot from the front rock garden in which you can see three streaks of golden light.

Fireflies in Rock Garden

Another was on the hillside with clear arcs of color.

Fireflies above Coreopsis

In the end my favorite shot of the night came on the side of the hill with the pasture as backdrop and the False Sunflowers  in the foreground.  This picture was taken in the near-dark and it’s only by the magic of digital photography that fireflies appear as golden streaks of fairy dust in what looks like daylight.   This will be my submission for the GGW photo contest.

Fireflies and Hillside Garden

I also need to give some praise to the Luxor lilies which are flowering on six foot stems right now.

Asiatic Lily 'Luxor'

And I’m becoming a fan of the Walcroy Crocosmia which is an outstanding gold color to match the daylillies in the front yard.

Crocosmia 'Walcroy'

I should mention in passing that this is harvest time for the garlic.  I’ve strung several large bundles from the rafters in the garage.

Garlic (Kettle River Giant) hung to dry

And the blueberries are doing their annual thing.  I always look at them in the spring thinking that there really aren’t very many blossoms and maybe it will be an off year.  Then, come harvest time, the bushes yield abundantly and there are more to pick than we really have time for.  Beth has made a couple of full-size blueberry tarts that have been delicious.  It looks like we will be freezing berries again…

Blueberries picked last night from one of seven bushes

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for December 2010

Camellia Sasanqua frozen in place

Well it is indeed another opportunity to check the progress of the garden and to search for flowering survivors against the cold weather of December.  I bundled up yesterday and went into the subfreezing cold to look for the hardiest remnants of our garden.  The Camellia shown above sits against sheltering wall but has only the one bloom hanging on and, truthfully, that bloom has seen better days.  There are many other buds hoping for a January thaw since there are not many signs that the temps are coming back up again in December.  I looked back to last year’s posting and see that this very same Camellia is the lead flower for that edition of GBBD as well.  Note to self:  A White Camellia Sasanqua should be on the shopping list.

Now I rather expected the Camellia to be flowering.  What I did not expect was to see a Chrysanthemum  bloom still hanging on long after its compadres had packed their bags and planted their seeds for next year.

Last vestige of Chrysanthemum

A bit bedraggled yes.  But we who are in the begging profession (as all North Eastern gardeners must be at this time of year) can not afford to be too picky.

What did strike me — in addition to the freezing winds yesterday — was the number of plants that still make a beautiful green contribution to the landscape.  There are lots of plants that we assume will come to the fore at this season — like Yews or Boxwood — but there are others like the Hellebores and Epimediums that seem be contributing above and beyond the call of duty.  Given that they both will put of lovely flowers in the springtime.

Epimediums defy the cold

Epimediums, in particular, seem so delicate but are at the core just as sturdy and determined a ground cover as you can imagine.  Like ferns they are much more reliable than their appearance would seem to call for.

And the Hellebores are becoming one of my favorite flowering plants.

Hellebore x sternii 'Hot Flash'

They are incredibly hardy, reliably deer-proof, and increasingly the hybridizers are bringing new colors and styles to the market.  The above ‘Hot Flash’ has a silvery cast and interesting markings to the leaves as well as pretty green flowers in the spring.

As far as plants still doing their thing despite the 20 degree temperatures I need to take note of the Swiss Chard in the garden.

Swiss Chard still surviving

What a great vegetable!  Thanks to son Josh, we now stir fry this with maple syrup — yum.

And yet another survivor, though nearly done, is the last of the lettuce.

Buttercrunch in the cold

I somehow never realized that the lettuce could tolerate such low temperatures.  Needless to say, I will take fall gardening more seriously in the future.  I only really planted the fall garden this year because the drought killed off our summer production so badly.  There is a world of discovery right there in the backyard…

To see other gardens on this GBBD please go to May Dreams Gardens where the event is hosted by the originator.

Autumn Harvest

Fall Fest at Wilson Farms

The theme for Gardening Gone Wild photo contest for September is Autumn Harvest.  I was not inspired by our own drought-thirsted crops as considered what photo to enter.  The above photo is from Wilson Farms near Boston.  They make a fall tradition of gathering in some of the biggest pumpkins, squash, and gourds that you will ever see.  They also have apples, cider, and a generally inspiring collection of wonderfully diverse market garden produce and flowers.  If you have the opportunity it is well worth a visit.

However, I think for my entry I’m going to go with last year’s visit to Turkey.  As we drove across the country we went from the fruit orchards of the coast to the equivalent of our midwest where the big crop is sugar beets.

Harvesting sugar beets

We saw tractor after tractor towing in wagons of sugar beets.  They drove them up a near vertical ramp to dump them out (see the red tractor in the upper left of the picture).  Then the enormous piles of sugar beets were loaded onto big trucks for traveling across the country.

Trucking sugar beets

The source of the sweetness for some of those delicious baked goods is probably the molasses derived from sugar beets. The sugar beets are also used for one version of Raki, a distinctive turkish alcoholic beverage.  But wait, the quest for an Autumn Harvest image goes further.

The small farm that we stopped at for an overnight stay operated with more of a traditional mixed crop approach.  We were hosted by a multi-generational family that provided a wonderful meal for us.  They offered that those who wanted to get up early could witness the milking the next morning.  So I got up, along with several others, and toured the barn to see the milking (the whole farm reminded me of my grandfather’s place in Canada).  Then we took an morning walk into the fields. .  The early morning light fell on the stacks of reed-like plants that were as tall as the old traditional haystacks that you may have seen in the U.S..  In honor of the many hours that were required to create those twelve foot stacks I decided to submit this image as representative of Autumn Harvest.

Reedstack at Akburun village