Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2016

Daphne collina x cneorum

Daphne collina x cneorum

It seems appropriate for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day to give due credit to this little dwarf Daphne which has bloomed on and off in the Alpine bed since April.  The flowers (like most Daphnes) are very fragrant and the plant has prospered in the Alpine bed despite my placing it in a spot between two rocks where it seemed to me most appropriate to its small size.  And it’s much bigger now, though still very pleasing.

Even the Winter Daphne which I moved into the sunshine this year after torturing it in the deep shade for several years seems to be enjoying its exposure to the elements.

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)

It’s out by the front fence in some of the poorest soil on our hillside.  We shall see how it survives.  The Edgeworthia, its new neighbor, has put out some fat buds so maybe it’s not as bad a location as I imagined.

Our weather has flirted with frost but we haven’t really had a hard, killing frost yet.  That has let some of the hardier plants continue to flower.  Here are just a few of them.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple Sage

A few remaining Fall Crocus

A few remaining Fall Crocus

Lantana

Lantana

The Lantana is one of the feature plants that will tell me when it has gotten really cold, and I should take the citrus to the basement.

As we go back to the Alpine bed, another plant that has bloomed for a long time (essentially nine months) is the Erodium chrysanthum.

Erodium chrysanthum

Erodium chrysanthum

It’s close relative, the alpine geranium, is also fond of flowering every day.

Alpine Geranium (Erodium  reichardii 'Roseum')

Alpine Geranium (Erodium reichardii ‘Roseum’)

What has been particularly surprising this fall is the Delphinium cashmerianum.

Delphinium cashmerianum

Delphinium cashmerianum

Delphinium cashmerianum full plant

Delphinium cashmerianum full plant

Retreating finally into the greenhouse (which will be my refuge before long) I want to share the bright red flowers of the a little Aptenia that I grew from a cutting (thank you Marianne!)

Aptenia cordifolia 'Red Apple'

Aptenia cordifolia ‘Red Apple’

And the tiny little flowers of Polyxena ensifolia which looks much bigger on the web.

Polyxena ensifolia

Polyxena ensifolia

Perhaps mine will grow up some day…

Besides myriad Oxalis, there is also a pot of Cyclamen worthy of note.

Cyclamen hederifolium 'Perlenteppich'

Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Perlenteppich’

These are pure white with lovely leaves.

Finally I will finish up with the first Camellia of this season.  Beth picked it before I could photograph it in place, but it’s another reminder of what an extended Fall season we have had.

Camellia japonica

Camellia japonica

 

Post-Election

Gaillardia in Tears

Gaillardia in Tears

I awoke this morning to find that the world around me was in tears.  In no way could I imagine that the U.S. could elect an ignorant charlatan to the highest office in the land.  I am profoundly ashamed of the system that takes two years of campaigning at enormous expense to arrive at this terrible state of affairs.  I’ll take a parliamentary system any day as a more effective representative government.  I have no idea how to fix the cultural divide between those who think that knowledge is a flexible thing to be bent to one’s whims and those who respect education and the country’s historic values.

I can think of nothing more appropriate to the moment than to quote a letter from E.B. White that appears on the wonderful Letters of Note website

North Brooklin, Maine

30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely, 

(Signed, ‘E. B. White’)

Catching up with the Fall

Delphineum cashmerianum

Delphinium cashmerianum

I am way behind on reporting on garden developments here on Ball Rd.  I walked around last weekend to try to catch up with what has been happening (mostly what persists in growing despite the lack of rain hereabouts).  I was quite pleased and surprised to see that the first flowers have appeared on a little delphinium that I had placed in the new Alpine bed (more about that in a future post).  I grew this one from seed (obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Club seed exchange) planted last February.  As I look at the plant I’m dubious that the name is correct.  The leaves are much more narrow than shown in the online pictures of D. cashmerianum.

Delphinium cashmerianum

Delphinium cashmerianum

There are a lot of species of Delphiniums so I’ll have to live with it for a while to see if I can hone in on the correct name.

It’s been so dry that I haven’t had a lot of new flowers for quite some time.  I did see that the Mahonia by the front door has it’s yellow flowers showing.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

The big question is whether we’ve found a spot where it will successfully survive the winter.

There are many annuals still about in the vegetable garden.  I’ve shown the Tithonia many times now.  But out front the Gaillardia deserves some commendation for persistence.

Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun'

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’

And there was a solitary rose in flower next to the garage.  It was just about perfect with a wonderful fragrance.

Blush pink Rose

Blush pink Rose

I know longer remember the name, but it seems to me it had something to do with ‘blush’.

There a couple of instances of Bottle Gentians having escaped in the garden behind the garage.  I’ve never been that keen on flowers that never  open, but they are beginning to win me over with stubborn endurance.

Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)

Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii)

And it you look closely while walking in the back yard you can see crocus blooming in the lawn.

Crocus speciosus 'Conqueror'

Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror’

Crocus cartwrightianus alba

Crocus cartwrightianus alba

But even as the flowers are waning during this Indian Summer, the greenhouse is abounding with the bright green growth of many bulbs.  Daffodils, triteleia, tritonia, ferraria, moraea, freesia, lachenalia, and more are sending up new shoots.  And the oxalis are in full bloom now.  Here is a sampling. Notice how variable the leaves are from the clover-like bowieii , to the wonderfully textured melanosticta, and to the very narrow hirta.

Oxalis bowieii

Oxalis bowieii

Oxalis luteola glauca

Oxalis luteola glauca

Oxalis hirta 'Gothenburg'

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Oxalis melanosticta 'Ken Aslet'

Oxalis melanosticta ‘Ken Aslet’

Oxalis pardalis

Oxalis pardalis

Oxalis bench with O. pardalis and O. luteum glauca

Oxalis bench with O. pardalis and O. luteum glauca

Oxalis flava yellow next to O. hirta 'Gothenburg'

Oxalis flava yellow next to O. hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Lastly a Cyrtanthus hybrid that has been living in the house for two weeks now.

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2016

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

It has been a generally hot and dry (read depressing) summer for our garden).  In early August we awoke to find that we had drawn down the well with watering and so had to forego our normal watering plan.  So my looks around the garden prior to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day were fewer than they might otherwise have been.  We did still water Beth’s new raised bed and the Nasturtiums and Calendulas have responded by blooming all summer long and into the Fall.

Calendula

Calendula

Many of the other flowers in bloom are a testament to how well some species can survive in adversity.

Alstroemeria 'Sweet Laura'

Alstroemeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Venturing out onto our ultra-dry hillside which never gets watered at all anymore, I found several champions of the survival school.

Buddleia

Buddleia

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtle

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’

Notice the spider on the Lemon Queen and it’s very adaptive coloration.

Spider on Lemon Queen

Spider on Lemon Queen

The butterflies are also very attracted to Lemon Queen.

butterfly on Lemon Queen

butterfly on Lemon Queen

I also saw a lovely Monarch Butterfly on the Tithonia in the vegetable garden.

Monarch on Tithonia

Monarch on Tithonia

One very noteworthy Fall-blooming flower is the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  I’m becoming more of a fan every year and it’s a good thing because it keeps spreading of its own volition.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Another fall bloomer was a bit of a surprise.  This Sweet Autumn Clematis was something I pulled out three years ago and I was surprised to see it return in two separate places this year.

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

It’s a lovely flower but can get too aggressive if left to its own devices.  I will probably try to transplant it to the woods.

In the alpine beds I have two erodiums that are returning to bloom right now.

Erodium chrysantha

Erodium chrysantha

Erodium

Erodium

In the greenhouse I have just finished restarting all the oxalis.  At the same time the Bulbine has come back into flower.

Bulbine frutescens

Bulbine frutescens

And one of the cyclamens has taken on a very distinctive flowering by simply spilling over the edge of the pot with a great many flowers and no leaves at all.

Cyclamen graecum

Cyclamen graecum

Lastly just to note that man (or woman) does not live by flowers alone.  The raspberries are joining the apples as delectable fruits to be harvested this month.

raspberries ready for harvest again

raspberries ready for harvest again

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2016

Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

I find myself at the beach for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but before leaving I snapped a few shots of the flowering activity around our hillside.  The gentian pictured above is a vigorous spreader in the Alpine bed that is a reliable harbinger of fall.  The feathery insides of the flower make it one of the prettiest flowers I know.

The rest of the yard is dominated by the hardy annuals and sturdy perennials that can make it through a dry Maryland summer.  A great example is the state flower, Black-eyed Susans, that dominates our front bed.

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

In the vegetable garden we often grow Mexican Sunflower (Sithonia) which are very attractive to butterflies.

Tithonia

Tithonia

There a number of plants that deserve special praise for returning one or more times during the summer.

Clematis 'Roguchi'

Clematis ‘Roguchi’

Asclepias 'Hello Yellow'

Asclepias ‘Hello Yellow’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

The salvia is not supposed to be hardy in our area, but it has returned reliably for 5 years now.

The two lobelias, red and blue, are winners for an August garden.

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Amongst the shrubs, the Hydrangea ‘Limelight makes a long and lovely showing.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

From the greenhouse a number of the formosa lilies are in full flower.

lilium formosanum

lilium formosanum

And the small Herbertia texensis is putting out it’s complex flowers.

Herbertia texensis

Herbertia texensis

Let me close, because the beach is calling, with a wildlife image from the garden.  I found this remarkably lovely caterpillar on a tree peony leaf.

Caterpillar (American Dagger Moth?)

Caterpillar (American Dagger Moth?)

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2016

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia'

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Well, if you had to pick a theme flower for this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it would the lilies.  Despite the dry weather we have been experiencing, they are exploding all over the yard, especially the hybrids between orientals and trumpets (aka orienpets).  They are tall, fragrant, floriferous, and individually stunning.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' single bloom

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ single bloom

In the house they make quite a display too.

Orienpet Lily 'Anastasia' in the house

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’ in the house

Here are some others of the lily orienpet persuasion.

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade'

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’

Orienpet Lily 'Scheherazade' single flower

Orienpet Lily ‘Scheherazade’ single flower

Orienpet Lily 'Pretty Woman'

Orienpet Lily ‘Pretty Woman’

Of course, even the old-fashioned orientals are pretty spectacular.

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental Lily 'Casablanca'

Oriental Lily ‘Casablanca’

Oriental Lily 'Muscadet'

Oriental Lily ‘Muscadet’

And then a new one added to collection this year is Lilium henryii hybrid.

Lilium henryi hybrid 'Madame Butterfly'

Lilium henryi hybrid ‘Madame Butterfly’

There are course still many annuals and some of the standard perennials, but one of the species that has asked for special recognition is the Crocosmia.  These wonderful bulbs from the iris family are durable, productive and beautiful, year after year.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora 'George Davison'

Crocosmia × crocosmiflora ‘George Davison’

Another new plant for us is the popular anemone ‘Wild Swan’.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' front

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ front

It is especially characterized by the purple markings on the back of the petals.

Anemone 'Wild Swan' back

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’ back

In the greenhouse we have several noteworthy arrivals.  First a very unusual Pineapple Lily.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This is only found in the wild between 7000′ and 8000′ in South Africa.   At some point I might experiment with growing it outside.

Also from South Africa is member of the Amaryllis family, Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus.

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

Cytanthus elatus x montanus

A little Cyclamen is flowering from seed planted in 2013.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium

And a welcome returnee is this rain lily.

Habranthus brachyandrus

Habranthus brachyandrus

One of the fun things for me is finding the unusual animals that populate the yard, if you take the time to notice them.  Last week it was this wonderful dime-sized spider that caught my eye.

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

Jumping spider from the greenhouse

 

A Higher State (Steppe to Alpine)

Steamboat Lake and Mule's Ears (Wyethia mollis)

Steamboat Lake and Mule’s Ears (Wyethia mollis)

We just returned last week from a spectacular trip to Colorado that was focused on the North American Rock Garden Society‘s (NARGS) annual meeting.  The theme was ‘A Higher State — Steppe to Alpine’ and it was in two locations, the Denver Botanic Garden and Steamboat Springs over 5 days.  It had been a while since we had been to Colorado, so we met with friends and family in Boulder and Golden beforehand.  I’ll try to give a brief overview of what was a wonderful and relaxing exploration of mountain wildflowers.

Hiking just outside of Boulder we encountered this lovely Calochortus.

Calochortus gunnisonii

Calochortus gunnisonii

The NARGS meeting began at the Denver Botanic Garden where we got a personalized tour of the rock gardens by Mike Kintgen who oversees the Alpine collection.

Mike Kintgen at DBG

Mike Kintgen at DBG

Their garden features a crevice garden which has been established for several years now (long enough to see several successful cushions)

Crevice garden at the DBG

Crevice garden at the DBG

They manage to grow the wonderful Devil’s Claw that we first saw in the Dolomites last year.

Physoplexis comosa in a trough at DBG

Physoplexis comosa in a trough at DBG

The Denver Botanic Gardens are not to be missed if you are in Denver.  In this season they have a spectacular display of Foxtail Lilies.

Through the looking glass

Through the looking glass

A Sea of Foxtail lilies

A Sea of Foxtail lilies

On our way to Steamboat Springs we stopped at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail which has newly constructed tufa wall for optimum planting of tiny alpines.

New Tufa bed at Vail

New Tufa bed at Vail

And the outside part of the gardens is quite nice as well.

Betty Ford Alpine Garden

Betty Ford Alpine Garden

In Steamboat Springs we visited local gardens including the Yampa River Botanic Park which right along the Yampa River in a very pretty setting.  They have built a stunning crevice garden there.

Crevice Garden at the Yampa River Botanic Garden

Crevice Garden at the Yampa River Botanic Park

Another view of the Crevice Garden at the Yampa River Botanic Garden

Another view of the Crevice Garden

Panorama of the Crevice Garden at the Yampa River Botanic Garden

Panorama of the Crevice Garden at the Yampa River Botanic Park

I fell in love with a little Stachys planted in one of the crevice locations.

Stachys lavandulafolia

Stachys lavandulafolia

We also took several hikes in the trails surrounding Steamboat Springs.  We drove out through countryside that really summed up what steppes are all about.

Steppes near North Park

Steppes near North Park

Just along the side of the road we saw beautiful Lewisia and Shooting Stars.

Lewisia rediviva

Lewisia rediviva

A sea of Shooting Stars

A sea of Shooting Stars

Dodecahedron puchellum

Shooting Star (Dodecahedron puchellum)

One stop near a trailhead into the Zirkel Wilderness area produced a bevy of these very small Ladyslipper Orchids

Ladyslipper Orchid (Cypripedium fasciculatum)

Ladyslipper Orchid (Cypripedium fasciculatum)

We stayed a few days past the conference and on the last day of hiking we walked up a ridge near the Rabbit Ears pass area.  The views were excellent, but it was remarkable how you had to pay close attention to see that the hillside was covered with wildflower treasures.

Windy Ridge rich with wild flowers

Windy Ridge rich with wild flowers, especially Glacier Lilies, Lewisia, and Larkspur.

Erythroniums galore

Erythroniums galore

Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)

Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)

 

Lewisia pygmaea

Lewisia pygmaea

Lewisia pygmaea (White form?)

Lewisia pygmaea (White form?)

Delphinium nuttallianum

Delphinium nuttallianum

And a final sighting on this ridge was a very nice ground orchid.

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)

All in all, a wonderful trip, with a suitcase full of tiny treasures brought back to Maryland from the plant sales at the conference.  My thanks to Laporte Avenue Nursery and Sunscapes Rare Plant Nursery.

Also, I should mention that the Denver Botanic Garden has published a very nice book on this region of the world (and similar) entitled ‘Steppes: The Plants and Ecology of the World’s Semi-arid Regions‘.  Check it out…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2016

Lilium asiatic 'Netty's Pride'

Lilium asiatic ‘Netty’s Pride’

Ok, this is way late for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  No Excuses.  Everyone has gardens to build, weed, water, and harvest.  But what really slows me down in posting is when I find a lovely flower that I acquired years ago and can’t figure out what the name is.  And that leads me to the internet and well, you know how that goes.  One thing leads to another and pretty soon you are buying another few plants instead of posting about the ones you have.

Anyway here are some of the flowers that I should have been sharing.  Lillies and Iris are foremost.  The Spuria Iris are some of my favorites.

Spuria Iris 'Cinnebar Red'

Spuria Iris ‘Cinnebar Red’

Spuria Iris 'Shelford Giant'

Spuria Iris ‘Shelford Giant’

The Spuria are generally pretty tall, but Shelford Giant is especially high up before it flowers.

Spuria Iris 'Shelford Giant' showing height

Spuria Iris ‘Shelford Giant’ showing height

I used to focus on the bearded Iris but I’ve found that many of the other species Iris are more reliable and enjoyable.  I’ve never had the Iris borers focus on the other species the way they can on the bearded hybrids.  In particular the Japanese Iris have a way of making nice clumps in the perennial gardens.

Iris ensata ' Agripinella'

Iris ensata ‘ Agripinella’

A new Japanese Iris for us this year is this four-foot tall specimen from Plant Delights.

Iris ensata 'Flashing Koi'

Iris ensata ‘Flashing Koi’

The Blackout Lillies are creating their normal smashing display of vibrant dark red.

Lilium 'Blackout'

Lilium ‘Blackout’

And in anticipation of setting a new height record for us the Trumpet Hybrid Pink Perfection is now higher than the 8 foot piece of granite in our Monument Bed.

Pink Perfection Lily next to Monument

Pink Perfection Lily next to Monument

Our potted lily wanna-be from the Amazon is in full flower at the moment.

Hymenocallis 'Sulphur Queen'

Hymenocallis ‘Sulphur Queen’

I need to single out the last of the Arisaemas now in fully display. Both A. fargesii and A. candidssum took until June 4th before they showed their first pointed tips coming out of the soil.  I especially love the pink of the A. candidissums.

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema fargesii

Arisaema fargesii

Just a few other shots from around the yard before I go…

Knockout roses 'Pink'

Knockout roses ‘Pink’

Asclepias tuberosa 'Hello Yellow'

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

Mix of wine cups, spotted orchid, Brodiaea 'Queen Fabiola', and Gladiolus elata.

Mix of wine cups, spotted orchid, Brodiaea ‘Queen Fabiola’, and Gladiolus alatus.

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Stewartia japonica

Stewartia japonica

Bulbine frutescens

Bulbine frutescens

Raspberries

Raspberries

Blueberries

Blueberries

And let me close with another gem from the greenhouse…

Habranthus tubispathus

Habranthus tubispathus (sometimes called copper lily)