A total surprise for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is this lovely Lycoris. It started blooming last week and I almost missed it because it’s been terribly dry and not very rewarding to check out the growing things. In general it’s been more a case of survival with less than a 1/4 inch of rain in September and only just now getting a few drops.
We can still count on the annual zinnias, marigolds, and cosmos, but we’re definitely on the light side for flowers right now.
The Nasturtium in Beth’s raised bed have been putting on quite a show.
A couple of the perennials that reliably show up, even with drought are shown below.
And a first time plant for us that may or not be perennial is the Cestrum.
This flowers all during the growing season in our area. And it just keeps getting bigger.
There are also some lovely flowers still hanging on the Hydrangea by the back porch.
One of the troughs that I inherited from a member of the Potomac Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society has a delectable little Sedum growing in it.
I noticed in the alpine bed several flowers on one of the Daphnes, and that seems quite out of season.
Also in the alpine bed the Sculletaria continues to flower, as it has all year long.
In the greenhouse itself, there is a marvelous little gloxinia-looking plant from Bolivia.
The color on this little beauty is really remarkable.
And just outside the greenhouse is a little Zephyranthes that has jumped ship into the alpine bed.
Speaking of escapees the grass in the orchard has all of a sudden become Japanese stiltgrass. This is an almost total takeover in one year. It’s quite beautiful, but definitely invasive.
I did mow it after taking pictures. Ideally one does this before it sets seeds for next year.
It’s appropriate to feature a zinnia for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post because they are all over the place — in vegetable garden, by the driveway, and in the orchard. It’s hard to disagree with a flower that comes from seed so easily and lasts all season long. In fact zinnias were the first flower we planted when we got inspired to start gardening fifty years ago. We read a book by Jeanne Darlington (Grow Your Own) that led us to scratch a little garden plot next to our student housing. There have been a lot more flowers since …
Typically we have Dahlias and Glads in the vegetable garden just for picking.
And son Josh planted a lot of wildflowers around the property this spring.
Including especially zinnias and sage in the orchard, but also this particularly pretty variety of basil.
My eye tends to get distracted by the perennials, especially those that are giving a bonus rebloom.
There is also a nice little patch of Colchicum in with the wildflowers in the backyard.
As you walk down the driveway it’s hard not to notice the Viburnum with it’s berries hanging out into the drive.
In the greenhouse I found the Scilla maderensis budding up a few days ago.
And now the flowers are opening up.
This is also the oxalis time of the year.
One after another, the Oxalis break into bloom from early September into February.
I’ve also found myself reading up about Zephyranthes and their close relatives Habranthus. These are both part of the Amaryllis family and they are spectacularly easy to grow. They are often called rain lilies because the rapid appearance of the flowers in late summer. I’ve had the yellow forms (like Zephyranthes smalli and Z. jonesi, or Habranthus texensis) for a number of years, but what I’m discovering is that the pink and red forms of the family are really special.
This little Habranthus has white flowers that are tinged pink on the outside.
And these two Zephyranthes are both of the pink persuasion mixed with white.
This last one is especially large for a Zephyranthes. It was found in Mexico on a red mountain, therefore it’s name. Most of the Zephyranthes prefer a southern climate (say zone 8), but they are easy to overwinter in a pot. They make abundant seeds which will start popping up in other pots if you don’t pay attention. I’ve got a number of pots that I thought were tritoma or babiana or some other bulb, only to realize that they were actually Zephyranthes volunteering to use an empty pot.
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.
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.
Here are some of the standard flowers around the yard right now.
And of course the glads are still blooming in the cutting garden.
New for us in the Cestrum that we added this year.
And a little more unusual is the diminutive Anemonopsis with it’s waxy flowers.
We also take advantage of the August flowers in the house as well.
And then from the greenhouse
Lastly let me note a seeding success with these hardy camellia seedlings started from seeds purchased from Camellia Forest.
These should be interesting to grow outside in Maryland.
Well the middle of July Bloom Day update is always highlighted by lilies, daylilies, and sunflowers. They are the strength of the season. We’ve just returned from a vacation and they are the first flowers I see.
Anastasia is an Orienpet (cross between Oriental and Trumpet lilies) and it’s one of our favorites but it’s season is nearly done. Two week ago it was sprawling across the fence row.
Nearby are the crocosmia that are a long-lasting flower for July.
Out in the vegetable garden the sunflowers are reaching for the sky.
Also from the vegetable garden are the gladiolas that are now part of the inside decor.
A really unusual flower for July comes from the greenhouse.
This is a South African flower that I obtained from the Pacific Bulb Society.
I had this plant growing for 5 years before I got the first flower, but it is delightful. During the 1-2 month dormant period it does a good imitation of a dead plant, so you have to have some patience.
Outside the world of flowers the redhaven peach is covered with peaches right now
And the Kingbird is in command of the mulberry tree in the mornings.
That’s it for quick look at Ball Rd. What is blooming in your garden?
In June the lilies begin to make their statement for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. They are exploding around the yard and they provide excellent cutting flowers as well.
One of my favorites is in the monument bed
In addition to the lilies another regular for this season is a very extravagant japanese iris
The bletilla continue with their orchid-like flowers.
And nearby is a new Roscoea that we got from Far Reaches this year.
We have several clematis that have been trailing on fences and trellis including this one that runs up the sambuccus.
A very long-lasting flower is one of the gentians in the alpine bed.
Walking in the front yard you discover there are many white flowers on the grass and then you look up in the tree and see the source.
There are many, many flower buds on the tree.
With all the rain that we continue to have it’s not surprising that the green leafy plants are doing well.
In the greenhouse there are multiple habranthus in bloom (they seed around abundantly).
The habranthus are much bigger than their zephyranthus cousins.
We were in the orchard this week bagging apples (basically to ward off insects). The really odd thing is that we have a much smaller crop than normal because many of the trees flowered last fall in response to our tremendous rainfall. It turns out that one the few trees to have a few apples worth protecting is our Spitzenburg. I don’t know if you have tried Spitzenburg but it is one of the best apples ever. In our case this is the one survivor of a row of Spizenburgs and it is barely hanging on as a tree.
Nonetheless the apples on it are looking very nice.
This is usually a tree that is very hard hit by pests. So it’s very strange to see it outyielding much bigger stronger trees.
By the front of the second pasture is a volunteer adam’s needle that is flowering by its lonesome.
And nearby are various meadow plantings of wildflowers that son Josh put in this year. They are prospering.
And of course the wildlife are enjoying Josh’s efforts.
Last year at Stonecrop’s alpine sale I purchased this small tree from Don Dembowski with the hope of someday seeing the beautiful flowers that websites described. I was amazed this year when several flowers appeared in its first year on our rocky hillside. This is multiple weeks ahead of it’s neighbor, Stewartia japonica. Not to take anything away from Stewartia japonica with its lovely bark and many flowers, but the S. malacondendron has much larger and absolutely gorgeous flowers.
So far the deer have chosen to ignore this wonderful addition to our front yard. It seems happy within the shade of surrounding trees. Inspired by this success I’ve purchased Stewartia monadelpha as well and I’m looking for where to place what will eventually be a pretty large tree.
The remarkably consistent event on the first of June is the appearance of the Arisaema fargessi and Arisaema candidissum
Each year I wonder if they have disappeared over the winter and each year they check the calendar and stick up their cone on June 1st (A. fargessi was a day early this year, but A. candidissum was right on schedule. Meanwhile many of their Arisaema brethren have been up and about for many weeks. The most striking at the moment is a new Arisaema ringens cultivar.
The Arisaema ringens are big plants with leaves that extend over a couple of feet. Here is the normal A. ringens in its third year.
This is also the time of year for the martagon lilies to share their elegance.
This one looked particularly nice when we put it in the middle stones that had been painted at a garden party last week.
In the front yard right now we have white daphne that is covered with fragrant blossoms.
And an azalea with some of the largest azalea blossoms I have ever seen.
A focal point of the center garden is a large spuria iris with striking purple blossoms.
And in the monument bed a very pretty bletilla is in full bloom.
The greenhouse still has a few contributions as well. A pine woods lily that has appeared in other years at this time.
And a flower from Brazil that I don’t recalled having flowered before.
It’s very exotic, but you have to pay attention because the flower is only there for a day.
The surprise for this month’ Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day (in a month that has been full of flowers) is this striking Aquilegia that is almost 4 feet tall. It is also volunteering in places where I didn’t plant it, but that’s all right for now.
I grew this several years ago from seed obtained from Growild in Scotland and I was immediately captured by the color combo. Nearby is a related plant grown from the same source.
Of course we also have the old reliables.
A striking addition to the front bed is this dark purple salvia from Plant Delights
Recently I’ve been noticing that the extravagant foliage of the podyphyllums hides some lovely flowers. The p. delavayi has dark red flowers.
But even prettier flowers are on the podophyllum pleianthum
Back at the alpine bed the various dianthus are putting up a spectacular show right now.
And the saxifraga’s are illustrating their value in troughs.
In one of the more recent troughs i’ve now added a little horned rampion that came from one of last year’s seed exchanges.
Let me close by noting that son Josh has planted many allium in the orchard as potential deer deterrent and wonderful eye candy.
They are wonderful mixed in with all the meadow flowers we have growing right now.
Besides the buttercups and daisies that we get naturally Josh has added crimson clover to the mix.
We are continuing to run a couple of weeks ahead of last year, with again a powerful amount of rain in the mix. Currently our rainfall is 60 % above normal and it has left the ground wet and fields green and lush.
When the cherries are in bloom I am often reminded of this celebration of springtime.
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my three score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow. — A.E. Housman
It’s the sort of enchanting notion that can get you out and about on an Easter morning. And when I did so I was immediately rewarded by a visit from an Angel, Wuhan Angel to be specific.
I’ve had a fitful relationship with the Iris Japonica because the other cultivar that I have is fairly aggressive and I’ve banned it to the shade garden reserved for thugs. I haven’t seen blooms on it for years and I was thinking of taking it out of even that hidden spot until I saw this morning’s white angel and so I went back to check on it and found that it too is coming into bloom, probably by tomorrow, and it is appropriately named ‘Eco Easter’ courtesy of Plant Delights.
There were other benefits of this morning’s walk around the yard.
Two more Peonies had their first blossoms (P. caucausica bloomed last week)
This is a spectacular species tree peony.
It’s also blooming time for the merry bells and fairy bells
It’s easy to confuse these with the Disporum flavens (Fairy Bells) which blooms at the same time. But an easy way to see the difference is to note that the flowering stem comes from within the leaf on the Uvularia. The Disporum flavens is also simply more floriferous.
Nearby the first of the arisaemas is getting ready to strut it’s stuff.
And the white glaucidium is a dramatic addition.
Under the Kousa Dogwood there is planting of tulips that is commanding attention right now.
Let me close this Easter message with a peek at the Alpine bed which is accented at the moment by a fully open display of Delosperma