Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2021

Stewartia japonica center

This is the middle of the gardening year with abundant flowers, never enough rain, and rarely the time to think about what chores to take on next.  For Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I thought it appropriate to lead off with the exotic center of Stewartia Japonica.  The last flowers are just finishing up on this wonderful tree.   It not only flowers abundantly but has exquisite bark as well.

Stewartia japonica

But the dominant theme for this time of year is LILIES.  They are popping out like mad with their extravagant blooms.  Some are super tall (Scheherzade) or small (Madame Butterfly), but all are worth paying attention to.  Beth often brings them into the house for the fragrance.  Here are some of our lily companions.

Oriental Lily ‘Time Out’

Orienpet Lilium ‘Scheherazade’

Orienpet Lily ‘Anastasia’

Oriental Lily Star Gazer

Oriental Lily ‘Muscadet’

Oriental Lily ‘Casa Blanca’

Oriental Lily ‘Marco Polo’

Orienpet Lily Conca d’Or

Lilium ‘Madame Butterfly’

And at the same time that we are bringing lilies into the house the gladiolias are coming into bloom.

Gladiolus ‘Margaret Rose’

This year I noticed a particular red and white that is large and very frilly.  No name yet but I will research that.

Red and White Glad

In the garden there is a lovely long row of glads and dahlia with flowers still to come.

Glads in the garden

Our hardest working gardener is son Josh, and he has put a wall of sunflowers on the border of the garden

Sunflowers form the border of the vegetable garden

At the same time there was a volunteer sunflower in the vegetable garden that we just let grow.  I would estimate that it stands about 12 feet tall at this point.

Volunteer sunflower in the vegetable garden

I should mention that we put a barn owl box in the pasture.

Barn Owl Box

It’s too late this year but hopefully we get a family next year to take of some of the small critters.

Nearby is a wildflower patch that Josh created by covering the existing grasses with a tarp until he was ready to plant.  It’s worked out quite well.

Wildflower patch in the pasture

And then lastly, because we live not by flowers alone, here’s an update on the upcoming orchard fruit.

Redhaven peaches getting ripe

Kiefer pears in abundance

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 May 2021

Delospermum cooperii

Well there are so many flowers at this time of the year for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it is difficult to keep track of them all.  I’ll give you just a smattering today and think back to all that I should have shared from the last month.  The little ice plant shown above is one of many plants exploding out of our alpine bed.  Very happy in our zone 7 landscape.

The species peonies and tree peonies are all done and we now moving on to the Itohs and the herbaceous

Peony ‘Sweet Shelly’

Itoh Peony ‘Morning Lilac’

Our row of bearded Iris is very happily blooming.

Pink Bearded Iris

Ever since we stopped weeding them amid the grass they have not had borers which used to be a perennial pain.

The early azaleas are pretty much done but the rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas are still blooming.

Rhododendron in the Camellias

Rhododendron ‘Chionoides’

Azalea Exbury hybrid ‘Klondyke’

I’ve particularly liked the compact and floriferous Calanthe discolor, a reliable favorite from the orchid family.

Calanthe discolor

The best of the Clematis remains Niobe though there are number of others in bloom

Clematis ‘Niobe’

It’s also worth noting that you can just eat flowers every night and we are always happy to see the strawberries arriving.  We have probably 75 feet of row for strawberries and peas that are just starting up.

Strawberries starting fruit

And in the orchard there are oh so many peaches, pears, and apples getting started.

Peaches coming along

Back in the alpine bed we have a number of nice items happening.

Alpine Daisy

Lewisia cotyledon

Ornithogalum exscapum amidst the Antennaria and Arnebia (Pussytoes and Sandwort)

Particularly nice is a little rock rose that I got from Wrightman’s Alpines last year after seeing them in the wild in Spain.

Cistus albanicus

I think are just barely hardy in Maryland but they seemed to make through the winter and you see the number of buds on them.

On one of the nights recently i caught the orchard looking particularly spending in the evening light and I’ll close with those images.

Evening light

Sunset

Path to small orchard

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Spring — Finally!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ in the snow

Last Monday the sun finally broke through and the temperatures started rising.  And the Adonis needed only the slightest hint to start opening their flowers.  By Wednesday they were fully on display — at last!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

The thing about the Adonis is that they are not easy to find and take forever to spread.  Since they are sterile you can’t rely on seeds for them to spread and the slow propagation seems to make them unappealing to nurserymen.  So if you find them, buy them.  They are the first reward for the end of winter.

Of course there are other good signs that we are moving into springtime.  Winter Aconite are another of my favorites steps to springtime and the first to show up this year are the slightly paler German version

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

I was also please to see that a more another Winter Aconite cultivar was also appearing already.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Orange Glow’

But even more special was a little flower poking up in the cold frame.

Eranthis pinnatifida

This is particularly stunning little flower that I had outside a few years ago and it disappeared.  I’m not sure I have the confidence to take this one outside of the cold frame yet.

There are also several crocus popping out.

First Crocus

In addition I’m pleased to see that the snowdrops are moving into the lawn.

Snowdrops moving into the lawn

Of course the witch hazels are happy to tell you that it is springtime also.

Hamamalis x intermedia ‘Diane’

More surprising is to see the first flower on the primula vulgaris.

Primula vulgaris

I also saw a Northern Flicker at the bird feeder and that never happens in wintertime for us

Northern Flicker at the feeder

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2021

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and the picture above is NOT what our garden looks like.  The picture is from the same day last year.  This year you have to search really hard to find flowers amid the ice and snow.  We are probably 2 weeks behind last year in flowers.  Here is the same set of Adonis this year.

Adonis in bud

February has been super dreary with low temperatures, cloudy days, and intermittent snow.  What follows is my attempts to find some flowers for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  First of all we must give credit to the snowdrops which persist no matter what.

Snowdrops continue in blooming

And then there is that first hybrid Hellebore which started flowering in December.

Helleborus niger HGC® ‘Jacob’

Likewise the Heather hybrid that started flowering in November just continues to ignore the crummy weather.

Krarmer’s Rote Heather still blooming

The Camellia’s have hung in there too, although I know they would like warmer weather.

Camellia sasanqua red still in bloom

A glimpse of Camellia japonica red flower

Double-Pink Camellia japonica wants to bloom

Usually I would expect to see the first witch hazel blossoms by now, but I must say they are much smaller and more beaten back than usual

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ (Witch Hazel)

Aside from those instances in the outside world we have to turn to the greenhouse plants.  This Lachenalia came from Gettysburg Gardens last year.

Lachenalia aloides

It is multiplying rapidly in the greenhouse.

There is also another Cyrtanthus which I think I have identified based on descriptions on the Pacific Bulb Socity site.

Cyrtanthus flanaganii Baker

And then lastly, a very cute little false yellow crocus which provides it’s own grassy leaves and bright yellow flowers for multiple weeks.

Nothoscordum sellowianum

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