09 September 2007

A Fall Dud

I tried some crocosmia bulbs from Michigan Bulb, the variety Emily McKenzie. I saw some crocosmia growing and flowering at a nursery a year or two ago, and thought it would provide a unusual look with its thin leaves resembling daffodils, and its foot-long stems of fire red blossoms. The 'Emily McKenzie' description sounded even better.

The bulbs were planted in the spring and were nursed and tended to all summer with anticipation of a summer bloom. The result was that only about 3 of the 6 bulbs had blossoms. Contrary to the description, they did not bloom until early fall, did not all bloom at the same time, and the long arching stems I had seen in the nursery ended up being short stalks about 6 inches tall with one flower opening at a time on each plant.

Was it Michigan Bulb, or the conditions in full sun, or the exaggerated description? Emily McKenzie turned into small little insignificant nothings in the garden. They will be gone from the garden after this season. I am considering a different crocosmia variety from another grower in the future. Lessons learned.

For The Record:
  • Grows in well drained soil, full sun
  • Slow release organic granular fertilizer applied
  • Normal watering

02 September 2007

Fall Fire

The firey yellow-orange calendula thrives in cooler weather that starts coming around September. It does well in spring and fall and blooms well past the first frost. During summers it all but shuts down flower production, producing few flowers that are quite small with a dull yellow color. Once the weather starts to turn cool, it perks up and starts to thrive again. Photos do not accurately show the true vibrant color of flowers, good for cutting.

Leaves have an unusual spicy fregrance. The plant is self-seeding and profusely comes back each year. A few plants will survive the winter here, and exhibit lots of flowers in late spring right after the tulips stop.