02 May 2021

Now Returning

About a half dozen Dutch Iris 'Discovery' bulbs were purchsed years ago and they brought great pleasure in the late spring when they bloomed. They first showed up on my blog back in 2008. After that, they brought great heartache. They did not want to bloom again. I did not think they were in the tulip mode of blooming great one year, and then disappoointment in following years.

I kept them, and every year they might knock out one or two blooms each spring. I changed their location to give them more sunlight. I gave them fertilizer. I gave them more attention and care than other plants who were becoming jealous, but every year it was the same: very few booms.

This year I am please to report that I have 7 blooms. I also have about a dozen new bulbs that will hopefully be blooming in following years. They are not fast multiplying, so maybe they require several years of coddling before they grow enough to produce a bloom.

I really appreciate the irridescent blue, espeically when the sunlight hits them from behind. The contrast with the yellow is striking.

For The Record:
  • Well-drained soil with organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • Generous fertilizer
  • No disease

15 April 2021

April 2021 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

March and April are prime times for the garden. I did not believe I have a lot of spring blooms ... until I began assembling photos for this post. (Dandelions were not included.)

Some spring blooms here. Daffodils do very well and return in my climate, whereas tulips do not reliably return year after year - we progress from winter to summer very quckly, so after blooming, the tulips struggle through the heat to bulk up for the following year .

Narcissus poeticus - fragrant

'Rip van Winkle' planted many years ago and lost track of ... until last year.

'Bridal Crown' was a "I have some leftovers if you want" gift

'Sweet Love' cups turn white as they age

'Salome' cups start out yellow then turn salmon

Muscari - this one is a cultivar I think

Closeup of the redbud blooms

I want more of this free giveaway tulip because of the color, but I don't know its name. It displays incredible carmine red blooms and bluish foliage. It came back from past years, albeit smaller.

Closeup of leucojum after the rain

Pieris is suppposed to be difficult. Not in my garden, although after 5 years, leaf spot is beginning to show up.

Who can have spring in Virginia without our dogwood state flower.

Find other garden bloggers' posts at May Dream Gardens

06 April 2021

Damned If I Know

Three daffodils are starting to bloom and I don't know their names. They were picked up in a Master Gardener free-for-all scramble two years ago one winter evening. During our class break, it was announced that the unsold spring bulbs of the store hosting our meeting was giving away unsold spring bulbs - free for the taking. Being the middle of winter, there was little hope of selling these leftovers. After a trip to the unsold loose bulb bins, I snagged these three daffodil varieties but do not know their names.

They were planted in the dead of winter and bloomed that spring. One last variety, a late green-tinted daffodil, is not quite yet blooming.

I also picked up a ferw increadible scarlet-red, late-season tulips, again, unknown. I would love to get my hands on more of the tulips, but the store does not remember what they were.

15 March 2021

March 2021 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

It's been almost a year since I posted something. Much time was spent working on an investment house last year, and then surgery, and then beginning a gardening Instagram account. I really like Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, so let's start blogging again.
There is not much springing in spring yet, but here are a few items found.

Yes, I know. Just a crocus. But, these crocuses were in the original gardens when I moved here over 30 years ago. They pop up in different places and in different gardens each year.

Extremely fragrant, jasmine-like, early-blooming white forsythia of the olive family.

Hellebores - I thought there was one color when I picked it up at a plant swap.


Unknown amaryllis bulb picked up at a plant swap and planted in the ground last spring. Brought indoors in the fall, it surprised me by finally blooming now.

Find other garden bloggers' posts at May Dream Gardens

16 July 2020

July Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

It's hot. Not setting records for highest temperature, but setting records for consecutive days above 90 degrees (32 C.) Even so, I have some bloomers that are so far enjoying the weather.

This is 'Cherokee Star' daylily. It really is quite red. I would plant this in a more shady spot in the future because the hot sun fades out the colors. This one was photographed in the morning.

The daylily cultivar is unknown. It's been in its home for decades, and only divided twice.

This is a double orange daylily. It proliferates in my neighborhood, so I guess someone passed it around. I have never seen it before moving here.

'Phenomenal Lavender' was in the goodies that I received at the Washington DC Garden Bloggers Fling a few years ago. It really is phenomenal.

Echinops or globe thistle is a pollinator magnet. I hope to have more - it reseeds itself all over, but we must wait for its second year for any flowers to appear.

Gooseneck loosestrife Lysimachia loves to spread. Gardener beware. You have been warned.

This beauty coneflower 'Sundown' does not grow very well. It is weaker than the native, and colors don't hold up after time.

The original coneflower. Some colors are more intense-pink than others. I don't know why.

For other garden bloggers' bloom day photos, spring over to the blog May Dreams Gardens

15 June 2020

June 2020 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

There is a lot going on in the garden at this time of year. Most of these are perennials that have been featured in past years, but I will try to add a few comments and use closeups for this year's photos.

After receiving them from a Master Gardener plant swap three years ago, these bloomed well for the first time this year. A little research turned up that they are 'beach-head iris", found along the eastern coastal areas. They do best in part shade here.

Hydrangea 'Incrediball' is looking as good as ever, but just wait until the next heavy rain or wind. Half will be bowing to the ground.

A type of Opuntia -- Prickly Pear Cactus.

Unknown hosta that seeded itself three years ago.

Closeup of St. John's Wort 'Brigadoon'. This cultivar has beautiful lime green leaves when they start out.

Unknown daylily cultivar. This will bloom again off and on during the summer.

Purple coneflowers have just started.

For other garden bloggers' bloom day photos, spring over to the blog May Dreams Gardens

14 June 2020

Daylily Experiment

A few years back I read that daylilies and bearded iris were easy to cross, so I decided to give them a try, with visions of creating the next hot cultivar. What possessed me to think that I could outdo professional plant breeders who spend their lifetime developing new crosses, I will never know.

Still, it was a learning experience and it was fun to see the results. The bearded iris were a little difficult to figure out where the pollen goes to pollinate them. A few trips to Google and the internet and I was on my way. The process is not very obvious, involving lifting up a small flap in the flower, akin to lifting up a women's skirt to get the pollen into pollinate the stigma.

Daylily crossbreeding is much more obvious. The anthers with the pollen are out front and center, and the stigma where the pollen goes is in the center of the flower. I learned that there are diploid and tetraploid daylilies (number of chromosomes), and the two will not cross. Not knowing which plants I had in my 6 daylily varieties (I think I can tell the difference now based on common characteristics), I crossed everything and anything.

The first of 7 resulting plants bloomed this year. The others will need to grow up a bit more until they flower -- maybe next year. I am certain the parents of this one are the common orange ditch lily and 'Night to Passion,' based on the color. The first bloom came out a week ago, and was striped - I think the colors got bleached out in the strong full sun and the camera emphasized that. Daylily colors tend to do that. The later blooms were something I rather like. The flower form was nice, and the color was deep a rusty orange. It's a keeper in my book.

Now I need to give it a cultivar name.

For The Record:
  • Moderately clay soil
  • Well-drained soil at top of sloping bed
  • Full sun
  • Very little fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease

01 June 2020

Head Start

The lime green nicoitana (nicotiana alata) is one of those self-seeders that reliably comes back year after year with no help from me. This year, however, it joins a handful of others in my Zone 7b garden that never went away. Tucked on the south side of the ivy-coverd fence, these plants survived our mild winter. As a result, the seeds from last year in the main garden bed are forming silver-dollar sized rosettes while these are blooming. Welcome to head start 2020.

As the sun was going down tonight, I grabbed my camera to snap a few images since these only open during the late afternoon and evening, closing up at morning. Also, sun going down = more saturated colors the camera sees.

First to bloom means first to poop out too. Now at their height, I expect them to begin flopping over, forming seed heads, and reducing blooms. The white nicotiana that survived the winter in the backyard garden are also at peak bloom. In the past I have tried deadheading, but the plant seems to just stop growing.

I keep the whites in the back and the greens in the front to keep the colors from mixing in future generations. The have done that in the past, although I do not believe the pollinators are fond of this plant.

I also had a few other other holdovers from the mild winter besides the snapdragon and nicotiana -- spider plant, canna, and cabbage. I can explore them in a later post.

For The Record:
  • Rich fertile wellp-draioned soil
  • Full sun, front garden
  • No fertilizer - natural leaf mulch during winter
  • No serious pests/disease

15 May 2020

May 2020 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

Not too much variety in the garden at this date, but lots of iris. A nip of cold weather showed up earier this week, and then bam! 85 degrees (30 degrees C) today.

Siberian Iris seems to multiply more and more each year.

Unknown bearded iris but believe it may be 'Fantasyland'.

White nicotiana comes back every year from self-seeding.

Geranium sanguineum makes a nice ground cover.

Kalmia latifolia 'Sarah' was listed as the 'reddest of the reds' mountain laurel in the catalog.

One of my favorite iris, 'Clarence'.

Finally, another result of my bearded iris cross-breeding [posted 2019.05.14] that bloomed for the first time this year. A cross between the Fantasyland and Frank Adams. When the sun hits it, the golden yellow in the base of the petals light up the bright yellow fuzz.

For other garden bloggers' bloom day photos, spring over to the blog May Dreams Gardens

07 May 2020

Holdover From Last Year

Three years ago, I bought a cheap packet of mixed snapdragon seeds. I started them indoors, planted outdoors in the spring, and had some so-so snapdragons during the growing season. I was not floored by the size of the plants or the colors, but let them grow. The following year, a bunch of them came back growing again - they self-seeded a dozen new plants from the previous year's deadheading.

Then last year, the same thing happened, but the colors were quite different. There were more yellows and whites. One snapdragon in particular was an incredible color - a soft yellow tinged with salmon pink on the newer buds. [posted 2019.06.15]

This year, in addition to the reseeded plants beginning to sprout again, two plants actually survived our mild winter. The surviving snapdragons are not seedlings but reinvigorated plants from last year. They got a really big head start over the seedlings in the bed and are looking like full mature snapdragons.

This is my deep crimson snapdragon blooming now - a color never seen. I suspect one of the plants that sprouted last year never bloomed, but saved up enough to push out a spike this year. You can see a little of the yellow-salmon peeking out from behind - not very upright.

15 April 2020

April 2020 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

I didn't think there was much blooming for this month's post, but I looked for blooms in the gardens... and I found some!

The last of the poeticus daffodils are blooming.

Pieris japonica is blooming.

Azalea Snow was part of the original landscape over 25 years ago. Yup -- this is a dwarf azalea.

Ajuga looks amazing at this time of year when all the plants push out blue blooms.

I just noticed the Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal) is beginning to bloom.

Virburnum plicatum closeup. I wish it was fragrant.


For other garden bloggers' bloom day photos, spring over to the blog May Dreams Gardens.