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.

11 April 2020

The Best Are Free

The yellow daffodils here are another freebie. And as an added benefit, they multiply like rabbits, holding up well to our variations in spring weather. 'Golden Dawn' are similar to the poet daffodils with their small flower size, multi-bloom stems, small cups, and sweet fragrance. The timing is also similar -- late in the daffodil season.

The green & white daffodils, another free one from last year, only put up leaves this year. I didn't like where I planted them, so moved them very shortly after they finished blooming last spring -- before they had the chance to develop a bulb for this year.

The tulips are amazing. Their smallish flower with a traditional pointed petal tulip shape has the most incredible deep blood red color against the blue-green leaves. I describe them as a saturated red with just a hint of carmine or magenta. They all came back this year - a feat for tulips in my climate. I wish I knew the name to get more.

04 April 2020

Sweet Love

The landscape architects gifted me a few of their extra daffodil bulbs last fall. They were labeled Sweet Love and Bridal Crown on the hand written sticky notes, but I did not keep track of which was which. Fast forward to today when the mid-season and late season daffodils are blooming in the front garden.

I know the newcomers there, so began reading up on them to learn the true identity of each. I quickly realized that Bridal Crown was an imposter. This was not the cultivar, but another mid-season daffodil instead. I have written to ask if my friends know its true identity.

The full size single trumpet bloom starts out with a striking orange fringe at the rim of its white cup which eventually turns a shade of peach. This reminds me of Solome, a white daffodil that starts out with an orange-yellow cup that eventually fades to a pink. I planted my mystery daffodil bulbs too far apart to make any meaningful statement in the front garden, but I hope with the luck of some good spring weather and fertilizer, they will multiply for next year.

Sweet Love is a multi-stemmed delight. A soft yellow tints its small cup and creamy white petals. The blossoms are lightly fragrant, like my other multi-bloom stem narcissus. These daffodil blossoms, also like the others, are small in size with about 7 or 8 flowers on several stems. At just the right angle, they look like a soft creamy cloud hovering just above the ground.

15 March 2020

March 2020 Bloom Day

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

Not too much blooming yet. The crocus came and went when the temperatures soared into the 70s (20s C). Spring is a few weeks early this year, but I am not at starting seeds indoors. See the post before this one for the daffodil from nowhere.

Hellebores are lovin' it. I still need to find that pink one and separate it.

Hyacinths are just starting. Mixed pure white with "Sky Jacket" blue years ago. They don't come out as big as new, but they still bring a smile to my face (and my nose.)

Magnolia stellata 'Dr. Merril'.

This is over 30 years old - one of the first plants put in when I bought the house. Its form is more like a maple - strong single thick trunk - rather than a traditional star magnolia. And, with blooms as big as your fist, it perfumes the entire neighborhood.

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

14 March 2020

Out of Nowhere

I am ready to start sharing my garden again. Now, I know that everyone has seen a daffodil. But this one is special. It came from nowhere in the middle of the bed of iris that I planted from my own cross-breeding seeds. It is not one that I planted, recently or in the distant past because I do not like these double flowered types and would never have planted them. I have a few possible explanations:
  • It grew spontaneously. This may be true, but it I, unlike some presidents, believe in science - daffodils don't just appear out of nowhere.
  • I planted it in the past when it accidentally got mixed in a batch of other types at the store. It then grew legs and walked down the hill and planted itself in this location.
  • Some of my other daffodils had a night of passion one year, and this is the result.
  • It was there for a time and this year got large enough to bloom. Yes, I believe there were daffodil leaves there in the middle of the iris iris bed last year with no blooms.
  • Someone or some animal known to dig up bulbs did so from a neighbor's yard and planted it here years ago, and it got enough food stored up this year and bloomed.
I have lived here for 31 years, and never saw this daffodil on the property. There is one more bloom in the same "clump". I checked the immediate neighborhood -- no one had this type of daffodil.

Offer your own explanations.

01 January 2020

Missouri Botanical Garden Afternoon

Apologies for taking so long to cull and post more of the Missouri Botanical Garden photos. Continuing on, the afternoon time was spent in the Climatron - (the tropical greenhouse) and the areas around that western section of the grounds. On this particular day, it was cooler inside the structure that it was outside.

Chihuly sculptures indoors, too.



Can't have a tropical Climatron without an orchid or two

I have these cannas but not that good-looking

One of the several garden pavilions with cooling interior fountain

One of the intimate demonstration gardens with super colocasia

The original caretaker's 'cottage'

Path near the original owner's home - alocasia, coleus, caladiums

Osage oranges falling

Lighthouse garden folly

Overhead trellis of gourds

One last Chihuly sculpture at the entry hall

Closeup to appreciate its beauty