30 August 2015

Water Lily & Lotus

In early August I visited the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens along the Anacostia river here in Washington DC. This is one of those hometown attractions that I have never seen. You know the type of place -- the one attraction in your home town that you have never visited but everyone else in the country has. (Now if I can only get to the Washington Monument some day, my life here will be complete.)

I heard it was the lotus blossom time, and after reading the post by John at DC Tropics, I decided to stop by.

It was an extremely hot humid Sunday. As I arrived upon opening time, a large bus of tourists from China just got dropped off, each with cameras setting up to get their prized shots. I meandered through the acres of lotus blossoms, trying to get photos without tourists in them. I soon learned there is no such thing as a bad shot of a lotus bloom.

There were three types of lotus, distinguished by size and shades of color. This was a difficult day to photograph. The sun was harsh and direct at noon. Here is what caught my eye (without the tourists.)

Looking down onto a darker pink species of lotus.

The darker pink lotus seems to open up more than the other.

The lighter pink lotus blossom.

Seed pods resemble showerheads.

Beautiful red cannas near the entry. (No, those are not the Chinese tourists on the left.)

There were three small ponds with several displays of water lilies.

I admired the variegated leaves on this water lily.

22 August 2015

The Dwarfs Have No Name?

The dwarf sunflowers tested this year were picked up in a big box store. Ferry-Morse labeled the packet as Sunflower Dwarf Sunspot. I have grown a Sunspot variety [posted 08.07.2007] in the past that was a dwarf, so this extra title Dwarf made me curious. Did the company have a giant named sunspot, too?

It seems, from looking at my description and photos from 2007, that this Sunspot is the same as the first dwarf sunflower tried back in 2008. The current plants happened to be planted in the same location as in 2007, and just as in 2007, are facing away from my yard towards the neighbor to the northeast. I am sure she enjoys them.

I will remind myself that these produce some radical seeds for the seed-lovin birds in the winter, if I can get to the seeds now before they do. The seed heads are packed to the gills, but the blooms were attractive with some great looking petals. Many of the large seed head types are just that -- with few or small unattractive petals.

Where's the Elf? I planted Elf sunflowers last year, but never reviewed them! The leftover seeds were grown this year so the next post will be about these dwarfs from Burpee -- two sunflower reviews in one year to make up for last year.

Past Dwarf Sunflower Reviews & Links:
2013 - Little Dorrit
2012 - Waooh
2012 - Big BLush
2009 - Incredible
2008 - Sunny Smile
2007 - Sunspot
For The Record:
  • Rich soil
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: rudbeckia, zinnia, cleome, marigold, moonflower, canna

15 August 2015

August Bloom Day

The good news is that I have made three garden bloggers bloom days in a row. The bad news is that there is little else to show between the posts. However, I have three posts waiting in the wings, including my annual review of a dwarf sunflower variety. I will begin posting them next week.

Let sleeping bumblebees lie. The first dwarf sunflower variety is finisehd blooming, but the second one is now going full strong: Elf by Burpee.

This is Tiger Eyes marigold from Park Seed. There is something going on with this marigold that I have yet to figure out. It starts out looking bicolor like it supposed to. Then, it begins to change to a monocolor, maybe a little more yellow, then the bicolor, with larger bottom petals, then a deeper orange. I am thinking the environment affects its booms, like temperature, moisture, or fertilizer; or maybe all three. The plant is growing in three other locations, with one reseeded from last year. All exhibit different qualities at different times. (Note the red on the plant in the background.) Love these tough little guys though - sometimes so do the mites.

Rudbeckia hirti reseeds itself year after year wherever it wants to, and sometimes produces a few suprises like this one. Petals are narrower with a slight marking in the interior, and the color is slightly more orange than the others.

Leftover seeds were dumped in a corner of the front yard from this mix of zinnias. I don't remember a peach colored bloom last year.

The zinnia agustifolia love reseeding every year, popping up anywhere they please. I let them form a border. They are slow beginners, but really get going this time of year. The dead looking stuff is dill gone for the summer. I am an untidy (..lazy?) gardener in August.

Black Pearl ornamental pepper from the winter Seed Exchange forms a handsome color combination. Dark purple foliage turning green, shiny black peppers ripen to a scarlet red. Pretty enough to eat ... and incinerate your insides.

In front of the colocasia, the buddleia looks full and neat because I keep pinching it back during the spring. This also delays bloom a little.

One of the many visitors to the butterfly bush, a Great Spangled Fritillary.

For other garden bloggers bloom day photos, check out our host at blog May Dreams Gardens.