Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bloom Day, June 15, 2008

It would be easier right now to document what isn't blooming - things are completely out of hand, out of control, and screaming to be pruned, so it's hard to even have time to notice what's out there. Hundreds of daylilies, early this year (even the late varieties are putting up scapes already) are out there every day, and the hydrangeas have never looked better, although they're sagging in the heat by afternoon. This is Asclepias curassavica, the tropical version of butterfly weed. I like it better than the perennial, since it blooms continually and gets taller. It does require replanting every year, but usually seeds itself around. The only drawback is that it will be stripped bare by monarch caterpillars when they show up in August, so I start a few plants early to ensure a good show (and enough food for them) before they get here.
I don't keep track of Hemerocallis names very well for some reason - I'm meticulous about this with other plants, but I've kind of given up on these. I'm just swamped with garden work by the time they start blooming, and labeling is something that goes by the wayside. Anyway, here are a few examples. One of my goals for this summer is to discard clumps of varieties I don't particularly like, chief among them 'Stella d'Oro' - I think it looks like squash blossoms - but finding homes for them without 1)expending a lot of time and effort and 2)losing valuable garden soil and pots, since no one I know wants to deal with bare root plants, is a pain. I would just toss them on the compost, but I know they'd start growing there, too. Above, I think, is "Heart's Afire"; below (again, the id. is iffy), "Medea". Below is "Milk Chocolate". I love this one, and have a couple of dozen seedlings beginning to bloom now from crosses I made with it and various spiders (another favorite type). "Red Ribbons" "Mynelle's Starfish" "Red Twister" "Green Dragon" - love this one, too. Another spider variant with a lost label - great pink, though.Okay - enough with the daylilies. There are plenty of specialist growers out there with photos and info far superior to anything my mixed bag could provide, but I do really enjoy them.

This is an interesting combo - Alstroemeria psittacina pushing up through Gardenia "August Beauty", blooming in June. These are in deep, dark shade, having been completely overtaken by Nandinas, Photinia, and a massive climbing rose, "Buff Beauty". The gardenia, especially, amazes me with the sheer number of flowers it produces under these conditions - it's literally covered, with the tall (it's pruned to be vertical, and is 6 feet high now) branches sagging across the narrow pathway under the weight of the flowers.

Arisaema candidissimum always waits until very late to show itself, but I'm still waiting on A. consanguineum and A. fargesii (which is at least beginning to emerge)- I always give those up for dead before they surprise me and start to grow.
All of my clivias waited until late spring to bloom this year, including this yellow one I started from seed about 10 years ago. Not sure why the delay, but it's nice to enjoy the flowers out in the garden, rather than in the house. I move these into the unheated garage window for the winter.
One last iris, an ensata that I inherited from my aunt many years ago. It's growing in a boggy place next to the pitcher plants. Opuntia ellisiana, the "thornless" prickly pear, growing in the dry front bed along with pink evening primrose, a nice filler that's really a weed, and Sinningia tubiflora, pictured below. The cactus fights it out with an enormous Lantana "Miss Huff" every summer, and I usually defer to the lantana because of its blooms and the insect life it attracts. The cactus really would like more sun, so its bloom is limited, but still attractive. A couple more sinningias; I've been collecting and testing these for hardiness. S. sellovii, below, has been reliable for several years, and a seed-grown group shows a lot of variation in coloration; some of them have yellow tips on the tubular flowers and look like candy corn.These Sinningia speciosa are seedlings I grew from a wild collection of the original species which was bred to produce the florist gloxinias. I stored these bulbs dry in the garage last winter, but probably will leave them out this year to see what happens.
Last, but not least, pink Nerium oleander blooming in front of (actually blocking) the front entrance to the house. This will probably be removed after it blooms - it never dies to the ground anymore, and even the regrowth in one summer becomes too big for its location against the hot bricks in front of the house. It's a tough call, but the mail carrier will thank us for taking it out.


1 comment:

Les, Zone 8a said...

I am with you on not trying to hard to keep track of all the daylilies. I see a color I like and I get it. Someone gave me 'Milk Chocolate' this week which I have wanted ever since I saw it at Sterrett's.

Take Care
Les