Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bloom Day, July 15, 2008

It's not even midsummer, but due to our very early spring this year many plants are blooming well ahead of schedule. Many of the daylilies have already closed up shop, and Sedum "Autumn Joy" hasn't gotten the memo about its name here - it's in full bloom. Gardens around here would be pretty dull in the summer and fall without semitropicals which tend to behave as herbaceous perennials, as well as several members of the Amaryllis tribe, including the clumps of Zephyranthes grandiflora in the pots above. These are hardy in the ground here, but I've had these potted for at least ten years now. They're stored bone dry in the attic all winter, then rehydrated in spring to start again. Below is Vitex rotundifolia, a sub-shrubby species which is reputed to be invasive - I'm watching it carefully, but I like the silvery foliage and muted color.
Achimenes 'Purple King' - a gesneriad which has been totally hardy here for three years and is becoming a happy weed throughout the garden. I save a few rhizomes in dry vermiculite every winter, just in case.
One of the rear window boxes, replanted for summer with orange nonstop tuberous begonias (this is the only place I can manage to grow these, probably because the roof overhang protects them from overwatering and there's very little direct sun in this spot); Kohleria "Red Velvet" (not hardy, but dead easy to overwinter via cuttings); and Coniogramme japonica (somewhat hardy evergreen ferns which I grew from spores). The Achimenes kind of planted themselves, but the purple will complement the orange when they bloom.
Another hardy gesneriad (these have become a special interest of mine lately), Sinningia x"Butter and Cream" (S. tubiflora x aggregata).
A Phygelius new to me this year, "Sunshine". Its distinguishing feature is its bright chartreuse foliage, ironically not too apparent in this picture because of the...er...sunshine...
A very early Lobelia cardinalis, backed up by the first Hedychium blooms of the season (I think this is H. greenii; I got a great new book on the ginger family for Christmas, and one day I plan to key out all of the species and hybrids I've collected...one day) and Arundo donax, a giant, variegated grass which is reasonably well behaved.
Another Lobelia (although this classification is in dispute) called "Candy Corn", for obvious reasons. It also survives the winter here, and one even did so in a large pot.
We have tiger lilies in both the single and double forms, and I can't bring myself to eradicate them, despite their reputation as vectors for viruses. The singles are from my paternal Grandmother's garden, and the doubles have spread from bulbils throughout the garden. The orange and purple theme seems to predominate in the summer here - it wasn't planned that way, but I really like it.
Kaempferia pulchra, another member of the zingiberaceae which performs as a perennial in dry shade. It's slow to get started in summer, but it beats most Hostas by a mile once things heat up around here. This clump is about three feet across now. The flowers are fleeting, but add great color contrast.
Hamelia patens is a subtropical shrub which has survived four winters here as a dieback perennial. I grew my first one from a cutting which "fell" from a planting in the garden of our hotel in Disney World several years ago and was subsequently smuggled home in my suitcase. As you might surmise, the blooms are really attractive to hummingbirds.
Haemanthus (aka Scadoxus) discolor, one of the many South African amaryllids which have been hardy here and bloom in the summer. This one usually puts out these floral fireworks in time for July 4.
I like this combination of Habranthus robustus with the purple Tradescantia, the blooms of which (if you can catch them) perfectly match those of the rain lily. Habranthus blooms attach to their stems at an angle, while those of Zephyranthes are vertical; otherwise, they're pretty much the same.
Gloriosa rothschildiana, another South African, this time in the lily family.
Another South African bulb, Galtonia candicans. The miscanthus has to be watched to keep it from overtaking the galtonias, but I find the grasses help support the bloom stems naturally; I suspect this happens in nature, as well.
Eucomis pole-evansia, not yet in full bloom or full height (it'll top 6'), but I wanted to photograph it before the roof workers arrive this morning, since it may not survive the day.
Cyclamen purpurascens in my "plunge" bed, one of about a dozen I grew from seed supplied by Seneca Hills Perennials a couple of years ago. They're hardy, but I have them in pots for protection right now, and they've been in bloom for nearly a month.
More unexpected are these blooms from a pale form of C. hederifolium - they're not supposed to come until September, and this is not the only such plant in my garden with buds or blooms right now.
Summer wouldn't be summer without crape myrtles. I love them, but I only grow two (this one is "Yuma", and in the back I have "Cedar Red".) Luckily, almost every other available cultivar is growing somewhere in the neighborhood less than a bike ride away. This is Canna 'Panache' duking it out with Tetrapanax papyrifera (no, I never did move it...) I got them both at the great plant shop at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria a few years ago.
The latest of all the Arisaemas, A. consanguineum, also purchased from Ellen Hornig at Seneca Hill many years ago. She specializes in this species, and I can understand why.
Clerodendron bungei- a suckering shrub, considered smelly by some. I got it from a neighbor of my parents years ago, and have always liked the smell (like peanut butter, in my opinion.)
An enormous white wax begonia (probably a form of B. cucullata) which is being marketed in the trade as "Barbara Rogers". I got it from my grandmother over 25 years ago, and it has come back every year to form bushel-basket sized clumps in locations it likes.
Hymenocallis "Tropical Giant" - I know, it pales in comparison to the one in front of Tony Avents's house.
One of the many crinums which do so well here and bloom through the heat. This one's an heirloom often called "Twelve Apostles". Scott Ogden writes that it's probably a cross between C. asiaticum and C. bulbispermum.
A parting shot of the driveway garden, which is a sea of lantana, salvia, coleus, and various and sundry other heat lovers. Summers like this are great, but they make me so spoiled that going back to work at the end of August gets more difficult every year. But then, somebody's gotta pay for all the compost (not to mention what it's going to cost to heat my tiny greenhouse this winter!)


Linda said...

I love spider lilies. We were given them in a pot, image our surprise when they flowered.

One of your photos looks a bit like a pineapple lily but not quite.

Phillip said...

Gosh at the blooms! I've been looking for the canna 'Panache' ever since I read about it in Pam Harper's book. I still haven't been able to locate it. I miss the tiger lilies - I had some where I made a new water feature and idiot me forgot to dig them up. I have that pink rainlily in the ground and it comes back every year. I think it is so pretty.

Jeff said...

I don't know if you've read this far back in my blog, but one of my early entries is all about Pam Harper and her amazing garden - it's twenty minutes away from me, and I have been extremely fortunate in getting to know her and spend a good deal of time with her in the garden this year. Our visits have provided just the kind of "kick in the pants" I've needed to at least make an attempt to tame this wilderness. She is a delightful, wonderful person; meeting and spending time with her has definitely been one of the high points of my year!

Jeff said...

Also, Phillip - I should have some tiger lilies to share this fall, if you'll remind me then. I don't charge nearly the postage that Plant Delights does! Need to wait until 'Panache' spreads a bit before dividing, but that's a future possibility as well, if you can't find another source. Here's a site that appears to have it in limited supply - http://www.karcheskycanna.com/; I'm thinking about ordering 'Ehemanni' from them.

Phillip said...

I am in awe that you live within 20 minutes from Pam Harper! She has been a big inspiration for me and I've discovered so many wonderful plants from her last book. I hope that I can visit her garden one day. That would be such a treat. Is she gardening and in good health?

Cindy said...

I really enjoyed touring your garden. You have so many wonderful plants. I really like how you share your over-wintering techniques for them.

kd said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your Bloom Day contribution -- it was like getting to peek through a window into a different world. Most of the plants you showcased are not something one would find in Zone 5 where I live. Thanks.


Les, Zone 8a said...

You have a remarkable collection of plant material, and it is great to see some unusual items for bloom day. I have been trying to ID a Haemanthus we have in one of our display gardens, and I think yours is it. We picked it up from one of those bulb vendors at Maymont or the VB Flower and Garden show when it still had flowers and gardens.

Jeff said...

Thanks folks, and Les, I agree wholeheartedly about the Maymont show. I haven't even been for the last couple of years (the Pine Knot hellebore open day is the same weekend, for one reason), but the last few times I went, the emphasis seemed to be completely on hardscaping and "furniture". Want to hire a reitred teacher at the nursery in about 10 years? That would be one of my dream jobs!

Carol said...

You've got quite a collection of blooms, many so different from what I can grow in Zone 5. I have to treat my rainlilies the same as you do. I store them in the garage all winter, bone dry.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful flowers for bloom day!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Cosmo said...

What an incredible show! I love tiger lilies, had tons of them at my old house, and can't get them to come back here--is there something that eats the bulbs? Anyway, you've inspired me to try again--Happy Bloom Day, and I suppose as I keep reading, I'll discover what that is . . .

Jeff said...

Thanks, Carol, for your kind words and for hosting the "bloom day" event. Cosmo, voles love lily bulbs here on the peninsula - these are mostly either planted in large pots which are then sunk into the ground or larger planters; a few are surrounded at planting time with a mix of soil and permatill. Of course, the ones which come up all over the garden from bulbils do fend for themselves, and occasionally I lose one. Rodents are one reason that I tend to lean more toward amaryllids like Crinums for summer bloom, rather than true lilies.

Eve said...

Your flowers are beautiful. I love window boxes and yours is really pretty. Tiger lillies,,,I love them. I forgot what else I wanted to comment on,,anyway, first time here and loved it.

Jeff said...

Thanks for checking it out, Eve!