Thursday, April 10

April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: New Beginnings

Yes, I'm a little early for April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day... but the coconut orchid is blooming, we have taxes to do this weekend, and I just know I'm not going to sneak in a post otherwise. (Hey, I'm usually late, so maybe this can make up for a month or two!)


I am particularly excited about the coconut orchid bloom (above) because this is the second time I've grown Maxillaria tenuifolia - and it's the first time I have overwintered it successfully! I'll be sharing my trick in a later post.


Phaleanopsis orchids are much easier to overwinter, but it's been particularly fun to see this one start blooming. I had to stake the flower stalk (which has been growing since December!) and the flowers seem all topsy-turvy as a result.

 
A tiny pot of peperomia, which I nestled on the window sill between orchids to give it some humidity - and so I would remember to water it - is also blooming. Perhaps to show its appreciation?

Speaking of tiny... assuming that all continues to go well, we will have another tiny thing to care for in September.  Baby M is due around September 11th, and has kind of thrown a wrench (a very welcome wrench!) in our plans to put the house on the market and move this spring.  :-)  So I have decided to embrace the garden again for one more year... and to resurrect the garden blog as well.

For more of what's popping up this April in gardens around the world (and maybe outside of gardens, too!) check out Carol's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post on April 15th.

A quick note, to round out my GBBD: It's too early for anything to be blooming outside here... Lake Erie keeps us fairly cool in the springtime, and it's been a long winter! But I do have tulip and paperwhite foliage popping up in the yard, and my Meyer (Improved) Lemon is also blooming in the dining room.

Thursday, October 17

From Traditional to Tropical: October Foliage Follow-Up

As always, visit Pam at Digging for more of this month's fun foliage posts - and to share your own!

It's a mixed bag this month for the October Foliage Follow-up!  I have everything from late season vegetables:

A golden variety of Swiss chard
To forgotten-in-the-summertime plants that reveal themselves in themselves in fall's slanting sunshine:

Glossy-leaf European ginger
Grape hyacinth foliage and the last of the coleus
'Little Zebra' dwarf miscanthus
To the hot foliage of tropicals (like this red cordyline/Ti plant) that are bright enough to put the tree leaves to shame:


Okay, I'm currently in love with this cordyline and I can't pick just one photo to share... so here are a few more:




Soon, the cordyline will have to come inside, joining the other tropicals and non-hardy succulents on a windowsill:

Mother-of-thousands, tillandias and orchids
A close-up of one of the current crop of "thousands"
The cordyline might get a few companions this winter. I have a dish of rescued tillandsias that are taking up too much valuable space on a pedestal... surely a few of them can be tucked into the cordyline branches?

The green air plants are rescues from a trashed tillandsia ball... but the fun red tillandsia is my souvenir from Naples this spring!
Speaking of my winter plans, has anyone started moving in their plants yet this fall?  If so, do you have any space-saving hints on combining and displaying them in your house?  I--I mean, a friend of mine--could always use a little help in that department... ;-)

Wednesday, October 16

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2013

Most of what's blooming around here in October... was also blooming in September! I don't think that I got a good picture of my ivy geranium last month, so I decided to lead off with it this GBBD:


It's been blooming off and on all summer, in spite of my neglect and lack of feeding. The silvery foliage behind it is helichrysum (aka licorice vine) and they're both planted beneath a tree yucca of some kind. All too soon, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all of them for the winter.

But for now, I'm enjoying the bright pop of color provided by the last of the honeysuckle vines against the blazingly blue fall skies:




The berries (above) are definitely something new.  The vine is covered with them, and it's kind of fun to see the berries and flowers coexisting.  Since the pyracantha (aka Firethorn) blooms just once in the springtime, there's no chance to see blooms and berries together on it.  But the berries come in so thickly that there wouldn't be much room for the flowers anyway:


Their orange color reminds me that my blue-pot cannas are both still going strong.  Here are a couple of nicely backlit (in the early morning light) shots of the orange one, blazing above silvery-blue 'Berggarten' sage:



Last but not least, the waxy bloom cluster of a hoya.  It started blooming outside and had to finish up its show indoors:


Pretty soon, indoor blooms are the only ones I'll get to see.  But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the last blast of fall!

For more of what's in bloom around the world, check out Carol's October Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post.

Tuesday, September 17

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2013


This is yet another better-late-than-never edition of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I do know that I say that most months. But since I didn't seem to manage to post anything for July and August, I think this is a step in the right direction... no?

Above you see a one of my few new blooms.  It's a generic salvia guaranitica - NOT a named 'Black & Blue' plant like I usually buy.  I think that I will try to stick with the unnamed version in the future, as this plant has greatly outperformed B&B  in spite of a coolish summer when I would have expected it to do much less.




Yes, I'm still in love with the native (to the U.S., if not to here exactly) honeysuckle, lonicera sempervirens. (I blame the wonderful Annie in Austin for introducing me to this object of my obsession.) My hubby has been working on propagating it for me, so it can bring a baby of this plant with us whenever we go.  

Instead of propagation, I'm just flat out going to dig up one of my 'Albury Purple' St. John's Wort bushes before we put the house on the market. There are two reasons for that:  1) It's patented, AND 2) The front yard is getting a little crowded anyway. I just love it when the yellow flowers and red berries appear together like this:


Speaking of the crowded front yard, there are quite a few things in bloom there right now.  Blue caryopteris and 'Hameln' pennisetum are vying for attention:



And the whole mess of Japanese anemone (mostly hidden by the now-huge Japanese maple and random miscanthus) were almost finished blooming before I even noticed them:


The bright side of having to go to the neighbor's yard to take their picture?  I realized that there IS a good side to this ill-planned hanging basket of fuchsia and philodendron.  Check it out now because I am NEVER planting this fuchsia again:  (Next year, I'm going back to 'Bonfire' begonias!)


As I came back around to the front porch, I saw that the 'Sparkling Burgundy' eucomis, which sprawled alarmingly in August at the height of its bloom, had bravely thrown up another smaller bloomstalk:



Inside, one of Steve's sensitive plants (mimosa pudica) is in bloom. Strangely, the ones that went outside never flowered at all this year. Just the inside plants:


In the back yard, the 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, recently cut back orange butterfly weed, and Brazilian verbena are all in bloom.  But the highlight of the garden right now is this hot dwarf canna at the edge of the blue pot.  I picked it out for its purplish leaves (now looking a little worse for the wear) but love these in-your-face blooms next to the silver sage. If you look closely, you can see streaks of orange on the insides of these red flowers:


Outside of the highlights above, other September bloomers include 'Matrona' sedum, 'Rotstrahlbusch' panicum, 'Sioux Blue' sorghastrum nutens, 'Whiskey' wax begonias, 'Hab Gray' sedum, 'Red Rocks' penstemon, 'Purple Dragon' lamium, and a few hostas that I have yet to hack.

For more of what's in bloom around the world, check out Carol's September 2013 Bloom Day Post as May Dreams Gardens.

Friday, July 5

Early July Garden Notes: Weedy Orchids, Burnt Fig Leaves & More

Fourth of July fireworks: Red Asiatic lily (name unknown) blooming among the amaranth.

Sometimes I long for just one good old childhood summer. Remember those long stretches of sunshine, bike rides, and building "dirtbike" trails in the woods behind the neighbor's house?  Now that summers have (d)evolved into 40 hour work weeks, cleaning, grocery shopping and other adult tasks, it feels like it's July before you can even blink.

The wild (as in, not yet tamed) back garden.
Since the garden has been feeling looking pretty neglected, we decided to forego cookouts and play in the yard today. We filled up ELEVEN of those Costco yard bags, so you know we got a lot done. 

We limbed up the cherry tree, created a proper wood pile, transplanted a couple of tomatoes, and did a TON of weeding.  Amongst the casualties?  More of the weedy orchid that I first wrote about a few years back:

Epipactis helleborine, naturalized here since the late 1800's.
I also finally clipped off a few of the sunburned/wind burned fig leaves that looked the worst. I had thought I was so careful this year when I brought them outside... but the leaves say otherwise:

And this is one of the ones I kept... you can imagine how awful the others were!
On the bright side, in spite of all the sun damage I somehow still have baby figs.  And in spite of not cleaning up the broken-birdbath-turned-succulent-planter yet this year... 

Lots of dead leaves strewn throughout this planter, no?
... I'm anticipating a bloom on a succulent that has never flowered for me before!

This future crassula perfoliata bloom looks cute and fuzzy in bud!
And with that, I'm going to hit a hot shower before I roll into bed... hopefully, that will help keep some of the aches away so I can get up on time!  (Yet another thing we never had to worry about as kids... ;-)

"What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it."
- Charles Dudley Warner