Posts Tagged ‘blooms’
A lot of what’s in my dad’s garden was there when he moved into his apartment. There’s a boxwood on each side of his entrance walk and an impressive assortment of hostas for such a small space. At first, there might have been a Sundrop or two. Three years later, when I captured this photo, there was a jungle of Sundrops.
I’m still learning to want to grow ornamental plants. For me, gardening has always been about food. Touring show gardens, writing about gardening, and having many friends who are geniuses at landscape architecture and garden design has awakened in me a desire to have a pretty yard. Last summer a planting bed at my dad’s apartment reinforced that desire.
In very early summer, my dad’s garden sported a dense cloud of yellow: Flowers that glowed in the sunlight on 12-to-18-inch stalks. It was one of the most striking features I’d seen in any private garden, and I’ve visited a lot of stunning private gardens.
My Sundrop Awakening
I asked my dad if he knew what plant produced these arresting flowers and, happily, he did! “Sundrops,” he said.
I snapped a few photos and moved along but Sundrops were now in my mental catalog of plants to consider for my own yard. I hadn’t yet tracked down a nursery or garden center that sold Sundrops when this spring I once again visited my dad.
With virtually nothing growing, my dad’s garden still caught my eye. Where last summer there had been stalks of gorgeous yellow flowers, this spring there was a dense ground cover of green-and-purple-leafed plants. They were already growing despite spring having barely started.
My dad’s Sundrop plants had shallow roots and I was able to dig about ten of them in just a few minutes. I’ll probably plant them in the corner of the yard under the apple trees and see how quickly they spread.
So, I asked my dad, “Are those Sundrops?”
He gave an affirmative and told me they were getting out of control. I was thrilled when he agreed I should dig some from around the edges of the patch. I filled a bucket with plants and quickly realized they spread via rhizomes: root-like shoots that radiated out through the soil specifically to push up new plants.
I’ve been warned that Sundrops spread aggressively… which was obvious from my dad’s Sundrop patch. When he moved into his apartment four years ago, I didn’t notice Sundrops there; in only three years they took over a six foot diameter area.
Sundrops in your garden
I did a little reading and found that Sundrops — also known as Evening Primrose — are hardy in zones 5 through 8. Supposedly, they need lots of sunlight, but sunlight reaching my dad’s garden is best suited for hostas; his Sundrops were doing fine.
Your Sundrops will do best in well-conditioned soil, but they grow naturally in many soil types from sand to loam. They handle drought well and once they’re established you may need to be brutal to keep them from spreading beyond your flower bed.
With gorgeous yellow flowers, attractive bi-colored foliage, and a tendency to spread aggressively, Sundrops make a terrific ground cover whose character changes from season to season.
Want a fast-spreading patch of bi-colored leaves that throw up a cloud of bright yellow flowers in late spring? You can grow that with Sundrops.
One of two annuals still abloom in my garden: a volunteer pak choi plant probably self-seeded from one of last year’s volunteers. Several of these popped up in random places throughout my various planting beds in 2015.
Autumn has taken its time in central Pennsylvania. It was slow to arrive, its colors lingered for weeks, and it has held off frigid winter temperatures well into its second month. But for a handful of nighttime lows, autumn hasn’t been itself. In fact it is tallying an impressive count of warm days reminiscent of early or late summer.
And, there are blossoms. Sure, the cold-sensitive plants have melted away after freezing through on frosty nights, but a few stalwart annuals, and even more perennials continue on as if expecting autumn never to yield.
To celebrate Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, I captured photos. I’m a tad late in posting, but what you see is what was in bloom on this November 15. I hope I don’t find flowers in my garden in December.
Petunias along the south wall of the house continue to show healthy foliage and blossoms… though the blossoms are only on stems very close to the house. Guessing the wall of the house holds heat into the evening providing a sub-micro climate just warm enough to coax blooms.
Under the lilac bush, barely sticking out above autumn leaves, a small clump of violas is till pushing up blossoms. These plants have been spreading for a few years, but a patch died back last winter; I’m hoping for a better outcome this year.
Across the yard from the clump of tiny violas, I planted a new bed with two different varieties—both producing larger blossoms than the older clump. The plants aren’t well-established, but they’ve been in bloom since I planted them in July.
I must have found some Pincushion flowers on closeout in July. I don’t know the plant but photos online hold promise. So far mine have been dramatically unimpressive; my wife has spoken derisively about them. Still, there’s a blossom. I hope the plants spread a bit next year.
This is most certainly my last Echinacea blossom of the season. I set the plant out in July. It hasn’t put out much growth but clearly it’s healthy. There’s one more bud behind this one, but it shows no signs of opening. This variety, Cheyenne Spirit, was an All America Selections winner in 2013.
In my yard, Drift roses and Knockouts live up to their marketing hype. They’ve been in bloom for months and there are still many blossoms, though not all are in top form. This is on my only red rose plant; the rest are pink.
Still amazing me, this dianthus has been in bloom nearly continuously since I brought it back from a trade show in July. Sold as an annual, I’m hoping it survives central Pennsylvania winters. For blooms it has been a top performer. This variety, Interspecific Jolt, was an All America Selections winner in 2015.
Several of our Rudbeckia plants shriveled as summer ended. I suspect they’re not coming back next year. Several others continue to produce flowers. I guess the plants are deciding among themselves which are better suited to our garden.
Guessing this is Yarrow. I’ve often wondered whether my wife planted it some years ago; it appears each season not quite in a flower bed, but it’s so pretty (and insistent) that it seems intentional. This flower head lies on the most traveled pathway in our yard. The plant has been in bloom for several months.
Sunflowers have surrounded a decorative shrub in a farmer’s field… or perhaps the shrub has infiltrated sunflower territory. Either way, it looks kinda cool.
Every summer I keep watch for fields of sunflowers in full bloom. A few local farmers grow sunflowers, swapping crops from field-to-field—sunflowers one year, corn another, and soy beans in another.
This year, there had been no sunflowers in the usual places, but yesterday I drove a few hundred yards past those places and discovered a thousand yellow flower heads.
These sunflowers were different from those of past seasons: Rather than simply filling a large field, they had surrounded a decorative shrub. OK, it’s not earth-shaking or anything, but I captured a few photos and have included one here.
Without apparent relationship to sunflowers, a few weeks ago my online gardening friends started chattering about naked ladies appearing in their yards. I’m not sure I’d heard such chattering in past years, but it was immediately apparent these naked ladies are some type of plant. In fact, I’d heard them called “surprise lilies” in past seasons.
Surprise lilies grow foliage in spring, but the leaves die back so people lose track of the plants by mid summer. Then, overnight, flowers emerge on stalks that can grow 24 inches tall.
The chattering started, and three days ago I noticed a stand of naked ladies across the street from a local church. Finally, this morning, I had a chance to stop and take pictures. The flowers are gorgeous, and there’s something refreshing about flower stalks rising above the landscape without accompanying foliage.
Can’t say I’d heard of the plant “Naked Ladies” until this season. Then, after seeing so many posts about them online, I spotted a cluster across the street from a church I often pass. I stopped for a closer look and took several photos. I confess: I enjoy looking at naked ladies.
Zinnias grew in several places at Longwood Gardens. This variety was common. I captured the photo in a trial garden among many where visitors vote for their favorite plant combinations. In the right light, you can see a purple tinge on the inside ends of the petals. If I grew zinnias, I’d track down this variety; it’s eye-catching.
I’m cheating a lot this month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I’m posting flowers, but I’m not posting my flowers.
My wife and I recently spent the day at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. We toured just about every venue there, and I captured at least ten photographs (posted about the Meadow Garden here).
A whole bunch of my photos are closeups of blossoms. I didn’t take notes, so I can’t tell you much about the plants. Some are easy for a layperson to identify, others might challenge well-trained horticulturists. Seriously: I took no notes. If you see any blossoms here you like, maybe they’ll motivate you to visit Longwood Gardens.
Along the path through Longwood Gardens’ Meadow Garden, we saw several spikes of purple wispy blossoms. This one had drawn attention from a butterfly that was a bit camera shy. Everywhere in the meadow garden was alive with insects of many varieties.
A cluster of fruit, sporting a single blossom, grew in one of the “Student Gardens” at Longwood Gardens. There are four such plots, each created by a student of the institution (Longwood trains future horticulturists).
I remember enjoying a blossom along the Flower Garden Walk, leaning down to read the plant marker, and marveling that I’d been admiring a dahlia; it didn’t vaguely resemble any dahlia I’d seen. This photo might show the blossom, but if you know better please provide insight in a comment.
No doubt this is a dahlia. There was a patch of these along the Flower Garden Walk. I probably took ten photos of these alone.
Can’t imagine why I didn’t take notes about this one. The plants grew densely and the flowers were stunning. I’ll probably track down the proper ID some day… I hope they turn out to be perennial in hardiness zone 5.
The Palm House inside the Longwood Gardens conservatory offered a few exotic blossoms. Several clusters of this type peaked out from among the palms.
The name of the tree sporting these otherworldly pink blossoms (I assume they’re blossoms) was so intuitive, I knew I’d remember it later… but I don’t. There were two of these trees in the conservatory, and both displayed more pink flower snakes than they did foliage.
Dazzling hibiscus blossoms drew attention inside the conservatory. By the time we were there, light was fading so the yellow blooms especially popped against the darker, poorly lit background.
Blossoms of a particular hibiscus in the conservatory were sublime… but then I’m a sucker for purple.
Longwood Gardens has a pipe organ that plays into the ballroom of the conservatory. Just outside the ballroom, there was a stand of yellow and pink blossoms I’m quite certain were cannas. I like!
The coldest days of winter and a typical central Pennsylvania snow reaffirm the area’s USDA hardiness zone rating. Freesias would not survive this winter outdoors.
Freesias! I took a flier last spring and bought a package of freesia bulbs on closeout. I’ve never grown freesias. I couldn’t have identified them had someone led me to a freesia patch to harvest a few for a bouquet.
Knowing so little about them, I planted twelve freesia bulbs according to instructions on the package: buried many inches deep in a 12-inch container. In a few weeks, exactly two plants emerged. Eventually they blossomed and I fell in love with their fragrance; freesias smell like flowers, but not like any I’d sniffed previously.
By summer’s end, the two freesia plants were done. The temperature dropped, a few weeds sprouted in the freesia planter, and one day three new freesia sprouts appeared. This was an aha moment! Freesias, apparently, draw motivation to sprout from a mild cold spell. The package had identified freesias as annuals in my hardiness zone, so I suspect a freeze would have killed the bulbs. But they were far from dead; there had been no freeze.
Still knowing little about freesias (you’d think I could read something), I guessed that sprouting in autumn and then being put into cold storage would overtax the bulbs. Now that they’d sprouted, I figured they’d need to mature and recharge themselves to make it through a dormant period.
Being uncommitted to ornamental plants, the most I was willing to offer was a place on the sill of a south-facing window. The freesias have persevered! Seven bulbs sprouted and have grown gangly leaves that hardly hold themselves upright.
I’ve watered occasionally and broken off a dandelion whose tap root has a death grip in the soil. Other than that, I paid no mind.
Until last week.
It’s so dark in the basement where my freesia pot sits on a windowsill that there’s barely enough light to take photographs. Still, the plants are abloom and the basement room is redolent of spring.
Freesias in Winter
Two weeks ago I brought an assortment of plants back from MANTS, a horticulture industry trade show in Baltimore. I set the plants on our ping-pong table which catches some light from the south-facing window where the freesias sit. As I was setting up electric lights for those plants about five days ago, I noticed the scent of spring! Sure enough, there was a blossom on one of the freesia plants.
My freesia planter sports two sun-starved flower stalks laden with buds. Five days after the first bud opened, a second is about to burst. It seems likely the blooms will continue until it’s safe to move the planter outside.
The lifecycles of my freesia plants, I’m sure, are severely screwed up, but that will remain their problem. I’ll move the planter outside in spring and back in autumn. If the plants eventually synch with the seasons, I’ll give them a cool, dark corner to winter over next year. Otherwise, I suppose they’re doomed each year to grow gangly and watch from my south-facing window while the snows fall.
There go the last crocuses of spring. The first appeared on the south side of the house on March 11 while there was still much snow about. These are in my wife’s main flower bed on the west side of the house and they usually hold on until other bulbs get into the act.
It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and I’m so happy to have a few blooms to show off. Despite the calendar and increasingly longer days, spring started only a week ago… and then it was very wet. Amazingly, while I (along with everyone else around here) felt we’ve experienced the most horrendous and permanent winter in decades, perennials in central Pennsylvania are “on schedule.”
For the past seven or more years, daffodil shoots have appeared by late February. Winter of 2012-2013, in fact, daffodils sprouted **before** winter started! The poor, young shoots stood shivering for months before spring finally turned them loose.
What impresses me about the forsythia this year is its obvious reluctance to participate in what little spring we’ve had. We have no sprigs of yellow blossoms. Rather, each “sprig” has, perhaps a blossom with many buds watching, I guess, to decide whether it’s OK to open. Still, it’s very pretty.
This year, there were no sprouts at all until late March. In diminishing cold, daffodil tips appeared and slowly stretched upward for about two weeks. Then warm happened. In just a week, 2-inch sprouts erupted to full-sized daffodils and in about three days they spat out buds to blossom just in time for my Bloom Day photo session.
In past years, April 15 in my yard has seen apple, azalea, forget-me-not, lilac, peach, pear, tulip, hyacinth, and violet blossoms. But in each of those years I’ve joked that I’ll be able to grow pineapples outdoors by 2050 if the warming trend continues.
So, this spring of 2014 is “back to normal.” There aren’t many types of blossoms in my yard, and that’s how it should be in mid April. Please enjoy the photos.
Very much as if desperate for its moment of “fame,” this daffodil in our front yard blossomed for Bloom Day. Others also blossomed, but in the back yard tucked behind the lilac bushes.
If it has been warm enough for plants to grow, there are weeds somewhere in the garden or yard putting out blooms. This mint-family member appears every spring in my main vegetable bed and in my herb garden. It’s quite pretty with or without blossoms.
Each bud here is smaller than a dime, yet in about a week these will be two large cones of lilac blossoms—or the temperature will plunge dragging us into another plant-stopping cold spell. As I type this there are traffic accidents on highways within 60 miles of me caused by several inches of accumulated new snow. So… maybe it’ll be two weeks before the blossoms emerge. Whenever it does happen, it’s going to be quite a show!
The forsythia are in their second week, and will be gone within days. They have been particularly striking this year.
To celebrate my first Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day of 2010, I’ve stepped out of my small kitchen garden. In fact, I’m going to confess something that is completely contrary to my best intentions.
I often express my lack of interest for planting anything that I’m not eventually going to eat. In truth, I’ve planted many ornamentals over the years. My wife has planted far more than many, and our yard is quite loaded with flowers through most of the growing season. Both the landscaping and the maintenance of it are exceptionally reproachable, but the flowers are gorgeous.
The photographer in me has always been a sap for flowers, and our interior décor includes enlargements of many of my flower photos. When I create a Bloom Day post, I usually stick to blossoms of the kitchen garden. Today, however, those blossoms share space with whatever else is busting out in our yard.
I grew a bit self-conscious while taking photos; I realized that I was focusing my camera a lot on what we might refer to as the flowers’ junk. The experience really brought home to me the meaning of the term “garden p*rn,” and I apologize for bringing it up in the first place. My next post will be back on point… I promise.
(Wondering why I’ve spelled “p*rn” with an asterisk instead of an “o?” I didn’t want to give Google the wrong idea.)
My wife has planted many varieties of daffodils, and they are usually the first plants to push leaves out of the thawing soil. They start to blossom as the crocuses wilt. I love the textures on these particularly frilly daffodils.
Not your typical all-yellow daffodil, the orange tinge around this daffodil’s junk makes for some lovely contrast. It was when I was photographing the daffodils that I realized the p*rnographic nature of my flower photos: what normal, young-blooded daffodil wouldn’t find this view compelling?
Among my favorite of all flowers, forget-me-nots are hearty perennials. They also seem happy to drop seeds that speed the plant’s spread through flower beds and into lawns. I adore these annoying plants… in fact, I planted the first forget-me-nots in our front ornamental bed at least ten years ago. My wife has done battle with them ever since.
The tulips start to blossom about when the forget-me-nots do. I’ve shot hundreds of tulip photos dating back to before digital, but these may be the first I’ve ever shown beyond my family photo albums. They look like tulips, yes?
Just squeaking in in time for Bloom Day, the lilacs are opening. A freeze about ten days ago left the tiny buds looking ominously dark, so I’m very happy to see these popping next to the stairs down from our back deck.
Azalea blossoms this early seem so out of place. The white azaleas have always blossomed ahead of the red ones, and this year is not exception. Only a few buds have opened, but in a matter of days I imagine the whole plant will be covered in white flowers.
Clouds against the blue sky, clusters of blossoms portend a decent pear harvest, assuming we’ve already had the final deep freeze of spring. Last year we had frost around May 26. I personally think fruit trees are stupid, given that they break into flower just because we have three weeks of warm weather three weeks earlier than usual.
I planted a Bartlett and a Moonglow pear tree side-by-side two autumns ago. They have both produced gorgeous pink blossoms among purple leaves. I won’t let them develop fruit this season, but perhaps next year they’ll be large enough to handle it.
If anyone in my yard is trying too hard this year, it’s the peach trees. An awesome display of overachievement. Assuming all the flowers set fruit, I’ll need to remove a lot of them while they’re young if I hope to harvest peaches of any significant size.
I love the way a cluster of buds emerges on an apple tree, and the bud in the middle opens… just a bit ahead of the other buds. I hate to see apple blossoms this early, but the bees have been happy. Here’s hoping we get no severe freeze, and the apple harvest is bountiful this coming autumn.
Dandelions and violets are among my favorite weed flowers. They are both exotic beauties that dominate my lawn for many weeks before I fire up the ugly lawn mower and behead them. Spring is an awesome time in a small kitchen gardener’s yard!
I regret to say: my small kitchen garden was not at all in the spirit of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day this month. In fact, this post marks the annual transition from active gardening season to armchair gardening season: Snow fell for much of the day.
Snow, in central Pennsylvania on October 15th. According to the weather service, this is a new record; there has never been “measurable” snow this early in a season.
My Small Kitchen Garden isn’t Done
As final as a snowfall seems, my garden isn’t really finished for the year. I expect to harvest cilantro at least one more time before leaving the plants to fend for themselves. Cilantro is quite hardy, and the clump of plants in my garden is likely to survive the winter and put out new growth as soon as the ground thaws next year.
The weather service has forecast days in the 60s next week, so I’ll be able to pull plant-support stakes and rake leaves onto the planting bed. Also, there are still carrots in the ground, so I’ll dig those after this snow melts.
Were I adding perennials to my garden or yard—fruit trees, for example—I’d still do so in the next month. Planting perennials in autumn has distinct advantages over planting them in spring. I explained my rationale last year in a post titled As Autumn Arrives Plant Fruit Trees.
It’s also not too late to start “burning in” new planting beds. I explained in Your Home Kitchen Garden blog how to start a garden bed in grass without first removing sod. If you start before the soil freezes, a reasonable amount of decomposition should take place over the winter; you may be able to plant in the spring, with an early summer start being nearly certain.
In any case, there were hundreds of blossoms in my small kitchen garden today… but with a wet snow falling, I had little fun trying to capture images of them. I hope November’s Bloom Day is a little less punishing and I hope you all had way more reason than I to enjoy today’s Bloom Day!
Most of the blossoms in my small kitchen garden are on the broccoli plants. There are hundreds of them, and today they were coated with ice.
This is no longer a flower, but it looks pretty cool. It’s the spent head of a dill plant. This one head scattered, perhaps, seven billion seeds in my garden (that’s an exaggeration), and now looks like crystal with its coating of frozen sleet.