April 30, 2012

First Views, May 2012

In the midst of emptying the greenhouse of container veggies, I went out and made First Views pics for Town Mouse's meme. Pretend that you came to visit and caught me unaware -- nothing deadheaded, nothing swept or edged, just green blousy trees and other delights of Spring.

The Upper Garden with Oakleaf Hydrangeas left, 'White
Dawn' Rose in the middle and 'Little Gem' Magnolia in the
distance at right. Smells good out here.

Moving in closer, you can see spots of color including 'Silver Veil' daylilies.
I went back and changed these to a size that doesn't hang over the sidebar.
You might click on one if you need a closer look.
I can't decide whether to change the layout for bigger pics.

Looking to the right, you see blueberry bushes to the left, pear trees and some assorted shrubs including loropetalum. The thin dark green ribbon along the tree lines is 30 acres of corn. Perspective is lost in the distance.

 Looking left you see the path to the Front Garden.
We are going to walk around this little semi-circular
bed where we're standing on the Oval Lawn to
see a surprise.

Last month I showed two Cycad pups that had put out green fronds.
The biggest pup that had one old frond from last summer when it put on first roots has decided to show just what it could do.

Cycad fronds!
Echinacea in the shade is not yet making much of
a show. It's blooming in the Front Garden. 

Echinacea in the sunshine has started to show up well with
Salmon Sheen daylilies in front of Carefree Delight Rose.

It was intentional to put the golden cones of Purple Coneflower with Salmon
Sheen daylilies. California poppes are just an added bonus.

I tried to keep to broad views; this last one just tasted too good not to share. 

April 29, 2012

A Last Look in April, the Journal

April was a busy month. We had a few cool nights but most days were warm.

Rose de Rescht

Roses bloomed. My favorites are fragrant.

We saw snakes, from a Spreading adder to a Rattlesnake, the only one we dispatched and only because he was heading toward the house. Yesterday I saw a mockingbird scolding and chasing a big black Rat Snake. Seeing a non-poisonous snake is a good reminder to watch out for the bad kind.

 I'm planting out flowers from the greenhouse.
When I planted out the two pots  (top of pic) of
agapanthus from the greenhouse,
I realized that one in the ground has a bud.

Daylilies are blooming everywhere, every color.
Red, pink, yellow, orange, purple.
The eyed one above is Siloam Ury Winniford.
I gave it the garden name of 'Miss Winnie'
for my dear friend.

First blossom on a brugmansia
-- Angel's Trumpet.
Reminds me of a ballerina's dress.

We were discussing the area next the carport ledge.
He-who-mows said, "We can't cut these down.
Your Mama planted them." (She planted the original
petunias in 1978.) They return faithfully. She
called them 'Washpot petunias,' a true
passalong plant. 

I wonder if anybody will be as sentimental about anything I've planted here.
Will anybody treasure the seedling camellias, the rooted gardenias; the Pride of Barbados and Tecoma stans from seed from Texas; the daylilies from seed from another garden, the flowering Pomegranate and Lilacina crape myrtles I rescued from elsewhere on the property?  

Join the fun and Flaunt Your Flowers with Tootsie.

April 25, 2012

Angel's Trumpets, Devil's Trumpets and Good Things to Eat

Flowers of Brugmansia point down like Angel’s Trumpets, pealing from the heavens towards the Devil down below.

Angel's Trumpet bud almost open on Wednesday.
This plant wintered in the greenhouse. It was awkward and gangly and lost
most of its leaves. I had hoped for pink trumpets in the winter.

This Brugmansia came back from roots. It is a ways from blooms.
It is about 2 feet tall and the trunk is very thick.

Datura’s trumpet-shaped flowers call upwards to the heavens.
White Datura here came back from roots and are blooming now.
When I go out the side door after dark, there is an incredible spicy
fragrance coming from this plant. Petunias add an exotic note of their own.
The nearer the species, the more fragrant the scent of petunias.

Seedlings of Purple Swirl Datura on left.
I failed to plant seeds of yellow Datura. Looking at previous
years' pics makes me wish I had. I could still plant a few.

Datura prefer to be watered only when the roots are dry; Brugmansia enjoy more plentiful overhead watering. This also provides an atmosphere less hospitable to red-spider-mites, which thrive on hot and dry conditions. These plants are non-edible.

Now to Good Things to Eat also in the family Solanacea -- the Potato family. Daturas and Brugs are related to Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant. The last three are beginning to bloom in the greenhouse and tomatoes have set a fruit or two. Eggplants growing look as exotic as flowers to me.

Angel trumpet last September 3.

Purple Datura from 2009    

April 23, 2012

Does This Plant Make my Garden Look more Exotic?

Last night I reviewed plants in my copy of The Exotic Garden by Iversen. Today I looked online at the exotic plants at Great Dixter. Later in the day, Tara Dillard wrote of connecting palms and cones to Piedmont Canopy in Atlanta zone 7 to enhance a client's lovely swimming pool view, adding a new dimension to my train of thought.

Meanwhile, I am making lists of exotic plants that thrive in zone 8b. The list of exotic plants at Great Dixter that I am not going to plant is longer than the list of those I grow or aspire to. I am not going to plant Musa Basjoo. They are commonly seen over in the next county. I think bananas look out of place here and are particularly ugly killed back in the winter, great hulking dead masses. I won't have Morning Glory, either. I saw a sky-blue bloom on Saturday, far away from my garden. They're weedy here. I stretched the limits of horticulture sensibilities when I planted cycads with Anthony Waterer spirea and dogwoods. I stuck pink begonia cuttings in pots with Duranta during the winter, starting a new combo for the pinks and magentas in the upper garden.

                       Alpinias and Justicia brandegeana

Gingers are on my list of desirable exotic plants and so are Shrimp plants. I overwintered three different evergreen gingers in the greenhouse. All three will come back from the roots and are doing so quite well, but the protected ones have a head start. So it is with Shrimp plant, except this mild winter they fared very well in the cold and are blooming early. There's a Curcuma in there somewhere awaiting her cue to show up for the party. Curcumas need a rest period, so they remain outside.

These two are good companions with pale yellow daylilies:

Yellow in the Alpinias picks up the pale greens in immature Shrimp bracts. Subtle.

More Cannas like this yellow stripe and
a dark leafed one are on the list.

Later in the summer, annuals like melampodium will add stronger yellows. I'll add and subtract from my list of butterfly treats and exotics from seed like Datura. Herbs will mingle with florals and vegetables will grow in containers. It's all fun.

April 19, 2012

Daylily Explosion or Is this a Normal Year?

This year's first Daylily bloomed here April 6. We are in the midst of a virtual Daylily Explosion.

Brocaded Gown

The peculiar thing about the early blooms is that they are not blooming in the usual sequence. Or, maybe this is the usual sequence and previous years were out of sync.

One of the early bloomers was 'Olive Baily Langdon' a purple that failed to bloom at all last year until August. Some of the usually early daylilies are slow to set buds this year.

Kent's Favorite II

Last year's first bloom was April 26, almost three weeks later than this year. 2010 was a poor year for Daylilies altogether according to what I wrote.

You can see the past two years' Daylilies here:

'Salmon Sheen' put out a tentative first blossom yesterday, none today but many buds. An inch of rain yesterday gave them a much-needed boost.

Vintage red Daylily blooming here today, here since the 1950s.

True lilies are also starting early. Looks like a glorious spring all the way.

April 15, 2012

Now That April's Here GBBD

Spring came quickly, left soonest. We had a few cool nights this week but it feels like summer. The glorious spring bloom fest is over. All the bulbs, all flowering trees are done. Summer's Hydrangea quercifolia is coming into bloom early.

Confederate jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides hangs heavily on the air.

Maybe it's overpowering because there is so
much of it.

Pentas and Verbena bonariensis.

I've been planting out Pentas as they come into bloom. Next fall I'll label all my cuttings. I can recognize they are Pentas but forgot that I might want to plant by color. Three more of this pale pink have bloomed to add to this bed next week.

A mild winter did little to encourage fall-sown annuals. Poppies
are not as plentiful this year, except for California poppies,
here with Salvia farinacea 'Victoria' and Echinacea.

Daylilies are blooming early this year.

A daffodil walk becomes a daylily walk as daffodil foliage fades and daylilies come into bloom. My daffodil/daylily walk here has daylilies outside on the driveway side. On the inside are yellow roses, beginning to make a show with white Pentas.

Happy Bloom Day with 'Julia Child' -- my fav yellow rose.

Join the fun for Bloom day at May Dreams Gardens.

April 06, 2012

I'm Digging as Fast as I Can

When Spring comes early and quickly it is hard for gardeners of a certain age to keep up. Yesterday's rain brought cool air behind it so maybe I can catch up again.

Poppies keep popping. We've seen pink and maroon so far.
Calfornia poppies are coming on fast and furious as well.
Corn poppies have formed good foliage, no blossoms yet.

Lilies popped out of the ground quickly.
Rose campion is usually a summer blossom.
Just visible is one of the begonias from the greenhouse.

Brave violas are looking leggy. A haircut and
some fertilizer might give them one last fling
before hot weather is here to stay.

Echinacea is everywhere. It reseeded into paths, even.

Roses are early. This is Julia Child, one of my favs.
White Pentas are already transplanted into the yellow rose bed.

'Brocaded Gown' was first daylily to flower along
with 'Olive Bailey Langdon,' a reblooming
purple which did not bloom last year until the
last possible moment before cold weather.
Brocaded Gown blooms all over the garden:
edging the yellow roses, with gingers in the Upper
Garden, and other choice spots.

 Punicas are a fun shrub.
Flowering pomegranates are almost fool-proof. No pests, grows in sun or shade and lasts forever. I divided an old shrub that was here before me. 'Madame Legrille' has a long history.They come after the flush of azaleas, dogwood and Philadelpus and ahead of the summer blooming shrubs.

I'm trying to move everything from the greenhouse before hot weather. I planted out two Cycads that have fresh tops. The spot of pink visible to the right is early blooms on Spiraea Bumalda.

All the Pentas cuttings kept over the winter are going out to beds of butterfly delights. I'm waiting until they bloom so the unmarked ones are planted with like colors. Blue Porterweeds are in place. I'm planting flat-leaf parsley seedlings among the nectar plants to provide hosts for Black Swallowtails, scattered about so they're harder for the birds to find caterpillars. Pipevine is coming up everywhere in the back yard. I plan to transplant pipevine and passifloras to the east side of the stick house.

Join us for Fertilizer Friday on Tootsie Time, a meme where you can Flaunt Your Flowers. Thanks to Tootsie for hosting the weekly meme despite all the work she has getting a new place renovated and everything in place.

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