Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day July 2015

'Black Beauty', a lily introduced in the 1950's according to Old House Gardens

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, a meme started several years ago by Carol at May Dreams Garden. The 15th of every month is the day we gardeners share what's blooming in our gardens. I have a few plants blooming though the heat and drought of summer has kicked in big time.

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 

Every July my rather aggressive 'Goldsturm' black-eyed Susans start blooming like crazy. They may get banished from my raised beds in the Great Raised Bed Renovation I plan to do this fall. But I know these babies can be found in other parts of my yard and in many other yards around Ruston (courtesy of my pawning-off (weeding) efforts).

'Amistad' salvia

The 'Amistad' salvia in the raised bed is not as robust as last year. And the other 'Amistad' in the border bed may indeed be dead. This spring was very tough on plants - too much rain, too little sun.

'Pink' gaura

This guara I picked up this spring, simply called 'Pink', has been an outstanding bloomer for three straight months. In spring this gaura was uniformly pink but I wouldn't really call it pink now. Still, kinda cute.

'Robert Poore' summer phlox

Moving to the border bed and speaking of non-stop bloomers, once 'Robert Poore' phlox gets going, it'll bloom till fall with only occasional rest periods. I never do a thing to it. It never gets mildew as many summer phlox varieties do.

'Autumn Minaret' daylily

Here's a fun daylily - 'Autumn Minaret'. The blooms are not very graceful or stunning but I love the fact that it blooms later than my other daylilies and that it's a good 7-feet tall! I have three of them popping up above other blooms.

Hydrangea paniculata Mystical Flame ('Bokratorch')

The Mystical Flame hydrangea starts out chalk white in my garden. By fall it'll be a lovely speckled rose. I grew this from a little 4-inch pot I planted some five years ago. Though it's supposed to be 4-feet tall, this one is at least 6.5 feet!

Fig "blooms"

We'll see if the birds and squirrels leave me any figs to eat. I doubt it.

Long shot of 'David' summer phlox

Crapemyrtle, unknown variety

I'm going to end my GBBD post with some blooms that I take for granted this time of year - crapemyrtle blooms. I never take pics of these, I guess because they are just all over the place - our town, the highways, let's say the South. I probably wouldn't even consider planting one because of that. But I do love them. I have these light pink ones plus a few darker pink ones. Have you seen the dark red ones? Ooh, those are tempting.

Be sure to visit Carol's blog. She corrals all the GBBD posts so you can see what's blooming all over the world today!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2015. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - Lovely May?

Starlet Lavender Star petunias (mostly)

Goodness, the spring has been busy. And wet and cloudy. Now sticky, wet, and cloudy. As I write this, thunder is booming outside. Because of the above average rain and lack of sunshine, the plants have been a bit slow or shy to bloom. Heck, my sweet peas haven't even bloomed (and may not). Regardless, it's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - time to report on what IS blooming this month.

Larkspur and Chelsea Physic Garden poppy

I simply have to show a poppy or two since I thought they'd never bloom. In fact, today's the first day for ANY of them to bloom! The pink poppy above was collected from last year. I planted the original seeds several years ago, and they were purchased from the Chelsea Physic Garden in London.

'Lauren's Grape' poppy

This 'Lauren's Grape' started closing up before I could get out there today for a photo. The blooms are not very big. But then again, we haven't had much sun so I'm not discounting them yet.

These are always the first daylilies to bloom

I'm happy to say the daylilies are starting to bloom. Here's a few other beauties blooming.

Flowering tobacco (nicotiana) with chives in the background

Gaura lindheimeri 'Pink' (I'm not sure if that's the variety name or color!)

Chives and pollinator
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - first time I've EVER had any kind of lavender save Spanish bloom for me!
Bowl of blooms (mostly petunias)

The raised beds. Your seeing mostly Verbena bonariensis and flowering tobacco blooming
Mystery iris

If anyone can venture some guesses on this variety of bearded iris, I'd appreciate it. It was supposed to be 'Cantina', a re-blooming iris. But it turned out not to be. In fact, it's on the opposite side of the color wheel!

Eastern smooth beardtongue, Penstemon laevigatus

This penstemon is a passalong from my friend Travis, who helped me whip the invasive liriope area into shape. He wasn't sure what it was (I think he found it in the wild). After some investigation, I'm pretty sure it's eastern smooth penstemon. I like it.

A luscious oakleaf hydrangea bloom

'Pee Wee' hydrangea, a dwarf form

We'll see if this 'Pee Wee' hydrangea stays small. I planted it last fall and the blooms are supposed to turn pink when they mature. I may have to move it as it looks like it wants more sun. But then again, we all do.

Baptisia australis, false indigo

I'm happy to say the false indigo I planted three years ago is starting to mature and bloom like a righteous plant.

Verbena bonariensis

And that's the bulk of what's blooming today, if you don't count the cilantro, parsley, cleome, roses... Okay, a few others. Too see what's blooming in other parts of the world today, visit Carol's blog, May Dreams Gardens.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2015. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Garden Travel - Why You Should Attend the Toronto Fling

Poppies at the Chicago Botanical Garden, Chicago Fling May 2009

You've heard of the annual Garden Bloggers Fling, yes? No? Well you will now! The Garden Bloggers Flings began a millennia ago. Oh wait, make that the spring of 2008 when 30 garden bloggers got together in Austin, Texas, to check out gardens and discuss blogging. Back then I didn't even know that blogs about gardens existed! By that summer I knew and I totally fell for blogging about my garden and others'. And lucky for me I also heard about that first Fling and the fact that there would be a second one in 2009 in Chicago. Yes, I'll go! And I went, not knowing a soul or what to expect really.

Learning about Rick Bayless's veggie garden

We saw lots of beautiful gardens but what hooked me was being with kindred spirits. Everyone was into gardening of all kinds, and of course, gardeners are the nicest people. So then Elizabeth Licata and Jim Charlier from Garden Rant and Garden Walk Buffalo fame said they'd hold one the next year in Buffalo. And my addiction to Garden Blogger Flings was in full swing.

Lilies at the Buffalo Garden Bloggers Fling, 2010

I fell hard for lilies at the Buffalo Fling. (I always fall for some plant or style at each Fling.) Yes, I now own a couple of lilies and can proudly say they've even bloomed for me. ;-) I was astounded by the small yards that were overflowing with blooms.

Susan, sisters Helen and Sara (two of the hosts of the Toronto Fling), and Ani

But the best part about the Buffalo Fling was that I was starting to get to know the individual bloggers. They are some awesome people, believe me. At Flings you get to know each other while sitting on the bus on the way to and from gardens, at dinners, at the bar, at breakfast, while shopping at some really cool nurseries... So where to the next year?

Entrance to veggie garden, Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling 2011

Over to the west coast now to Seattle in 2011. My goodness, we saw and did so many cool things. The private gardens, both large and small, were inspiring. No matter that I can't grow many of the plants in my hot and humid garden in the South. I got ideas aplenty to apply.

Bloedel Reserve and the imaginary cover shot

One day we were treated to a talk by the great garden photographer, David Perry, while at Bloedel Reserve. He challenged us to an assignment - a cover shot for an imaginary magazine. My fellow Flingers had some great cover shots!

Lisa, Gail, and Cindy

Speaking of fellow Flingers, above are some friends I've come to know and love over the Fling years - Lisa from South Carolina, Gail from Tennessee, and Cindy from Texas. Would I see them at the next Fling? Yes!

Andrea, Helen, Julian, Sara, Elizabeth, Cindy, Gail, and Susan

Here are some of them and more in Asheville in 2012. The Asheville Garden Bloggers Fling was a great mix of garden types. Think Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey. We saw the gardens at the Biltmore Estate and funky personal gardens with handmade items and toy dump trucks.

Our Asheville host, Christopher, at Wamboltopia

View from Biltmore Estate

The next year we hopped over to the San Francisco area for the 2013 Fling.

Rebecca Sweet's back yard and bird cage on the right, San Francisco Fling, 2013

You can probably imagine the diversity of gardens we visited in the Bay Area. From the gardens of the Filoli estate to a vibrant little Berkeley garden to a visit to Annie's Annuals (wow!). Rebecca Sweet's garden was adorable. I coveted every thing about it!

A lunch break overlooking the town of Walnut Creek

Kylee, me, Susan, Barbara, and Andrea

And naturally, a good time was had with all my Fling friends. So last year we experienced Fling in...

Floramagoria, Portland Fling, 2014

... Portland, Oregon! Boy, do they know how to have fun with color. We saw lots of little gardens that were big on color punch, a playful garden full of dinosaurs (yes), large strolling gardens (one being redesigned by John Greenlee), awesome plant nurseries, and more.

A restful back yard nook

Robin from Ohio and Laura from Oregon in Danger Garden. Danger Garden is Loree's, one of the Portland hosts. I was in succulent heaven.

Pam, one of the original Austin Fling hosts, with Laura, also from Austin

And there you have it - a mini trip through the Garden Blogger Flings that I've attended. (Believe me, you don't want to see the thousands of pictures I've taken over the years.) What keeps me coming back is the camaraderie, the chance to talk in person with my friends, the generous hosts and sponsors and garden owners, and all the wonderful gardens.

If you're a garden blogger and want the same kind of experience, what are you waiting for? Get on over to the Garden Bloggers Fling website and sign up for the Toronto Fling to be held in early June! Oh, and did I mention the great swag from our sponsors? See you in Toronto!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2015. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Of Daffodils and Hellebores

'Minor Monarque', Narcissus x italicus

Goodness, I've gotten hooked on heirloom plants, and daffodils and hellebores can be some of the more confusing ones when it comes to correct nomenclature for these old beauties. But hey, it gives me something to work on when the skies are gray and the wind is cold. And fortunately for me, the daffs and hellebores (aka Lenten roses) are just starting to put on a show. I know for a fact that the daffodil above, 'Minor Monarque', is its true name but that's only because I bought it from Old House Gardens! This one can bloom very early, but so far it is not reliable for me on the bloom front. Its leaves are always the first to come up, usually in December, but that means they often get nipped by freezes.

Some kind of tazetta narcisuss, possibly 'Grand Primo'

The name of this tazetta type of daffodil is unknown to me, though I'm thinking it might be 'Grand Primo'. I rescued the bulbs from an old farmhouse a few years ago. You wouldn't believe how many daffodils were growing at this place - it was awesome! I have a few pics from the rescue here.

'Trevithian', I think

Although my garden journal, which is simply a Word doc that gets recreated each year, is over 30 pages long, I don't have a record of planting these 'Trevithian' daffodils in that spot. (Arg, I'm just terrible at documenting where I finally find a place for bulbs - I need to quit buying/rescuing them!) I hope you can at least see that these daffs get at least 2-3 blooms per stem. And they're a very deep yellow.

Narcissus x intermedius, aka sweeties or Texas star jonquils

I got these little jonquils from Celia Jones, an expert in all things narcissus and its nomenclature. Author Greg Grant says they are a natural cross between N. jonquilla and N. tazetta. These grow wild along Interstate 20, and they're just about the only wildflowers the state will let grow there for some strange reason!

The first 'Ice Follies' daffodil of the season in my yard

The front corner of my yard is planted heavily with 'Ice Follies' daffodils (the story of how I got them is in the aforementioned blog post here). They're usually blooming in March but this guy couldn't wait. What I'm really liking about this patch of daffodils is the fact that other daffs are starting to bloom there now, not just 'Ice Follies'.

Butter and eggs daffodil, N. incomporablis aurantius plenus

One last daffodil - the old classic called butter and eggs. I know this is the correct ID since I bought this from Old House Gardens. They say "buyer beware" when it comes to this one since many double daffodils are called by this name.

More daffodils and other bulbs will be blooming shortly, yay!

Joker hellebore

I've blogged about Joker hellebore before. I can't get over how many blooms, upright ones at that, are on this plant. It's not an heirloom (far from it) but it's a keeper.

Hellebore, unknown variety

I bought this cute little pink spotted hellebore at a passalong sale that my Master Gardeners group had last fall. It obviously didn't need much time to settle in before blooming. The sometimes confusing thing about hellebore varieties is that they frequently hybridize without any help from us. Even though I have this urge to classify any plant I see, I'm okay with unknown hellebores because they are so darn easy to grow and bloom for several months.

Another unknown hellebore variety

Many of the hellebore varieties for sale are hybrids of Helleborus orientalis and other related species. Have you seen or grown the frilly picotee ones? I swoon. If only they were more widely available at nurseries. Maybe then they wouldn't cost so much and I would have a few of those picotee ones, too. :-)

So there's my dip into the sometimes confusing world of daffodils and hellebores. Chin up folks! Spring will come. It always does!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2015. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.