Saturday, March 29, 2008

Next to Last Daffodils to Bloom

Now open are Thalia, Baby Moon, Minnow and one that I don't know the name. It looks like Albus Plenus Odoratus, came in a mix long ago and still persists. Smells wonderful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How I Met Sammy Russell

Last week I was interrupted before I really looked at the boxed perennials at Walmart and we had to go. This week I was up to my own devices and found some interesting daylilies. My choices were 'Little Women' which appeared to be a buff pink, 'Romantic Rose' -- a sort of ruffled pink; 'El Desperado' was the only one one I had heard of before, soft yellow with a plum eye.

At home, they looked like healthy roots. I passed over some that had thrown new growth though tears in the bagging. I put them in a 'Super Thrive' solution to soak and rehydrate.

Late this afternoon, I went ahead and planted Little Women after I moved and divided two clumps of 'Salmon Sheen' to the back of a bed that has mostly oranges. The three little crowns were tucked in between some clumps of 'Faiy Tale Pink' and in front of 'Lullaby Baby' that is viewed from the other side.

As I was planting, I suddenly remembered the first daylily in a box I ever bought at Walmart. It was labeled 'Ed Murray' and the photo was a dark maroon, pretty round daylily. I should have known better. When it bloomed, it was small, thin petaled and scarlet. The next year, that daylily took off. It grew, it multiplied, it survived both drought and being planted next to the birdbath where water dripped all day and it bloomed!

I finally learned the true name. 'Sammy Russell' was hybridized by a Texas grower who had a son named Sammy. I think it was 1951 when he registered Sammy. It's been used by landscapers ever since.

Mislabeling is not just at big box stores. It's how I came to have 'Siloam Ury Winniford' instead of 'Pineapple Crush' from the daylily show and sale in town. Winniford has happily bloomed with a red eye next to red pentas in the butterfly garden, a happy mistake, again.

If the daylilies I bought today are mislabeled, they'll happily hop on the little wagon when it rolls by next spring and I'll move them to a site where they'll blend in. I'll buy extras at the daylily sale, just in case.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wisteria and Dogwoods are Blooming

Spring is coming on strong at such a rate that I have to go outside every few minutes to see what else has bloomed.

The top two photos are white wisteria, the bottom is purple wisteria and dogwood.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Welcome Back, Humman

He's Back! No, the late Senator Talmadge has not returned from the grave. I was working in the little ruins bed next to the biggest camellia bush/tree when I heard, "Whum!" and looked into the bush to see a hummingbird has returned and was nectaring on camellia blooms. I finished planting white snapdragons and purple daylilies, watered and mulched and went inside to heat leftover pizza and boil sugar water for the hummers.

There was a huge woodpecker under a pecan tree this morning. He was walking around on the ground, pecking, and looked like a small turkey with a red head. After my attempt at photos through the window screen was a disaster, he flew when I went outside. He went across the highway into a big oak tree. Mockingbirds followed, screeching. He drummed once once on a hollow limb and they fled, screeching, back to the front yard.

The other beauty I saw was a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. If there weren't so many chores to do, I'd just go outside and sit, camera at the ready. A camera outside when I'm working would tend to get full of dirt.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Muscari Trickle

I aspired to a river, or even a stream. They are not increasing, I've still only a trickle.

These were purchased as "Bellevalia pycnantha" but they look like regular old muscari to me, except that these are slightly more vigorous than the other muscari, maybe because they're in full sun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hyacinths, an Obsession

Daffodils smell good, they're colorful, they return (usually) and they have few pests. So what could be better?
Hyacinths! They come in pink and white and blue and yellow. Here are the latest of the Pinks and Blues, planted last fall and last to bloom. Click each pic for a larger view.

A butterfly found China Pink irresistable, as did my metal armadillo.

I thought nothing prettier than Blue Jacket, until Delft Blue bloomed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Fav Daffodil Design

For years, I've planted double rows of daffodils, or free-form beds falling down the hill ending in a point of sorts. Last fall I dug little crescent moon shapes on the ends of some beds and planted daffodils overseeded with various spring annuals: Larkspur, Sweet William Dianthus, two kinds of Poppies, Alyssum.

This grouping has larkspur, sweet william and a few poppies and snaps in front of daylilies.
This area has 2 different kinds of poppies among the daffodils and dormant daylilies just coming up behind.

By putting daylilies on the ends, the bigger beds of perennials and shrubs need not be disturbed and I'll maybe remember that daffodils are on the ends. When the spring annuals fade, summer annuals can be seeded in. Sweet William lasts for at least two years.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bloom Day: the Morning After

"You should have been here tomorrow." There's always something blooming that wasn't here yesterday.

This time it's a red camellia. I noticed yesterday that a little camellia bush, hardly 2 feet tall, had two buds on the side opposite the driveway. Now the blooms were wide open. It started out as a rooted cutting and has been moved twice. Lane's Mama used to call these red camellias, "Bloody China" (Blood of China).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

In this first photo left to right: dogwood not yet in bloom, camellia, redbud, another camellia and in the foreground, loropetalum.

White azaleas are blooming, tumbling down the slope. Pink azaleas will follow in a week or two, some already show color. The daffodils are late because they were planted this year.

Daffodils including Ice Wings and Sailboat as seen through loropetalum branches in bloom. The structure is my stick house where sweet peas are not yet in bloom on the near side.

It was hard to choose just three to show, so I tried to get the most bloom for the space in broad views rather than close up. The sidebar has a sampling of this year's daffodils. Some have finished; Thalia and Hawera are yet to bloom. Hyacinths are in posts farther down; China Pink and Delft Blue, planted late are not yet open.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shared Excitement

March Header photo of the first nasturtium shoots.
The blooms will be dark red -- 'Empress of India.'


I recently divided some echinacea and purple daylilies to fill a space in what I call the Pink Circle. The Pink Circle has a round lawn about 20 feet in diameter surrounded by mostly cream/pale apricot/pink/fuchsia/lavender/purple flowers.

Yesterday I read that spring blooming flowers should be divided in fall, and fall bloomers in spring. It is almost time to divide Salvia leucantha, which blooms a bit in spring but saves the "reelly beeg shew" for fall. Little shoots are appearing under the mulch, eager to greet the warm sun. I saw sprouts of anise hyssop when I was planting foxtail lilies from Janie this morning.

An hydrangea that was scalped by the lawn mower two weeks ago has fresh foliage. I found a note to cut hydrangea serrata to the ground; can't remember why I wrote that. I think maybe it blooms on new growth.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Camellias and a Bird Nest

The birds play in the camellia bushes, some even build nests.

They come in white and many shades of pink and red. The more important differences is in the bloom forms. The open forms that I'm showing are called 'semi-double' which looks a bit like a rose bud before they open fully. There are peony forms, which have intermingled petals, stamens, and petaloids. The peony form that I have is a dark red called 'Blood of China.' I don't know the names of the others here, except for 'Mathotiana' which is a rose form double that blooms early and gets cold nipped a lot.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Yesterday I noticed yellow flowers that I did not plant, beginning to open. A closer look noted that the tubular flowers were above cutleaf foliage that resembled small blue-green parsley leaves.

Yellow Corydalis!
(Corydalis flavula (Yellow Fumewort, Yellow Harlequin; a plant native to the United States. Corydalis species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Silver-ground Carpet and Mnemosyne butterfly). USDA Plants Database

It's shown in some sources as being a member of the Papaveracea family, Fumitory family in others. It doesn't resemble a poppy, but it's about to bloom with California poppies.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Butterflies and Hyacinths

I made photos in twilight using a flash, and didn't notice the sulphur butterflies until I looked at the pics on my computer. The yellow hyacinth is City of Haarlem and the pink is Pink Pearl, several years old and obviously divided into three bulbs over time. I hurried out to make late pictures because we're expecting storms in the night and the rain may beat these down.

Renovating the Arbor

The scuppernong grape arbor, which also serves on front as the support for a Peace Rose, had a wood frame supported by recycled porch posts for the past twelve years. We replaced the rotted wood with metal T posts today. Yet to do is retie the rose canes and make sure the grapevine is secure. Storm predicted tonight.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Favorite Hyacinths

They're all my favorites.

One year I bought mixed bulbs and separated them by bulb color, planting the dark bluish bulbs together, the reddish bulbs together and the light colored bulbs together. The light colors turned out to be all white. The pinks were mostly Gypsy Queen, which is sold as 'coral color highlighted with salmon and peach' and is actually a pink, but not a neon pink.

Hyacinths come up and bloom at different times, early to late, just as daffodils do. They're influenced by location and weather. Jan Bos and Pink Pearl have bloomed pretty much together in a sunny protected bed. Carnegie, a white, is just starting bloom in two locations. City of Haarlem, a yellow that is more primrose than a daffodil color, is about to bloom. Blue Jacket, pictured above, is opening fast. Lavender Top Hit is sparse this year, several years old and needing fertilizer.

The new hyacinths this year are Delft Blue and China Pink. They are slow because they were planted late and I did not prechill them, depending on the cold spells we get. Sometimes this does not work well and the stems will be too short. They look as if they're going to be fine this time, just coming out of the ground since the rains. One that I put in a hyacinth glass bloomed very well and is fading now. The second one has a tiny green sprout and very few roots so far, even though they were treated exactly the same.

Some purples that I planted last year had only two blooms, I think voles ate the rest of the bulbs. This year only one came up and it has bloomed already.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Baby Seedling Blossoms

My first Violas among their own foliage and among Iceland poppy foliage. Spring is near.

Violas are smaller than pansies, so they're a close-up show, but they last longer into the spring when the weather gets hot than pansies do.