Monday, May 30, 2011

Ephemeral Epiphyllum and other Fragrant White Flowers

Epiphyllum oxypetalum buds

A week ago I said I thought it took two weeks for a bud to mature on Night Blooming Cereus. It only took a few days to go from a small bud to opening Sunday night. Notice another very small bud on the leaf where this one bloomed. They will bloom periodically throughout the summer and into the fall.

I read that this is called 'Tab Hua Kai Lei' in China which translates to
Ephemeral -- for a day (night).

A white Datura bloomed at the same time just a few feet away so I could compare scents. The Datura is a pure, sweet fragrance. The Epiphyllum is heavier and spicier. Datura blooms last only one day but many quickly maturing buds insure almost continuous bloom. The Epi is more of an event because it opens more slowly and close quickly by morning. Datura blooms last almost all the next day before they wilt.

Datura. You may know it as Jimson weed.
Farther out in the garden Gardenias and Trumpet lilies Regale are blooming, separated by enough distance to not compete with each other nor the Magnolia also blooming. The flowers of all of those last for several days and are fragrant in the daytime.



Regal Lily

Southern Magnolia Buds

Magnolia 'Little Gem'

What smells good in your garden right now?
It isn't too late to plant some Acidanthera bulbs to bloom by fall.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Opposites Attract: Purple and Its Complement

On Friday I blogged about yellow in the garden. Directly opposite yellow on the color wheel is violet. Using a 12-color wheel, the adjacent colors to yellow are yellow-green and yellow-orange. These are the colors in the island beds: chartreuse, yellow, orange, and purple.

Lantana montevidensis, California poppies and the last Corn poppy.

A Variegated Fritillary nectars on Lantana montevidensis.
Butterflies fit themselves right into my color choices.

Salmon Sheen daylilies, orange with a yellow throat fit perfectly in the color range.
What about the Echinacea, you ask? The gold/orange cones fit, the purple is just not quite.
There's Tithonia coming along at lower right and elsewhere to add that strong
orange that attracts butterflies.

Purple heart Setcreasea purpura makes a dark contrast to Black eyed Susans.
Chartreuse alternanthera will catch up as the summer progresses.

To the rear are 3 Purple Daturas. Seedling Daturas planted elsewhere already have buds.

In the distant yellow bed above, Black eyed Susans mix with Shasta daisies for a cooler look.

This daylily is Elysian Field or maybe it is Pineapple Crush.
When I start moving them around, I tend to forget which is which.
If I should decide to hybridize or sell daylilies, I would have to buy new.
I like to know their names but I don't obsess over the name, in the garden.

One more long view. The tall yellow LA lily is Dazzle. 

A last long view, this time through branches of Vitex, careful to avoid bees.

In the Upper Garden, fragrant yellow daylilies.

Plan: move these daylilies to the front beds in the fall.

It's the time of year to go outside as little as possible because of the heat.
I don a gnat scarf to protect my ears and a sun hat. There is still watering,
weeding, deadheading, admiring and enjoying to be done out there.
I make sure to pass by gardenias and the magnolia to be refreshed in
fragrance before I come in for iced tea.

What is your opinion on purple and yellow combos?

Do you take your iced tea sweet or unsweetened?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yellow -- You May not Be a Banana

You may not be a Banana, but you can be one of the Bunch who use Yellow in the garden.

My fav Orienpet lily, Orania. First blooms opened today
 just as Oakleaf hydrangeas are fading to pink.
Dazzle LA lily and Black eyed Susans. Rudbeckia hirta is just beginning
to bloom. They act as an annual here. I'll pull them when the Madagascar
periwinkles whose seedlings are just coming up, start to bloom.

A little sunshine in the shadows.
LA lily with Loropetalum whose foliage is purple in summer.
Loropetalum will rebloom toward the end of August.

Yellow Daylilies. I can't get enough of them.
Shastas started years ago from a packet of mixed seeds.
Shastas thrive on being divided often.
LA Lily

My MIL called these 'Lemon Lilies' -- they are a fragrant daylily. 
Julia Child roses in the Yellow Bed.

This is not a flattering view of the yellow bed but I wanted you to see it. 
 A row of 11 Yellow daylilies are to the right of dry daffodil foliage.
From every other viewing point the dying foliage is not noticed. 
Emerging daylily foliage is too short to hide daffodils in early spring.

Orientpets and Trumpet lilies are last to bloom in the lily parade.

I noticed today that three of my Purple Daturas have buds.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Like it Hot

Yesterday southwest Georgia had record-breaking high temperatures for late May. Daylilies in full sun tend to melt, especially the dark shades. Byzantine Emperor held up beautifully in high dappled shade.

This Byzantine Emperor in a sunny bed beside the driveway was melting
along the petal edges and the color was fading by mid-afternoon.

Fleshier petals of Algarve LA lily (or is it Elodie?) held up well in all-day sun.
Flowers will not last as long in high temperatures, even with deep watering.
I try to water everything once a week, new transplants more often. 

Roses want lots of water. Belinda's Dream was trialed at TAMU with no extra water for the Earthkind label. It does better with ample water, like any other rose. Edges of the petals get crispy in the heat

Vitex is blooming, here across from a white Crape Myrtle that takes
heat well. Beneficials and butterflies are flocking to the purple blooms.

Looks as if it will be a long, hot summer here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

To Kill A Mockingbird

The book and movie To Kill a Mockingbird  presents the unfairness and cruelty of life. This morning the mockingbirds were screaming: Snake, snake, snake! Most birds were high in the trees. Then I noticed a pair scolding and fluttering around a rose bush. As I went closer, I saw that the rose trunk was wider than normal. There was a rat snake draped along it, bracing himself by his tail with his head up in a nest.

Video lasts just under a minute.
By the time I returned with a camera, most of the birds had quieted. The parents are still fluttering and scolding. 

This shorter vid is only 24 seconds.
If you load slowly, you might look at the second, shorter one which has a good view of the snake and the bird parents vainly trying to scare him away.

One of the mockingbirds hovers over the nest, scolding.

Brave bird is no match for a determined serpent.

You can see big thorns on the rose canes that the snake ignored to reach his prize.

I don't know if the nest held eggs, or baby birds. This was the first time that I knew there was a nest.

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Perfumed Garden after Dark

After the sun goes down the garden takes on a new appearance. Scents are noticed that were not there during the day. Certain blossoms require darkness to make their appearance, opening for pollination by night-flying insects attracted to their fragrance. We can take advantage of those characteristics for a Moonlit Garden.

Epiphyllum, November 2009.
Two potted Cereus plants have a bud each now. I believe it takes about two weeks after I spot a bud to see the bloom, which begins to open about 10 pm and is rarely open much past sunup the next day. The fragrance is worth staying up late or getting up early to experience. We have Night Blooming Cereus treats through out the summer and into late fall after the potted plants go inside. Flower Lady has them in her south Florida garden climbing high into a tree.
Epiphyllum bud.

Popular in the fragrant night garden despite their toxic nature are Daturas. The early white Daturas were blooming in April and repeating bloom new. Brugmansias are only about a foot tall, mostly rooted cuttings kept over the winter. Seedling purple Daturas planted out a few weeks ago are still a ways from bloom.

Devil's Trumpet. Angel's trumpets point downward toward earth.
These are near the side door where the fragrance is easily noticed.

Nicotiana has a fragrance in the evening garden.

 The darker shades of nicotiana are delightful in the early
morning garden before the flowers close for the day.
Even closed, the bell-like buds are pretty.

Other vespertine flowers that I grow include certain Crinums which should bloom
soon and species petunias. Hemerocallis citrina  which my MIL called 'Lemon Lily' is
just now starting to open a bloom or two.

Species petunias have a sweet fragrance after dark, too.
The fragrance was bred out of many hybrid petunias while
achieving other desirable traits.

What flowers in your garden bloom and/or are fragrant at night?
And another treat for the senses, the sound of 'Vespers':

Flowers and text are from the garden of Nell Jean blogged on Dotty Plants Journal in hot, humid Southwest Georgia.