Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Promise of Angel's Trumpets

Brugmansia buds are almost ready to open. I could not wait to make pics, so here are buds.

A closer look at Strobilanthes in the previous pic.

A view of the stick house over Persian Shield and through Magnolia.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Giant Swallowtail (videos)

Giant Swallowtails Papilio cresphontes are among the butterflies visiting now.

Much larger than the other flying beauties,
others tend to brush them aside as if considering them intruders.

Watch for a Gulf Frit and a Pipevine Swallowtail giving chase.

... this was the best territorial show of all.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oxblood Lily, Schoolhouse Lily

Oxblood Lily (Rhodophiala bifida) bloomed after the rain.

Verbena on a stick self planted; carefully planted chartreuse alternanthera and Oxblood lilies.

Last fall I noticed that my single clump had multiplied.

I divided them this spring and spread them around.
I decided to let dichondra grow as ground cover
rather than fight it all summer.

After a good rain, they literally come out of the ground blooming.

New starts of Purple Heart in the mix.

Oxblood Lilies with my fav Chartreuse, Purple Heart and Verbena bonariensis under a Crape Myrtle.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sound of Abundance of Rain

   We are grateful for 3/4" of rain yesterday afternoon.

Purple Heart with Melampodium, Datura and Periwinkles.

Lantana and Purple Heart blooming in front of
Madagascar Periwinkle.

Rosemary, out of control, left of yellow lantana out of bloom.

'Olive Bailey Langdon' daylily failed to bloom
in early summer.
She's showing up now.

Three quarters of an inch may not sound like much rain, but it was wonderful to us.
I spent much of last week dribbling water all over the place in flower beds.
The rain pulled it all together.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time to Plan for Winter and Spring

A Previous Spring

I did not present a Bloom Day post. Last week I posted the colours of August on my other Seedscatterer Blog. Except that the daylilies are done, the colours remain the same: Esperanza, Bird of Paradise, Duranta, Datura, Porterweed. Crape Myrtle, Melampodium and Petunias. Mostly tropical, all tough plants in the face of drought alternating with humidity.

Watering thirsty plants, I'm looking at spaces
where daffodils bloomed in spring.

Inside, I'm looking at bulb catalogs and making lists
while referring to previous years' pics.
Tulips firmly place themselves on my lists, elbowing
aside hyacinths. I must have hyacinths for
forcing; tulips are optional, amaryllis a must.
Wait, paperwhites! Maybe some freesias....

Outside again, I'm potting up gingers and other
 tender plants to have ready to bring inside before frost.
Heliconia is on my list of wanted tropicals to find on
sale at summer's end.
Inside again, I'm looking at previous years' pretties
that made it through the winter inside.
Pentas are rooted as I think of them and find a good cutting.
 I let one Persian Shield wilt badly. It will have to revive from its roots.
Some that made it, like pineapple sage and licorice plant
did not make last year's cut for overwintering.
They are back on the list to likely buy again.

In town, I answered the siren cry of Vriesea and Neoregelia
on a display of bromeliads. I was sure they were in my plan until
I got home with them and saw how much room they would need.
They looked much smaller in the nursery.
Right now they are hanging out in the enclosed porch with a palm and
spathiphyllums and Pothos. The Neoregelia is sitting on a chair.
What was I thinking?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Can, too, Grow Tulips

Dry here again. I heard that Texas is getting rain. I hope so. When it is not fit weather to be outside, I dream and plan, seduced by bulb catalogs into a delusion that I could have great drifts of tulips.

It could happen. Here's proof that I have successfully chilled and planted timely and brought tulips into flower for a single season. Different seasons I've planted different colors. Some turned out better than others. Failures were usually accompanied by evidence of voles, or Tulip Fire virus.

The last time I planted tulips, Buffy was a puppy. It seemed like a good idea to pot up bulbs and chill in  pots instead of my prior experiments with prechilling the bulbs in a paper bag and planting out in the elements.

Chilled bulbs sprouted timely in December.

Just as the bulbs were coming into bud with glorious
promise of pink blossoms, I set them on the floor where
they would get more sun.

Baby Buffy, not quite 3 months old ATE my tulips!

Should I try again now three years later, chilling and attempting to grow tulips in a pot?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Green Thumb: A Gift or Learned?

Is a 'Green Thumb' a talent, or is it learned?

Groene vingers in the Dutch, the Swedish have gröna fingrar,  the Italian, pollice verde. 拇指. We who speak English say green thumb or green fingers. The literal meaning comes from pinching, pinching. I frequently have a green thumbnail when I've failed to pick up secaturs before going into the garden.
We learned by reading garden books, talking with great gardeners, learning the names of plants. Some of you studied horticulture or landscaping in a formal academic setting. Someone asked me how I know all those plant names. How did you learn the names of your friends? One at a time.

Many of us whose plants thrive were brought up by parents or grandparents who gardened. We acquired mentors like Ms. Billie who yanked up echincea plants past blooming and said, "Plant these and cut them back. They'll live." She broke off pieces of hydrangea and instructed, "Stick this in the ground, it will root." We tried, we failed, we came back and tried again.

Perseverance pays in the garden. A mistake should cause us to come back again to try once, twice more. When my caryopteris so carefully rooted from Miss Billie's plants failed to make it through the winter, it took a while to figure out that it really died of wet feet when the Upper Garden flooded in early fall when 8 inches of rain fell in an hour, a phenomenon repeated only twice since, but my plants are better situated for drainage.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dog Days of August

We had a few rain showers, enough to make the grass head out
enough to be mowed again and again.

Chartreuse alternanthera contrasts with
Verbena on a stick, self planted.  

These change little from year to year. I've found what
works and am reluctant to change. Alternanthera
cuttings must be saved over the winter, the rest comes
back without a lot of effort on my part.

Lantana montevidensis, mostly lavender, a white in the middle.
In early spring when the lantana is dormant, there are
daffodils along the stones underneath.

Daylilies are resting behind Purple Heart.
Daturas haven't reached full size yet.
There is melampodium at the end.

Alternanthera, Purple Heart and Periwinkle
cannot be beaten for summer.
Crape myrtle trees are always dependable.

Ninety degrees at noon when I was taking pics; 'feels like 107' according to the weather report.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Epiphyllum Bloom, an Exciting Event

Autumn Belle asked a while back about my Epiphyllum posts. Each event is exciting, but the blossoms look the same each time in varying numbers. Nine total this time, 8 of them on a single plant, opened on the night of August 2.

They commenced opening by 8:30pm.

Can you see all eight in this photo?

By 10:30 they were half open:

Fully open by 11:30

I made a video, below, of the open blooms.

Night Blooming Cereus from Jean Campbell on Vimeo.

I've always wished I could keep them over to the next morning to show them to friends and let them sample the incredible scent. I cut them off the plants last night near midnight, put them in plastic bags and inflated the bags. Stored in the refrigerator, they were still open this morning, still crisp and new-looking. I took 2 to the restaurant where we ate breakfast in town before we went to the City.

This afternoon I took 3 to my neighbor so she could see and smell them. Everybody wants to know how to keep them. Other than prolonging the inevitable for a few hours by keeping them in the dark and cool, I don't know a way. Preserving them in pics is all I have.

More of the open blooms are here: my Rotogravure site where I put flower portraits.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dogwood Variegation: Anomoly or Disease?

Leaves of this dogwood have yellow edges.

I noticed that one of the young Cornus florida seedling trees has yellow margins to its leaves. I looked at all the other seed-grown dogwoods. This is the only one with yellow edges.

Variegation does not look like mineral deficiency which
usually manifests in prominent green veins and entire leaf

I searched dogwood diseases. We commonly see the dots of Spot anthacnose and Septoria leaf spot about this time of year, cosmetically unattractive but not deadly. Discula antracnose kills. Powdery Mildew is another problem of dogwoods. None of these cause yellow borders on the leaves.

A look at the full tree. These seedlings are about five years old.
A sister plant about 20 feet away is solid green.

I read about variegated dogwoods, not uncommon. None of the photos I saw looked exactly like this one, but some were similar. Among the common cultivars for sale are Cornus florida "Rainbow" "Welchii" "Golden Nugget" and "Variegata." There were not photos of all.

Another dogwood in the general area with plain green leaves.

Another tree in full sun, lighter green but uniform color.

Another look at the variegated tree. It has put on tiny buds
for next spring's bloom just like the others.

This tree had odd leaves last year. I paid little attention to it.

Does anybody know about variegated Dogwoods?