Thursday, September 29, 2011

Planted Queen of Night Tulips


Used a clay pot and a plastic pot for comparison.
Six Queen of Night each pot.
Buffy will be 3 before these bloom.
Baby Buffy ATE 2009 potted tulip buds.
I'm hoping she's mature enough to leave these.



Watered and draining; then into the refrigerator
to chill for 10-12 weeks.
Hope for blossoms late January or early February.
The pots are the same size, one closest just looks bigger.

Hyacinth bulbs are chilling for forcing in water and stones.
Paperwhite narcissus await putting in water and stones
just before Thanksgiving for Christmas bloom.

Tulips that Buffy ate and Hyacinths, early 2009.





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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Runs in the Family

On seeing the pictures of my Night Blooming Cactus my nephew sent pictures of my sister, our beloved Tanky, displaying her Epiphyllum blooms back in the 1970s.




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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Illuminating Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Last night happened to be one of those nights of garden excitement when Epiphyllum oxypetalum graces the greenhouse with fragrant spicy blossoms.



You may know it by different names: Night Blooming Cereus (it isn't a cereus), Dutchman's Pipe Cactus because of the pipe shape of the bud or Queen of the Night. If you live in south Florida, it may grow upward for several feet into a tree. Cold-tender, we grow it in pots. I set mine close to a carport post in summer for support so strong winds do not blow over the top-heavy pots. In the greenhouse  the long stems lean on a structure I fashioned and dubbed my Epi tree.



Last night's show featured only two blooms. Another bloom will open soon and numerous tiny buds are present that will open in October. The rest of the winter we will deal with this gangly plant by mostly ignoring it except for occasional watering.

Note the tiny bud at left.

I could smell the heavy, spicy fragrance before
I reached for the light switch as I stepped inside.



Pictures taken near midnight required the use of a flash for illumiation.
Geenhouse walls reflect the security light outside.

 
Join the fun of Illuminating the Garden here:
Illumination at Garden Walk, Garden Talk

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Red Spider Lilies, an Autumn Ritual

Lycoris radiata blooms around the time of the Autumnal Exquinox, signaling the end of a natural growing cycle. Many legends exist in other cultures about the flowers and their meaning. I just think of it as one of the last blossoms of the summer season. Since we have camellia blossoms all through the winter, there is no 'death and renewal' connotation in my garden.



Spider lilies frequently appear following heavy rains from
a hurricane. We did get some rain before they bloomed.


When the flowers fade, green leaves appear that last all winter,
making a pleasant edging along the beds.
There are some spring bulbs planted in this bed as well.


A spot of sunlight makes these look faded.


This Spider Lily came up with a wild poinsettia.
I am thinking I need to pinch the flowers of the poinsettia
and see if it puts on another cluster of flowers and the bracts
turn red as the days shorten.

I don't want this wild thing to go to seed and
plant itself all over next summer.
This one just showed up.

We'll have fragrance most of the winter as well
from the tiny lemony-sweet blooms of Tea Olive.
The walk to the mailbox is very pleasant since
 Osmanthus fragrans started bloom.
These are the best blooms I've seen on this plant, ever.


 














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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fantastic Fall Flowers for Bloom Day

Wax begonias, pentas and other delights
rooting for indoors for the winter.

Yellow Lantana and Lilacina Crape Myrtles

Madagascar periwinkles, Melampodium and Purple Heart
are almost drought-proof but appreciate a rare drink.



The first of Lycoris radiata.
Naked stems are suddenly everywhere.

Lantana montevidensis along my butterfly corridor.

Butterflies find Duranta and Salvia leucantha behind the lantana.

A Dogface Sulphur enjoys Lantana. 

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.
Visit her site for links to many, many Bloom Day Gardens.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Talk to the Butterflies

We're celebrating cooler weather. Butterflies are enjoying abundance of nectar on Lantana, Duranta and other nectar laden late summer plants.


I'm already making plans for next year's butterfly gardens. I've taken cuttings of Pentas in all shades of red, pink and white to keep over inside as house plants. Sulphurs and Spicebush Swallowtails are fondest of Pentas.



Pentas don't really start to put on  a lot of bloom until the days start growing shorter. If I can keep cuttings growing through the winter, they'll be in bloom on short spring days when I plant them out next year. Pentas can stand more cold than some perennials. I've had blooms on Ruby Red for Christmas before hard frost took them out in years that winter came late.

Within the month, plants must go inside in case of early frost. I worked on the epi tree in the greenhouse yesterday, fastening oak bark onto the tree with some ancient tileboard adhesive I found in the garage that had not dried in the tube. The price sticker had $1.99, if that tells you how old it must have been.


I experimented with resurrection fern, but it wilts in 99 degree temps inside the greenhouse in the sunshine. We'll have to wait for even cooler weather. I'm ready. Corduroy is going to be big this fall according to the email ads I'm getting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bulbs that Bloom in September

Sternbergia lutea that I moved from a too-shady location.

Sometimes called Autumn crocus or winter
daffodil, they are actually of the Amaryllis family.
These came from Barbara in Texas and I was
afraid they'd died out. Rains brought them into bloom.


I brake for butterflies, especially when they are Tigers.

Oxblood lilies bloomed two weeks ago.
These Rhodophiala waited for the next rain.
Stunning in a bed with Brazilian ruellia.

I'm starting to see lycoris radiata buds since the rain.
The big show is yet to come with them.

The Big Box stores have spring bulbs on display. I can't help myself, but I held to paperwhites and hyacinths to force and just a small bag of other bulbs to tuck here and there.
I'm still trying to decide on colors for Amaryllis and just how are needed.

I dug a pale pink pentas and another pot of cardamon ginger.
Took a pentas cutting to replace the one that died.
Busywork this time of year, getting ready to anticipate frost next month. 
that died. 


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It was a Great Butterfly Video until I stood in Fire Ants!


After the storms of yesterday passed and the sun came out today, butterflies were swarming.
I saw a 4 kinds of Swallowtails: Tiger, Giant, Pipevine and Spicebush.
A big surprise: a large Monarch, uncommon here except when they migrate south.
A Spangled Fritillary and the usual Gulf Fritillaries and Sulphurs were about.
Buckeyes and little skippers were there, too.

 

Things were going great until I forgot to look where I stepped and stood in a Fire Ant bed.
The video ends abruptly.


Spangled Fritillary

Spicebush Swallowtail on Pentas

Gulf Frit on Tithonia

Giant Swallowtail on Tithonia


Monarch on Lantana

Monarch hanging onto Duranta

Spicebush Swallowtail

Lantana at the front forms a butterfly corridor
next to the highway right-of-way.
When I went for the broad view, they all hid.

Salvia leucantha is starting to bloom so we'll have a real purple haze for fall.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More Butterflies and Brugmansias

My nephew suggested that he liked the still photos of butterflies best. There isn't much movement amongst the Angel Trumpets so everything is a still today.

There first two are Spicebush swallowtails, first on Pentas. The shiny object is a tuna can that I use to measure irrigation and rainful.

 I don't believe this Spicebush is really nectaring on Melampodium, just stopping to rest. They briefly visit periwinkles but Lantana nearby is the fav.

Giant Swallowtail from the side, on Tithonia.

This Giant is a bit tattered and faded; lost one tail.

Not yet faded are the Angel Trumpets.

So light and dainty, like a ballerina's skirts.  

I could hardly wait for these to open. More buds are forming.


The difference between Datura and Brugs is the direction of the trumpet.
Devil's Trumpets point upward. Brugs point down to the Earth.

Originally they were all called Datura. All are of the nightshade family.
All are toxic. Reading about Victorian ladies' practice of letting nectar from
an Angel Trumpet drip into their tea is interesting but not a practice I would start.









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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Butterflies, no Monarch

By the time I ambled back to the house for the camera, the Monarch I saw nectaring was gone.  I did get Spicebush and Pipevine Swallowtails and Gulf Fritillaries -- and I remembered to comment.



There was a Buckeye. I forgot to focus on him when I started the second video.


Swallowtails and Gulf Frits



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