Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tithonia and Daturas

You know summer has arrived when Tithonia starts to bloom. These are all self-seeded plants. I encouraged placement by pulling up spent Tithonia plants last fall and laying the heads where I wanted plants to come up this Spring.

 I pulled everything that wasn't Tithonia or Datura except for Ratibida visible above and some Durantas, one visible at right in the pic below. Durantas are a little slow to put on blooms this year. They also have to return from roots. I cut some of the Ratibida as it becomes a thug. Spittle bugs found it, too.

This first-to bloom Datura returned from its roots. I have other Daturas, seed-grown in the greenhouse in other places. Some of them are already blooming, too.

Beautiful in bloom, fragrant, exotic black stems.

There is a purple Datura and a white at right behind the Purple Heart.
What looks like weeds in front is really Melampodium coming up.
You can see one little bloom on one. They come up blooming.

Pride of Barbados in the Upper Garden, far from the plants in previous pics.
The colors are right, so I put  first and second year plants of 
Pride of Barbados out front near the Tithonia and Purple Daturas.

Hot, Humid, Sultry:

 We're having a Tropical summer.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rambling after Rain

We had a total of 3.4 inches of rain yesterday and last night. Everything is washed fresh and looks so green -- there was a lot of thunder and lightning. Farmer Danny said they had hail over across the Creek.

Agapanthus, Pride of Barbados foliage, and others. Lush grass, damp driveway.
 Pentas come in gorgeous colors. My favorite rose color and Miss Julie Neel's favorite pink.
Hymenocallis, native Spider Lily. Rain was rough on it, in a bed with Curcuma and other Gingers, Shrimp Plant and variegated Alpinia. The second pic is of buds yet to open.
My Bird of Paradise has a new leaf, in the center. Old leaves are wind torn.
Milk and Wine Crinum Lilies. More Crinums sending up buds.
Porterweeds are finally blooming. The concrete rabbit moved to the end of one of the long beds to keep me from dragging the hose over daylilies behind him.
Persian Shield under Gary's Magnolia and
dwarf lavender Pentas

I don't know what this little fern-like plant is
under the Strobilanthes, it just came up in the
pot where I rooted the Persian Shield.

Crocosmia everywhere. I just pull it out where I don't want or mow.
Porterweed, Magnolia, Persian
Shield and lots of grassy path.

Tropicals are with us in bloom from now until Frost.
It has not rained all day and the humidity is 85%.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Angel Trumpets, Can You Hear Them?

You can't hear them but you can smell their sweet scent on the night air. I ran out to take pictures just as rain was starting.

Angel Trumpet in a bed with Byzantine Emperor Daylily.
Down near the ground are white Daturas. Graptopetalum, sedum and other delights.

 Later in the season I hope to see pink Spider Lilies in this bed.

About a third of the buds opened last night. This is the biggest plant -- other old plants are beginning to bloom and this year's plants from last fall's cuttings are showing promise.

The power went off for an hour just after I started this post. Heavy thunderstorms today in our area. We have 2.3 inches of rain so far with more to come.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coming Attractions and another Look at Previous Delights.

Brugmansia blooms should open tonight.
There are at least two dozen buds on this plant, which returned from last year's roots. Yellow in bud, they will open pink. I took the pic this morning. This evening they are already beginning to show a swirl of the little 'skirts' and will open after dark.
First blooms on Agapanthus have shedded leaving the allium-like seed pods to grow.
Hot weather and recent rains left the lawn looking lush.

Every time I show a broad view, I see many details that need attention. While the weather is so hot and humid, it will be pressing needs for now. One thing I've left looking shabby is underneath the Camellias, now trees. Suckers or seedlings underneath are left until fall for transplanting. The ones I moved a month or so ago did not fare well.  Sweet Alyssum at bottom left needs another haircut. A Natchez Crape Myrtle at upper right is slow to put on blooms. A seedling, it needs a little age to perform well.

Yesterday I saw a Zebra; today I saw a Tiger. Swallowtail butterflies are slow to return this year. I see occasional Pipevines and Spicebush Swallowtails. The first Tithonia bloom opened today. That should bring them flying if anything does.

Lagerstroemia indica: 5 Reasons for Growing Crape Myrtle

During the winter, my Deep South garden depends on Camellias for color, followed by Azaleas in Spring and Gardenias in June.  The rest of the summer we delight in Crape Myrtles.

1. Crape Myrtles love heat and humidity.
2. Crapes are fragrant. You seldom hear that mentioned but
they have a very sweet scent, noticed up close.
3. Beneficials visit Crape Myrtles, bees were swarming here when I was making pictures.

The Crape Myrtle in the previous picture will be limbed up
to match this one on the opposite side. He-who-mows had
Crape Flowers in his shirt after he mowed.
4. Crape Myrtles have beautiful exfoliating bark.
Older trees have smooth trunks.

5. Grumpy Gardener once said that Crapes come in different colors so you can choose just one.
I have four colors but try to group like colors. I use more of 'Lilacina' than any other.
In the fall, the leaves do add some color after bloom is over.
Multi-stemmed trunks add a sculptural look.
Crape Myrtles are not picky about soil being acid or alkaline. They
do require good drainage.
Moving a crape is best done after they lose their leaves in fall. One moved in summer may sulk for a year and look dead but finally put out leaves. I would not intentionally stress one this way.
Propagation can be by seeds, cuttings or by suckers. Cutting the roots will cause them to throw new plants on the roots which can then be moved in cold weather.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Bouquet in My Favorite Palette

Purple, Palest Yellow, shades of Orange and Chartreuse. You know I borrowed that palette from Ms. Easton. We use different flowers in diverse climates, so it turns out differently.

Orienpet Lily 'Orania' is richly colored. Persian Shield fainted when I cut it despite being put directly into a vase of water. Pride of Barbados' orange and yellow blooms and long yellow stamens need a vase of their own to really show off. Crocosmia is just coming into bloom; it may be one of the best cut flowers we'll have.

Last year's Parsley is going to seed, as near to Chartreuse as I have.
I pick off the drier umbels and scatter the seed back into flower beds.

'Orania' loosely translates into 'heavenly' and the Lily scent is lovely.
I vowed to have cut flowers indoors this year.
I still hesitate cutting stems despite the heat shortening their life outside.

Joining with the Garden Appreciation Society week 7. Come join in with your bouquet!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crinum Jagus Lily

Billy Welch said, 'No Crinum ever died,' speaking of Crinums in the hot and humid south. I am always startled when Crinum Jagus suddenly sends up a huge green stem and a clutch of egg-shaped buds open over the next day or so. I looked for buds after the rain, but looked in the wrong place.

I noticed these lying on the ground in a bed of mini jew underneath.

As I tied this stem to a stake, I noticed a second stem behind.
To orient you, the greenhouse is to the right of shrubbery in
the distant baclground. These Crinums are just outside
the drip line of white Camellias you see here in winter.
A closer view of the second stalk I noticed. The fragrance of these
are incredible. They usually open the night before and stay open
the rest of the next day. Buds continue to open on subsequent days.
Pink Crape Myrtle in the south background.
The vaguely familiar looking green plant above
is Solidago. This particular one sometimes
grows 7 feet tall if I choose to let them go.
Goldenrod. A thug. Native.
Close up Crinum bloom. They smell like Vanilla.
This Gardenia was blooming nearby. Comparing the two,
Gardenia is a heavy, jasmine-like fragrance. Crinum Jagus
has a strong Vanilla scent that carries all over the garden.
Summer bulbs are favorites in my garden. I saw new buds today on Milk and Wine Crinums that were first to bloom of the Crinums and buds on Hymenocallis which are new here since last fall.
What bulbs do you plant that bloom in summer and fall?

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Lily, A Daylily and my Favorite Tropical, Caesalpinia pulcherrima

More Rain today, 2 tenths of an inch. Every little bit helps and I can see daily growth on new transplants like my Cassia alata.

 One of my Favorite Lilies, Orania. Loosely translated, Orania means 'heavenly.'  A hybrid between Oriental and Trumpet Lilies, this one does have the heavenly fragrance of a Trumpet Lily.

Orania plays well with Hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are putting on new
blooms as the old ones fade.
Daylily 'LIttle Gypsy Eyes'
Its companion is a mini daylily named JoJo or
Toto or something like that.

Little Gypsy Eyes on a different day.
 Finally, Pride of Barbados has commenced bloom. It dies back to the roots in this climate, so
it takes a while for the shrubs to grow and blossoms to appear.

Pride of Barbados Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a Texas Superstar. It will grow in  acid or alkaline soil,
tolerates heat and drought but needs well drained soil. I have 5 second year plants from seed that I hope to see bloom this year and one new seedling started this past winter, the only one to sprout.
These are growing with another Texas Superstar, Esperanza Tecoma stans. The yellow bells of Esperanza are a perfect partner.
We went to the city today. I was so absorbed in deciding whether the building behind the old Capitol buildind was centered that I forgot to look at the flowers. I can't believe went to Tallahassee and forgot to look at the flowers around the Capitol. We took a different route to the south side and it's harder to see the flower beds going back north.
I did look at Lowe's at flowers but I didn't buy any. The sun was hot and I didn't want to dig. Had I known it would rain at home I might have bought Begonias. They had some beauties.

Monday Notions

Rain on Sunday afternoon, briefly. The rain gauge showed 0.15" -- a tenth and a half. We are grateful for every precious drop. Farmer Danny is watering corn.

The rain did not harm this 1950s daylily, Bride Elect.
A newer daylily with a bagel shape and delicate petals was almost shredded.
Two Porterweeds, a red in the Front Garden that was a seedling last
summer because I had no reds last summer. It wintered in a pot.
It will be blooming with the Tithonia behind it, a volunteer.

I took cuttings of the Purples, and they fared poorly.
I think the Blue/Purple Porterweeds returned from last summer's roots.
We are ready for Butterflies. The latest Broods are shy about emerging.
After I showed Laura Bush petunias yesterday,
two dark Swallowtails showed up.
Newly hatched, they are easily spooked and
do not long sit for photographs.
Another view of the Petunia Patch in the background. In the ruins beds,
melampodium is coming up in the cracks between bricks and driveway.
Melampodium clashes with all the pinks and purples here but it is
such an enthusiastic bloomer and can stand drought. It is self-cleaning; you
never have to deadhead. On the downside, it does not attract butterflies.