Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Timely Planning: Amaryllis

I noticed Hippeastrum foliage starting to turn yellow.

I loaded up all but 5 pots of seedlings that have never bloomed that I am not going to dry off.

The ones on the cart went into the Mule Barn to rest. The tops will yellow and dry off and bulbs will rest until late October. They'll get a drink and some will get a new pot or at least some new soil in the pot bottoms and rest more until a scape appears.




I think this is Spartacus

Maybe I'll dream over the catalogs when the weather turns chilly or maybe pick up a couple of Big Box Store bulbs. Bulbs tend to jump into my shopping cart despite my plans not to buy more.

I've not seen signs of Lycoris, Sternbergia or Rhodofiala sending up bloom stalks yet. Maybe the predicted tropical storm rains will bring them out.

There was a hummingbird in the greenhouse this morning. He kept trying to find a way out the top despite my best efforts to wave him toward the wide open doors. Finally I left him to his own devices after I put a red bandana next to the door to attract his attention. When we checked later, he was gone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August Foliage Follow Up

We are waiting for late summer blooms as Tithonia and Duranta start to put on blooms for summer butterflies in the background of this next picture.

Cannas that bloomed through July and into August are now resting but the chartreuse foliage is attractive  when leaves are backlit by the sun.

Cycads are among my favorite garden structures with their stiff fronds. 

 Variegated Hydrangea Mariesii had a hard time this year with my self-imposed watering ban. Fortunately we had enough rain to bring them through the dry times.

The purples of summer: Persian Shield above and Purple Heart below.

If you look closely, you can see a String Lily Crinum bud.
I had forgotten moving that Crinum last year.
I am very fond of Purple Heart. It returns from winter death.
It roots easily. In the ground it spreads; in a pot it grows downward.

Another plant that returned from Winter Death.
I am waiting for this cane begonia to decide whether to bloom.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August Bloom Day

We had a wetter than usual August with some really hot dry days early in the month.

Biggest and brightest first: Caesalpinia pulcherrima and Tecoma stans. We call them Pride of Barbados and Esperanza. Seen here against a wall of corn in the field behind.

 Tillandsia cyanea, one of three Bromeliads blooming now. A Billbergia bloomed earlier in the season.
Okay, T. cyanea has bracts. The blooms are tiny and blue and stick out of those bracts, soon.

This  Neoreglia Bromeliad has white buds in the center, the tiny blue blossoms come and go.

 I think this might be Guzmania Bromeliad; I tend to easily forget their names. 

 The only ginger that I have that blooms. Hidden Ginger, Curcuma petiolata.

Coral Porterweed, Stachytarpeta spp.

 Blue Porterweed with a Gulf Fritillary butterfly. Porterweeds have lush foliage following plentiful rain. Butterflies love the tiny blooms on those long whips.

 Red Shrimp Plant and White Shrimp Plant.
The white Justicia is just bracts now, the tiny pink flowers have dried. It will commence bloom again as the days get shorter. There is plenty of lush foliage.
 Pentas. The red was the first Pentas I ever planted. This is rooted from that same plant or another cutting from it. Pentas is one of the finest butterfly plants and can be kept as a house plant over winter.

Tithonia, another butterfly magnet, was slow to grow from seed and return this year. I usually depend on last year's seed pods to reseed themselves in place.

Pink Pentas, 'Miss Julie's Favorite'   

I saved the biggest bloom of all for last: a female Cycad flower. There are seeds inside this big round nest of a blossom. I've written before about saving the big orange seeds, soaking and germinating them and bringing a seed to produce a new cycad.

The first time I did that, a squirrel destroyed my plant when I put it outside. I have two small cycads in the greenhouse that took a long time to grow. I think they were from year before last and now they're just small plants. Supposedly Cycads only bloom every 4 years or so. This one loves to produce more often. I feel compelled to save some seeds every time.

Seeds are what blooms are about. I failed to plant Zinnias this summer, the only thing that I miss.

Happy Bloom Day. Do visit Carol at May Dreams Garden, leave a comment, link your blog with  August Blooms and go see blossoms all over the world through her links.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hyacinths: It Isn't too Early to Plan for Indoor Bloom

It isn't too early to think about forcing bulbs for winter bloom. Bulbs are not out in the garden center but you can order off.

These are from last February.  I saved the bulbs to see how they would fare in a second year if allowed to ripen in the pot. I kept them watered. When the foliage turned yellow I shook off the soil and put them in the Mule barn on wire trays.

I always get bulbs too late to have hyacinths at Christmas. If I put these in the refrigerator as soon as I take out pears that I am chilling, another of my projects, they'll have 14 weeks to chill and then a month to grow when I pot them up. My preference is to chill them in a paper bag and then plant in soil and keep them in a cool place.

You might find it easier to force them in hyacinth vases, or stones and water in a container which is what I used to do.
I like hyacinths in pots. You get the same blooms.  Those in pots fare best for replanting. I like the look of clay pots with exposed bulbs and a little moss.

Hyacinths are not the only winter bulbs to consider. There's Hippeastrum, hard to get bloom for Christmas with my existing bulbs, easy with new bulbs, and Paperwhite Narcissus. Neither of these require any chill. I am trying not to think of Tulips. I didn't dig some daffodils that wanted moving.

Bulbs for planting outdoors for Spring bloom should be on order now or we can wait until the last minute and buy what's left, on sale, to plant near Thanksgiving here. Your schedule may vary.

Every year gets different color combos and there's that little bag of 7 or 8 assorted color bulbs that always jumps into my cart when the bags of bulbs are out in the big box store to pot up in single pots.

Nice to contemplate fall and winter plans when the weather is hot. We had a half inch of rain today. It turned quickly to steam when the sun came out again.