Monday, September 15, 2008

Bloom Day September 2008

I can't believe it's mid-September. For one thing, here in Virginia it's 90 degrees in the shade--and that would be the full deep cold shade produced by the northeast corner of the house--I'm just not going to think about what the temperature might be in the sun. Suffice it to say that I finished gardening by 7:30 this morning. I'm also just not going to think about the fact that, despite the heat, summer is effectively over. Still, as I went out to document my September garden for Bloom Day (check out May Dreams Garden if you haven't heard about Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day), I was struck by the fact that many plants seem about a month behind, I think because of the heat and drought this summer. My Don Juan climbing roses, for example, are in glorious rebloom--I usually see this early in August.

Don Juan Rose

This rebloom is especially welcome because the Japanese beetles are long gone--the roses haven't been this pretty since May.

Don Juan Rose

The Rosa moyesii "Geranium" is also still in its second bloom (the other shrub roses have faded).


But it's had some unwelcome guests--the heat is, I think, giving some of our other bad bugs a slightly longer life:

Rose rebloom

The same bug seems to be after this dahlia--the flower was a sweet surprise, as it's either a volunteer or something I forgot that I planted--it's actually come up under the Rose moyesii, so I'll have to move it once it finishes blooming.


Ok, I have to think about my principle of organization here--do I stay with bugs or say more about rebloom? This next photograph combines the two--but I'll start with the bugs.

Allium by Azalea bud

The detail I get with my new camera has a potential downside--so I snapped this picture of a little allium coming up alongside an azalea in bud, and then I decided to crop so I could better see the visiting bug:

Close up of fly on allium

Do you think this might be an adult onion maggot? (Here's the whole blogging-as-a-gateway-drug thing again--I need more comprehensive books with color plates . . . ) Or could it be a male deer fly? The onion maggot is trouble (and every online site I visted showed the same lame b&w drawing of the adult, not much help); the male deer fly would be just stopping by for some nectar. And of course, when I cropped the photograph, I saw all the little bugs--aphids, right? I think I need another dose of insecticidal soap.

Here, I hope, is a better bug, on the same allium plant (I like the shadow in this photograph).

Allium & shadow 2

The cropped version shows this bug in closeup. I hope this is a soldier beetle, and I hope it likes aphids--seems to be what it's after.

Bug in allium

More bugs (one more, anyway) later.

On to happier subjects: the azaleas are starting their fall bloom. The one below gets a little more sun than the one in bud by the allium, and is in its full autumn splendor:


Here's another view of it behind the japanese painted fern, elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta), and our whimsical little weather-horse:

Elephant ear and Japanese fern
(Forgive the digression: azaleas are deer candy, which reminds me that I was speaking to a gardener who's recently moved to our area, and he was asking me how I coped with the deer. When I mentioned the deer cages, he looked at me like I was insane. At first I thought it was an aesthetic thing--granted, the cages are not the loveliest things in the world--until I realized he thought it was the deer that I put in the cages. Clearly I need to work on clarity.)

(Forgive a second digression, something of an editor's note (actually me unable to edit): for some reason, at this point in the posting, the Enter key apparently stopped functioning--although there are spaces between the paragraphs when I edit the post, the published version has everything jammed together. Maybe blogger is trying to imitate my garden . . . But onward]

The Abelia, too, is producing some new blooms (I think this is A. "Edward Goucher"--another lost tag) --Les, the Tidewater Gardener, posted on the (grand?) parents of this plant in August.
So, from rebloom to steady bloom. The stalwarts are still, well, stalwart. I'm amazed that the Salvia guaranitica (black & blue) and the Salvia uliginosa are still going strong. Granted, I first encountered them at the Elizabethan Gardens in mid-October, but mine started blooming in May this year, so I thought they might finish earlier. They're so tall that they're starting to flop in some spots--this one's stooping to visit a Coleus.
Coleus with salvia
But this one stands as tall as the Agastache and elephant ear neighboring it (and these little mum buds will pretty surely be the stars of October's Bloom Day):
Black & blue and anise hyssop
The butterfly bushes go on and on. Both the light purple volunteer bush . . .
Butterfly bush
. . . and the one in the white garden continue to put forth new blooms.
White Butterfly Bush
Echinacea purpurea "White Swan" keeps the white garden looking white,
White coneflower
with the help of one last Shasta Daisy.
Last Shasta Daisy
And the annuals keep the color going at the front of the borders. Here's annual vinca (from a bargain basement hanging basket, no tag, don't know the Latin name) in the white garden:
And in the sunny border, one of my favorites, Angelonia
pops up amidst Mexican heather (Cuphea hyssofolia--actually a tender perennial) and Heliotrope.
Heliotrope and Mexican heather
A Mandevilla vine provides color alongside the house.
Some blooms have given way to fruits--or almost, anyway--while this isn't the greatest shot (the breeze this morning was wreaking havoc with my depth of field), I was delighted to find this little blossom among the Pyracantha berries:

Pyracantha "Orange glow"
The Callicarpa berries are ripening--a little later than Tina's at In the Garden, who posted last month about this wonderful native.

Beauty berry
And the seedheads are starting to form on my Harlequin Glorybower (Clerodendrum trichotonum)--another one of my favorites--the flowers smell like vanilla; the crushed leaves smell like peanut butter.
Harlequin Glorybower Seedpod
Some plants are just starting to bloom. This Ceratostigma plumbaginoides is a new plant in a new bed--more on that project soon.
I picked up this Plectranthus plepalia (Swedish ivy) at the same time I bought the Cerostigmata (this one an impulse buy)--it's getting its first little flower. This is a very tender perennial--I'm going to keep it in a pot and try to overwinter it indoors.


Another new plant with an autumn bloom: Chelone "Hot Lips," or Turtlehead--another plant I learned about from Tina.


And speaking of amphibians (or is a turtle a reptile? an embarrassingly corny segue, in any case)--my toad lily (Tricyrtis, probably hirta, "Lightning Strike") is starting to bloom:
Toad lily

But my favorite new bloom is my ginger lily, Hedychium (most likely coronarium or flavescens). This is another acquisition from the Elizabethan Gardens. It's a tropical plant, originally from Nepal, but it's said to be the national flower of Cuba (where it's called "Butterfly Flower") and it's become an invasive weed in Brazil. It's been hardy in my Zone 7b garden--in fact, it's spread quite a bit, which is fine with me because it's incredibly fragrant. And it often blooms into November if conditions stay mild.

ginger lily
It's a tall plant--this next photograph isn't particularly good, but it gives a sense of its height. You can see the back door in the background, and the Don Juan blossom is probably close to 6'.
Something else I've been waiting for--the return of the Black and Yellow Garden Spider. Gail at Clay and Limestone posted about these beauties earlier in the summer, but they show up later here than they do in Tennesee. Today, I saw the first evidence of their return--the distinctive zigzag in the web.

Garden spider's web

And then, on the deck, the spinner herself:
Black and yellow garden spider

I plan to close every Bloom Day with the only plant I have that blooms year round--my Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia lomi). Since it will be a regular on my blog, I figured I better switch out its surroundings from time to time. We've actually started its move indoors (prematurely--who knew it would hit 100 on September 14th?)--but since it will need to come in as soon as the temperature drops below 60, we've moved it close to the door to deck, where I caught its reflection.

Crown of thorns, reflected
So Ranunculus and I say, "Happy Bloom Day!"


Anonymous said...

You have alot of wonderful blooms in your garden today Cosmos! Some of those I have in my own garden and some of them are new to me. I really need to try those reblooming Azaleas. They are so lovely.

Carol said...

Happy Bloom Day, indeed. That was quite a show of blooms. Your gardens must look amazing right now, in spite of the heat.

Thanks for joining in!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Jeff said...

Cosmo,you have either a real gift for photography, a really great camera, or (most likely)both. I get caught up a lot with observing and photographing insects at this time of year, too. They're beautiful and fascinating as they interact with your plants!

I think the Hedychium is a hybrid -probably 'Elizabeth', which is a very tall Salmon pink. Coronarium is white with a yellow flare that varies in size, depending on the clone, and I'm not familiar with flavescens, but have a great book and will research that when I get time. Come visit me next spring and you can take home some different varieties to compare - mine need to be divided!

Good to hear from you! -Jeff

Cosmo said...

Hi, Jeff--Thanks so much. I fear the camera's better than its operator--I've been stunned at what I see when I crop--my job seems to be to hold as still as I can when I shoot. I would love to see the whole of your garden--I loved your video tour last month. How are the birds doing, by the way?

Cosmo said...

Hi, Carol--I'm just happy to see GREEN these days (fearing brown)--I can't wait for this heat to break. I hope you've fared ok with the remnants of Ike.

Racquel, I wish I knew what kind of azaleas they were--there were several different ones here when we moved in, and almost all of them get some fall bloom. Can't wait to see how our gentians turn out!

chey said...

Your blooms are fabulous, and beautifully presented, right down to the shadows on the tree to the refection in the glass! You still have a lot of color in your garden as well. I love the rosy color of the berries on the Harlequin Glorybower. I wonder if it would grow in zone 5?

Phillip said...

For some reason, my connection times out before the photos load fully so I'll be back. The dahlia is gorgeous!

Rose said...

Cosmo, You have so many blooms in your garden right now, and such a variety! I wish I could grow azaleas--yours is beautiful.
What author said something about digressions being the most interesting part of a story? I'm imagining what was going through the mind of the gardener you spoke to who thought you had managed to cage up all the nearby deer:)

Sorry I didn't stop by yesterday: I depend on my blogroll to keep me updated on the latest post, and yours and a couple others didn't show up. And the spacing problem? I am always having problems with that.
Glad I checked here today. Your new camera is taking amazing photos.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Chey--Here's the link to Dave's Garden:

It looks like it's hardy to Zone 6a, so maybe if you have a sheltered spot? It's a small tree (like, 15 feet), and mine spreads like crazy. Thanks for stopping by--I really enjoyed finding your blogs.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Phillip--Let me know if the problem persists. I've started loading my photos from my Flickr site because the quality is much better, but I've noticed that the right edge is cut off--I may need to fix the way I'm doing things. How do you post yours (or where do you post from)?

Cosmo said...

Oh, Rose, I have been SO behind in my blog reading--I'm glad you found time to stop by. I don't know why I would have dropped off your blogroll--I guess people are reporting problems with blogger. Anyway, it's just nice to hear from you--I can't remember who said about digressions, but I agree with him--or her--

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Lucky you to have no more Japanese Beetles. I thought they were gone, but I found 1 this morning on an Aster - squish city! Roses seem to bloom even better in fall than in summer. They seem to prefer the cooler temperatures &, as you've noted, the lack of Japanese Beetles. Your Roses are gorgeous, even the one with hole in it. I wonder if your bad bug isn't an Earwig? I had terrible damage to my Dahlias from Earwigs earlier in the summer, but then the Japanese Beetles pushed them off. Azaleas that bloom in the fall - I had no idea they did that. They are beautiful. I think deer should be put in cages, but that's another story. Fantastic shot of the Angelonia! That's my new favorite annual.

Barbee' said...

You do have a lot still in bloom there. Lovely post! And thanks for the chuckles! I noticed one rose has red thorns. The thought went through my mind: Even the thorns are pretty!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I am SO glad that I saw this post tonight! You made me to google Crown of Thorns, and I discovered that the euphorbias are very cold sensitive... since it will be around 50 degrees tonight, I went outside and brought them in promptly. Thank you!

I'm really loving that 'Don Juan, and can't believe how tall your lovely Black & Blue salvia is. Mine is still a mere 8inches tall or so.

Oh, and I'm still giggling about the deer cage story. Too funny!

Garden Design said...

Your weather makes me more jealous than anything else! Over this side of the pond (UK) we're already giving up the garden game for winter.

Still though, happy bloom day!

Cosmo said...

Hi, everyone, and thanks for your find words.

MMD, I'm so sorry to hear you still have Japanese beetles. You can almost set the clock by them here--they show up mid-june (just after the native daylilies bloom) and they disappear by early August.

Barbee, that Rosa moyesii is my favorite--despite the little bug hole in the picture, it's the most bug resistant and disease resistant bush I have--and yeah, I even like the thorns!

Kim, I'm so glad to know someone else who likes the Crown of Thorns. Mine's coming in soon--I put it off until the last minute, because there's an inevitable leaf drop once it crosses the threshold inside--but it comes back quickly.

Garden Design--I just found your webpage and I can't wait to explore a little more. We are lucky to have warm weather late into the season, although once it gets cold, it can get REALLY cold quickly. Still, it's in the 70's today so I'm sorry I have to work!

tina said...

Gee whiz! I had no idea this post was up as it is not showing in my blogroll. I readded the url but still no luck. I have to go out but will check it later.

Your roses are so beautiful and I must say your new camera has a way with the pictures-or is the other way around? Love the pyracantha and I was going to ask you about whether or not the ginger lily was fragrant. I would love to smell it. It is my favorite too. Those bugs are neat but I have NO idea what kind they are. You have so much and it is all lovely and beautiful.

Susie said...

Cosmo-What beautiful blooms you have!!! Thanks for giving us a wonderful tour of your blooms.

I love the picture of the Euphorbia admiring itself.

The Organic Gardener said...

I can't believed I missed it (blogger blooms.) I live in Ohio, and we have had no power for at least 3 days...UGH! So I just missed it! Oh well there is always next month! I guess I can look forward to that. Loved all of the flowers that you have. Great pics!


HappyMouffetard said...

Wonderful flowers, wonderful photos. The Salvia is gorgeous - such a vibrant blue.

Gail said...

Wonderful photographs...they are crisp, clear and composed fantastically! By the way, for some reason your feed isn't working on my site...I will make sure it isn't my bookmark that is off!

I love your bloom day post very much. Thank you for the delightful link. You are a dear!


Cosmo said...

Hi, Gail--Thanks so much for the compliments--I thought of you when I saw that spider (hope YOU take that as a compliment--I loved that post!).

It's not your bookmark that's a problem--this is the difficulty I was talking about in my message on Blotanical yesterday--when I went to Feedburner, I screwed something up on Blogger. Anyway, I have a new plan for fixing it today--but thanks so much for visiting and for your kind words.

Cosmo said...

Tina--Still working on the feed problem--I was near tears yesterday, but I'm approaching it with a cooler head today (we'll see how that works). On happier topics, I wish there were a way to convey scent other than my feeble descriptions--the ginger lily smells like a light gardenia. And my tea olives opened today--two bushes, and the whole garden smells like orange blossoms.

Zach--You have the best excuse ever for missing Bloom Day--did your garden weather the storm ok? Anyway, I know people post late on Bloom Day, so if you want to show off your blooms, you should! And Tina (In the Garden) has Vegetable Day coming up on the 20th--I KNOW you have a lot to display!

Susie--That's a great way to put it--the euphorbia IS admiring itself, and I've always thought it had quite the ego (if it were a kid, it would be the one saying, "Mom, look at me! look at me!" Of course, if Ranunculus were a human kid, he'd be saying the same thing . . .)

Happymouffetard, I'm glad you liked the photos. I'm definitely still learning, so it's nice to get compliments. The salvia has made my garden this year--it's a little thuggish, but I have lots of room. Great to meet you!

tina said...

Thanks for the description of the scent! Don't worry, many folks having trouble with blogs. It can be frustrating but will work out.

JandR said...

Cosmo! What spectacular blooms! I love your roses... blackspot is such a problem here. Don't you just love the way Don Jaun looks like it has velvet petals?

Cosmo said...

Randy and Jamie--I'm glad you like the roses. Blackspot is a problem here, too, especially on the Don Juan--but even that lets up in the cooler fall weather. Most of my roses are shrub roses because of the blackspot, but I can't give up my Don Juan climbers--they do look like velvet.

Les, Zone 8a said...

For some bizarre reason, this post and the one after it on your vegetables just now popped up on my reader list - several days late. So much for instantaneous communication. Anyway, thanks for the shout out on the Abelia, I appreciate it. You have a lot of blooms going on for GBGD. I gave up after taking a few paltry pictures deciding it was not worth the effort.

Cosmo said...

Oh, Les, I've spent SO much time on this feed thing--I'm so glad it's fixed! I went in and reentered my Feedburner feed everywhere (for like the fifth time) and this time it worked. Thanks for checking in--I loved your posting on the hardy orange. And wasn't Jeff's rant great?