Friday, September 20, 2013

September Bloom Day Sorta Kinda

OK so Bloom Day is old news.  But I took the time to take the pictures and edit them so I might as well post them.  In the month since I bid farewell to the beach, time has elapsed at warp speed.  Shorter days mean less time to keep up with everything.  In an effort to get back to some of my former hobbies I recently joined Meetup, found what appears to be a great group and started hiking again.  So much for weekends!  If I decide to get back into biking too I might as well rip the garden out and move into a condo.

Fortunately I'm not a condo person and I'm not inclined to make the investment into a bike and all the associated gear if I can't see myself finding time to ride so for the time being the garden is safe.  Let's get to it, shall we?

The Lespedeza bloomed a bit later this year than last but is no less dramatic.  Companion plants are Aster frikartii 'Monch' mingling with Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' (one of my favorite annuals) and a white variegated Sunpatiens.

I didn't plan this Aster/Euphorbia combo but I smile every time I see it.

And still blooming in the shadow of the Lespedeza is this Daphne caucasica 'Summer Ice'.

Sedum 'Xenox' mingles with Agastache 'Summer Glow', and Canna 'Pink Sunburst'.  Agastaches are finicky around here so I hope this one comes back. 

Flowers on the Castor Bean!  Last week the white Brugmansia was covered in blooms but that wave has now finished up.  Time to feed it and see if I can coax another flush before frost.

Somewhere under this mass of plants is a container.

Here's a wide angle view of the garden I call the Screen Porch Garden although this time of year I should change the name to the Lespedeza Garden.

Heptacodium miconioides is covered with flowers this year.  So far I've yet to get the deep red calyxes that follow.  Probably because like most of the plants in my garden, this tree does not get full sun.

The container growing below the Heptacodium features a wintered over specimen of Breynia disticha 'Roseo picta' and continues to be one of my favorites.

Along the back border I have a mixture of Calamintha nepeta, Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips' and Persicaria 'Golder Arrow'.  In the spring I did alot of tinkering in this garden but was disappointed in the end result.  Soon I will be redesigning and moving many of the plants yet again.  Better luck next year!

Aster 'Blue Autumn' has been slow to establish and would probably prefer more sun but it has been a real winner.

Variegated Sunpatiens=worth every penny.

Naturally I have to sneak in a few shots of the Colocasia 'Diamond Head' container.  I just wish I could find plants to skirt the base that don't collapse in morning shade and hot afternoon sun.  Maybe some Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', the dreaded Creeping Jenny?  If anyone has any suggestions for plants that will do well in dry part sun when the sun is in the afternoon, I'm all ears.

Stump container in full glory. 

A wide view of the back border.  From this distance you can't see all the plants that are struggling and/or flopping.  But I can.

Another wide view of the backyard border.  Below the Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' is where things just fell apart.  Not enough mass and too much fine texture.  Afternoon sun only is tough.  Everything leans.  Shade plants get fried.  Tell it to someone who cares, right?

This little Begonia has been a blooming machine all summer on the northeast corner of my house.  Such a simple container but so carefree and perfect.

More variegated Sunpatiens and friends in a container just off the patio.  That Acalpha 'Jungle Dragon' is definitely coming in the winter.

Torenia can be hit or miss.  Usually I try to stay with the Proven Winners varieties over generic.  They still take a break in the heat of summer but start to come back when the weather cools.

Both Torenia plants in this container are just smothered with flowers right now.  Last night I fed all the containers one last time with Neptune's Harvest.  If we don't get frosted, and temperatures stay relatively warm, I should get about another three to four weeks out of many of my container combos..

Fuchsia 'Billy Green' with Coleus 'Smallwood Driveway'.  No tag on the yellow Coleus.

The orange flowers of Cuphea ignea contrast nicely with the orange accented foliage of Euphorbia heterophylla 'Variegata'.  Oh why oh why can't this stuff be hardy here?


Once again the rampantly reseeding Amaranthus takes center stage.  In the lower left corner the 'Cherry Dazzle' Crepe Myrtle seems reluctant to bloom.  I did cut it way back in the spring.


Schnauzer corner features Browillia this season.  When I planted it I had no idea it would be such a perfect match for the variegated Liriope.

Cuphea is an annual here but a whole bunch reseeded into a little garden I have on the back side of the patio.  Another serendipitous combo with the Wiegela and Oxalis foliage.

New Guinea impatiens may be common but for flowers from May til frost for a couple of bucks a piece they are a steal.

A long view of the little garden on the back side of the patio.  Why can't I be this pleased with all my gardens?

This red stemmed Colocasia is getting a spot in the basement for the winter.  i coughed up more than I usually do for a plant but it was well worth it-especially if I can get it to overwinter.

Miscanthus 'Gold Bar' is supposed to be a compact cultivar growing up to four feet.  In my garden it's been a midget.  I moved it in the spring to a spot it finally seems to enjoy.  Maybe it will get to two feet this season.  At it's feet is a new variegated sweet Alyssum 'Frosty Night'.  It took a while to get going but is a blooming machine now.  Sweet Alyssum sometimes reseeds here.  Fingers crossed that this one will reseed true.

When I finally got to the last item on my LIST, removing the Corylus 'Red Majestic', garden season was well into full swing.  You can't see from this picture but I replaced it with a new variegated Hydrangea paniculata cultivar called 'Yuki Gessho'.  I also planted this upright cultivar of Little Bluestem which has so far lived up to it's billing and has been completely upright.  Damned if I can find the tag to get the cultivar name though...

Yes, Cleomes can be rampant re seeders and I yank out hand fulls of seedlings every spring but I would never be without them.

Same with Verbena bonariensis which seems to be enjoying a particularly good year.

Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue', Sedum 'Autumn Charm', and some Angelica gigas blending into the background.  I finally tracked down the ID on that golden vine.  It's Jasmine officinale 'Fiona Sunrise'.  Sold as a zone 7-8, it's been totally hardy in my zone 6 garden for years.

Double Purple Datura

Caryopteris, Dahlia mingling with Pennisetum 'Rubrum'.

A few spring pansies hanging on in a shady spot in one of the containers.

An Anemone of unknown cultivar.  Maybe 'Queen Charlotte'.  Years ago I attempted to eradicate it because it was floppy.  Apparently I missed a piece and now have a grove.

Hibiscus syriacus 'Lil Kim' has not been a star in my garden.  It doesn't seem to bloom as heavily as other Rose of Sharon shrubs I see around.  I bought it for it's compact habit but have been unimpressed by the floral display.

Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion' and Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.  The Hydrangea gets a tad too much sun here but it's otherwise happy so I've been afraid to jinx myself by moving it.

Dragon Wing Begonias are another annual well worth the money.  This one shares a container with Coleus 'El Brighto' and a yellow sweet potato vine.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' seems to be blooming late this year but when I look back at Bloom Day last September it appears to be at about the same stage.

Even though Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa' has techically been done blooming for a while, the faded flowers are still showy.  Hydrangeas do well in my part sun everywhere garden.  If I decide to spring for the bike maybe I should rip out all the high maintenance stuff and plant Hydrangeas.

Time to put a wrap on September Bloom Day.  I'm not linking to Carol but you know the drill-to see what's blooming in gardens around the globe, check out May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month.

Happy Gardening and Happy Fall!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Jumping on the Foliage Follow Up Bandwagon

Lately I've been woefully late for Bloom Day and since I actually design my garden around foliage and usually capture lots of foliage combos in my Bloom Day pictures, I'm going to take a stab at an official Foliage Follow Up post this month.  At the very least I'll be on time for something.  Some of these pictures will include flowers but I promise to keep them to a minimum.
Head over to Pam Penick's Digging to follow all the other foliage fanatics this month. 

'Mojito' is not one of my favorite Colocasia cultivars but I always grab one every season.  Sometimes it has a tendency to fade into the background so this year I sited on the patio in from of my Prunus persica 'Bonfire', another great foliage plant.

Melianthus major, Plectranthus 'Troy's Gold, and Strobilanthes among other things.

That fabulous Acalpha came without a tag. Does anyone know what it might be?  Last year I lost my specimen Euphorbia cotinifolia.  At the end of the season I managed to fish a little sprig out of the base of the plant, potted it up and brought it inside for the winter.

Summer on the patio seems to have been what the doctor ordered as it's bold and beautiful once again.   For some reason local nurseries don't seem to carry this plant in their premium annual areas anymore so I'd hate to lose it.


Containers definitely carry the garden this time of year.  Here we have Coleus 'King Crab', Oxalis 'Copper Glow' and Alternanthera 'Red Threads'.  King Crab is part of the Hort Couture Under the Sea Coleus collection.  The varieties I managed to snag this spring were fabulous performers and are among my new favorites.

Abutilon 'Salmon Variegated', Coleus 'Fishnet Stockings' and 'Sedona' and more Alternanthera 'Red Threads'

Caladium 'Tapestry' and Coleus 'Oompah'.  Fortunately I tuck the plant tags in the pots when I plant all this stuff in the spring.  My fingers are already black from fishing around in potting soil to get as much cultivar info that I can for this post. 

Coleus 'Bonefish' (another from the Hort Couture Under the Sea collection), a no tag Alternanthera and a variegated pink New Guineau impatiens.

One of my Symphytum 'Axminster Gold' plants is showing some unusual variegation on a few of the leaves.  Maybe I have some new cultivar on my hands.

Can you tell I'm a sucker for Caladium?  Too bad they are almost impossible to over winter here.  Miss Muffet makes a nice companion for Coleus 'Grape Expectations'.  In the background is another favorite Coleus 'Smallwood Driveway'.

Sanchezia speciosa, Alocasia wentii and an unknown Coleus that may be Gold Lace.

Caladium 'White Christmas', Coleus 'Spumoni' and 'Margarita' sweet potato vine.

A long view of the tangled jungle that is my side entry.  Strobilanthes, Colocasia 'Illustris', Abutilon 'Souvenir de Bonn' various Coleus...

A few blades of Pennisetum 'Vertigo' cascade into another unknown Coleus and a Phygelius 'Sunshine' that overwintered in a pot in my unheated shed but has yet to bloom.  With foliage like that do we really care?

Two of my favorite hardy foliage plants-Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' and Diervilla sessilifolia 'Cool Splash'.  Since it's tough for me to get a picture that doesn't feature a Colocasia, I snuck in that 'Thai Giant' leaf for good measure.

A little bit of a happy mess here...Liriope muscari 'Variegata', Persicaria 'Red Dragon' (unfortunately an annual for me but I keep trying), and another garden workhorse, variegated New Guineau impatiens. 

Sorry to say but I am drawing a complete blank on this vine.  I bought it as an annual a few years ago and it is anything but.  In fact it's quite vigorous and climbs high into a Viburnum.My friend Monique knows what it is but she's currently celebrating her 25th anniversary in Bernuda so I can't ask.  Anybody?

From my worn out front curb garden a variegated Yucca with Microbiota decussata.  Look closely and you can see a Lychnis coronaria seedling in the middle of the Microbiota.

My garden does not get enough sun to support large grasses as evidenced by this poor flopping Miscanthus 'Sarabande'.  However I can't resist growing them so I have a few.  That poor little Castor Bean picked up on sale during the July heat wave didn't get enough water.  Due to the toxicity, I tend to plant things like Castor Bean in outlying areas of the garden that are not accessible to the Nickster.  Then I forget about them.

Here is one Castor Bean I did not forget about.  Occasionally all the planets align and they get quite large here.  I've even had them reseed.

Happy Foliage Follow Up Day from the Nickster!  I still intend to post my Bloom Day pictures at some point this week.  Just not tonight.