A Week of Flowers-Day 7

Congratulations to Cathy on another successful Week of Flowers, and all the flowery joy which her and other bloggers have brought to computer screens across the world!  I’ve enjoyed the adventure and as expected will wrap things up with one last flowery bulb.

Colchicums!

growing colchicum

During the late days of summer and throughout fall, colchicums(autumn crocus if you’d like, but they’re 100% not crocus relatives) bring color to the fading garden.  Depending on your frame of mind they’re either the perfect end to the bulb season, or the first heralds of the new growth of fall and winter.

I’ve posted plenty on colchicums in the past, so won’t bore you with too many details, but these bulbs will sprout their hosta-like foliage in the spring, die back for the summer, and then erupt with fresh flowers in the fall just when everything else was starting to look tired.

growing colchicum

Colchicums popping up through a groundcover of leadwort.

growing colchicum

Even out of bone-dry, late-summer tired soil, colchicums still manage to wake up and look fresh as if everything for the new season will be perfect.

growing colchicum

Colors range is white or pinks with single or double flowers.  The whites can be really nice although here in my gray planting it might still need some developing.

And that wraps up Cathy’s Week of Flowers. I hope your early December days were brightened by the color, and your long nights refreshed with dreams of flowers past… a good type of refreshing, not a Dickenesque haunting by the ghosts of seasons past… and if you still need some more refreshing, consider it’s just two weeks until the winter solstice and lengthening days strengthening rays and then it starts all over again!

Enjoy your break while it lasts 😉

A Week of Flowers-Day 6

The week of flowers continues and I think I’ve stumbled across one of those revelations which probably everyone else already knew, but when it’s about yourself you’re always the last to know.  My revelation is that I’m a little bulb obsessed.  Any bulb or corm or tuber seems just a bit more special than your average bunch of roots or twigs…. or quite possibly it’s just whatever I’m thinking about that week… and this week it’s bulbs.  Whatever.  Better to not think too long on things like this since the last time it happened I decided I needed to bring more ‘other’ bulbs into my life, as in adding more Lycoris to the garden.  It’s been a painfully slow process waiting for them to get settled in, watching them sulk, wondering if I can blame anyone other than myself for torturing these poor little things, and then one flower comes up and I’m on the computer for hours looking for more info to distract myself with.

lycoris x squamigera

Lycoris x squamigera, the hardy magic lilies which thrive in most gardens but not so much here until recently…

Most of the magic lilies aka spider lilies aka hurricane lilies aka nakid ladies are not quite hardy enough for this garden, but several are, and they’re usually the type of flower which sets its roots down, blooms with abandon, and then outlives the gardener and homestead… unless they’re here of course.  Here they’ve limped along for years until just recently when they decided to humor me with a few exquisite blooms.

lycoris x houdyshelii

Opening pale yellow, and then fading to a strawberry blush, Lycoris x houdyshelii is a borderline hardy cross which finally sent a single bloom up this summer.  I hope I don’t have to wait another three years for the next bloom.

Maybe someday I can report back on the secrets to success with these, but today I think it’s better to just enjoy the flowers and reflect back on the cozy hot and humid summer days of their season.

lycoris x incarnata

The peppermint surprise lily (Lycoris x incarnata) is supposed one of the easiest and best growers, and last summer mine acted as such… it just took four years for it to figure that out!

lycoris radiata

In the South, I’ve been told red spider lilies(Lycoris radiata) grow like weeds.  Here in the North their winter foliage can cause problems, but last winter’s mild stretches seemed to make at least one bulb happy.  Sadly my other two bulbs decided to rot from all the melting snow runoff, so a 33% success rate is terrible yet it’s also good enough a success rate to fire up my delusions for another few years.

lycoris x caldwellii

I have high hopes for Lycoris x caldwellii which has been growing in the garden somewhat vigorously for years but only flowered for the first time this summer. I think my plantings need more sun.

So that’s a lot of complaining for day 6, and I apologize, but hopefully the pictures have brought on a few thoughts of your own late-summer flowers, pool-time, and cricket-filled evenings and that’s always a good thing.  Another good thing is a visit to Cathy’s Week of Flowers on Words and Herbs and all the additional flowers you’ll see there.

Have a great week!

A Week of Flowers-Day 5

I’m taking it easy on day five of Cathy’s Week of Flowers celebration.  I guess I don’t party like I used to.  Today with a single photo I’m celebrating the heat of late July and the entire month of August, and the hot red flowers of Lobelia cardinalis.  This moisture loving North American native plant finally settled in just off the back porch in a somewhat shaded and often damp corner of the house.  While the cardinal flowers are in bloom, hummingbirds run a near constant turf war with guards and hit and runs and and the constant chatter of chases and aerial combat.  A gardener who sits nearby to enjoy the shelter and shade is guaranteed a face-to-face barrage of insults from some tiny hovering pint-sized fighter pilot.  Hummingbirds seem so tiny and cute, but in reality they’re little flying honey badgers.

lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal flower filling the end of the shade garden.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, it’s a beautifully sunny morning here and although it’s also on the cold side, the rest of the week looks tolerable… and by tolerable I mean good shipping weather for a little box of succulents…

Merry Christmas to me!

A Week of Flowers-Day 4

My pink waterlily probably has a name, but having never expected much from her I didn’t pay much mind to the label.  She was plunked down in a somewhat shady hole with a plastic liner and no filter, and I thought that as long as there were lily pads for the frogs it was a win.  That describes the first year or two, but then construction hit the garden and the ‘pond’ became a catch basin of debris and runoff and overflow trash which is apparently more important to a waterlily than space or sun or fertilizer.  Last summer was a nonstop succession of flowers with as many as four open at a time, and although it is likely the first and last year for this to happen I thoroughly enjoyed it.

pink waterlily

The pink waterlily.  A plump little piglet in her murky swamp of a pond.

Four straight days of posts.  I’m proud of myself and hopefully it’s been somewhat entertaining for you as well.  I’d also like to apologize for my slacking on the comments.  There’s no excuse other than laziness and a love for an early bedtime but I do appreciate it and hopefully someday soon I’ll catch up!

Thanks again to my inspirational host, Cathy of Words and Herbs, and I hope you can check out her’s and other’s posts celebrating Cathy’s Week of Flowers.

A Week of Flowers-Day 3

My mother’s family is all centered in Northern Germany in the city of Osnabrück, and my mom would tell stories of their summertime beach trips cross the border to the barrier islands off the coast of the Netherlands.  It’s really not all that great a distance and to be honest if someday some genetic testing finds a bit of that Dutch-tulip-loving DNA in me I would not be surprised.  To me tulips are nice.  Obsessively nice, and if someone were to say to me ‘but they’re so much work’, I’d have to point out that my kids aren’t exactly a picnic, and if you’re looking at dollars I would guess one Christmas’ worth of either child’s presents is probably more than I’ve ever spent on tulips… Hmmm.  Guess who just had that “what is Santa’s budget this year” discussion?

garden perennial tulips

Tulips in the potager.  They’re dug and dried for the summer and replanted in the fall after the tomatoes and peppers freeze off.

Let me just quickly add that in my garden we rarely have tulip-eating vermin such as deer, the rabbits are quite lazy (or full of other plants), and the tulips seem to just like the soil here, enough so that they usually perennialize even when not dug.  I know that’s not the case for everyone so please let me enjoy this one success!

garden perennial tulips

Darwin and Triumph tulips mixed into the front perennial border.

garden perennial tulips

A garden filled with tulips and daffodils is one of the best announcements of spring’s arrival.

garden perennial tulips

These are a few of the antique broken tulips of the earliest days of the Dutch tulip industry.  I’m still trying to find a spot they like here, for me they’re not nearly as vigorous as the newer types.

garden perennial tulips

Fortunately tulip season is followed by irises and peonies and clematis and a billion other amazing spring flowers.  If that wasn’t the case I’d probably need medication and a few days in a dim room by myself in order to recover from the high.

Tomorrow will be a quick post.  It’s hard to move on from tulips.  Thanks Cathy for giving me the excuse to revisit one of my favorite times of the year, and if you’d also like to revisit more floralific seasons give Words and Herbs a visit for more of Cathy’s Week of Flowers

A Week of Flowers-Day 2

Okay, so it’s only day two of Cathy’s Week of Flowers and I’m already cheating a bit.  These are the flowers of my winter garden, a fancy name I like to use when referring to the fluorescent shop lights in the back of the (slightly) heated garage.  From now until the weather warms again it will be my garden home base where I sow seeds, strike cuttings, repot and pot up all the plants which don’t mind living on the cool side, but prefer not to freeze.

growlight garden

Geraniums (Pelargonium cvs) don’t mind cold nights and cool days and will flower all winter.

growlight garden

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) are almost a required flower for any indoor grower.  This treasure was given to me by a friend who collected and grew on seed from one of his own bulbs.  I love it!

growlight garden

In a good winter I’ll have a few primula seedlings potted up and ready to crack out of the ice mid-winter, to bring indoors to force along.  Sadly this year the primula seedlings were a neglected bust…

growlight garden

On and off through the winter an occasional succulent will throw up a flower stalk.  This Echeveria (E. diffractens I believe) is usually quick to develop flowers once it comes indoors, showing off this bright orange explosion of color from December into February.

Hopefully no one has been offended by all these mentions of cold and winter and ice, but I’m sure Kathy has fired up the troops and there are more summerly visions of flowers if you need some warming up!  Give Cathy’s Week of Flowers a visit for all the links and I’m sure she’ll have a good dose of color from her own garden as well.  Enjoy!

A Week of Flowers-Day 1

I don’t necessarily mind this time of year, it’s a bit gloomy at times and the garden doesn’t have the day to day surprises and continuous parade of blooms, but it’s a breather, and a chance to refocus before you start dreaming of summer again!  With that said I’m still ready for a distraction, and of course that makes me more than happy to jump into the photo files and join in with Cathy’s Week of Flowers, which she is hosting again this year on Words and Herbs.  The instructions couldn’t be any simpler, “post a flower a day for a week”, and I think even I can stick with those rules.  Obviously I’ll start with snowdrops… far from the most colorful flower, yet they’re the flowers which I obsesses most over.

snowdrops

Last December’s display of ‘Potter’s Prelude’, a fall blooming snowdrop which sneaks in a few blooms before winter gets too serious.

snowdrops

Last March in my most established snowdrop bed.  I usually enjoy these all by my lonesome each spring, everyone else struggles to find an excuse to run indoors when I wander off into the cold to admire them.

snowdrops

By the end of March a few other hardy bloomers such as the yellow winter aconite join in the show.  This one’s name is ‘Greenish’ for somewhat obvious reasons.

snowdrops

White, green, and occasionally yellow might not qualify as wildly colorful, but during the shortest and coldest days of the year I welcome them.  This is a borderline yellow named ‘Bloomer’.

So day one complete.  Probably one of the shortest snowdrop related posts you’ll ever see on this blog but I hope you enjoyed it, and I’m sure you’ll find more to enjoy as others check in for Cathy’s week of flowers!