15 June 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I started doing a "Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day" post every month last spring, but after the summer and fall, I ran out of blooms to post photos of.  This may happen again this year, but, even if it is only vegetables, I hope to be able to post pics for the whole year - actually I just thought about this, and a lot of winter
vegetables are leafy greens, so maybe I won't be able to.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it - here are the past months blooms.

I've had trouble with this lantana for the last few years.  It might need more water or more shade.  It's in what I used to refer to as the "desert garden", which gets full sun and drains pretty quickly.  It's doing better this spring, probably due to the fact that we have had so much rain.

You don't always think about certain plants blooming, especially when there are more interesting aspects.  Some carnivorous plant enthusiasts recommend cutting off the stem before it flowers, so it doesn't take energy away from producing more and larger traps, but I don't agree.  These are beautiful, right?

Every year these old garden roses bloom very close
to Mother's Day, early May.  We had a cold spring that just would not warm up.  It finally did and everything started blooming - late - including these roses.

I think I like the blooms of plants that you don't expect to bloom.  Some are just unusual, like these elephant ears.  They got huge last year, and they have recovered well after a mild winter.  I would like to transplant them to a more visible area - right now they are behind the chicken coop - but they are growing through some giant roots, and any attempt to  dig them up would mean their destruction.

This is one of my least favorite plants.  There are probably better varieties of Nandina that have a nicer form, or are sterile, but this one is a pain.  Amongst the switch cane that I was trying to kill by smothering it, was a number of these volunteer plants.  Birds eat the seeds and then sit in a tree and drop them, from one end or the other, and they sprout.  With the help of carpet and chickens I was able to eradicate the bamboo/switch cane, but the nandina would not die, and the chickens won't eat it.

First daylily of the year.  I got this at a plant swap last year, so I didn't know what it would look like until it bloomed.  Apparently its name is "Grape Magic".  I had all my daylilies labeled until recently when I transplanted them to another bed.  So I'm excited to see which is which when they bloom this year.

I love it when I catch a pollen-covered bee in one of my flowers.  They always look like they're in heaven.  In this case, it's one of my many squash flowers.  They're blooming like crazy right now.

This is some Rudbeckia, I think, that I grew from seed last year.  I had a number of these plants, as well as Echinacea, and I didn't know which was which until they all started blooming this year.  I also kept getting bees in the pictures of a lot of the flowers, as you can see.  No problem with pollinators in my yard!

The irises around the pond bloomed a couple of months ago, but this pickerel weed is just starting to bloom.  It has multiple tiny flowers on this plant, and it will bloom continuously for the whole summer.  I want to make a few changes to the back yard, which would mean this pond would go, but I would still have room for marginals, like this plant.

This is one that I used to see on occasion, but now I have one in my yard - Stokes' Aster.  It's beautiful and it's native to the southeastern United States, which even better!

First cactus bloom of the year.  After they are pollinated, prickly pear cactuses will produce fruit that turns a deep red in the winter.  It actually tastes pretty good, if there weren't so many seeds in it.

There are recipes for making jams and sauces and even daiquiri mix with it.  There are to many seeds in these fruit and it can be a little hard to handle because the juice stains very badly.

About the only thing I know about this plant is that it's called hidden ginger.  It produces these blooms on a short stem near the ground, while other leafy stems grow taller.  The main flower is pink, and there are smaller yellow blooms below it.

I've been trying for weeks to get a good picture of my hydrangea - thi is probably the best that it will get for now.  This is in the shade garden, and it didn't do well last year.  A few years ago, I moved it from the back yard (where it was blue) to the front yard (where it is pink).  Very interesting.

I just saw something growing out of the top of this Golden Barrel cactus the other day.  I assumed that it might bloom eventually, but not so soon!  Everything was status quo this morning, but when I left home in the evening it was blooming, and I had no idea it would happen so fast.

Speaking of the pond, this loom popped up recently.  It's a water hyacinth and it's an invasive species, if it ever escaped to another body of water.  But here in my pond it is contained.  There are too many in here right now that you can't even see the water.  They need to be thinned.

Friends dropped off a butterfly bush at my house recently.  I wasn't sure where to plant it, so it's been sitting in the driveway.  In the meantime, it put out its first bloom.  Thanks, guys!

Every day something else blooms, but this is going to have to do it for this month.  I'll get to work on next month's post as soon as this posts.  Enjoy!

09 June 2013

Lady's Tresses Orchid

May 2013
I was planning to do maintenance on my lawn mower myself, but when the self-propelled part broke, I decided to let someone else take care of it.  It's been more than two weeks and I'm still waiting for my lawnmower back. I have to say that you never know what you might see when you let the grass grow.  I was in the yard pulling weeds and I noticed something that I haven't seen for a couple of years - Lady's Tresses Orchids.

I first heard about these years ago on a local public radio spot that horticulture extension agents do every day.  She talked about having a yard full and mowing them down each spring.  I had never considered that there were any native orchids - they seem so exotic to me.  After I did a lot of research, most native orchids, you would miss if you weren't really looking for them.  That goes for these as well - I wouldn't have been so curious about these if I hadn't already heard about them.

May 2011
Spiranthes is the genus of orchid that the Lady's Tresses falls into.  It's one of the terrestrial orchids.  It has fleshy roots - that's how I knew it must have been an orchid when I first encountered it a couple of years ago.  Up close, the flowers had the unmistakable orchid petal arrangement, albeit on a smaller scale.  I'm not sure how I came across them two years ago, but this time it was because I hadn't mowed the grass for a couple of weeks.  It's possible that's what happened last time.  While it grows in a wide variety of soils and ecosystems, it is listed endangered in some parts of Canada. I counted close to a dozen in my yard - I hope they multiply and I'll transplant them to their own area of the yard - so I don't mow over them every year.

05 June 2013

Giveaway Winner

First of all, thanks to everyone who entered.  I hope all of you will spread the word so the next contest is Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas by Bob Polomski.
huge.  One winner was randomly selected to win



You won!