'Van Gogh' sunflower. I got the seeds from Renee's Seeds. She sent them to me to try. I like them.
I feel a post percolating about the fires and rebirth, but having just returned from GWA, I’m too tired to write it today. My home and garden were spared–the fire was several miles away–but many were not so lucky.
Below are two recent posts from Fiskars and Lowe’s. If you visit my Lowe’s post and leave a comment, I’ll give you a big hug next time I see you. Of course, I’d hug you anyway.
This morning, buses arrived at 7:00 a.m. to whisk 600 plus writers, photographers, television media personalities, designers and other garden communicators to Plant Delights Nursery with side trips to the local garden of John Dilley and Willie Pilkington and the Raleigh Farmer’s Market.
A muhly grass cloud floats behind a spiky yucca. I thought the juxtaposition begged to be photographed.
What can I say? Plant Delights was a feast for the horticultural senses and a tapestry of perennials, shrubs and trees. Surrounding the greenhouses were planting beds filled to the brim with all sorts of good things. I took a lot, and I mean, a lot of pictures. Perhaps, I’ll do a slideshow once I return home and can get my bearings.
A ginger I turned and snapped. I did not get the name of this variety, but it smelled divine.
I wish you were with me to smell the gingers in the greenhouse. In the meantime, feast your visual sense upon this.
On the left was a row of agaves. I brought home two varieties which are hardy to Zone 7.
For my friend, Pam, and other gardeners who don’t mind being poked and prodded by their plants, here’s a shot of the agave greenhouse, which also had mangaves and other warm weather loving plants. Two young guys from Tennessee (I’m sorry we were too busy swooning over the plants to exchange names) guided me to two varieties they knew were good and cold-hardy. I’ll let you know when I plant the new purchases in containers. Note: they also said they use chicken grit as half of the soil as the greatest danger for agaves is root rot.
I really wanted this one, but it wasn’t hardy, and I didn’t want to mess with bringing it inside.
A. lophantha 'Quadricolor'
But, enough about agaves. Not everyone is as obsessed with them as I. Behind the nursery, there were more gardens, and paths wound round and round, up and down. It was, dare I say, delightful?
I noticed a lot of structure, and although there were plenty of late summer, early fall blooming perennials, there were also numerous ferns, hostas, grasses, shrubs and trees. Oh, and there were a few annuals too. Tony Avent has a lot of breeding stock of Colocasiaesculenta, elephant ears.
Here’s a stunning combination. If anyone knows the varieties, please let me know.
After handing our purchases into PD employees’ capable hands, we departed for the Dilley Willie garden (f/k/a the hobbit garden, but they had to change the name to avoid trademark infringement with the Tolkien estate). It was a plant collector’s dream filled with beautiful specimens. Featured on Erica Glasener’s t.v. show, A Gardener’s Diary, it was fun to see it in person. Interestingly, the owners closed the garden after our visit to raise the tree canopy and change many of the plants, so it will never look as it did today. I took many photos of it too, but I’ll just post a couple here. I don’t want to overwhelm your browsers.
The garden's original namesake
Tonight, we ate traditional dry rub ribs and pulled pork at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. We were encouraged to walk throughout , but exhaustion and a misty rain kept us from the entire garden. I did make it through much of it and have many photos to share another time. Tomorrow, a visit to Montrose Gardens and three other beauty spots are on the schedule. I’m off to bed.
There’s a frenetic energy in the garden now. When I open the gate, the air is abuzz. With their voracious appetites, caterpillars munch to attain maximum girth before pupating. Adult Monarchs gather strength before continuing on their journey to Mexico. Where only weeks ago, the bees, wasps, hummingbird moths and butterflies moved methodically around the flowers, they now hurry and seem harassed.
Do they know the days are already shorter? Is there a hormonal signal switching on and telling them there’s only a little more time?
The flowers, too, seem aware. With the rain and slightly cooler weather, they are reinforcing their blooming efforts. The annuals are almost crazy with new blooms.
“Set seed before you die,” they seem to say.
I, however, am slowing down. The urgency of spring is past. The heat of summer is waning, and I’m just enjoying the fruit of my labors.
Ha! If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge for sale . . . .
For more Green Thumb Sunday posts, please see the GTS page up top. To do more Sunday Strolling, please visit Aisling at The Quiet Country House.
On this August 15th, we’ve had rain showers for two straight days with more rain headed our way. As Oklahoma gardeners, it seems our fate to always have too much of everything. August usually brings that in the form of too much heat and sun, but after Pam’s lovely visit, she took the heat with her, and we’ve had unseasonably, cool (for Oklahoma) weather ever since; not that I’m complaining. Now, we’re also getting rain. If the plants don’t drown, we should have a beautiful September. My latest blooming daylily is H. ‘Autumn Minaret’ (Stout 1951;) an oldie, but one I truly admire for its height. At six feet tall, it towers over me. ‘Autumn Minaret’ resides at the very end of the garden where its height commands attention. It is also fragrant.
Rosa 'Mardi Gras' with Gaillardia
At right, is ‘Mardi Gras’ a Floribunda rose and an AARS 2008 winner. The bloom is a bit faded from the sun, but it retains a quiet beauty against the brighter Gaillardia. They are planted in the tiered borders on the left side of the deck. ‘Mardi Gras’ stays in bloom most of the gardening season. During this, its first year, it is a winner in all ways.
Cleome Senorita Rosalita
This is ‘SeÃ±orita Rosalitaâ„¢ Cleome (a/k/a Spider Flower.) I wanted to try this Proven Winners selection because it is relatively low growing and compact compared to regular Cleome hasslerana. I also hoped it wouldn’t have the normal sticky (as in sap and thorns) stems of the Spider Flowers I’d grown before. I searched for it throughout Oklahoma City and came up empty handed. Since I sometimes test and review plants for Proven Winners, I contacted them and asked where it could be found. They were nice enough to send me three plants. ‘SeÃ±orita Rosalitaâ„¢ is good choice for small gardens because it only grows three to four feet tall instead of five to six feet. It also has sturdy stems which don’t require staking. It doesn’t lose its bottom leaves. It sets no seed and is thornless. It is a great plant. I only wish it also came in pink or white instead of just lavender, but I suspect the folks at Proven Winners are already working on that.
The Salvias are still going strong. You can’t beat Salvias for their ability to bloom in good or adverse conditions. As with all pictures on this blog, if you let your mouse hover over each photo you can identify the plant.
Salvia 'May Night'
Gaillardia 'Fanfare,' 'Overdam' grass & Black Leaved Sky Flower
Moving on to the Gaillardias. I wrote an article for the Oklahoma Horticulture Society’s newsletter yesterday, and it featured Blanket Flower a/k/a Indian Blanket. Gaillardias are another summer blooming species we should all have in our gardens, especially those of us with dry conditions. I especially liked this combination of Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Fanfare,’ Eranthemum nigrumBlack Leaved Sky Flower and Calamagrostis x acutiflora‘Overdam’ Feather Reed Grass.
That’s my contribution for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for once again being our fabulous cruise director. If you visit her blog, you’ll see even more bloom day posts. I hope to see you Sunday for another Sunday Stroll.