Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, September 2014

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Mesa Bright Bicolor' blanket flower.

It’s the 15th of the month, and you know what that means. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is shared all over the planet and hosted at May Dreams Gardens. If you’ve never participated, just jump right in. We’d love to see what’s growing in your part of the world.

Here, in USDA Zone 7a Oklahoma, it’s a story of small flowers, pollen and nectar. Pollinators are hurriedly stocking up anyway they can, and asters, garden mums, crapemyrtles and so many other plants are perfect for an early fall snack. A cold snap two days ago reminded all of us that a change in weather is truly on the way. This week, we’re back up in the 80s, but not for long I fear.

Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® pink petunias are always a good plant in my garden.
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® pink petunias are always a good plant in my garden.

Ipomoea purpurea ‘Grandpa Ott’ morning glory, clambering up a green arbor at the end of the garden, is a perfect foil for the purple chairs beneath. Morning glories self sow everywhere so keep that in mind if you ever get seeds. Still, that star in the center of every bloom is worth it for me. Other plants like Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum® petunias are still delighting me with their beauty. These two plants have a trumpet shaped bloom. Pollinators are very attracted to this shape.

Ipomoea purpurea 'Grandpa Ott' morning glory clambers up a green arbor behind my purple chairs. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 2014
Ipomoea purpurea ‘Grandpa Ott’ morning glory clambers up a green arbor behind my purple chairs.

Do grasses count as blooming plants? Yes, in my world they do. I planted Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass in one of my “holes of opportunity” where a rose died from Rose Rosette. Two seasons later, look at how pretty this grass is. Note, I wasn’t able to find it in Oklahoma, but when I was in Ft. Worth, I bought it and several other things including some asters and mums I also couldn’t find here. It is completely perennial in our climate so I don’t understand why we can’t purchase it locally. Ask for it. It’s such a beautiful grass.

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' blue grama grass is so pretty with its eyebrows.
Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ blue grama grass is so pretty with its eyebrows.

Looking at that arbor in the photo above, I may paint it green to match the others now that both roses are gone. What shall I plant in the other hole? I don’t know yet, but I am thinking on it. Of that, you can be sure.

This orange crossandra is one of my favorite plants of this year and last. I can’t say enough nice things. Orange is not my favorite color although I do like it in gardens. After all, I’m an University of Oklahoma Sooner, so I come from the land of crimson and cream. Thus, I’m just not into OSU orange, Texas Orange or even Tennessee’s hue. However, crossandra is a nice sherbert shade that doesn’t seem to scream at you. Plus, the leaves stay shiny and upright throughout the entire growing season. I may border my entire garage garden with it next year.

Crossandra nilotica, orange crossandra.
Crossandra nilotica, orange crossandra.

The asters are just starting to do their thing. In about a week, the garden will be flush with them. Here are some blooming now.

Below is Symphyotrichum syn. Aster novae-angliae ‘Hella Lacy’ given to me by writer and horticulturist, Russell Studebaker, is the prettiest aster I own. It’s named after garden writer and plantsman, Allen Lacy’s, wife, Hella. If you haven’t read Allen Lacy, you should. The New York Times’ Anne Raver profiled him and his wife about their little acre of botanical goodness, the Linwood Arboretum.

Aster novae-angliae ‘Hella Lacy’ was named for the wife of garden writer, Allan Lacy. It is a thing of beauty.
Symphyotrichum syn. Aster novae-angliae ‘Hella Lacy’ was named for the wife of garden writer, Allen Lacy. It is a thing of beauty.
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall aromatic aster in pink. Might be 'Raydon's Pink', but might not.
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall aromatic aster in pink. Might be ‘Raydon’s Pink’, but might not. I have Boltonia (false aster) planted right next to it. So confusing.

I have an order in to Bluestone Perennials for two more asters: ‘Alma Potschke’ and ‘Bonny Blue.’ Asters and garden mums are excellent bedding plants to round out a garden. They also feed pollinators which is so important right now. I only have one mum blooming so far, Chrysanthemum (syn. Dendranthema) x. rubellum ‘Clara Curtis’. ‘Clara Curtis’ is also sometimes called ‘Country Girl.’ You can read more about the passalong mum controversy in Southern Living.

Some shrubs are still blooming. If you’ve never planted Hydrangea paniculata, you should. They are great plants and can be grown in partial sun or even full sun like this ‘Pinky Winky’ below. It was a trial plant years ago, and it’s never gotten any larger than four feet. It blooms white and then, as the blooms age, they take on a pink hue.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky.'
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Dvppinky’ (Pinky Winky)

In this section of the back garden, you may notice the pink crapemyrtle is blooming less. Pretty soon, the maiden grass will bloom and turn brownish-yellow. The leaves on the crapemyrtle will turn too. We’re kind of in between blooms in many places right now.

This section of the garden shows the in between bloom time we're having.
This section of the garden shows the in between bloom time we’re having. The pink blooms at right are Pink Knockout roses. No, they don’t have Rose Rosette.

Zinnias continue to flower with deadheading. They are the stalwart feeders of many bees, moths and butterflies. The ones below seeded themselves as they often do.

Zinnias are still flowering.
Zinnias are still flowering.

I went and cleaned out the beds this afternoon when I took a break from writing. I can affirm that I grow the finest weeds anywhere. Just look at all of these beneath my ‘Red Rocket’ crapemyrtle. Nah, nevermind, just look at it instead. Isn’t it the prettiest shade of red you’ve ever seen?

'Red Rocket' crapemyrtle.
‘Red Rocket’ crapemyrtle.

Both types of Phlox paniculata are still blooming. This milder weather has everything blooming a long, long time.

Passalong Phlox paniculata
Passalong Phlox paniculata
Purple heart and sweet potato vine is one of the easiest combos for the heat.
Purple heart and sweet potato vine is one of the easiest combos for the heat.

I don’t know why more people don’t plant purple heart, Setcreasea pallida. Did you know that it is also known as Mary’s tears? That’s because when you pull out the blossom, a tiny blue droplet of nectar is found beneath–like one of the Blessed Mother’s tears. Neat huh? I think people don’t grow it because it’s so easy. I think we need some easy plants too. Why does everything need to be so hard? Why are we always trying to prove ourselves? Trust me and grow this easy plant.

Verbesina alternifolia, yellow ironweed, bought at Bustani Plant Farm years ago.
Verbesina alternifolia, yellow ironweed, bought at Bustani Plant Farm years ago.

I have more photos, but I don’t want to wear you out. Go check out Carol’s website and see who else played this month. Ciao!

 

A new year with new flowers

In nearly eighteen hours, a new year begins. Time to experiment with new flowers and other new plants. I’ve been practicing the art of forcing bulbs all winter because I need those bright blooms on cloudy days. Today is very cloudy, but I’m excited about the gloom. Because of changes made to my landscape over the years, I have color inside and out. The grass on the shady lawn is still a soft green, especially during this rainy day.

The green grass in our shady front lawn.
The green grass in our shady front lawn.

Yes, it rained! This makes for much excitement in OkieLand. I can’t remember the last time it truly rained. We did get a smidge of snow on Christmas Day, but this far north, not much fell. I heard that in Norman and further south, it truly was a white Christmas. As I told Bill, I’ll take moisture any way it comes these days.

hyacinth-imp
Hyacinths I bought partially forced from Whole Foods. I took them out of the foil and plastic container and placed them in one of my terra cotta nursery pots. My hyacinths are still out in the fridge growing roots.

My forcing experiments are starting to take off. If you didn’t already coax bulbs, you can buy partially grown ones at Whole Foods. They have both hyacinths in purple and white, along with paperwhites. I did notice the paperwhites were ‘Ziva,’ and you know how I feel about her indoors. However, if you can put ‘Ziva’ in a large room, maybe you’ll enjoy her. I have paperwhites already bloomed, and some that are just starting.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) 'Elvas' and 'Apple Blossom'-imp
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) ‘Elvas’ and ‘Apple Blossom’-imp

The amaryllis, which aren’t technically forced because they’re tropical, have been simply stunning. I love their trumpet shapes. I gave two away and kept the rest, in various stages of bloom, for myself. Above is part of the amaryllis parade.

Most of my poinsettias remain nice. I threw two out starting to look ratty. I don’t try to keep them. It’s too much trouble without enough result. If you want to keep your amaryllis, Steve Bender from Southern Living magazine wrote a great post explaining care.

Poinsettia 'Glitter' has been a real joy the last couple of weeks.
Poinsettia ‘Glitter’ has been a real joy the last couple of weeks.

I hope all of you are well. I finally am over the Christmas Crud with only a small cough to remind me. May the new year shower you with new blooms, the best of friends and good health. Oh, and thank you for reading my blog. I am grateful from the bottom of my little Oklahoma heart.