Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's Bloomin' - September 2012

We've had a few gloriously wet, dreary days here in north central Texas.  Glorious and dreary may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but after a hot, dry Texas summer, a few days of wet and dreary is pretty glorious :-)

Here's a look at what's blooming in my garden this month.

Against the bold backdrop of 'King Humbert' Canna, my favorite perennial Salvia greggii is starting to put on its autumn show.  'Karley Rose' Fountain Grass adds wispy texture.

The bright red color of a volunteer Salvia coccinea pops against the sea of blue 'Henry Duelberg' Salvia.   I love free plants, especially when they grow in just the right spot :-)  These red tubular blooms are hummer magnets, too (sorry I'm not quick enough to get a picture).

And more Salvia greggii, violet this time.   
The 'Regal Mist' Muhly Grass (lower left) is just starting to plume.

More free plants, 
the annual Melampodium reseeds here and there in my garden
 and is always welcome.

Here the Melampodium popped up near 'Helen von Stein' Lamb's Ear.   In the upper left side is a tiny remnant of 'Autumn Fire' Sedum trying to bloom.   Try as I might, 'Autumn Joy/Fire' Sedum just does not grow well in my garden.

The lone rose in my garden ('Knock-Out') does seem to be happy in this spot. 
It anchors the corner by the driveway.

Below the 'Knock-Out' Rose, I grow 'Azure Skies' Heliotrope and Zexmenia.  These two plants don't photograph very well, but they are two of the toughest plants I have in my garden, blooming nonstop even in the hottest of summers.

Rudbeckia 'Triloba' brightens up a partially shady spot under my 'Fire Dragon' Shantung Maple tree.   Another bulletproof plant, Purple Heart, sprawls below.

Here are some wider shots of the front perennial beds.

Moving to the backyard...

Garlic Chives are blooming along the flagstone walk to the backyard.    I am planning to transplant some of these to areas where I am currently growing daylilies.   Since the foliage looks similar, I am hoping it will blend in with the daylily fans and will add some fall blooms to areas where the daylilies only bloom spring and summer.   I'll let you know how it works out next fall.

One of the mainstays of my shady backyard is native, fall-blooming Turk's Cap.   I have Spanish Bluebell bulbs planted below for spring color.   In other areas, I inter-plant with 'Texas Gold' Columbine for spring blooms.

'African Blue' Basil.  If you plant it, they will come.    Bees, that is.

Hummingbirds love the tubular blooms of the 'Black & Blue' Salvia (Salvia guaranitica)

Annual Pentas are ready for the butterflies

Even the unassuming Variegated Liriope is getting in on the fall show

Fresh raindrops still on its petals, the Rain Lily lives up to its name :-)

And as we leave the backyard, you can see that the Hyacinth Bean Vine has completely covered the new arbors we had built this spring.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of September blooms in my garden.   

Want to see more blooms?  Visit May Dreams Gardens

Toni :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

North Shore Memories

On vacation this summer, we stayed at a cabin on Caribou Lake along the North Shore area of Minnesota.  Here's the view from the dock where we watched the sunset every evening and felt the cool breezes blow and heard the call of loons in the distance.    And I bid farewell to my 40s.

I greeted my 50s with a hike to waterfalls at Cascade River State Park.  The water is the color of root beer because of the minerals in the soil and decaying vegetation.

I saw this wildflower all over the North Shore area.

I believe this is called Fireweed (Epilobium angustofolium)

I am not sure what this groundcover is called, but the bright red berries caught my eye as we walked along the trail.

Update: Bunchberry (cornus canadensis)

I had to stop and pet the moss because it fascinates me.   You don't see a lot of moss growing in Texas in the middle of August!

I know this picture does not do it justice, but I tried to capture the beauty of the peeling bark of the white birch trees along the trails.

I call this next picture "Growth Through Adversity"

We all encounter hard places in our lives.   We can only hope that we grow through them and in the end we stand tall and strong, right?

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge
Psalm 18:2

For you have been rooted in Him 
and are being built up and strengthened in the faith 
Colossians 2:7

This old spruce tree was a little large in its midsection, and through the years it has grown a few more lumps and bumps.

H'm...come to think of it, 
that's just about how my 50-year-old body feels right now :-)

These large trunk nodules are called burls

Even the golf course was beautiful,
with rolling hills, rivers, boulders, and trees.

And flowers, of course.

These simple yellow wildflowers were especially beautiful with Lake Superior in the background.

We enjoyed our break from the Texas heat
along the cool shores of Lake Superior.

I brought back memories...

...and a few rocks :-)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Schoolhouse is Open

Just about the time you hear the class bells ring signaling that the schoolhouse is open, look for a lovely little lily to begin opening, as well.

Rhodophiala bifida is also known as the Schoolhouse Lily 
because the timing of its bloom coincides with the start of the school year.

This small amaryllis look-alike blooms atop one-foot stems.  Flowering is triggered by rains in late summer or early fall.  Strap-like foliage emerges after the blooms fade and remains all winter.  The foliage then dies down as the heat kicks up the following summer or late spring (April/May).

If your clump of lilies needs dividing, this April/May time frame is the best time to divide and transplant.   Plant the bulbs at a depth 2 to 3 times the height of the bulb.   Summer shade is okay, but Schoolhouse Lilies need full winter sun, so a great place to plant them is at the edge of the canopy of deciduous trees. They are hardy in Zones 7-10.

The deep blood red color of the blooms is how they received their other common name, Oxblood Lily.   I also have a pink variety, but unfortunately I missed the opportunity to get a picture this year.

I like to plant them among 'Katie's' Ruellia (Dwarf Mexican Petunia).   Even though the Oxblood Lilies are short, they are tall enough to rise above the Ruellia.  And when the Ruellia dies down after a hard freeze, the evergreen foliage of the Oxblood Lily remains.

You won't have to hit the books and study hard to grow this little lily.  Just pop it in the ground and forget about it.    If you're looking for an easy bulb to brighten your late summer garden, this one makes the grade.  In fact, I think I'd give it an A+.

Toni :-)