Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for Wildflower Wednesday

Prairie Rose gave me the idea for my Wildflower Wednesday post this month. What better way to celebrate Wildflower Wednesday than to contemplate the possibilites for the coming year? I've been collecting seeds for a couple of months and the crisper drawer in the fridge is full again.

Almost all of my Blue Flags have been grown from seed. Most are from a plant I got from Niche Gardens,

and some are from seeds purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery.

Carolina Bush Pea is easy to grow from seed and is a beautiful companion for roses.

I've grown dozens of Seashore Mallow from seed (both the pink and the white). In rich soil they even volunteer for themselves!

Bidens is also a great one to volunteer itself but I still collect seed and broadcast it in places where I want more of them.

I am not the biggest fan of red in the garden, except for a true red leaning toward the blue side, but there are many exceptions to this general rule and Hibiscus coccineus is one of them. Not only does it have elegant tropical-looking flowers over a very long time span, it is very, very tough. I moved several out of a ditch and after two years plants appeared from the remnants of the roots left in the mud to thrive and flower again.

Velvet Mallow has large silvery velvety soft leaves and pink flowers that are shy about opening all of the way. Late in the season however they did open fully and although a little chewed up they are lovely.

Gerardia is a wildflower that like Cardinal Flower and Blue Lobelia refuses to be cultivated in my garden; I just have to enjoy it wherever it pops up.

I've also grown dozens of Baptisias from seed although much patience is required; they don't bloom until they are at least 3 years old. The one below is an alba/ australis hybrid and the biggest seedling to date.

Baptisia australis

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (which is sterile and does not set seed) and Baptisia alba

Looking at these pictures makes me wish that spring was just around the corner again. Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings, and please visit gail at clay and limestone for wonderful Wildflower Week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blooming Friday ~ On my wish list

I covet one of these native crabapples to edge the woods that are the backdrop to my garden.

Several in fact!

Two of these beauties grow wild on our farm, in the fields near the creek. One of them gets a lot of sunlight and is especially lovely.

I've been trying to grow them from seed, without success so far. Time to try cuttings, or perhaps I even need to learn how to graft onto rootstock.

The flowers are not only exquisite, they are fragrant too.

The native crabapples are susceptible to rust and will suffer some leaf loss in summer, but if planted at the edge of the woods they just blend in with the other trees.

Happy Friday, and join Katerina at roses and stuff for more Blooming Fridays!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Day Late Bloom Day

The garden is paring down to its essentials now. Recent winds have stripped the trees of nearly all of their leaves and most of the bloomers have closed up shop. Today felt nothing like approaching winter, however: the high got up to a balmy, even muggy 82 degrees today. Tomorrow the temps will be a more season-appropriate upper '50s.

All that's left now is the very very late-blooming Aster 'Miss Bessie' and
a few roses. 'Old Blush' and 'Duchesse de Brabant' are shown here.

The insects very much appreciate the late blooms of Willow-leaf
Aster. The plants buzz like a busy hive all day long on fine days.

A few trees still have their leaves, such as this golden Red Maple

and the blueberries often keep their leaves until December.

Thanks Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Indian Summer

Indian Summer -- just the name itself sounds wonderful.

Like almost every den in America in the 1970's, our bookcase had a shelf filled with a set of the World Book Encyclopedia. From all those tomes I remember one article in particular, about Indian Summer.

"A short period of especially fair weather and mild days. It comes in late October or early November when the leaves are turning color and falling from the trees. Indian Summer has no definite dates to begin or end. It is not a separate season, but a part of autumn.

The mild pleasant weather of Indian Summer follows the autumn's first period of cold, wintry days. The days become noticeably warmer, but the nights remain chilly. Throughout Indian Summer, the sun shines dimly and softly. The sky turns a rich blue and always appears gentle and hazy near the horizon. The air remains smoky and still, with almost no wind. An Indian Summer moon often has a yellow or orange hue. Indian Summer lasts from a week to ten days, and sometimes for two weeks. Then winter begins

The article also included a cartoon by John McCutcheon first published in the Chicago Tribune in 1907

in which an old man conjures a scene of Indian spirits dancing around ceremonial fires and the corn shocks are transformed into teepees.

I always found the article to be wonderfully evocative of the magic of Indian Summer.

Indian Summer is a part of autumn, yet different. Lucky for us in central North Carolina this fall has mostly been one long Indian Summer. Mild golden weather, gentle sunlight filtering through colorful trees, silence broken only by leaves fluttering to the earth. The beautiful days make me wish that time could freeze or that Indian Summer could last until spring.

Aromatic Aster in the warm light of the rising sun

In the cooler light of mid morning

Chrysanthemum 'Venus'


Swamp Sunflower

Red Maples, which will later show more vivid colors of gold, orange and red.

Clotilde Soupert


American Beautyberry

Willowleaf Aster 'Miss Bessie'

Join Katerina at roses and stuff for more Blooming Fridays.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blooming Friday

Roses. They look so sweet and innocent don't they?

Alchymist with Hansa in background. All of the following pictures were taken in spring of this year.

But their beauty is a snare. Like chocolate candy or doughnuts, you can't just have one. A rose is one of those addictive plants.

The multiflora hybrid Violette

Archduke Charles with Iris virginica and Phlox pilosa ozarkana

Blush Noisette

Rosa palustris scandens from Antique Roses Emporium with the polyantha climber Renae on the trellis

Renae up close. Those flowers are not only beautiful, they are fragrant.

Spilling over the paddock fence

Basye's Purple and Prissy are on the right.

I love love love R. palustris scandens. I started with 2 and have over 20 now. A few I ordered, most I propagated from cuttings and are still young.

Beside the vegetable garden

and in front of the big perennial bed.

All types of roses have their own appeal, from the sweet simplicity of Ballerina

to the sumputious fullness and rich color of Hippolyte.

The neon bright ever blooming Knockout

The lovely single Carolina rose with its scent of damask and lemon.

And roses can play so well with others. Rosa virginiana and the rugosa Foxi Pavement with Carolina Bush Pea. These roses are very low maintenance; the only care they receive is compost and pruning of dead wood.

It can be very rewarding to be trapped by a plant's charms. :) Happy Friday, and join Katerina at roses and stuff for more Blooming Fridays.

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