The summer really is gone and there is the sweet smell of decay in the air. There has been no frost here yet which is a bit unusual although blackened foliage in the valley a mile away tells a different tale. The star of the fall garden in New England really is foliage but I do have some late blooming annuals and perennials which just hate to give up and they do add some late drama to the landscape. There are few of us who don't have the 'Pink Sheffield' chrysanthemum starting to bloom. Its apricot flowers blend well with the bronze, copper and reds of fall. The hydrangea flowers and foliage are quite an attraction for the local white tail deer but there are a few which have escaped their attention. This Hydrangea 'Vanilla Strawberry' started to bloom in late June and has not been without a bloom since. It can be a bit irregular in growth but a quick snip with the pruners shapes it nicely. Tiger Eye Sumac often turns a quick, drab brown but this year it has some nice color. This Perennial Trumpet Spurflower, Rabdosia longituba, has arching stems and airy panicles of pendant flowers. It does not photograph well but in the landscape it is almost black light blue and glowing. It grows in dry shade in my garden and is worth seeking out in mail order catalogs. Yesterday it was quite warm here and the butterflies were active. It has been a while since I have seen monarchs here but there were several in the garden. This one is gathering nectar from the Verbena bonariensis. Fall is upon us and the sleeping lady is ready with her garland of sedum flowers. I look forward to seeing your bloom post. Leave me a link via comments and I will visit your garden this Bloom Day. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.
Bloom Day has arrived clear and cool. The end of summer has been quite dry and the gardens are showing a bit of wear and tear. Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' is blooming at seven feet tall. It will grow taller but I pinched it in late June to keep it from falling over. The bees do love it. While I was sleeping the colchicums appeared in the garden. They are a sweet surprise. Lilac is usually a spring color but it is a welcome addition to the late summer garden. Aster 'Alma Potschke' is wearing her bright magenta sweater. She needs it as it is a bit chilly this morning. Unlike mid-summer when there are large drifts of color in the garden, the late summer garden has bright spots and lots of texture. This annual verbena has reseeded throughout the garden and it shines this time of year. Each flower is small, just an inch or two across but they wave in the breeze and add a very whimsical look to the borders and vegetable garden. Flowers are wonderful, they feed the spirit but this Berkeley Tie Die tomato is beautiful and also makes a great BLT. I find the flavor full with bright acidity and a hint of the earth. It is one of my new favorites. I hope that this Bloom Day finds your garden full and lush. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for another day of flowers.
April Bloom Day has arrived with April showers which is just as it should be. It is time to reap the rewards of past fall bulb plantings along with celebrating the earliest bloomers. The snowdrops have lost their pretty white flowers but there is much of interest to take their place in the gardens which are still being uncovered. Most of you know of Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin'. She is tiny and her color is pale but satisfying. These clumps are a testimony to her happiness and mine. What is spring without some smiling pansies? I have planted the containers by the back door with this little seasonal annual and while the plants need to fill out a bit, the cheery faces of the pansies and the bright spots of color lift the spirits. Other blooming bulbs include daffodils, purple and white crocus which are naturalizing in the front entry bed and Scilla siberica which also fills in and reseeds in the garden. Some call it invasive but this little ground cover provides early nectar and intense bright blue flashes of color. I prefer to call it a 'naturalizer' since it would be easy to eradicate and doesn't take the place of any low growing native. It is worth noting that this little flower has a sweet and unique fragrance which is best experienced lying prone on the ground with one's nose in the flowers. Beware, you may come out of this looking a bit smurf like since the pollen is blue and may show up on the tip of your nose. Kids love this little demonstration. Another great naturalizer is the Glory of the Snow, Chionodoxa forbesii. It faithfully blooms every year on Patriot's Day and it contrasts well with the yellow of daffodils or as a skirt around the witch hazels. One other little bulb, this Tulipa Hearts a Fire, is not yet in bloom but with foliage this dramatic, who needs blooms? In the borders the hellebores are blooming. Hellebores are available in a wide range of flower colors and species and they are deer resistant. I did witness a bit of chomping on the Helleborus foetidus flowers. They were nibbled off and left for litter on the ground right next to the plant. No matter, H. foetidus is really valuable for the fine fingered foliage while these others have lovely flowers and foliage which is less dramatic but still a wonderful texture. The earliest blooming shrub in my garden is witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise'. This is still a small shrub having been planted just two years ago. Since this is its third year in the ground I am expecting leaps of growth this year. There is a frenzy of activity in the garden this time of year. Much of it is taking place underground as roots stretch, grow and absorb life giving nutrients but this gardener is keeping busy as well with cleanup, fertilizing, spreading compost, planting and, soon, dividing. Does anyone need any bee balm? It seems to be taking over the central garden bed. It is not difficult to keep busy this time of year. I look forward to seeing what is blooming in your garden and thank Carol of May Dreams, once again, for hosting another Bloom Day.
January is a month of few blooms here in New England. One must rely on indoor blooms to satisfy the senses. Usually that sense is sight but this Bloom Day I have a very special fragrant flower in bloom. A bloom with a story. About a year ago I read an article somewhere on plants which were sold in winter during Victorian times for indoor forcing. These plants were picked for fragrance and ease of bloom. One such plant which was often sold was the Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis. This shade plant grows with abandon in my garden. It tolerates dry shade and forms a lovely colony providing green ground cover for much of the season. The flowers bloom in May. Yes, the May of May Dreams. It has a fragrance unique unto itself and which once experienced is never forgotten. Last year's article remained in the recesses of my mind until Carol of May Dreams mentioned that she had bought some pips from White Flower Farm, a wonderful catalog supplier of plants. Since it was early December or so when she mentioned this, I went outside into the cold depths of the barren garden to that special place where the lily of the valley grow. There were a few tattered remnants of once lush leaves so I started to root around with the spade. Now, the pips of the lily of the valley are a bit smaller than the tip of your little finger but very identifiable. I scooped some up and brought them in the house not sure at all if they would bloom. Stuck in the urn in the entry, I decorated the urn with sheet moss and waited. Pips emerged. One pip has thus far resulted in flower. It is not full and lush but it is strongly scented although I will admit that I have to assume the prayer position in order to fully appreciate the fragrance. No matter, it is blooming, it is quite fragrant and it really is what May Dreams are made of. I owe a very big debt of gratitude to Carol for inspiring me to get out and dig. I have marked the calendar for next October to dig several pips, pot them up and bring them inside during the bleak months of winter. In the language of flowers, lily of the valley means purity and return of happiness. Everyone deserves a bit of happiness in their lives. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of experiencing the fragrance of lily of the valley, check out White Flower Farm and don't worry about that price. Some things are meant to be experienced at least once in lifetime. Happy Bloom Day!
There is nothing in bloom outside at Ledge & Gardens. There is a coating of snow and ice and while it looks quite Christmasy, there are no blooms. The only items outside with color are the lighted Alberta Spruce and the Christmas corsage by the front door. Inside, the Queen's Tears are blooming. Such a sad name for an easy care plant. I did post on this a while ago here. There are few flowers which are true blue and fewer which actually contain navy blue but this one does as well as pink, yellow and lime green. This plant needs dividing but I will wait until spring to get that task done. Anyone want a piece? I also have a couple of begonias in bloom. The one in this mixed container which also contains an Abutilon in yellow and a Setcreasea which does have pink flowers but stands alone with spectacular foliage. One last bloomer is this white flowered begonia. It is Begonia listada. I love the foliage. The flower is a small bonus. This year I don't seem to have a poinsettia. That's okay, they just languish after the holiday anyway. Many thanks to Carol over at May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day. How many is this Carol?
Another Bloom Day is upon us and there is much still blooming in the garden. We have had just one light frost with no real damage on the tender annuals. Perennials such as catmint and bee balm are throwing a few last blooms. Fall foliage is quickly passing peak leaving the copper colors of oak leaves and pine needles to warm the days. The natural decline is well under way. Masses of bloom are a thing of the past but there are some blooms if one takes the time to walk slowly and search them out. I do deadhead the bee balm and this one has several bright blooms. No hummingbird is coming by though. They have left for their seasonal vacation. The Spanish flag vine is blooming as is the Eupatorium 'Chocolate'. The major bloom of the asters is past but there are a few blooms left on Professor Kippenburg who loves the companionship of the orange tithonia. The deer are in search of food and they have taken their more than fair share of the tender tops of the Hydrangea p. 'Vanilla Strawberry'. As a result, there are only a couple of blooms on this shrub. This bloom is aging gracefully while the new bloom is a sweet, tender pink. I will do a bit better with the deer proofing next season. Nicotianas shake off both cold and low light and this one reseeded from last year. It should be a bit further back in the border but who am I to argue with Mother Nature. The fishpond has yet to have a skim of ice on the top but it is coming and the sleeping lady planter carries this sedum for crowning glory. She is resigned to the change in season and some days I do feel as she looks but most days I look forward to the changes. There is always something interesting to see and while it becomes more of a challenge as the days shorten and the cold descends it makes me hunt a little harder for the treasures of the season. It will be a challenge to find blooms for the next Bloom Day in November. I will find at least one although it may be an inside bloom. Thanks go to Carol at May Dreams for hosting this Bloom Day. You can find a multitude of other blooms from all over the world over at May Dreams.
In May, the question is not 'what is blooming' but 'what is not' which seems more appropriate. It has been a very cool spring which has been easy on the flowers. They last much longer with cool temperatures and while many plants are blooming a bit later, there is more overlap of bloom and more time to appreciate those blooms. The crabapples are blooming and none is prettier than this 'Prairie Fire' above. I love the lipstick magenta color along with the subtle scent of the flowers. The Carolina Silverbell is blooming as well. Its white bells light up the garden it is shading. Fothergilla has a curious flower, don't you think? Lime green shows in the buds and they mature to a soft creamy white. Moving to ground, the bleeding hearts are off and running. I moved several white ones from the woods where there were seedlings growing. Borne on the wind or carried by creatures, these seeds germinated twenty feet or so from the garden bed of their parents. They seem happy next to the forget-me-nots which were gifted to me by my neighbors, The Dynamic Duo. Camassia are showing their blue in the 'Stonehenge' garden. They have been inundated with other perennials and a bit of cleanup will soon be necessary. The tulips and daffodils are fading but with such an abundance of bloom they will be remembered fondly. Thank you to Carol of May Dreams for hosting another Bloom Day. I do hope to visit your garden via her links. Do you have a favorite bloom for Bloom Day in May?
The blooms have finally begun. The snowdrops have been tightly wrapped until temperatures hit the 50's on Wednesday. I always get muddy knees trying to get a good photograph of the little bulbs and their flowers. The tommies have popped up. These were planted the fall before last so it is their second showing. The newer plantings have not shown their tops yet but they are in a bit less sunny position than these. They are showing color but are not yet open. The winter aconites have started with bright yellow blooms as well. I see daffodil foliage popping up but it will be a while before they bloom. Spring is a few days away and the temperature today was in the low 30's which keeps everything in suspended animation but that will change. It has to as spring is in motion. I can't wait to see what is blooming in your garden. Thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.
January is a challenging month for a New England Bloom Day post. The snow has receded as temperatures rose to 58F the day before Bloom Day. I did check for little blooms but there are none. Well one. The reliable Helleborus foetidus is seen above and it has a good long bloom time in spite of its bedraggled, winter damaged foliage. It started blooming prior to Christmas and will continue for another couple of months. Yes, you will see it here in February if the snow is not covering it. I am also counting this allium seed head. It looks like a flower even though it is just the ragged remnants of one. Inside is a different story and there are a couple of houseplants in bloom. The begonias don't even need to bloom since their leaves are so very interesting. These little pink flowers are pretty though and if I keep this plant appropriately watered, more will continue to develop.The violet in the glass terrarium is still blooming and the amaryllis flowers are brightening the windowsill. I am going to petition Carol, hostess of Bloom Day, to take pity on us northern gardeners and call it Birds and Bloom Day. I think this woodpecker is pretty enough to count as a bloom. How about it Carol? No worries, thank you for hosting Bloom Day through the dull days of winter. I can at least visit other garden blogs to help get me through these short days.
Pretty standard blooms with the exception of The Queen. Outside, the frost is blooming. Frost on the ground, the grass, the seedheads and the heuchera leaves. Upon close examination I found a frost flower. Gail of Clay and Limestone fame posted about her large frost flowers on the Verbesina virginica here. I have been lusting after them since but this morning I did spy these tiny yet perfect frost flowers on the blue plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. I would have missed them if Gail hadn't posted so recently about frost flowers. Thank you Gail. I am not sure how Bloom Day arrived so quickly after the last but thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another BD.