Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October into November

I suddenly have a large number of new plants gathered on the covered patio, waiting for me to determine their fates.  It started a couple of weeks ago, when we went to the local(ish) botanical garden's fall plant sale.  I'd been waiting for this sale for months and began poring over the plant list as soon as it became available, curating a personal "Most Wanted" list.  There were a couple of things they simply didn't have (a good climbing rose, for instance), but I came away happy with my purchases and excited to place them in the garden.

Then, not even a week later, Mom offered me another bunch of plants.  She happened to be shopping the clearance at Lowe's when they were actively trying to sell as many "end of season" plants as possible.  (Otherwise, they would just have to throw them away.)  She ended up with a vehicle loaded down with plants-- all for $10!  She generously gave me many of the duplicates, so now I really need to get into planting mode!

Two of the plants from Mom are passion vine.  One has bloomed, and they're most likely both the same.  I think this might be 'Lady Margaret', which should have a chance of returning here (especially with winter mulching)-- or it can be a houseplant.  It's gorgeous!

Red Passionflower

There are a couple of roses of Sharon-- different from the ones already in our garden.  There's a white with red center ('Red Heart') as well as the one in the photo below, 'Double Purple':

Double Purple Rose of Sharon

I don't think this next vine was very clearly marked.  There was a tag for orange trumpet vine, which it clearly isn't (because the flowers are pink, not orange).  Then there was a sticker on the pot: "Pandora".  But that's yet another different plant.  I'm pretty sure I've correctly identified it as Podranea ricasoliana, pink trumpet vine, also known as Port St. Johns creeper or Queen of Sheba.  Anecdotal evidence suggests this one has a good chance here, too, with winter mulch.

Pink Trumpet Vine

There are two of Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers' (golden dew drop, sky flower, pigeon berry), which has decorative yellow-orange berries in addition to the clusters of purple flowers.  It seems a little iffy for our zone (8b), but we'll give it a try.  I've read about someone in North Carolina having it return year after year, but with reduced blooming.  Maybe if I give it a sheltered spot it will surprise us.

Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers'

I don't yet have photos of the other plants from Mom, but I'll include a list (for future reference):

--canna lily (not sure what type)
--Miscanthus sinesis 'Gold Breeze' (maiden grass/zebra grass)
--Mascagnia macroptera (butterfly vine)
--'Little Bonnie' dwarf spirea (Spiraea x bumalda)
--Juncus effusus 'Spiralus' (corkscrew rush)

Edited to Add:
I forgot two other plants, which I'm trying to grow as houseplants:

--Heliconia psittacorum 'Lady Di' (parrot's beak)
--'Purple Queen' bougainvillea (Bougainvillea 'Moneth')

The Heliconia I have high hopes for, but the bougainvillea... Well, I don't think it can survive our winters, so it's worth a shot as a houseplant, but I'll be surprised if it lasts until spring.  

- - -

Then there are the plants from the botanical garden sale.  I don't have photos of all of them, yet, either, but I'll just introduce them as the photos come along.

Not yet planted, here's a salvia that I think is 'Waverly':

Salvia 'Waverly'

This is a sub-par photo of Salvia leucantha ('Purple on Purple'), Mexican bush sage, but so far I haven't been able to get a good picture.  It's a very appealing, tactile plant with fuzzy blooms and calyxes and fuzzy silvery-green foliage.

This plant first came to my attention when I was trying and trying to learn more about our Mexican purple sage (Salvia purpurea).  This plant kept showing up in my online searches.  (Spoiler alert: They're definitely not the same plant.)  After seeing it so many times and reading so much about it, I wanted to give it a try, too.

(The grassy seeds in the photo are muhly grass, another plant sale purchase.)

Mexican Bush Sage

I'm a little nervous about any plant that is described as needing moist or "evenly moist" soil, but I'm still giving a few of them a try.  (Shady and moist may be do-able, with watering during dry spells.  Sunny and moist?  No.)

This shade-lover is China moon Solomon's seal (Disporum longisylum or bodinieri 'Shina-no-tsuki', aka fairy bells):

China Moon Solomon's Seal

This is another shade-garden addition-- Japanese shrub mint 'Golden Angel' (though I've seen some call it 'Gold Angel' instead).  I love the color of those leaves and think it will make a nice, bright spot in the shade, if it can get established.

'Gold Angel' Japanese Shrub Mint

That's it for the photos of new plants, for now.
More another time?

- - - - - - -

Donald and I thought more about the end of the gravel path.  We laid out a garden hose, and I've dug a trench in an approximate outline of the area we plant to gravel.  It'll be a small spot for a chair or two.  We're planning to put up vine-covered trellises on the east and north sides, and I'll be extending the plantings around it on all sides (with the exception of a stepping stone path on the southern side).  That expanding clump of bamboo will be moved to a spot with a little more room.

Mapping Out Some Changes

Trixie tested out the sitting area.  (It'll do.)


One vine of Spanish flag is still blooming, though the others gave up weeks ago (probably would've lasted longer with more sun).

Mina Lobata

Mina Lobata

KO roses are still rosy.

Red Double KO Rose

'Joseph's Coat' rose, too.

'Joseph's Coat' Rose

'Joseph's Coat' Rose

The butterfly ginger casts a wonderful fragrance that sometimes reminds me of honeysuckle and other times is more reminiscent of gardenia.  In this climate, it's easy to care for and eager to multiply.

Butterfly Ginger

I wasn't the only one drawn by the butterfly ginger's perfume.  I'm not sure exactly what this insect is... Some type of sphinx moth, I think.  They're not very pretty (imho), but they feel almost magical in the twilight garden, hovering over flowers, gently skimming here and there.

Butterfly Ginger

Butterfly Ginger

I'm still trying to decide precisely where the bamboo will go when I move it.  (Also, whether I should try to take a piece off during the process.  If I'm going to want a division, now's the logical time, when it's already going to be up and out of the ground...)

'Golden Goddess' Bamboo

So far, two of the Confederate rose blooms have managed to open.  This may not sound like much, but I'd already resigned myself to no flowers at all, this year.  At least now I know for sure what ours looks like when it blooms.

They start off white (sometimes with a little pink edging to some petals).  Gradually, the flowers age to pale pink and deep pink.  (No photos of that, I'm afraid.  The timing just didn't work out.)

Confederate Rose

Here's the one that had pink edges on some petals.

Confederate Rose

They are impressive flowers.  I just wish the plant hadn't dropped so many buds, this year.  I'm still nervous about its likely performance in years to come, and it's still slated to move elsewhere in the yard.

It's interesting how the shape/color of blanket flowers can vary from plant to plant.  We have one that has a slightly peachy tone to the yellow, and more drooping petals.  Then there's this one with more tubular petals:


The purple heart (Tradescantia pallida) cuttings from Granny L.'s garden seem to have taken root!  They're definitely putting out new growth and are looking healthy and happy.

Purple Heart

I've taken lots of photos of the Mexican purple sage to make up for the months and months of waiting for it to bloom.  It is a pretty plant.  I love the color of the flowers, and once it gets going, it's worth the wait.  It just needs a lot of room and at least one "haircut" in early-mid summer-- maybe more than one, even.  Otherwise, it does tend to flop over.  If it can be placed next to/between some sturdy shrubs, they'll probably help hold it up when it starts getting tipsy.

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage

Flower Garden

I can't believe it's already November; it doesn't feel like November, at the moment.  Highs in the low 80s and more humidity than I'd really like, but still a far cry from August and early September.

This month's "survey" photos are overdue, but not much has changed since early October.  The swamp daisies have finished blooming and the elephant ears continue to shrink.  I pulled out a few flopped, past-prime annuals (to get a better idea of the perennial layout) and have planted a few new things-- moved a few others to slightly different spots...

But all told, this autumn is stretching out without significant change.  I'm amazed by the number of things still blooming-- can't remember how many were blooming at the same time and level last year-- and am not sure if this is an unusually mild autumn or if it's typical.  It doesn't matter, really.  Let's just enjoy it before the first killing frosts strike it all down for the year.  (This is probably what summer feels like in many places that sing its praises.)