Monday, September 12, 2016

Flower Photos for September

Late summer is not my garden's prettiest time of the year.  Part of this is due to my tendency to slack off in all gardening duties; another issue is planning.  There are probably things I could plant that would carry the flower beds through to fall more successfully-- both late-blooming perennials and annuals that I could start from seed in mid-summer.

However, even with my neglect, there are things still in bloom, on display whenever I can bring myself to leave the air conditioned house and brave the mosquitoes and the humidity.

Gladiolus callianthus 'Murielae' (peacock orchid).
These have been a success-- especially considering that they were a spontaneous clearance purchase.  This year, there haven't been tons and tons of flowers open at any given time, but there have been a few here and there over the course of the summer.  If they survive the winter and multiply, the display should only improve in summers to come.

Peacock Orchid

They're scented, too, which is nice-- though I've found that I need to bend down to sniff them to detect their perfume.  With more blooms open at one time, they fragrance would probably carry further-- and atmospheric conditions probably affect it, too.

Peacock Orchid

Salvia leuchantha.
Most of the summer, the Mexican bush sage stayed modestly in the background.  It grew to a good size, but it didn't attract much attention without any flowers.  Then, two or three weeks ago, I started noticing flower buds, which hang down despondently:

Mexican Bush Sage

Gradually, they grow in size and hold themselves upright.

Mexican Bush Sage

The fuzzy purple calyxes open to make way for purple flowers, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds and anyone who likes purple flowers.

Mexican Bush Sage

A late-season bloomer.  It should be blooming until frost-- one of the first late-season flowers to open in our garden, this year.  I hope others will soon follow.

Mexican Bush Sage

Heliconia psittacorum 'Lady Di'.
This heliconia bloom has seemed to last forever!  I took a photo of the flower just opening in late August.  As you can see, it's still going strong.  I've seen hummingbirds curiously poking at it from time to time, and from what I've read, hummingbirds are the main pollinators of heliconias.

Heliconia 'Lady Di'

Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'.
Though I haven't been deadheading like I should, there are still some new flowers.

Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'

Celosia 'Mega Punk'.
I believe I wrote recently that much of my celosia was past its prime, some of it even flopping into pathways.  I've cut back some of it (and harvested seeds for next year).  Other plants, I've left where they are.  Those I left are still putting on new blooms, despite the flopping.

I need to learn more about celosia, sometime.  Maybe it would last longer if I deadheaded it, at some point in the season... I'm sure that staking it would keep it from flopping (as much), so I'll try to remember to do that, next time.

I've been amazed at the amount of seed that comes out of these celosia seedheads!  I cut some off, put them in an open paper bag to dry-- and life being what it is, it was quite some time before I returned to them.  Leaving them alone to dry was apparently just the right thing to do, though.  I tipped the bag's opening over a bowl and the seed just kept pouring and pouring out.  The pieces I harvested more recently are still holding onto their seed (too damp, I guess), so I'll try to forget about them for another week or two.

Celosia 'Mega Punk'

Hedychium coronarium 'Elizabeth'.
I added this ginger lily to our garden last summer.  It never bloomed, last year, but this year, I've seen at least two promising buds.  Unlike the "heirloom" ginger lily, which has white flowers, 'Elizabeth' is supposed to have raspberry/reddish-orange flowers.  I'm curious to see the blooms, because it seems that people don't agree on just what color the flowers are.

The fragrance is described as "honeysuckle-like", so I'm also interested in comparing it to the typical white ginger lily fragrance (which is wonderful and supposedly the strongest perfume of the ginger lilies).

Ginger Lily 'Elizabeth'

This ginger must be tired, because it's trying to lie down on the ground. ;o)  But seriously, I think it might like a little more sun, so I might try transplanting it, sometime after the flowers are done.  'Elizabeth' can get tall-- 6' to 9' tall-- but ours is staying quite a bit shorter than that.  A little more sun might help it reach its full potential.

Ginger Lily 'Elizabeth'

Salvia uliginosa (bog sage).
Still blooming!  This plant is a sprawler (and maybe a creeper, too, based on what I've read more than my own experience to date), but it does bloom and bloom from spring until fall.  The flowers are small, compared to the size of the plant and its airiness.  I can imagine some would think it has a weedy appearance, but I like it.  I do think I might try to move it a little further off the path, though, once the frost kills it back to the ground.  It takes up more room than I was expecting, and though I don't mind brushing past a plant with a few bees on it, the wasps are more intimidating.

Bog Sage

Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon, unknown variety).
The two pale-pink double-flowered roses of Sharon are doing well.  I'm amazed at how quickly they've grown, considering that they started this year as tiny twigs.  I never expected them to bloom so soon!

Earlier in the summer, I planted a volunteer rose of Sharon in the front yard (the new island bed).  In the past couple of weeks, it began to bloom-- in white.  That makes the second volunteer rose of Sharon that I thought would be single purple (w/ red eye) that has turned out instead to be single all-white.

If I want more of the single purple, it seems like the easiest, most reliable way to get them would be to take cuttings from the one I already have-- especially now that I see how quickly they grow from cuttings.  Not sure I need more of the purple, but I do like it...

Rose of Sharon

There are a variety of colors of self-seeded annual vinca (Madagascar periwinkle) scattered here and there around the yard.  They seemed to take a while to get started, this year, compared to last.

Madagascar Periwinkle / Vinca

Ruellia brittoniana 'Purple Showers'.
I'm actually just guessing that this is 'Purple Showers', because it came to me as a pass-along identified by the common name only (Mexican petunia), but I think it must be.  It's not a dwarf form, and though it spreads by runners, it doesn't seem to spread by seed.  

I think the Mexican petunia needs thinning, and I plan to do that sometime in the next few months, before spring.  The Mexican petunia does have a habit of meandering without asking permission, but so far, it hasn't moved too quickly, where I have it planted, so I'm keeping it there.

Mexican Petunia

Thunbergia alata (black-eyed Susan vine).
The black-eyed Susan vine has finally grown vertically instead of just making a mat on the ground.  I'm disappointed that it took so long to get tall and question whether I'll try that again next year.  Oh, I'm sure some of it will volunteer  in the two or three places it's growing this summer, but I'm just not sure it's worth planning for it to grow on a given trellis or obelisk.

The flowers can be pretty, but you have to be prepared for it to grow everywhere you didn't plan (like into the rose bushes) while studiously ignoring the handy vertical support you intended it to scale.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

A few daylilies have been blooming again.  At the moment, they're mostly yellows, as it happens.


Tulbaghia violacea.
The society garlic has mostly just sat there, this year-- but it's still there, which is more than I can say for certain other disappointing plants.  And it's even bloomed a few times!  I'm hopeful that it will do better next year, though, because so far, it hasn't exactly been impressive.  

Society Garlic

Gaillardia (blanket flower).
This is another one that could have been better, this year.  I started a bunch of them from seed in spring, but most of them haven't done much.  Some are flowering, but they're not as impressive as they were last year.  This may be one of those plants I should be starting later in the year, instead of in spring.  There's also the chance that they'll pick up in the next month or two and put on more of a show, after all.

Blanket Flower

Curcuma 'Scarlet Fever'.
My last photo isn't of a flower at all, but rather of some attractive tropical foliage and stems.

I'm seriously considering doing some rearranging in the semi-shade garden.  I don't know yet if I will-- or how much rearrangement is even possible, given the limited amount of shade-- but I'm not completely satisfied with things as they now stand.

I think some of these gingers could take a little more sun, for one thing.  For another, I'd like to be able to get back in there-- or at least see back in there-- a little more easily.  Also, I don't love it that the flowers from the crepe myrtle tend to stick on the large banana-like leaves of the two curcumas underneath.  It's not a huge problem; the gingers certainly aren't hurt by it, but I think they'd look nicer without the mess of fallen petals (which stick to the dewy leaves and dry there).

Curcuma 'Scarlet Fever'