Monday, May 22, 2017

Smörgåsbord Post

Fun Fact:  Did you know that "smörgåsbord" translates from Swedish, word by word, as "butter goose table"?  Fascinating, isn't it? ;o)

Today's is a smörgåsbord post with a little of this and a little of that.  A frugal post, if you will, using up odds and ends left over from the past two or three weeks.  Waste not, want not!

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The waxy flowers of the giant plume ginger (Curcuma elata) look nice for a long time, while the first leaves of the plant emerge and unfurl.  Some of the flowers of the plants I transplanted to other parts of the garden have flopped over, but others are still standing.

The two photos below are of the same group of plants, taken probably a few days apart.  The first looks so much nicer, because it was overcast when I took that photo.  The second is more harshly lit, but I kept it because it has leaves in the process of unfurling.  It also shows how shafts of sunlight illuminate the flowers.

Giant Plume Ginger

Giant Plume Ginger

No comment needed...

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

I've been very lax about deadheading things, this year... It might be too late to make much difference with some things, like the 'Joseph's Coat' climbing rose:

'Joseph's Coat' Rose

Butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera) bloomed early this year.

Butterfly Vine

Butterfly Vine

I have a couple of fans of blackberry lily grown from seed.  They're growing in the new Oval Bed, which I hope will be a good location.  It's extremely well-drained and gets sun all day long, and that's a good start.  I've yet to see it bloom, but the leaves are fascinating.  It's clearly in the iris family.  The shape of the fans is so flat and stiff and stylized... Sometimes it looks more like an illustration than a real plant.

Blackberry Lily

The tropical milkweed continues to bloom, bloom, bloom.

Tropical Milkweed

Tropical Milkweed

Tropical Milkweed

It has the same eye-catching color combo as the blanketflower.

In the shade, the 'Blue Bedder' sage actually does look fairly blue, so we have the three primary colors together.  I'm not really an admirer of pure primary colors, but golden yellow, maroon-red, and purply blue look pretty nice.

Blanketflower and Mealycup Sage

Speaking of primary colors, the "too-red" (no ID) rose has been blooming.  It's a tough plant to have endured all those years of neglect and at least two transplants.

"Too-Red" Rose (NOID)

"Too-Red" Rose (NOID)

Another primary red!
This is an amaryllis I bought the bulb for last year (or maybe the year before)...

Amaryllis

This spring, I planted several amaryllis from Granny L.'s garden, but they had already finished blooming for the year.  If they don't bloom well, I need to remember to move them to a sunnier spot-- but I hope they'll be happy where they're planted.

Amaryllis

The Japanese magnolia in the front yard recently had a few late blooms.  It's strange, because most of the tree bloomed months ago!

Japanese Magnolia

The roses of Sharon have started blooming.
We have a few with all-white flowers.  (These always look Hawaiian to me, though I know that this type of hibiscus is not native to Hawaii.)

Rose of Sharon

Early this spring, I moved a double-purple rose of Sharon that I'd planted too close to the banana shrub.  When I dug it up, I saw that it was really two plants, so I split it into two trees, both of which I planted in the new Long Island Bed (in the middle of the front yard).  Both of them pulled through with flying colors and are currently in flower:

Rose of Sharon

Sometimes, they look very "cool lavender", as in the photo above.  Other times, they're a warmer lilac color:

Rose of Sharon

The ones grown from cuttings from Granny W.'s tree have little buds edged in dark red:

Rose of Sharon

But when they open, they're a pale/shaded carnation pink (with a few touches of maroon).  So pretty!  The "red-eyed single purple" rose of Sharon is also blooming, but I have no photo of that one to share, this time.

Rose of Sharon

Most of the liatris (blazing star) I planted either didn't come back this year or didn't even grow well in their first year.  A disappointing result.  I might try them again, sometime, but they've lost rank in my interest.  There are too many other plants to try!

Blazing Star

These unknown pink rose bushes responded well to their heavy pruning.

Pink Shrub Rose

There are new elephant ears in the semi-shade garden, this year.  In the foreground is 'Black Ripple', which is still gorgeous, but very small.

'Black Ripple' Colocasia

It's not nearly as "rippled" as in its most impressive photos online, but I think it might be rare that it is quite that extreme.  Even if it never gets more rippled than this, I'll be pleased by the impressive coloration.

'Black Ripple' Colocasia

Also in that part of the garden are a couple of starts of black-and-green elephant ears from Granny L.'s garden.  I'm not sure what the variety is, but maybe it's 'Illustris' (a.k.a. 'Imperial Taro'), which seems to be a common/classic elephant ear that looks very similar (to me, at least).  There are a few other pieces of this plant elsewhere around the yard.  At least one in the circular bed (over the septic tank) and another down in the shaded corner (not too far from the large gardenia).

Black-and-Green Elephant Ear

The mophead hydrangea is starting to bloom!

Mophead Hydrangea

The variegated lacecap hydrangea is flowering (sparsely), too (with "plain" elephant ears in the background):

Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea

Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea

The bog sage is getting geared up for the summer, both in its old location and in the sunny, dry Oval Bed.  So far, it seems equally happy in both spots.

Bumblebee on Bog Sage

Purple coneflowers are opening more and more flowers, now.

Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower

Oval Bed:

Oval Bed

This new canna lily is supposed to be 'Pretoria', but so far, the colors look wrong for that.  I'm wondering if it's going to turn out to be some other variety... Maybe 'Durban'?  The place I ordered it from sells that variety, and these first leaves look closer to that than to any other varieties they sell.  Hm... Well, this variety actually costs slightly (thirty whopping cents) more than the one I ordered, and I didn't already have 'Durban' (if that's what this is), so I probably won't contact the company over it.  I'm sure I can find 'Pretoria' elsewhere, if I decide I still want it.

Besides, some of the photos of 'Durban' are awfully impressive, so after looking at them, I would've wanted one, anyway!  (I may be getting confused but it seems that 'Durban' is either also known as or at least very similar to 'Phaison' and 'Tropicanna'.  There's some talk online to the effect that many/most of these tubers carry the canna virus, but I'm trying to ignore that.  I'm so sick of being bombarded by dire warnings and troubling news!  Time to stick my fingers in my ears... Na-na-na-na, I can't hear you, so stop raining on my parade! (g))

Variegated Canna

Speaking of bad news...
One day when I was headed out the main gate, I glanced down to see "our" baby cardinals on the rose arbor, only to find an empty nest!  They were just gone without a trace...  They were not yet to the fledgling stage (and we haven't seen them since), so I can only assume that they were eaten.  So disappointing, after watching since the nest-building phase.

This came just a couple days after we saw a horrible brown water snake kill a baby bunny in the semi-shade garden (where it must've been all along, only I never had a clue!), so it's taking a while to dispel a slightly gloomy, down-in-the-dumps, "Mother Nature is MEEN" mood.  The muggy weather we've been having isn't encouraging, either.

Oh well...
Here's one of the last several photos I took of the baby birds, before they disappeared.

Baby Cardinals

To end on a happier note, here are a few photos of the red-bellied woodpecker who's been visiting our feeder.  I have a feeling woodpeckers are probably generally unwelcome at bird feeders.  They seem like they could be food-hogs and bullies and sometimes destructive to property-- but, well, they're just birds, and it is a bird feeder.  At least it's not an invasive species, and it's interesting to watch.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

There's at least one male cardinal who will eat with him, though he's very cautious about it.  The cardinal will flee at the first sight of a human, too, whereas the woodpecker just keeps an eye on you and only budges if you get too close for comfort.

Cardinal and Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Even if I end up having to throw away some diseased cannas... Even if the new gladioli don't come back next year... Even if Mother Nature can be cruel... Even if weeds take over everything this summer... At least there were some good times along the way.

Cardinal and Red-Bellied Woodpecker


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Glad to See Gladiolus

Aren't you glad it's not more daylily photos? ;o)
(There are more, but it's time for a break.)

A few years ago, I planted a bag of mixed hybrid gladiolus corms here and there in a couple of flowerbeds.  Most of them have petered out, but a few persist.  The best of the bunch have been a small clump of them growing right next to the 'Victor' crepe myrtle.  They have not only returned year after year, but they've even begun to multiply (slowly).

These are the tall "florist"-style gladiolus.  (This year,  the tallest flower spikes were about five feet tall.)  Because they came in a mixed bag with no further information, I have no way of knowing which named cultivars these are.  My best guess is that the yellow-and-orange ones are 'Fiesta' and the white-and-pink ones are 'Priscilla'.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Hybrid Gladiolus

Hybrid Gladiolus

Hybrid Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Hybrid Gladiolus

Hybrid Gladiolus

Earlier this year, I blogged about the Gladiolus italicus that were new to the garden.  I've also planted some other types of gladiolus, including a sale-priced mix of "hardy glads"/Gladiolus nanus.  This was another case of not knowing exactly what cultivars would come in the mixed bag.

So far, two types from this mix have bloomed.  Today's post features photos of just one of those-- and it's one I'm not sure I can identify.  I think they look a lot like photos of 'Vulcano'-- I think that's the spelling, as opposed to "volcano" with an "o"-- but that's only a guess.

In any case, I think they're absolutely gorgeous.  They're significantly shorter and daintier than tall hybrids-- maybe about 2 feet tall.  The flowers are so much nicer than those of the Gladiolus italicus.  Much larger and more impressive.  The only question is how good they'll be about returning next year.  I don't intend to lift the corms, so they're on their own.  If they return, I might try more varieties of Gladiolus nanus in years to come.  If not, at least they were very pretty for this year-- but it's doubtful I'll buy more.

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus

Gladiolus nanus