Flowers, Finally: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

– Posted in: What's up/blooming
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Supertunia Flamingo and Coleus Marooned GBBD Sept 2013

This container has looked lovely all summer

After whining all year about seeing too much bare dirt in my garden, I am happy to report the problem has been rectified by several annuals that finally got going this month, just in time for the first frost. Fortunately, a lot of the annuals I favor are not fazed by a light frost, so even though it takes most of the growing season for them to look “established,” they don’t bail out at the first chill. And many of them will reseed and return the next year, as long as I pay attention when weeding.

The container–window box, actually–above will probably last well into autumn just because it is on the deck, high above the coldest air. It is composed of Supertunia Flamingo, a trial plant from Proven Winners, and Colorblaze Marooned coleus, which was a trial plant from Proven Winners last year and which I liked enough to plant again. It was a really easy-care combination that looked good all summer, just like it does now.

My Favorite New Plant

Hibiscus Heartthrob

This hibiscus won my heart.

My favorite new plant is ‘Heartthrob’ hibiscus, which was a trial plant from Walters Gardens. Such a gorgeous color, such a vigorous plant, and in my large scale garden it fits right in. Just look at the color:
Close up of Heartthrob hibiscus from Walters Gardens

Backlit ‘Heartthrob’ hibiscus from Walters Gardens photo copyright Talitha Purdy

And here it is in the center of the Slope Garden (click on photo to enlarge):
The slope garden is looking good

The slope garden is looking good, at least from this angle.

I think that gives you some idea of the size of that hibiscus, and how you can see it from across the lawn. I have been working on the Slope Garden a section at a time, trying to take it back from the weeds and over-enthusiastic garden plants that had infiltrated while the house was between owners. There’s a lot more work to do, but since I recently weeded the edge that you can see, it looks pretty good from a distance. This is one bed where I wish I could see a bit more bare dirt than I do!

The Potager

This is the second year for Talitha’s potager, and this year she grew more flowers than vegetables. It, too, is probably at its peak of loveliness.

My daughter's potager

My daughter’s potager

She grew annual phlox in assorted colors, and they have really filled in nicely:
Annual phlox looks great in a cottage garden--or a vegetable garden!

Annual phlox looks great in a cottage garden–or a vegetable garden!

The Front Bed

The front bed has filled in with annuals.

The front bed has filled in with annuals.

Finally, no more bare dirt in the front. This particular scene is the result of my finding several packets of seeds that I had meant to sow much sooner. Normally I would scatter peony-poppy, Shirley poppy, larkspur, and love-in-a-mist on the bare ground before the last frost. I don’t remember when I sowed these this year, except it was after the last frost and I wasn’t certain they would germinate. Some time after that we did have some nights down in the 40s(F) and that was enough to get them going. Normally these would be July flowers, but they didn’t start blooming until the middle of August.
Cranberry Isle flowering tobacco

Cranberry Isle flowering tobacco

My sister Ro gave me a few seedlings of ‘Cranberry Isle’ nicotiana. Flowering tobacco takes off in August when a lot of other plants are winding down and it usually looks good for most of September. It is one of those favorite annuals mentioned in my first paragraph because it shrugs off light frost and self sows just enough. It seems to fit in anywhere and makes you look like you know what you’re doing.
Sweet Rosy--a double Oriental lily

Sweet Rosy–a double Oriental lily

Longfield Gardens sent me three kinds of double Oriental lily to try. This one is ‘Sweet Rosy’. So far none of these double lilies has fully opened for me, but their fragrance still wafts through the garden, which is good enough for me.
Hot Stuff sedum

Hot Stuff sedum looks better here than it ever did at the old house.

The contrast between the chartreuse leaves of ‘Hot Stuff’ sedum and the hot pink flowers grabs your attention. I like how this plant flatters the colchicums that are popping up everywhere.
'Winter Bells' hellebore is known for early blooming.

‘Winter Bells’ hellebore is known for early blooming.

Yes! I have hellebores blooming. Believe it! A year ago I was offered trial plants from Burpee and I focused on choosing hellebores that would bloom very late in autumn or in earliest spring. It takes a while for hellebores to settle in, so I am just beginning to see what these plants are capable of. Apparently ‘Winter Bells‘ is a rare hybrid and has been known to bloom in August. When I planted it, I sited it for viewing from our dining room window, and not for ease of photographing it. I had to go through some contortions to take its picture and all the rest were blurry. H. ‘Thanksgiving Bloom’ has also started, but the only open blossom was chewed by something and not worth photographing.
Cyclamen purpurascens is reputed to be hardy to USDA Zone 4

Cyclamen purpurascens is reputed to be hardy to USDA Zone 4

I bought Cyclamen purpurascens several years ago because it is reputed to be the hardiest cyclamen out there. It is doing just fine here and I think I will try C. hederifolium and C. coum, which are supposed to be almost as hardy.

That’s it for this month’s bloom day report. I know I got carried away, but it was wonderful to have an abundance of blooms to show to you.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

12 Comments… add one

Donna@Gardens Eye View September 25, 2013, 9:24 pm

Kathy everything is growing in so lush and gorgeous…

Rose September 20, 2013, 7:53 am

Wow, Kathy, I can see why you’re so excited about all these blooms–they’re lovely! Most of my annuals look pretty fried and tired right now. I’ve been admiring several hardy hibiscus I’ve seen in local gardens this year–this one is going on my plant wish list!

Corner Garden Sue September 17, 2013, 7:44 pm

You and your daughter’s gardens are looking beautiful! I am amazed at seeing a hellebore blooming this time of year.

Brian Bixley September 17, 2013, 7:27 pm

Hi Kathy, Cyclamen purpurascens is certainly hardy in our Zone 4 Canadian garden (which I think is approximately Z 3 US), while both the fall-flowering C. hederifolium and the spring-flowering C. coum persist and flower well with some winter mulch. There are few better plants for dry shade and they have, of course, marvellous foliage for long periods.
Brian

Kathy Purdy September 17, 2013, 9:23 pm

That is good to know. I expect to get some C. coum at the next rock garden meeting and I will remember to mulch them.

Michele in Salem September 16, 2013, 10:56 am

enjoyed your garden! I didn’t know that cyclamen could be hardy to zone 4. Looking forward to following! Michele

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern September 16, 2013, 9:23 am

Wow, my heart is throbbing for that hibiscus! Just beautiful! I love Nicotiana but never seem to have success with it in the ground. I should buy some seed and try it that way. That is a lovely clump you have growing!

Gail September 16, 2013, 7:24 am

Your garden is looking good Kathy….Now I must go out there and see if I can find anymore colchicums and the hardy cyclamen.

Carol - May Dreams Gardens September 16, 2013, 6:47 am

What a wonderful display, Kathy. Looks like all your hard work is paying off nicely in blooms galore. Thanks for joining in for bloom day.

Frances September 16, 2013, 5:14 am

Congratulations on getting rid of the bare dirt, Kathy! It does look lush and full and so pretty. You have put all those free plants to good use, too.

Tuckshop Gardener September 16, 2013, 3:44 am

What a fabulous hibiscus – LOVE it!

I garden in the UK and after our very late spring am finding that annuals like cosmos which normally flower from July are just starting to really get going. Dahlias have been a revelation for me this year for late season colour. So many to choose from and sooooo lovely for the garden and vase.

Julia Hofley September 15, 2013, 10:57 pm

Hi Kathy,
This was a wonderful report of what’s blooming in your neck of the woods! I enjoyed all of the plants featured and realize we do not have any colchicum…must work on that. You continue to inspire me with your enthusiasm and enjoyable writing. I’ve been working on writing much more and your blog makes me want to capture my garden that way with my thoughts and photos.
I love your new garden and your home looks just lovely~
xo

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