Bright Spots and Lots of Texture: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day September 2014

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

Unlike mid-summer when there are large drifts of color in the garden, the late summer garden has bright spots and lots of texture,” says my friend Layanee, and I couldn’t agree more. Many plants have finished blooming, their foliage and seedheads now providing texture, some plants are just reaching their peak, and still others are getting a second wind. The special charm of autumn is the contrast between old and new.

Crown Princess Margareta, a David Austin rose

Crown Princess Margareta, a David Austin rose, grows on her own roots and so far has proven hardy here.

Many roses bloom a second time in the fall, and ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ is one of them
Irish Eyes rudbeckia

‘Irish Eyes’ rudbeckia

I am growing several types of rudbeckia (coneflower) this year, all started from seed a year ago. I think they are all variants of Rudbeckia hirta and I don’t know if they’ll show up again next year or not.
autumn gloriosa blend

I believe this is Autumn Gloriosa blend.

A couple of my hydrangeas sent up one or two long branches, head and shoulders above the rest of the shrub. Not sure what is up with that.
Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea

This is the blooming end of an exceptionally tall branch of Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea.

‘Vanilla Strawberry’ has the largest individual florets of any of the white/pink-flowered hydrangeas I grow. You can only see the “vanilla” in this bloom, but the older blossoms down near ground level are flushed with “strawberry” pink.
Colchicum byzantinum

Colchicum byzantinum

What would autumn be without colchicums? C. byzantinum was my introduction to this fascinating genus, growing in the neglected garden of the 19th century farmhouse I moved into decades ago, and it has quite a history of its own.
Colchicum byzantinum Innocence

Colchicum byzantinum ‘Innocence’

‘Innocence’ is the white form of this flower. Uh-oh, look at that flush of pink! How’d that get there?
Tiger Cub corn

‘Tiger Cub’ ornamental corn

Yes, this is the same genus and species as the corn you buy at the farmer’s stand, in a dwarf, dressed-up version. I have Nan Ondra to thank for the seeds. Here’s another ornamental edible:
Garlic chives

Garlic chives

They’d actually look more attractive with a backing of greenery and some contrasting flowers–say, purple asters–but I planted them up against the house with my other herbs. Soon there will be garlic chive seedlings to plant in other locations.
Tuberous begonia

Tuberous begonia

This was my first summer growing a tuberous begonia. I am going to try to winter over the tubers and grow it again next year. I’ll let you know if I succeed!

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.

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

Comments on this entry are closed.

Donna@GardensEyeView September 29, 2014, 4:42 pm

My Colchicum are up and blooming profusely…love the blooms you are still seeing.

Les September 25, 2014, 7:40 pm

I love that corn and may try to locate some seed. For next summer at work, we are trying to work in as many ornamental edibles into our annual beds that fit the design. We are really playing lose with the term edible though.

Frank September 18, 2014, 6:42 am

It looks like you have more than just a few bright spots, looks like quite a few! How does strawberry vanilla stand up for you? I’ve been wanting it for a few years but read somewhere it can be floppy, which I don’t want…. A little would be ok, but not the whole shrub!
I need to go out and look at the colchicums today. I suspect one of my noids might be a match for c. Byzantinum. One down! (Plus the ‘lilac wonder’ you named last fall, but that still leaves a few others)

Betsy September 17, 2014, 4:35 pm

Kathy, I just love your blog. Have you ever grown rudbeckia triloba? I know it’s a weed but such a well behaved one!

Kathy Purdy September 18, 2014, 8:13 am

Thank you, Betsy. I might have a R. triloba in front. It just showed up near a plant from a friend. I’m planning on keeping it but relocating it.

J September 17, 2014, 8:25 am

I have a tuberous begonia that was given to me this summer. I was wondering if I could over winter it. What are your plans? I was just thinking about it last night as I realize the blooms have faded.

Kathy Purdy September 17, 2014, 10:08 am

I haven’t researched it yet, though I know I’ve read how to do it before. I think once it goes dormant, it gets stored in damp peat moss until spring. Just google it, that’s what I will do.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern September 17, 2014, 8:21 am

Wonderful! I love that Irish Eyes Rudbeckia. I should hack my huge gain of the Black Eye and add some variety. Just love that Tiger Cub corn! And who wouldn’t envy your Colchicum collection. I like my garlic chives next to Purple Perilla but both are brutes in my Potager.

Alice September 17, 2014, 7:36 am

I was going to say–before seeing the comment above–you should consider dead-heading those garlic chive blooms before the seed is fully ripe. Otherwise, you will probably end up with a lot more seedlings than you need! Timing is all.

Kathy Purdy September 17, 2014, 10:10 am

Well, Alice, I know my sister wants some, and I expect a lot will die over the winter. They really didn’t seed a whole lot at my old house, but I know other gardeners have a lot of trouble with them.

michaele anderson September 17, 2014, 7:18 am

What a nice surprise to have that fresh ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ bloomhead standing like a tall sentry…keeping watch over its already pinked up companions.

Layanee September 17, 2014, 7:08 am

Wow! Thank you for the link. It is gratifying to know that someone actually reads the words I write! 🙂 You know I have a ‘Kathy Colchicum’. Every time it blooms I think of your generosity since you sent me that bulb. Gardeners do have a most generous spirit.

Dee Nash September 17, 2014, 6:48 am

Kathy, do garlic chives spread a lot for you? Here, in the south central U.S., it spreads like a little beastie. I’ve relegated it to outside the garden fence. I love seeing your bright spots. We are seeing lots of seeds here too.~~Dee

Kathy Purdy September 17, 2014, 10:13 am

Dee, what usually happens is a lot of seedlings sprout in the fall, but don’t make it through the winter. I think the heavy clay soil kills a lot of them off. I usually get a few seedlings in spring, not many. Of course, that was at the old house, where this clump came from. Time will tell.