My Delightful Garden: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day September 2015

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This has been the best gardening year I can remember. Until a dry spell arrived in September, we enjoyed consistent rainfall and moderate temperatures. There is nothing like moist soil and a cool morning to draw a gardener into the garden, and that’s where I went, leaving my blog behind me. Here are some of the things that have been delighting me.

Two hot-blooded plants finally take off

I’ve always grown cannas in pots. It seemed to make sense since I was just going to have to dig them up or let them die. But they rarely bloomed and never got very big. Quite possibly I didn’t realize how big they could get. This year, a friend gave me some and all the pots were spoken for, so I planted in them in the roadside bed in a spot where a peony would go in the fall.

mailbox bed with cannas

The roadside bed is coming along well for its first growing season. I’m especially pleased with the height of the cannas.

Wow! I didn’t even know I needed a big, bold foliage plant in that bed, but the bigger it got, the happier I was.
red and green leaved cannas

Bold foliage and brilliant flowers greet the traffic that drives by.

I’m thinking of trying some cannas with yellow variegation next year, or maybe even a couple of bananas! One thing you should know: many cannas (especially the least expensive ones) have been infected with Canna yellow streak virus. Because many cannas are meant to have variegated leaves, unsuspecting gardeners don’t realize their plants are infected. Gardeners with infected plants think the cannas aren’t thriving because the gardener didn’t care for them properly, when really the cannas were sick when purchased. See if your cannas look like the ones here (click). Infected plants should be destroyed. I know, I know–such a difficult thing to do.

I’ve also grown dahlias in pots for many years. It just seemed so easy to store them in the basement that way. But I had grown dahlias in the ground, too, and never seen them get like this:

Mingus Toni dahlia

The very tallest bloom is about five feet–as tall as me!

They still didn’t bloom until September. As a matter of fact, my other dahlia, Karma Prospero, still hasn’t bloomed. Both of these dahlias were sent to me by Craig Levy, a CCG contributor, in 2011. They had spent several years in pots and didn’t really grow well last year. So I planted them in the ground, and boy, did they appreciate it!
Mingus Toni dahlia

Mingus Toni dahlia

The Slope Garden Renovated

The Slope Garden was the only garden bed here when we moved in. Unamended clay, lots of rock, and no level ground made it difficult to weed–and since it was left to its own devices for more than a year before we moved in four years ago, the weeds had a very big head start, not to mention some of the more opportunistic perennials. This was the first year I managed to weed the entire thing, and, thanks to my son Evan, it was mulched as well. I was so-o-o-o happy to achieve this milestone.

coneflower liatris Lemon queen sunflower

One of the most flattering views of the Slope Garden

Helianthus Lemon Queen perennial sunflower

A close-up of the ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower (Helianthus hybrid) that you can see in the previous image.

Cherry Cheesecake hibiscus

‘Cherry Cheesecake’ hibiscus is a trial plant that’s doing well.

“Go big or go home” is my motto for the Slope Garden, and hardy hibiscus fit the bill. The hotter the summer, the faster they grow, so none of them bloomed before September this year.
color echo grass peony

Love the color echo between this ornamental grass and the peony foliage.

The ornamental grass above was already in the Slope Garden when we moved in and I have no idea what it is.
Japanese blood grass

I planted Japanese blood grass in the Slope Garden where it’s backlit by the setting sun.

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’) is considered invasive in warmer climates–at least, the taller, green form is. For years I though it wasn’t hardy here, but Deborah Banks, who gardens in a colder climate than mine, gave me some from her garden, and it is slowly knitting together.
Colchicum byzantinum growing in Lamium maculatum.

Colchicum byzantinum growing in Lamium maculatum.

These colchicums are blooming in the Slope Garden. Lots of colchicums are blooming now, but I’ll save the rest of them for a post of their own.

Still more delights

golden feverfew flower carpet pink supreme alyssum

A happy combo of golden feverfew, Pink Supreme Flower Carpet rose, and Gulf Winds alyssum.

Tesselaar Roses sent the Pink Supreme Flower Carpet rose for me to trial. Once they got going (they were small plants when shipped), they’ve been blooming non-stop. The alyssum is a sample from Renee’s Garden Seeds, and the golden feverfew is a passalong plant. It took the alyssum all summer to get to any size, as I just sprinkled it on the ground instead of starting it indoors, and I didn’t even get the feverfew until mid-July, so this tableau is just coming into its own. You can see the rose and the feverfew in the photo of the roadside bed at the beginning of the post.
Holy Moly Superbells

Holy Moly (yep, that’s its name) superbells

Three plants of this Calibrachoa, sent by Proven Winner to trial, nicely filled a 20-inch container. It won’t be available in garden centers until next year.
Double Click Pink Cosmos

Love these Double Click cosmos!

As with the alyssum, direct-sown cosmos don’t really start blooming until September. Kind of a bummer, since they will shrivel up in the first frost. But these Double Click cosmos from Renee’s Garden were worth waiting for!

I can’t remember when I’ve been able to immerse myself in gardening as I have this year. I know non-gardeners consider gardening to be work, but I get so absorbed in what I’m doing that I don’t even notice getting scratched or banged until hours later when I’m cleaning up. I hope that you’ve been able to enjoy this gardening year as well.

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.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

Les September 29, 2015, 8:00 pm

There’s nothing subtle about Holy Moly. I wish we had better luck with Calibrachoa. They come in so many colors and combinations, but they tend to crash here by mid-summer.

Kathy Purdy September 29, 2015, 9:10 pm

Come to think of it, they have petered out here other years. I think we had perfect weather for them, cool with consistent moisture (at least until September arrived).

Ilona September 28, 2015, 5:38 pm

You have some outstanding performers there! I love your superbells- mine melted out in our rains, for some reason. (maybe Ohio got more?)

The cosmos doesn’t even look like one, seems like a late summer peony :). Congratulations on so much beauty for the late season. I really like the slope bed with its subtle colors.

Kathy Purdy September 29, 2015, 9:09 pm

Yes, Ilona, that cosmos is amazing. They come in a range of colors, too.

Deborah Banks September 24, 2015, 8:50 pm

Beautiful! I love your cannas and dahlias; I didn’t mess with them this year. My hardy hibiscus (Fire Ball) is at its absolute best this year. Usually it gets just a handful of blooms open and is loaded with buds when frost strikes it down. This year it is really something (and now frost will get it).
Also I loved seeing your passalong plants that came from me! The Imperata even made it into the opening photo. 🙂

barbarapc September 23, 2015, 10:32 am

Kathy, isn’t it fabulous to have a year where hard work/weather and nature all conspire in such a perfect way. It’s all looking so beautiful. When you made your colchicum comment….I had no idea that you were an absolute colchicum professional!…mine – the paltry few I have get smaller every year, perhaps my sandy soil. So I’ll just have to come here to check them all out.

Kathy Purdy September 23, 2015, 12:02 pm

Barbara, I’m sorry to hear your colchicums are declining. They like good drainage–which you have–so my only other guess is they might want more sun. You can divide them either when they are in bloom, or when the leaves have just about disappeared. I usually dig them up when the leaves have turned yellow and fallen over, and at least some of them have gotten crispy. But then I store them in onion bags in my garden shed and replant in August. I have one kind that seems to be dwindling. It used to be growing next to a patch of dianthus. Said dianthus has expanded and I think is swamping this particular colchicum (‘Ordu’). So I will be moving it to less crowded quarters next spring or early summer.

michaele anderson September 22, 2015, 6:50 pm

So many great plants, Kathy. As much as I love, love, spring and adore the colorful beauty of summer…there is just something so special about easing into fall and how bountiful and lush everything seems.

Kathy Purdy September 22, 2015, 7:49 pm

If you had a winter like mine, you might not feel that way. Your whole winter is no worse than our November.

Donalyn@The Creekside Cook September 22, 2015, 9:03 am

So lovely, Kathy. I look at things from more of a veggie gardener’s point of view, and it has been a more challenging year for us. I love Japanese Blood grass, and mine has died out – I’ll have to get some for next year, if i can find a spot for it.

Kathy Purdy September 22, 2015, 2:11 pm

You are right about that, Donalyn, we didn’t get any cucumbers this year, for one thing. Unlike you, we have given up the fight against late blight and didn’t even try to grow tomatoes. And there are other vegetables that didn’t do well. So, I agree, the vegetable garden was more challenged.

Layanee DeMerchant September 22, 2015, 6:28 am

Gorgeous, Kathy. Love the cannas in the roadside bed.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern September 21, 2015, 3:52 pm

Beautiful, just beautiful! I love Cannas. I only had one bulb come back either because I didn’t dry them out properly for storage or they froze in my cellar or a combination of both. I have never tried Dahlias – definitely on my list. I somehow missed bloom day entirely. I have missed a lot of things like September, ha ha. But I am sure glad I didn’t miss your post. I love ornamental grasses and think that slope garden looks heavenly!

Jane Rutkowski September 21, 2015, 7:14 am

Kathy, what a lovely post. Your gardens are just beautiful. I couldn’t get over the height of the canna lilies either.