I’m not a big fan of hyacinths in general. They’re pretty enough but they smell quite awful. Some people like it, I guess but it’s too much for me. Anyway, they are pretty cheery in the garden.
Tagged With: Pink
Most of the camellias in my mom’s yard have been touched by the cold weather we’ve had lately. This bush is absolutely covered with formerly perfect pink blossoms but now most of them are touched around the edges with brown. Still, from a distance it’s an amazing sight.
Oh, and they make me think of my dad, which is also really nice.
I thought I’d post another hyacinth photo, now that they are fully open. Julia, this one’s for you.
We planted this flowering almond when we first moved into the house. It was given to Cathy by a friend. It never gets more than about three feet tall and dies back almost to the ground every other year. Still, when it’s in bloom, it’s pretty nice. And it doesn’t need any pruning.
This is a nice rugosa hybrid that booms all summer long. The flowers have an intense clove scent that I really love. The only downside is that the shrub is so tall and most of the roses are on the top so you usually see them from below. Still, it will have a lot of blooms shortly and will be something to see.
Normally I’d be the last person to suggest that anyone grow a multiflora rose. About them the great plantsman Michael Dirr says, “use this species with the knowledge that none of your gardening friends in the immediate vicinity will ever speak to you again.”
Still, when I came across a bright pink multiflora — it is almost certainly a natural hybrid but it is a multiflora in every way except petal color — I decided I had to have it. I dug up a small piece and it’s thriving on my back fence. The parent plant was destroyed, so I got it just in time.
It’s really a lovely shrub and it is absolutely covered with hundreds of flowers and thousands of buds. Just don’t tell Spencer.
Next to our front door is this sweet little China rose, ‘Perle d’Or’ (Joseph Rambaux/Rambaud, France, 1884). It’s just about through with it’s first main flush but it will have at least a few flowers on it from now until the first frost. A wonderful scent, as well.
On August 31, 1931, the U. S. Patent Office granted plant patent number 1 to Henry Bosenberg for the rose ‘New Dawn’. There’s a lot to like about this rose but not least is that it so reliably reblooms and it has such beautiful, shiny green foliage that doesn’t have problems with black spot, even here in Maryland. I got my plant from my coworker, Kamala and it’s growing up and over the back fence. This brings “rose week” to a close as this is the last of the nine roses in our garden.
Commonly known as spider flower, Cleome hassleriana is a really nice plant. It’s probably just as well that it’s an annual or it might get out of hand. This is its first bloom of the summer in our yard and it should continue until early fall.
Last year in my Project 365 I posted a picture of this rose on Day 142, May 22, 2011. I know that you have to be a bit daft to actually plant a multiflora rose, particularly in a small garden. The great English rosarian, Graham Stuart Thomas, says in The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book (Sagapress, 1994):
It can best be described as an arching shrub, although its shoots will ramble into trees as high as 20 feet. Normally it makes a dense thicket of interlacing lax shoots, much like a blackberry. So dense is it, indeed, that when planted closely as a hedge it is rabbit-proof, and so thickly do its stems grow that it is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and also in Britain as a roadside plant, for its resilient thicket can hold a car which runs off the road. What a use for a rose! On the other hand, how lucky we are to be able to provide so pretty and sweet a shrub for such a use. It is claimed in America that it is “horse high, bull strong and goat tight.
Thomas, of course, was a rose person. How bad can any rose be? On the other hand, Michael A. Dirr is a more general horticulturalist. He has a little different opinion of R. multiflora in his well respected, 1,187 page Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Fifth Edition, Stipes Publishing, 1998).
Under the heading “Habit” he says, “A fountain with long, slender, recurving branches; eventually forming an impenetrable tangle of brush suitable only for burning.” About its growth rate he says, “fast; too fast for most farmers who have this species in their fields.” His description for “Culture” is, “Same as described under R. rugosa although this species is more invasive; tolerates dry heavy soils very well.”
He goes on with an entry for “Landscape Value” of “None in the residential landscape; has received a lot of attention for conservation purposes; makes a good place for all the ‘critters’ to hide, yet can be a real nuisance for the birds deposit the seeds in fence rows and open areas, and soon one has a jungle; use this species with the knowledge that none of your gardening friends in the immediate vicinity will ever speak to you again.” Finally, he gives the following “Additional Notes.” “Utilized as an understock for budding the highly domesticated selections. Another species that appears resistant to black-spot and the typical rose diseases. I cannot overemphasize the invasive and greedy nature of this species. Have observed entire pastures/fields invaded and captured by the plant.”
Having said all that, I’m a fan of places for all the critters to hide. Also, this pink sport or more likely a natural hybrid, was growing at the edge of the woods near my office. I dug up a small piece and within a month all that was growing there had been sprayed and killed. Some would argue that I should have let it all be killed but this pink version, which is very similar in almost every way to the species, seemed worth keeping. The difference it in the flowers — they are larger than the species, as well as being a beautiful, dainty pink. There are somewhat fewer of them, but still enough. The leaves seem entirely free of rust, mildew, and black-spot.
Actually, my ultimate goal is to try to produce a tetraploid version of this diploid rose. That would be valuable for hybridizing, because some many important roses are tetraploid. Whether I can actually do that remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ll continue to prune this hard, trying to keep it contained, and I’ll do it with the knowledge that none of my gardening friends in the immediate vicinity will ever speak to me again.
Another rose photo taken on Monday. Don’t worry, I’m almost out of roses. I posted a few pictures of this rose on May 12 last year along with a fairly lengthy description of R. multiflora. That should be enough of a description to keep anyone from planting this in their garden, but then, this pink version is a little special. Wouldn’t it be nice to get this pink color, along with the well known multiflora resistance to blackspot and incredible vigor, into a repeat flowering rose? That’s my ultimate goal. Not sure what to cross it with, at this point, but I’m thinking. I’d also like to try my hand at creating a tetraploid version of this rose and see what that looks like. Of course, I’ve been meaning to work on that for quite a few years. Some day…
The roses are really starting to bloom, finally. This is one that only blooms once during the year but it’s beautiful when it does. It also have very healthy, disease resistant foliage, so it looks pretty good the rest of the year, although it’s just green, of course. This is a found rose and seems to me to be mostly R. multiflora. The wonderful pink flowers, however, speak of some other genes in the mix. I think this rose might contribute to some interesting breeding work and for years I’ve considered it, but so far, haven’t actually done anything.
It’s time for my annual photo of the Rosa multiflora hybrid I have in our back garden. This is a natural hybrid, found growing in the woods near my office. The parent plant is no longer there, because about a month after I dug up a piece it was sprayed and killed. Normally that’s the right thing to do with R. multiflora but this one is special to me, because of the pink blooms that cover the plant this time of year for about a week. It’s quite lovely. It would be even better, of course, if it repeated but one cannot have everything. It’s a vigorous plant, as one would expect with a multiflora hybrid, and handsome as a large patch of green on the back fence, even when not in bloom. It takes a bit of extra care, pruning and cutting out dead wood every couple years, but it’s well worth the effort. That effort is made more difficult by the quantity (large) and quality (also large and very sharp) thorns that absolutely cover the canes. Still, worth it.
The rain continued today but I went out briefly to take a few pictures. The large, pink Rosa multiflora (or mostly multiflora, anyway) shrub against our back fence is covered with buds and is just starting to come into bloom. In a few days, and certainly in less than a week, it will be covered with pink flowers. At this point there are only occasional flowers and lots and lots of buds. But in the rain, even that can be pretty, I think. It builds anticipation, if nothing else.
A few days ago this plant was a mass of buds in the rain. Now the rain has stopped and the buds are opening. Individually the flowers are not really all that amazing, five small, simple, pink petals around a bunch of yellow stamens. In mass they are quite impressive. The entire plant is turning from green to pink and will get pinker before it is done. I picked out one picture to post here and then second guessed myself. I found that I couldn’t decide which one I liked better so I’m posting them both.
Of course, like most rose species, this one only blooms once and then it’s done for the year. It also has very little fragrance. My dream is to cross this with roses that repeat and which have fragrance to get some of the multiflora vigor and disease resistance into a new group of hybrids. Whether that’s ever going to happen is anyone’s guess. Another project, even before crossing it with anything else, is an attempt to double the chromosomes. R. multiflora is, like many rose species, diploid (it has 14 chromosomes). Many hybrid garden roses, including most hybrid teas and floribundas and a lot of the roses I’d cross like to make crosses with, are tetraploid (28 chromosomes). For breeding purposes, a cross between a diploid and a tetraploid is problematic because it produces triploid offspring, which are, with notable exceptions, sterile.
My pink multiflora rose is in full bloom. I suspect it isn’t 100% R. multiflora, because those have white flowers and this is clearly not white. What the rest of its genetic makeup is, I really couldn’t say. R. virginiana would be a reasonable guess. The color is right. The leaves are definitely R. multiflora and it’s got the requisite resistance to black spot. It’s possibly a bit less vigorous, but that’s probably something in its favor. R. multiflora will generally take over and this is large, but fairly well behaved. Pity it only blooms once, but then, the same can be said for the azaleas.
Dorothy went to camp this morning so I gave Jonathan a ride to the farm. He plans to stay there for the week and Dorothy will pick him up on Friday. While I was there I took a few pictures of this trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) growing on a post in front of their garage. This is a native honeysuckle to the southeastern United States. The flowers are not fragrant but are quite pretty, with scarlet to orangish red on the outside and yellowish inside. They are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
This morning I took some pictures of a print that was left with us on Saturday for Tsai-Hong. It was made by one of Ralph’s caving friends who came to the memorial and it’s a somewhat impressionistic scene from a cave. But late this evening I realize I hadn’t taken any other pictures today and I didn’t want to post a picture of something that’s copyrighted as my photo of the day. In consequence, today’s picture is of some flowers that my mom got for the memorial and which have been on our dining room table since.
As many of you know, we were at the beach last week. I’m going to try to get caught up posting pictures so expect two per day for the next week. We had a relatively easy drive down on Saturday, covering the 420 or so miles in a little over 7.5 hours. It was drizzling when we left home, then south of Richmond we had mostly sunny skies. We had rain going around Wilmington, NC and it was cloudy and threatening after that. The sunset was pretty amazing, with the color from the sky turning the ocean an amazing color.
This hydrangea has taken a few years to get established. Last year it was eaten back by the deer, which didn’t do it a whole lot of good. We’ve managed to protect it (or have simply been lucky) this year and it’s doing much better. We planted it and another, blue hydrangea a few years ago but the other didn’t make it. This seems happy and the flowers, white and pink, are quite nice against the green of our back border. We’ll need to do a little pruning to keep the forsythia from covering it up, but I think it’s well on its way to being a favorite late summer bloomer.
Originally planted in a pot outside our front door, this hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) has been coming up around the front step every year since and getting a little larger each year. It isn’t what I’d call invasive, but it’s certainly found a spot where it is very happy. The leaves have wonderful, red veins and the flowers are a delicate pink. The male flowers have bright yellow stamens and the female flowers are pendulous and pink with less obvious yellow stigmas. Overall it’s less than two feet tall and very welcoming as we come home. The relatively cool and protected spot is probably important to its doing so well.
As I was writing this I got to wondering where the name Begonia comes from. It is in honor of Michel Bégon (1638-1710), a French government official and avid plant collector.
I decided to take some pictures of plants on the driveway this evening. One that I got pictures of is an elephant ear, otherwise known as taro and more precisely called Colocasia esculenta. After that I started taking some pictures of the pale pink flowers on an autumn flowering stonecrop, probably ‘Autumn Joy’, also known as ‘Herbstfreude’. Although these are often referred to as sedum, they have been reclassified as a Hylotelephium species. As I was taking the pictures, this eastern carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) came and gave me another point of interest.
I posted a picture of this same dahlia on Monday, September 18, 2017, so you’ll have to excuse the repetition. Although it’s not particularly large for a dahlia flower, it’s very pretty. Also, the plant has very dark purple, not-quite-black foliage. It’s lovely overall and we definitely need to dig up the tuber and try to keep it for next year. We’ve never actually done that before and I’m not sure how successful we’ll be. They are supposed to be stored in a damp place all winter in temperatures that are between 45°F and 50°F, which is a pretty narrow range and not something we have naturally in our house. Our basement is cool but not that cool and we do our best to make it dry, not humid (it’s currently at 38% relative humidity). So, we’ll see what we can do.
For the last few days I’ve noticed this cherry tree in bloom. I’m afraid it’s been terribly confused by the mild fall we’ve been having and it’s going to be mightily disappointed when it gets colder rather than warmer. Well, it won’t actually be conscious of the weather. It’s just a tree. But I think it unlikely any fruit will come of this out-of-season blooming. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty little tree and gives me something to think about on an otherwise unremarkable commute. For a few days I’ve been meaning to stop to take pictures and today I did. Enjoy.
Our Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) is blooming right on schedule this year. It’s such a cheerful color to brighten up the kitchen and I’m happy for it. It’s a fairly unassuming plant most of the year but as with many cacti, its flowers are remarkable. We have a half dozen of them and some are doing better than others but they are relatively easy plants, not asking for a lot of attention, which is good, because they really don’t get much from us. And yet, this is what they give us.
This is the first real flower I’ve had on this Lenten Rose. It sort of bloomed last year but the flower was somewhat deformed and was missing more than half its petals. This year it’s got a serious flower and I think this may become one of my favorites. Off hand I don’t remember the variety name but I should be able to track it down somewhere. As you can see, it’s a double flowered variety and the pink edges to the petals is quite nice. This is under the trees right out back and when it gets a bit larger it will be very obvious this time of year.
Update: I looked up the variety and it’s Helleborus ‘Rose Quartz’ (although the order actually said Rose Quarts).
The house Cathy grew up in has two star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) in the front yard. They bloom early and their petals are quite tender so it’s actually more common for them to be frost damaged than not. The snow and cold we had yesterday has done a little damage to the petals, as you can see on this bud. Nevertheless, if it doesn’t get cold again, this tree could put on a wonderful show in a week or so. But we aren’t out of the woods yet, in terms of frost and there’s plenty of time for these blooms to be wiped out. They’re lovely as they are, of course, but on the rare occasion the trees bloom without any petal burn, they are quite spectacular.
The Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’ has begun to bloom in the shady northern corner of our yard. It’s more shady later in the year, when the oak that is over it has leaves. This time of year it gets a fair amount of sun from mid morning through early afternoon. This is a pretty little plant, barely showing itself over the Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese pachysandra). There are some others coming up, as well. And our early, small daffodils are in bloom. In spite of the snow we had last week, it’s really starting to look, if not to feel, like spring.
Eight days ago (see Friday, March 23, 2018) I posted a picture of a star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) bud. I commented that the petals were slightly burned by the cold but that in about a week or so the flowers should be open and if there is not another serious frost, they would look wonderful. Well, we haven’t had another significant frost and the tree does, indeed, look great. You can see a little burning on the tip of a petal or two but overall, they don’t look at all bad. It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday with a rich, blue sky and the star magnolia petals, mostly white touched with pink, were lovely.
The cherry trees around here often bloom over a fairly wide range of dates, with some finishing up before others even get started. There are trees in full bloom and others that are barely showing any buds. I was at the school today (Dorothy’s high school) and on the way out passed a few that were pretty close to being in full bloom. So, I stopped and took some pictures. It rained off and on today, so the flowers were wet and the sky behind the tree was white, rather than any sort of contrasting blue. Still, the pale pink of the flowers is quite nice. Interestingly, the tree next to this has noticeably darker pink flowers. Close up, it isn’t so obvious but when looking at the trees next to each other, it’s easy to see.
Some things are worth waiting for. If they were not, we’d have a hard time planning for anything farther away than next week, I guess. Some things, like trees and to a lesser extent shrubs, take a while to be worth planting. In the spring of 2010, I planted a small Camellia japonica called ‘Pink Perfection’. It was small to begin with and struggled through the first couple years. I’ve lowered the pH of the soil around it, and that seems to have helped significantly. It bloomed a few times the first year but hasn’t bloomed since until now. Hopefully it is becoming well enough established that it will begin to grow and we’ll get more like this in the years to come.
This little shrub seems to barely make it through each winter but then in late April, it surprises us with stems covered with beautiful, very double flowers of delicate pink. I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to find this plant for my garden if I didn’t already have it, but I’m certainly glad for it, since I already do. It isn’t spectacular and it isn’t large. On the other hand, it takes virtually no care. I just cut off the branches that have died from the previous year and it continues to do its thing. Who could ask for more?
Our second cherry tree is in full bloom. The two trees are different varieties and are quite different from each other. The first to bloom has small, single, pale pink flowers. This one, which blooms two to four weeks later, has large, frilly, double flowers of a much more vibrant pink. It’s also a healthy tree. The first to bloom is slowly dying. Each year, another branch goes. I’ve planted an apple tree not too far from the dying cherry and that will eventually will take its place. There is a second apple behind this cherry. They are ‘Goldrush’ and ‘Arkansas BLack’, the former a late-maturing yellow apple and the latter a dark red.
This pink flower dogwood (Cornus florida) is blooming again and it’s a lovely color. The tree is way to close to the house and eventually I need and plan to take it out. I’ve planted a Camellia japonica under it, a little further from the house, with the hope of letting that take its place. Unfortunately we had a week early in the winter with temperatures below 5°F, which were pretty hard on the not-terribly-hardy camellia and it was pretty badly damaged. It doesn’t look entirely dead, but it sure was killed back quite a bit. Still, it may pull through. I’ll need to be sure to keep it watered well in the heat of the summer and we’ll hope for the best.
Pretty much every year I post a picture of this rose. It’s a multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) that I collected from the edge of the woods near my office. Shortly after I dug up a piece, the area was sprayed and the mother plant was killed. This has done quite well in the yard until this year. For some reason, this and the rugosa hybrid ‘Roseraie De l’Hay’ nearly died. Another rose, ‘Blush Noisette’, died completely. I also had to remove my ‘New Dawn’ because of rose rosette virus, Happily, there is one old cane as well as another new cane coming up on this shrub, so all is not lost. Here are all my posts with pictures of this rose.
One more rose picture and then I’ll move on to something else for a little while. On the south end of the house I have this ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster’ growing. Like the ‘Perle d’Or’ featured yesterday, this didn’t have any problem this winter. I’m convinced the death and near death of the roses in the back are location-related. Anyway, this one is fine. It’s a fairly tall, somewhat gangly thing but it does have these nice, pink blossoms off and on throughout the summer. That garden has become somewhat overgrown recently and is in desperate need of attention, possibly to the point of digging it out almost completely and starting over. There is bindweed (a.k.a. morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea) throughout. But this rose I would keep. ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster’ is the first of the Noisette roses, bred by John Champneys in South Carolina circa 1811. It is a cross Rosa moschata and either ‘Parsons’ Pink China’ or ‘Champneys’ Bengal Rose’.
Also, dig the little, unidentified plant bug on the flower on the left.
The evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa) are in bloom and they are quite lovely. They have spread through the garden but I wouldn’t call them an aggressive species, we don’t mind. We can easily pull them up if they show up where they aren’t wanted and generally, our garden isn’t so well organized that it matters. They are native to the southern half of the contiguous United States. They make a nice addition to any garden, blooming in the evening, their airy, pink blossoms particularly lovely in the dusk.
In 1966, Cathy’s family lived in Bangkok, Thailand. In December of that year the fifth Asian Games, also known as V Asiad, were held there. While going through things from her mom’s house, we found a fan of woven and dried palm leaves, dyed green and pink, with a sticker commemorating the games. The sticker says, “Fifth Asian Games, Ever Onward, Bangkok 1966” surrounding a red sun (the official logo of the games) and with twenty interlocking yellow circles. Interestingly, the logo displayed on the Wikipedia page for the even only has eleven circles and they are blue but all the commemorative coins I’ve found photos of have twenty. Not sure what the deal is with that.
We also have a few t-shirts, souvenirs from both the 1966 games and from the sixth Asian Games, held in 1970, also in Bangkok, Thailand. According to Wikipedia, Éc;Originally Seoul, South Korea was selected to host the 6th Games but it declined due to both financial reasons and security threats from neighboring North Korea but eventually the city finally hosted in 1986. Previous host Thailand stepped in to save the Asiad. A total number of 2,400 athletes, coming from 18 countries, competed in this Asiad.”
One interesting thing about this fan is the mistake in the weaving. Can you spot it? Once you see it, you cannot not see it, I’m afraid.
We really should plant more of this. The pink flowers in the foreground are Cleome ‘Señorita Rosalita’ and they really are lovely. They also bloom pretty much continuously all summer and well into the fall. We have just a few plants growing in a container on the back patio. They are pretty much overwhelmed by the yellow of the black-eyed Susans that are all around. I think if we had a larger container or two filled with Cleome, it would be pretty nice. I should make a point of buying a few packets of next year and getting them started early.
We had a really lovely sunset this evening. There were clouds at two different levels. The higher clouds were lit by the setting sun while the lower clouds were mostly grey. The lower clouds, however, were scattered and you could see the upper clouds through the gaps between them. Also, they lower clouds were moving very quickly, both in absolute terms and relative to the higher clouds. It was quite beautiful and changed from moment to moment. There were also at least two bats flying around the yard, hopefully eating mosquitoes. There’s one in this picture, although I’m not sure I could identify it as a bat from the photographic evidence if I hadn’t seen it while I was taking the picture.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day and after church we decided to drive out to Rocklands Farm (http://www.rocklandsfarmmd.com/) and enjoy being outdoors. We walked around and I took some pictures of oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) growing on fence posts. The little fruits were quite lovely in the afternoon sun. I also took some nice pictures of the barn reflected in the pond that’s below it. I decided to post this picture, though, because it’s a little different from the fall colors that have so dominated my posting of late. This is a cosmos flower photographed from behind and I think it’s quite pretty in an understated sort of way.
I hope you won’t mind one more Hellebore. This one is called ‘Rose Quartz’ and like the crocus pictured yesterday, it is in the bed out back with lily of the valley and Vinca minor. This is only its second year blooming and while there are more flowers this year, it’s still not a huge, robust plant yet. Lenten rose is a long-lived perennial and although they take a while to get established, they take very little care and are quite sturdy. The Latin name for the genus, Helleborus, comes from the Greek helein (ἑλεῖν), meaning “to injure”, and bora (βορά), meaning “food” because the leaves, stems, and roots are poisonous to humans.
I had some car trouble today. My van, which has just over 269,000 miles on it, started making a terrible grinding noise when I put on the breaks. I thought, I don’t care, bad breaks aren’t going to stop me! But seriously, there are car repairs you can put off and car repairs you can’t put off. Brakes are in the latter category. After having Cathy meet me at the mechanic’s we stopped at the commuter parking lot near the ICC and I took some pictures of the cherry blossoms.
The hyacinths are in bloom. They aren’t as perfectly formed spikes of flowers as we’ve had some years, but they’re still pretty nice. I don’t care for the sickeningly sweet smell of hyacinths abut they look nice and as long as they’re out in the yard, I don’t mind. There are a few deep, rich, purple hyacinths just starting to bloom, as well, but those are even less full than the pink. Still, they make a nice contrast and look especially good with the yellow of daffodils. Sadly, the daffodils in the back yard are late enough they they won’t bloom at the same time, at least not this year.
Cathy bought two columbine plants (Aquilegia) on Sunday and this is one of them. It’s not the standard, native Aquilegia canadensis with its drooping flowers and distinctive spurs. The label had no information on it beyond Aquilegia so I don’t know what the variety name is or anything. It’s quite pretty and I photographed it in the late afternoon sun, to help light up the delicate pink petals. We have a fair amount of columbine in the yard, although most of it is self-seeded volunteers and is a dark, maroon color. I doubt the seeds from this will be anything like it is, but you never know, maybe we’ll start getting some new varieties around the yard.
I’m posting this out of order but I was looking back at the pictures I took on Sunday and decided I should add this one. Remember, just because I say I’ll take at least one picture every day, I’m not limited to posting only one picture per day. After church and our visit to the Stadtman Preserve we went to my mom’s to get one more document with some numbers I needed for her tax return. Before we left Cathy and I walked over to a small grove of saucer magnolias growing near by. The saucer magnolia is a hybrid, known as Magnolia x soulangeana and is a cross between M. denudata and M. liliiflora. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the specific epithet “honors Chevalier Etienne Soulange-Bodin (1774-1846), Director of the French Royal Institute, who crossed this hybrid in the early 1800s.”
We have this little flowering almond shrub in our front garden near the corner of our garage. It never gets very big because it’s not entirely hardy here and every couple years it dies back pretty hard. We actually had a few days when the temperature was nearing 0°F (-18°C) but it seems to have come through it practically unscathed. The flowers, clustered around the stems, are fairly small, only a half inch or so across. Never the less, they are quite pretty, both individually and as a whole. It’s really a shame this doesn’t get bigger because it would be spectacular.
The regular flowering cherries are pretty much finished but there are these double-flowered cherries and they still look wonderful. Not only are they a considerably stronger pink than the single variety but the flowers are much larger, measuring a few inches across. They are somewhat hard to photograph because the best views of the flowers are had looking up at them and when they are backlit by a bright sky, they tend to go quite dark. This one turned out pretty well.
We’re coming up to the peak of rose season. Many roses bloom all summer, of course, and we naturally love that about them. But even those that repeat bloom start the season with the best display of the year. This rose, a Noisette rose bred by Champneys in 1811, is a reliable repeat bloomer but it is getting set to be absolutely covered with flowers. It is growing on the south end of our house where it gets plenty of sun and seems to be fairly happy. We need to work to keep the bindweed off of it, but other than that, it requires little care. And such a pretty little thing.
I really like roses and I’ve posted photos of them here fairly often, trying to get each of my roses featured at least once a year. I also like to visit my friend Nick, who often opens his rose garden on Memorial Day weekend. He didn’t this year, for personal reasons, but I thought I’d post a rose photo, anyway. The rose that’s blooming that I haven’t featured yet this year is a landscape rose that our neighbor gave me a few years ago. It’s growing in a nice, sunny spot behind our garage and is quite happy there, blooming profusely (as you can see). I’m not as big a fan of these roses as I might be, mainly because they have little to no fragrance. But I can’t fault them in terms of blooming and ease of care. If you want a rose that will bloom all summer and which you can basically ignore, this is probably the rose for you. They really are quite spectacular when they really get going.
We’ve had coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea) growing in our garden and in containers pretty much since we have been able to have a garden. It’s not the sturdiest of plants and we’ve had to replace them from time to time. I may be forgetting something but I think this is currently our only plant, growing in a container in the driveway. It’s fairly happy, probably because the containers get watered more regularly throughout the summer than the in-ground plantings. Also, although this gets a bit of direct morning sun, it’s in bright, open shade by early afternoon so it doesn’t bake. It seems to be happy and it blooms quite freely, which is nice.
Generally you look west in the evening to see the sunset and the best colors are often in that direction. This evening the best view was to the east, as seen here. Although we’re on the eastern coast of North America, the coastline runs almost due east-west right here. So, rather than the sun rising over the ocean and setting over land, it rises to the left on the beach and sets to the right. Although I took a lot of pictures, mostly what I was doing was enjoying the reflections of the light as each wave receded, leaving a very flat, highly reflective surface on the lower beach.
This spring Cathy planted some zinia and marigold seeds. She’s talked about doing that for a few years but this year she actually got them planted. They grew under a plant light in our dining room in the late winter and into the early spring. They probably were started a little early because by the time it was safe to plant them outside they were a bit leggy and had already started to bloom. Still, I’d say they constituted a success. This one is growing in a pot on the back patio and it has pretty flowers. Not a lot of them, but every little bit counts.
It’s been pretty dry lately. Not drought dry, but normal August in the DC area dry, which is dry enough for me. I’ve never been attracted to deserts and am happy when rain comes (within reason). We had a good rain today. Not the all-day soaking rain we’re more likely to get starting in September but a good rain, nonetheless. When it had mostly stopped, I took a few pictures of water droplets on leaves, starting with the leaves of this rose. It’s the China rose ‘Perle d’Or’ just outside our front door and it’s happily blooming and doing very well after being killed back a little last winter.
With more than 1,800 species, the genus Begonia is one of the largest genera of flowering plants. That doesn’t take into account a multitude of hybrids and cultivars. I have no idea what this variety is, but it’s a pretty, winter-flowering begonia and that’s all that really matters. There are hardy begonias but this isn’t one of them. So, it’s on a table in our dining room and provides some color, along side two deep purple African violets and sheltered by a large (and growing) fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) and a fairly old pathos plant (Epipremnum aureum).
We’ve admired anemones in other peoples’ gardens for years and on occasion we’ve tried to grow them in ours but so far, nothing has taken. Cathy bought this one the other day from Stadler Nursery in Laytonsville and we’re going to give it another try. They really are lovely flowers and pretty plants in general. Hopefully we find the right spot for it where it can thrive and where we can enjoy it on a regular basis for years to come.
The sun was going down as I left work today and I wanted to get at least one photo of the colors in the sky. I found a place where I could see them, but it’s a little more industrial that I generally look for. Still, it’s not terrible. This is actually looking to the southeast, not the west, where there wasn’t actually a lot of color to be had. I stopped again a little further on and the foreground was better but there was less color at that point, so this is the best I got.
It’s been quite a few years since I worked on the day after Thanksgiving. One more thing I’m thankful for is that I’m not in retail and don’t have to work on the day after or even on Thanksgiving itself, as many people do. I would be happy to have all businesses including retail closed from the Thursday of Thanksgiving through the following Sunday, but that’s just not going to happen. There are some who enjoy the ‘thrill’ of shopping on so-called Black Friday, but I’m not one of them. Of course, I’d prefer to stay away from stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas entirely if I had that option. I do my best. I actually worked about five hours today and was fairly productive. I was glad to see a pretty sunrise shortly after getting up, and that’s today’s photo.
This dried orchid flower, a Phalaenopsis, is on a plant in our kitchen. I’m a big fan of orchids but sadly haven’t been able to give those we have the attention that they rightly deserve. We’ve lost a few although a few others are getting by. In a perfect world, I’d water them more regularly and pay them more attention but we don’t live in a perfect world. Some things that I’d like to get to are passed over for more pressing matters. Maybe one day I’ll have the time to devote to them again. In the meantime, I’ll try to at least keep them alive. Inevitably I’ll fail for some of them. But then, they’re just plants and easily replaced.
We happened to be down in Bethesda this afternoon and we went to a few different stores. We started at American Plant Food, which is an interesting combination of plants and “decor”. I put that in scare quotes because I’m a bit scared by their idea of decor but I guess it’s what some folks want, or they’d carry something else. I really enjoyed their small but impressive houseplant section, particularly their orchids, which are beautiful. We went to a toy store and spent some time there but didn’t buy anything. Finally we went to Whole Foods were we only bought a few things. I used to shop there from time to time because I could get proper, dry-cured bacon but they don’t carry any cured bacon any more, so I have no real reason to go. As we came out, the color in the sky was amazing. We figured there wouldn’t be time to drive anywhere with a better view and in fact, in the sort time it took me to get the camera and walk about 40 yards, most of the color was gone from the sky. So, it’s still a sunset but not what I was hoping for.
On the way home this evening, the sky in my rear view mirror was quite lovely. I thought about stopping a few times but there wasn’t really a good place to get a view of the sunset. The light was shining on the bare branches of the Zelkova trees on Norbeck and I also considered stopping to get a photo of that (but didn’t). When I got home, much of the color had left the sky or was too low to see clearly through the trees and between the houses. Nevertheless, I took a few photos before the color disappeared completely.
As 2019 draws to a close, I’ll give you one final sunset for the year. It’s been a year with all sorts of ups, downs, and adjustments. I guess the two biggest things to report are that Dorothy graduated from college and went to live in Alaska for five months. We really enjoyed our trip to Juneau to see her and that was probably the highlight of the year for us. We also enjoyed seeing her senior art show two weeks before graduation, although that was a bit more whirlwind.
This photo finishes nine years of taking at least one photo a day. Will I continue? Probably, but you never know. Thanks for the very few of you who actually read these posts rather than seeing just the photographs on Instagram. God bless you.
As dusk this evening there were no clouds to the west and absolutely no color in the sky except a pale blue, fading to grey. In the northeast, however, through the trees across the street, there were some low clouds that were touched with color. That’s what this picture captured. It only lasted a few minutes but I was fortunate enough to see it and have my camera handy. It was a nice, quiet day and we spent about an hour in the used bookstore, which we both enjoy. Not that we really need more books, of course, but there you are.
I went over to mom’s after work today and the sun had just gone down when I got there. The sky was clear but near the horizon the color changed from pale, grey-blue over head through magenta to a nearly purple blue at the horizon. This photograph doesn’t capture it perfectly but it’s as good as I could get. I really like color transitions in nature. I think perhaps my favorite is the deep blue to nearly black of a perfectly clear sky, but this one is pretty nice, too. The fact that the two ends of the transition are blue but the middle is so very different makes it pretty interesting.
Cathy bought some tulips at the grocery store over the weekend and we have them in a vase on our dining room table. The stems were a bit long and the flowers drooped a bit. She was looking for deep red flowers but they didn’t have any that were just right so she settled for these very pale pinks. I think they’re quite beautiful and a flower here or there and now and then is worth the cost. Daffodils are starting to bloom around my office building and one or two are about to be blooming in the yard but the tulips are a litter further behind. Spring it on its way, however, and we’re looking forward to working in the yard.
I went over to my mom’s this morning to see her and to do a few things around her apartment. After the minor chores, we took a walk around the loop she walks most days, about a third of a mile. We started by taking a slight detour to see the two Camellia japonica bushes that are in bloom outside the enclosed walkway just past the dining hall. They are absolutely covered with pink and white flowers, both varying somewhat from almost all pink to mostly white with pink lines. I have three plants in my yard, all small (and one is very small). One of them has buds but none are blooming yet. Looking forward to that.
We have two amaryllis bulbs from last year that we pretty much neglected after they finished blooming. They had leaves for a while but we stopped watering them and they just sat on shelves in the kitchen after that. They normally bloom around Christmas time, which is lovely, of course, but we weren’t paying them any attention. A week ago I notice this one had sent up a shoot with a bud on top so it got a little water. It has rewarded our neglect with two lovely blooms. It now has a spot on the kitchen counter. I had to add two stakes to hold it up because the flowers are pretty heavy and the pot it’s in is not.
I currently have three camellia plants in the yard. This one it the largest and has the most flowers. It’s called ‘Dad’s Pink’ and though it isn’t a variety that my dad grew, it reminds me of him. I also have ‘Pink Perfection’, which he did have. That one ws quite small when I got it and has taken a little while to get established but it looks like it’s doing pretty well finally (and after I lowered the pH around it a bit). The third is called ‘Mrs. Lyman Clarke’ and dad had that one, as well, out back beside the chimney. It’s barely alive and only time will tell if it’s going to survive. It has six leaves and one flower bud.
The hyacinths are in bloom. These were planted pretty soon after we moved in and they didn’t really thrive but every year they come up. There are three little clumps of them, one purple, one white, and this pink one. They are growing in a bed of Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle, and lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis). You can see a little of the periwinkle color in the background. It’s nice to see them out our kitchen door. I’m not a fan of their fragrance, so I like they more at a distance than close up.
There is a pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) growing up against the front of our house. I’m almost certain it’s a seedling, because it’s much too close to the house to have been planted and I want to take it out. Before I do, I’d like something growing that will take its place but I may just need to do the deed. A few years ago I planted a camellia called ‘Mrs. Lyman Clarke’ but the two very cold spells we had in the next two winters did that one in. In 2017 I bought a variety called ‘Kumasaka’, which is fairly hardy, as camellias go. It nearly died the first year but there is a small stem with about 8 leaves on it and this spring it bloomed. I’m not entirely sure this is ‘Kumasaka’ and not the root stock, but it’s a big, beautiful, pink flower so I’ll live with it. Hopefully it will live with us. And hopefully it will start to put on a little growth because right now, it’s barely taller than the pachysandra.
Most of the saucer magnolias (Magnolia × soulangeana) have finished their bloom but there are a few in the neighborhood that are still at their peak. This has been a good year for the magnolias, coming a little early and with no late frost to damage them. The saucer magnolia is a hybrid of M. denudata x M. liliiflora. The first of those, the yulan magnolia, has pure while flowers, which seems like it would be very nice, as well. The second, commonly called the lily magnolia, is a bit more hardy and provides the hybrid with its color. Many of the named varieties of saucer magnolia come from a breeding program at the U. S. National Arboretum. The hybrid epithet comes from Chevalier Etienne Soulange-Bodin (1774–1846), a “disgruntled cavalry officer.”
This is the little flowering almond growing near the corner of our garage. It’s done pretty well the last few years, as we’ve had relatively mild winters but I don’t think it’s ever going to get more than about four feet tall. Maybe it isn’t in the best spot but it’s nice to have when it’s in bloom. There was a bumble bee on it and I tried to get pictures of that but this late in the day it’s in shadow and there just wasn’t enough light to get a sharp enough shot. The flowers are nice by themselves, though.
Like most folks, we’re mostly confined to our house and to walks in the neighborhood. We figured that we could go for a drive so yesterday we went out and about. One place we went was the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park on Muncaster Road. I didn’t take my camera with me, which is pretty unusual, so we went back there today with my camera this time. There were a few others there but everyone kept their distance from one another.
They have a small, woodland garden that is particularly nice right now, with mostly early spring blooms. These Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are just starting to open and are so lovely.
We had rain overnight and it continued into the day, raining quite hard off and on. In the early afternoon I could hear thunder from my basement office and I lost the remote connection to one of my office computers, although the other stayed connected. I went out front, under the porch, and took a few pictures of the rain. In the few minutes that I was outside, the rain stopped. This photo was taken then, of a pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) growing and blooming at the front of our house. I loved the way the drops of water were glistening on the branches. A few minutes later I went out back and half the sky—to the south and west—was blue, while the other half—to the north and east—was still an ominous grey. The thunder faded into the distance as the storm moved on.
I know I’m repeating myself but this pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is so beautiful I cannot help myself. It’s really loaded with flowers and they deserve to be seen. This tree is growing much too close to the house and I really need to get rid of it. I planted a camellia in front of it with the thought that when that gets big enough to stand on its own, I’d cut down the dogwood. That’s the flower I posted back on Wednesday, April 01, 2020 but as small as it is, I’m not sure I really can wait that long to get rid of this tree. So, enjoy it while you may.
Cathy and I took a break in the early afternoon and took a walk in the neighborhood. We got mail for someone else delivered to us (same house number, different street, happens fairly often) and we wanted to take it to the correct address. I carried my camera, as I usually do on walks, and took pictures of a few azaleas starting to bloom in the neighborhood. There are quite a lot around here, although most are just starting to come out. Soon the neighborhood will be full of color. Actually, it’s already full of color, but there will be more and different colors.
We had some significant rain today. I don’t mind too much, as it’s spring and it’s the time of year you expect rain. The ground gets good and soaked and the plants really enjoy it. Things are greening up all over. The pink dogwood in front of our house is just about finished blooming and this rain storm is speeding up the petal drop. I really love water on flowers, though, so when I went out this evening, that’s what I looked for. The forecast is for more rain on Saturday and then warm and sunny on Sunday. We’ll see, of course.
This is a difficult rose to photograph well. First, it’s quite tall and most of the blooms are right at the top, about eight feet from the ground. Second, it’s against the south wall of our house, which is brick but not the most attractive background. It was also cloudy today and the rose wasn’t in the bright sun, which would have been nice. But I wanted to be sure to include a photo of this rose, as it’s doing quite well this year. This is one of four roses that survived the great rose dying of last year. It’s by far the tallest of them but the other on the end of the house, which nearly died a few years back, has to potential to be much larger, if it can continue its come back.
We have two of these pink spiderworts in the side garden. They really are nice and I took some photos today with this one in the foreground and with the more usual blue flowered variety being it. We don’t remember the name of this variety and it may be a type of Tradescantia ohiensis, the Ohio spiderwort, rather than T. virginiana. There are others, too, of course. Anyway, it’s a really nice flower and lovely in the border. The flowers open in the morning and then close up during the heat of the day, so best appreciated early. This was taken from about the same spot as yesterday’s photo of the wren.
Last year my second cousin, Lyn, gave me a cutting of a climbing rose he has growing behind his house in North Carolina. It’s been in a pot since then but I finally got it planted this weekend.
Lyn said that the rose this came from was it turn taken from a rose that was given to his mother by Virginia, the wife of my grandfather’s (and Lyn’s grandmother’s) first cousin, Archie.
I’m pretty sure this is the rose ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’, a repeat flowering sport of which became ‘New Dawn’ and was the first plant to receive a patent (i.e. plant patent ID #1). Interestingly, another rose on his property, one which has been there since it was his grandparents’ house, is almost certainly ‘American Pillar’, a rambling rose bred in the first years of the twentieth century by Dr. William Van Fleet (in Glendale, Maryland).
This is a pretty little flower that’s starting to appear in our garden. It is Dianthus armeria, the so-called Deptford Pink, native to Europe and not naturalized over much of North America. It is an annual or biennial and grows between two and three feet tall with very thin stems topped by these lovely little pink flowers, which are about a centimeter across. It self seeds pretty well but isn’t aggressive enough to be a problem at least in our garden. Most of those we have are growing in containers on the driveway or around that area.
Purslane, otherwise known as Portulaca oleracea subsp. sativa, is a pretty, flowering annual plant native to India. It is hardy and will self-seed if conditions are right although we generally need to buy more each year. This one is called ‘Pizzaz Nano Fuchsia’ and it’s pretty hot pink. It is an edible plant, used as a salad green or even cooked in stews in some places, although we’ve never tried it ourselves. I might give it a try, but I generally enjoy it well enough in the garden that I think I’ll leave most, if not all, of it there.
This is the third of my three new roses planted this year. This isn’t its first bloom although it did take longer than the other two did to bloom. That has more to do with the rabbits nipping off the buds than anything else. It now has a hardware cloth fence around it and it’s doing much better. This one is planted near the back fence and should be visible from the house once it gets a bit taller. I have high hopes for all three of these roses and was glad to get them planted back in mid-May.
We’ve only had this native perennial a few years and this is by far the best it’s done in our garden. We have it in a somewhat shady area. Over time it should spread and form a clump, although not so much that it could be considered invasive (like much of what we have). The snapdragon-like flowers are fairly large and as you can see, they are borne in tight, spike-like terminal racemes. They are actually native to a bit further south than we are but have become naturalized over much of the east coast.
We bought this Japanese anemone last year and it was in a pot over the winter. I planted it this spring and for a while it looked like the rabbits were not going to let it grow or bloom. Eventually I put a fence of hardware cloth around it, which they quickly knocked over. Now it’s staked to the ground with tent pegs and isn’t going anywhere. I’m a little bothered by the background in this, where the hardware cloth gives a regular, if out-of-focus pattern. Anyway, the anemone is quite lovely and I’m pretty happy with it. Hopefully it will get well enough established that we can take down the fence.
I bought this camellia, called ‘Winter’s Star’, from Camellia Forest and planted it along the fence at the north end of our back garden. It’s doing well and is coming into bloom. This is a cross between Camellia oleifera and Camellia hiemalis ‘Showa-no-sakae’ and as you can see, it has single, pink flowers and is a fall bloomer. It’s only three or so feet tall at this point, but it should get large enough to be a really striking fall feature in that part of the yard. I bought and planted two other camellias at the same time. These others are both C. japonica and are called ‘Hokkaido Red’ and ‘April Rose’, both spring bloomers.
When fresh, the flowers on this hydrangea are mostly white with a touch of pink on the edges. As they dry out, however, some of the petals deep in color to a dark pink, bordering on red. It’s not as showy as some flowers and overall, the plant is moving into winter mode. Nevertheless, the color of the petals is quite nice, especially when the late afternoon or early evening sun is shining on them. The deer have done considerable damage to this plant over the years but it keeps fighting back and had a good run this year. Hopefully that will continue.
We took a walk in the neighborhood this evening and I took this photo of a clematis growing on a mailbox a few blocks over. Whether you pronounce it KLE-ma-tas or kle-MA-tas, it’s a pretty thing. We have a few of them but none are doing exceptionally well. One doesn’t get enough sun (it was there when we bought the house and we talk about moving it but so far it hasn’t happened). Another was overshadowed by a rose bush. The rose is gone now but the clematis needs a bit more support than it has.
Back in April of 2005 I planted 29 species roses in a bed I prepared on our property in Pennsylvania. Sadly, many of them did not survive, but there are a few that are still holding on and two that are actually thriving. This is one of those. It is, I think, Rosa davurica although the garden is in such bad shape, it’s not exactly clear where each rose should be. This rose has formed a small mound of plants about four feet tall and it is very happy. It’s absolutely covered with blooms and is quite lovely.
We picked up Dorothy today and went to McCrillis Garden on Greentree Road this afternoon. It’s a wonderful little garden (five lots totaling about 4.8 acres) that’s especially lovely when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom. But it’s worth a visit at other times of the year, as well, to see the sometimes less spectacular but still lovely plants. At the north end of the property there were a few cherry trees beginning to bloom. We also enjoyed seeing some of the ‘bones’ of the garden, including trees that have interesting shapes and structure even when they don’t have leaves. But seeing the blossoms was particularly nice.
Last year’s cicada swarm did some serious damage to two of my camellias as well as to the two dwarf apple trees. They all survived, but I wouldn’t say any of them are thriving yet. There are a few flowers on this plant, Camellia japonica ‘Pink Perfection’, which was planted in the spring of 2010. It’s still only about three feet high, which is disappointing, but at least it’s still alive. ‘Dad’s Pink’, planted two years later, has even fewer blooms and I’m not 100% sure it’s going to survive. The healthiest camellia I have at this point is ‘Hokkaido Red’, planted only two years ago and in a spot well protected from both the cold wind and from deer.
As mentioned in my preview post, we wanted to be outdoors today because it was so nice. We went to the Agricultural History Farm Park and after going through the woodland garden and the Master Garder’s Demonstration Garden, we walked around one of the fields adjacent to the central part of the farm. Between two fields there is a line of a dozen or so apple trees and they were in bloom, which was a really nice bonus. I don’t know how much car these trees get but it appears to be the right amount, at least in terms of their flowering. They were absolutely lovely and the bees and other pollinators were a buzz.
Margaret had a visitor today who brought her this lovely flower arrangement. Writing this now over a month after the fact, the arrangement is gone, of course, but it lasted a surprisingly long time and was on the table next to Margaret for all that time. It was such a thoughtful thing to bring and of course, the visit was a blessing, as well. If anyone wants to visit her, don’t hesitate to give her a call. You don’t have to bring flowers, naturally, but we’re not going to turn them down if you do.
Sometimes Margaret will tell us to put them in the kitchen or dining room where we can see them but lately we’ve been ignoring her and leaving them in her room. They were brought for her, after all, and she really should get the benefit of them. We’re in that part of the year when things are blooming in the yard, so we’re not short of flowers ourselves, anyway. I have three new roses this year and the first of those is starting to bloom, which is really nice.
A few years ago my cousin Lyn rooted a rose that’s been growing in his yard for many, many years. It grows and blooms prolifically and it’s become established on our back fence. We had a few flowers on it last year and more this year. Although it looks like ‘New Dawn‘ it only blooms once, so I’m guessing that it is ‘Dr. W. VanFleet‘, of which ‘New Dawn‘ is a repeat flowering sport. ‘New Dawn‘ has the distinction of having plant patent number 1 (October, 1931) and it shares with ‘Dr. W. VanFleet‘ very shiny, disease resistant foliage and lovely, pale pink flowers.
I love camellias of all types and although they are still not very large, I have six in the ground and one more ready to be planted. One that I planted in April, 2020, is a hybrid called ‘Winter’s Star’ that was developed by Dr. William Ackerman and introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum in 1991. This is similar to the Camellia sasanqua ‘Cleopatra’ that my dad had, and which survived better than most in very cold winters. This one is a cross between Camellia oleifera ‘Lu Shan Snow’ (for its cold hardiness) and Camellia hiemalis ‘Showa-no-sakae’ (for its flower form) and is considered to be hardier still. Native from North India to China and Japan south to Northern Indonesia, Java and Sumatra, many are not reliably hardy this far north. Anything that blooms this nicely the second week of November is a winner in my book.