What’s the first flower you think of when you think of autumn? If you’re like most people, the first one that comes to mind are mums. Have you ever experimented with other autumnal plants? While rounding the last block on our walk this morning, I came across something quite magical. An autumn crocus…Colchicum cilicicum.
Colchicum is free-flowering with up to 25 bright purplish pink flowers that deepen in color at the tips. When I looked it up, everything pointed to it being vigorous and easy to grow. Yay!! Colchicums prefer well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out in summer and they need shade where summers are hot.
Look at that color!! Isn’t it beautiful? I think I may try planting some of these guys for next year. Whatever you plant this weekend, we hope it’s grand.
It’s the last Flower Friday of August and much of the garden is starting to shift into autumn glory. In our urban neighborhood the lots generally tend to be on the small side and as we passed by one such a garden this morning on our walk, I especially wanted to stop and take in all of it beauty in this small place. Is that color just spectacular or what?
Mums and asters are beginning to take center stage as the garden shifts toward autumnal beauty. As we prepare for more hospital visits today, I hope you enjoy some of that beauty. Have a beautiful Friday and an even more beautiful weekend.
Despite having posted scads of flowers earlier in the week from the outing to the Denver Botanical Gardens, I still wanted to participate in this week’s edition of Flower Friday hosted by Rosy and the boys. I just can’t get enough photos of colorful blooms. In all the years I’ve gardened, there has been one plant in particular that I have never had any success with and it really cheesed me off. Rudbeckia, otherwise known as Black-Eyed Susan, has eluded any gardening success. Imagine how delighted I was when I saw this bloom this morning. I nearly squealed out loud.
Here’s hoping your Friday has this much success and the weekend is filled with loads of beauty and sunshine.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day in the 303 with mild temps and even a shower later in the day-something we haven’t seen in a couple of months. Mother Nature has been quite schizoid this summer so it was wonderful being able to take advantage of this pause in blistering temperatures. It was the perfect day to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens with a dear friend. My dear friend, Cheryl and I were awed by nature’s kaleidoscope of color and texture. Here are a few highlights from our meanderings. It was a great day shared with a great friend that reminded me how truly blessed I am by this friendship and the gorgeous venue in the heart of the city.
Wishing you a fabulous day of wandering. Happy mid-week.
Mom woke us up at oh-dark-thirty today and said we had to prepare today’s blog hop entry hosted by Rosy. Gulp…we’re dogs, ma…not botanists. Sam’s only claim to ‘gardening’ is watering plants and I know that isn’t quite what they need so it looks like I’m in charge. Elsa here. While I know how to snoopervise, I know essentially nothing about flowers. Mom seems to be in the midst of one of her fitful sleep periods and is feeling more than slightly overwhelmed and over-stimulated with stuff. She can’t seem to find the necessary focus to do background work on posts and spends hours writing only to shriek “It’s all rubbish!” and tosses ideas in the trash bin. Apparently retirement is hard work that she hasn’t quite managed to successfully master. Mom’s…whaddu do with them?
What I found about “Solidago,” otherwise knowns as Goldenrod, was fascinating (no wonder mom likes to garden). Contrary to popular belief, Goldenrod does not cause allergies, it’s pollen is sticky, not windblown, and is moved from plant to plant by bees. Apparently wasps seem to enjoy drinking from it too because there was one noshing away when this image was taken a couple days ago. A late summer bloomer, Goldenrod is deer resistant, attracts butterflies and is bee friendly while being rabbit resistant. It’s easy to grow, makes a nice addition in bouquets and is low maintenance. It grows in all types of soil and naturalizes easily. Mom told me she didn’t plant this flower and thought it probably came from the neighbor’s garden, via a squirrel. Dang, I’m pretty bummed I missed seeing that gardening squirrel.
On a totally different note, uprights all over the world are mourning the loss of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. If this remarkable iconic artist and first woman inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame touched you as much as she did everyone who heard her, please enjoy this video from Stephen Colbert’s tribute to her last night. This performance was taken from her 2015 Kennedy Center performance honoring Carole King and hosted by President and Mrs. Obama. When mom saw it, she got goose bumps and tears, and not just because Mr. Obama isn’t the president these days.
Boy, that woman had a set of pipes on her and a style not to be denied. Mom wonders if we ‘respected’ her enough during her amazing 76 year long life. Rest in Peace, dear Queen.
Hello and welcome to Floral Friday. With only 43 days until the official arrival of Autumn (YAY!) the garden is starting to wind down. Most of the perennials are starting to get slightly beyond their best blooming days and the big star in the garden is one with a funny name, Hardy Plumbago (sometimes known as Leadwort). Years ago I began the process of removing all turf grass in the yard in favor of ground covers and perennials. With an oversized corner lot, constant water restrictions, I decided long ago that growing ‘hay’ (otherwise known as grass) was not the way I wanted to spend summer, watering, mowing, fertilizing…repeat. And for what, a plain old carpet of green. Umm, no thank you.
Recently, this ground cover began to blossom with its trademark blue flowers. Blooming over the next month or so, Hardy Plumbago is a long-lived groundcover that slowly weaves itself through the garden fabric, creating large drifts of fall color. The deep blue flowers are numerous and long-lasting. Plants are anywhere from 6-8″ tall and grow to about 18″ wide. It naturalizes easily and after planting the initial two flats of plants, it’s filled in nicely around the flagstone path. It can tolerate mild foot traffic so I don’t have to worry by the Knuckleheads stomping wandering through.
Once the flowers have bloomed, the leaves will turn a gorgeous shade of mahogany throughout the autumn. Plumbago is extremely adaptable,, drought tolerant, grows well in sun or shade, and thrives in all types of soil. While slow to leaf out in the spring, this group cover is worth the wait. 6-8″ tall x 18″ wide and will grow in Zones 5 through 9 easily. Plumbago is deer resistant and attracts butterflies. Last year’s abundant Painted Lady butterflies enjoyed noshing on their nectar.
It’s been hotter than bloody-blue blazes this week and while there’s still 64 days until the official beginning of autumn, this week’s entry, Zinnias, seems to enjoy the hot weather.
One of the easiest of all garden plants to grow from seed and one that is exceedingly cheerful and colorful in the garden, deer resistant zinnias bloom until the first frost. Zinnias provide a burst of color and attract butterflies. An annual that must be planted every year, they have bright, daisy-like flower heads on single, erect stems that can grow up to three feet tall. When deadheaded, you’ll have a show of flowers all season long to enjoy. They make a great addition to the cutting garden.
We hope you have loads of cheer today and throughout the weekend. I’m hoping to notevaporate this weekend at the annual lavender festival held at Denver’s Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms location (you can read about last year’s festival here). What are your plans for this weekend?
It’s easy to get distracted as I come and go in and out of the house. Yesterday as I was looking around for a blooming plant for today’s post and watering the flowers in containers, I realized a couple of things.
First of all, most of the garden plants are in that “in-between place.” As in nothing much is blooming now. My garden tends to be heavy blooming in late spring and as the heat of summer wears on (will summer ever ‘chill’ out before winter), fewer flowers bloom. One notable exception are the volunteer Snapdragons which have managed to consistently bloom precisely where they were never planted. ‘Snaps’ are prolific re-seeders and have managed to make their way across the entire yard. I love Snaps. They are such simple flower, but one that always makes me smile and of course, always entices me to pinch their jaws and say some silly thing like I’m some sort of plant ventriloquist. Come on…you do it, too. Just like the lupines, they have managed to find homes in some of the oddest places. These guys managed to take over a pot that hasn’t seen Snapdragons in years. This pot usually is home to geraniums. Ironically, I’ve never planted yellow or white snaps. Ever.
Second, bumblebees are mesmerizing. As I watered the containers, I was delighted to see not one but several bumblebees noshing away. Check out those gigantic ‘golden-ish kneecaps’ on this guy. I’m surprised he was able to keep afloat.
Anyway, bumblebees remind me to randomly walk about and check out the landscape a little bit closer. Just be careful, you just never know when a Snapdragon is going to cannibalize you (apologies for the out-of-focus bee–in some circles that might be considered ‘artistic’). In this case, it’s clearly a reminder to work on focusing and depth of field, even with an iPhone.
When holidays fall on a Wednesday. It’s almost like having two super short weeks in one. Nothing like going from Monday to Friday twice with a day off in between. Here’s to a lovely Friday and an even better weekend. Stay cool if you can.
It’s hotter than bloody blue blazes in the Mile High (triple digits yesterday). And the perfect time to feature a plant that accurately describes those temps. Known as Kniphofia or sometimes called tritoma, they are commonly referred to as Poker Plant or Torch Lilies. These guys are part of the Liliaceae family and thrive in USDA zones 5-9. Classified as an upright evergreen perennial, native to Africa with a clumping habit, there are more than 70 known species. Producing copious amounts of nectar when blooming, poker plants are attractive to bees and hummingbirds. The swallowtail butterflies have been recently seen swooning around them.
These babies need room to spread (note to self, be sure to divide these guys this autumn-notice the one coming up in the Canadian shrub who has also become insane fairly large-yikes). Preferring full sun they are not fussy about our crummy soil. They do require good drainage and don’t like ‘wet feet’ so no planting in bogs, ‘kay?
Poker plants are hardy and moderately drought resistant although some regular water is required in order for them to reach their full potential. Make sure they received adequate water during hot, dry spells and providing a 2-3 inch layer of mulch will help. Deadheading will encourage more blooms. These guys can be divided in the autumn and their crowns should not be planted deeper than 3 inches. Water throughly upon division and liberally mulch and you should have a new plant next season. Just make sure you provide enough space (something I clearly misjudged when they were planted in a few years ago).
Now it’s time for me to enjoy an extra-large glass of well-iced lemonade and work from inside the house in air-conditioned bliss. I realize many of you have had very hot temps already with the high humidity so I’ll stop whining now. Ummm, after second thought, nope, no I won’t. I’ll just finish by saying, it’s too damn hot!