Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This is the first bloom, after 3 years of waiting, on Crinum bulbispermum 'Sacramento'. It's basically a greenhouse plant that comes outside in the summer. It likes to be quite wet (we keep in in a large saucer filled with water at all times) and seems to like sun. This was one of Hank's semi-impulse purchases. We originally had 3, but one died and now we have this lovely small one and the one pictured below. 'Sacramento' is lovely sitting on a plant stand because, although it is only a foot or so tall, the leaves are quite long and so on a stand they can extend to their full length and not just sit on the shelf. The scent is heavenly and there seem to be about 6 buds on the scape. We kept looking down the center of the leaves for a bloomscape, but it came out of the base beside the leaves. Always interesting watching a plant you know nothing about to see just how it behaves. Speaking of behavior, we spent our whole lunchtime yesterday watching a black snake as it slowly slithered from tree branch to tree branch on its way to the house roof for its afternoon nap, in a nice, safe, slightly shady place. Anyway, back to the crinums...
This, I think, is Crinum amabile. The tag has been long since lost. Some of the leaves are a little ratty right now since it got bashed around a bit by the wind in a thunderstorm last week. This one is truly a monster. You can get some idea of its size when you realize that it is planted in a 10 gallon pot. Though I've not 'unplanted' it, I'm told that the bulb easily reached the size of a basketball. Don't even ask how heavy it is when I have to lug it upstairs in the winter where it keeps me company in the front, south facing window in my office. This one has not bloomed yet, though since the other one finally bloomed this year, maybe this one will too. It gets lots of water, like the smaller one, so we're hoping it blesses us with a bloom. I have a love/hate affair with this one. If it bloomed, I would probably feel less put upon as I lug it up the stairs this fall.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


This is one of the rare times when the picture wasn't taken in my garden. I wish the colors were still bright, but it was taken over 30 years ago when we were visiting my inlaws who were living and working in Ireland for a few years. What is faded red in the pictures was bright in person. For those who only know Fuchsias as hanging baskets for the summer garden, you will be as amazed as I was to discover that Fuchsias can grow into 10 foot tall hedges. This pictures was taken in September and they were in full bloom. I used to take my baby son for his afternoon walk along this road just to enjoy the flowers. I've never seen them grow like this anywhere else. I learned not long ago that it isn't pronounced as I had always heard, few-sha, but rather as fook-sia. Seems they were named after a Mr. Fuchs and should be pronounded like his name. No matter how longer you garden, there is definitely always something to learn.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A quick daylily post

This is Schnickel Fritz (spelling probably wrong - I've always had trouble with this one) and one of the doubles that is most reliable here. Just a quick post this morning since I have to be up and in town by 8. Yesterday we once again had no electricity. We joke about this part of Ohio as being 'third world', but the electric company is trying to prove it. Seems like once a week we lose power for a few hours. This time of year we don't panic like we do in the winter when the greenhouse has to be kept warm. It's more of an annoyance, but as much as I like camping out, getting a fire started to make breakfast is not something I like to do too often these days. Kind of gets the day off to a slow start when we need to make the most of the cool weather that doesn't last much past 10 AM.
We are almost finished spreading wood chips on the fairy ring garden out front. With this heat, it has been a 2 week project since we can't do too much each day. After 2 years of thinking about it, it is really nice to get it done. Besides that, the garden finally doesn't look so neglected.
Species daylilies tomorrow - if the electricity stays on.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Very Taaaaaalllllll Daylilies

The tallest large clump of daylilies in the yard right now is 'Autumn Minaret'. It stands a good foot or so over my head which would make it over 7 feet tall. We have a few of our seedlings as tall, but I don't think that any are taller.

Here's a closeup (at least as close as I could get via telephoto lens) of the blooms.

This one is 'Purity'. It is just a little shorter. Most of these are older cultivars and most all of the talls are late midseason to late bloomers.

This is 'Challenger', one of the oldest and one of the few that isn't some version of yellow. There are at least 3 different cultivars of 'Challenger' out there with slight variations in color.

Next is 'Statuesque'. a more gold shade with a chevron eye.

This is 'Altissima', another one for which there are several clones available. We have three of them, this one, one with a more peach bloom and one with very bluish leaves.

There have been several new introductions of tall ones in the past few years, very different from the older ones. Both this and the one that follows are just about 6 feet tall, a little shorter that most of the older tall ones, but the big difference is that the blooms are more like modern daylilies, quite a bit larger than the old ones. Some of the new ones are even tetraploid. This is 'Sears Tower'.

Last, but not least, is 'Notify Ground Crew'. I think this one has been saved from being deer salad because it is growing up into a white redbud tree. It used to sit there all by itself, then next to the tiny tree, and not growing right up into the branches. The shade doesn't seem to be bothering it a bit as it has more blooms than ever. It had been blooming for a few days before we even realized it. This one, along with 'Berlin Tall Boy', has been a good parent for tall seedlings.

Friday, July 25, 2008


It was such a lovely day yesterday that I didn't get the tall daylily pictures finished. On hot days I hide out inside mid-afternoon and work on paperwork stuff, but yesterday it was nice all day and I got to spend the whole time gardening. This picture is of one of our variegated Comfreys - uplandicum 'Variegatum'. It is a bit more tricky than the more common variegated comfrey, but this one has been here for 4 years now and seems to be doing all right. About 8 years ago our original plant died and it was a few years before we found anyone offering it for sale. Everyone we talked to said they had lost theirs the same year we did. Eventually we found it again. It is a large, showy plant with it's slightly fuzzy, white edged leaves. Don't confuse it with the horrible invasive comfrey. This is a well behaved plant and had never seeded invasively. In fact, it has never seeded at all. Lovely blue flowers in the spring. The plant behind it is a member of the buckwheat family. More on it later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Field of Daylilies

This is what the daylily bed behind the front barn looked like a few days ago. We are probably past peak bloom now, but with the late season ones starting to come out, our season will stretch on for quite awhile yet - not with the intensity of the past few weeks, but more sparse and definitely more yellow. That seems to be the way with most of the earlies and lates. We often have some bloom until frost as we have had bloom since shortly after the last frost in early May. Although daylilies do seem to concentrate their main bloom in only a few weeks, with some planning you can get bloom for quite a long time. We do also get a bit of rebloom on some, though not what those of you who garden in the south can expect.
This is 'August Ruby', one of the exceptions to the yellow lates. It started blooming yesterday, about 2 weeks earlier than usual. The red color, in person, is much more velvety and intense than the picture indicates. One of my favorite reds, though an older one.
Tomorrow - all those really tall daylilies, the ones I need a stepladder to get good pictures of.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Arisaema griffithii

We have added a number of Arisaema over the last few years. These Jack in the Pulpits are all similar in form, but so different in actuality. This one has very large glossy green leaves, (probably at least 2 feet across) and 'pulpits' that are white and green striped with dusky black on the insides. It would be an understatement to say that people notice this one. Despite being in a bed with some large hostas, a variegated boxwood and some other shrubs, this is what people notice. Although the spathes are not long lasting (on any of the arisaemas) the leaves will last all summer. Grow in shade in woodsy soil and be sure they have enough moisture, though soggy soil will not make them happy. In a dry year, some in this family will just decide to wait it out and not come back until the next year. They don't seem to have any pests, either insect, mammalian or otherwise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lilies - continued

The first of the lilies for this morning is Lilium uchida. It is another of the down facing ones, maybe not quite as tall as some of the 8 footers we seem to have in bloom right now.
This is Regal Lily. It is relatively tall and the flowers are huge. Most all of the trumpet lilies have huge flowers, maybe 10 inches long or longer. Wish I could write more intelligently about these flowers, but I just don't know that much about them except that they're darned pretty and smell really good.

This is Regal Alba, the pure white version of the one above.

These next two are Orienpet Lilies which are a cross between the Oriental Lily and something else. Again, I don't know enough about these to know the other half of the cross, but wanted to show you all how pretty the flowers are. These are quite a bit shorted than the others, maybe only 4 feet tall, but still back of the border plants. This first one is called 'Touching' and is a shade of yellow/beige - an odd shade for these lilies, I think, most being red/pink/mauve/white.

This one is Orienpet 'Red Hot'. Not really red, more of a creamy pink, I think.

The last if Muscadet which show what seems to be a characteristic of lots of this type - the freckles.
Not sure where we're going tomorrow. Good news for a change, we had amost 2 1/2 inches of rain in a huge thunderstorm about 4 this morning. It was getting dry, so this should keep the sprinklers off for a few days.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today I have pictures of some of the true lilies that are growing in the garden. Some have finished blooming, like this Martagon Lily which bloomed about a month ago, but most are at peak bloom right now. In addition to their size and height, they add the most wonderful scent to the garden, especially early in the morning and at dusk. I have not grown lilies for long, so I'm not an expert on them by any means and may not even have the full names. If anyone needs to know more about any of these, just ask and I'll dig up the information.

This next one is 'Casa Blanca' which is absolutely pure white. The 'bumps' which would have a contrasting color on most are the same chalk white as the rest of the bloom.

This is 'Black Beauty' and also bloomed earlier.

This white one is Lilium longifolium, at least I'm pretty sure it is. This is the Easter Lily we see everywhere in the spring. I always thought they weren't hardy up north, but someone told me they were, so I rescued a bunch from church after Easter a few years ago to save them from the compost pile (or worse) and planted them. They have done very nicely.

This last is Lilium citronella. A lot of these lilies are tall, but this one, which is blooming now, is especially so, probably towering at least 8 feet. Luckily the flowers face downward so taking a picture wasn't such a problem. Although the deer do like lilies and small critters have been known to nibble on the bulbs, this one seems never to be bothered and has made a whole bunch of babies around the base which are blooming at only about 3 feet tall. The stems on these tall ones seem to get bigger every year and except in those places where our soil has gotten so good that we can plant things without even using a trowel, they seem to be able to stand upright. We do have to provide stakes to some who want to fall over, though.

More lilies tomorrow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I was out early yesterday to take pictures and came across this wonderful spider web woven between two very tall daylily scapes. It certainly wouldn't have caught my eye later in the morning once the dew had dried up. I was hoping to put some of my favorite spider pictures up too, but can't seem to find any right now. The occupant of this web was nowhere to be seen. I guess I'll have to work on my spider pictures to put up later. We have some common ones here but also some that seem quite odd to me. I don't like them crawling on me, but I find them fascinating to watch. Ones that have walked on me while I watched them seemed to soft, not at all scratchy. We had Black Widow spiders when I lived in West Virginia. I often found them in the garden, under plants. I was scared of them because of the potential for harm from their bites, but there are few spiders so pretty. They are almost like patent leather, so shiny and black.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Daylilies - Miniatures

Miniature daylilies are cute, no doubt about it. I'm nor sure when the first of them was registered, but this first one, 'Butterpat' is 30 or 40 years old. Most of the early ones were yellow, as were the early full-sized daylilies. We have a number of registered tiny yellow ones and a whole walk edged with yellow seedlings. These miniatures have mostly low foliage that is narrower that their larger friends, mostly quite in scale. I have a few seedlings with tall scapes and miniature flowers, kind of remind me of butterflies just floating.

This next one is 'Siloam Tee Tiny'. Gold (kind of orange to me, but it is called gold) is probably the second most common color. My favorite of the miniatures are those that are only about an inch and a half across, though technically anything under 3 inches can be registered as a miniature.
This next one is 'Siloam Doodlebug'. All of the Siloam daylilies were registered by Pauline Henry and there are hundreds of them. I think Ms Henry must have really enjoyed hybridizing. She didn't keep records of her crosses (at least none we know of ) but sure made some pretty flowers. Sometimes I think all that record keeping takes away from enjoying the garden. I like just wandering around the garden making crosses as I see something I think might be nice. If I had to stop to write out tags and write things in a notebook, it would take some of the fun out of it. A pretty flower is a pretty flower no matter its lineage, though I have lost sales because I couldn't give a detailed genealogy of a bloom.

This is 'Fairy Firecracker'. It's hard to tell in this picture because of the raindrops, but it has a bit of a stippled pattern.

'Two to Tango' is registered as a double, but doubles bred in the south are sometimes reluctant to double up north, though they are lovely flowers just the same. This bloom at least made an attempt !

'Button Bee' is an example of a tiny bloom with an eye. Actually the tiny ones can have any trait of the larger ones, though I don't offhand know of any that are considered unusual form.

'Blooddrop' was one of the earliest clumps blooming in the garden this year (I have it in 3 different places). It is still blooming. I do like daylilies that bloom over a long period. Stella D'Oro is just a plain yellow, but sells more than any other daylily I know of just for that reason.

'Siloam Tiny Tim' is a love lavender with a banded eye. Cute.

This is one of my new ones 'Boogie Woogie Blues' which has a wonderfully patterned eye. This is a color combination I like a lot and have many other daylilies with similar colors

Apologies for not being here the last 2 days. On Wednesday Blogger wouldn't let me put any pictures up - just gave me those horrible red x s in a box. Yesterday I left the house at 7 am, so not enough time to get much of anything done in my daily computer time. Off now at 7:30 to weed and mulch before the temperature hits 90 again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Mulching serves several purposes in the garden. It keeps most annual weeds from germinating. It is less helpful with large, perennial weeds - and if it worked on them, we really wouldn't want to use it in the perennial border since it would also keep our garden perennials from coming up. It also feeds the soil and plants as it decomposes and it just makes the garden look neat and 'finished'.

This lovely mountain is wood chip mulch. It would be expensive to buy in the quantities that we use, but we have been lucky in that tree trimmers who need a place to dump their day's 'work', occasionally will be working nearby and will empty their trucks here. The city of Athens will also bring us their excess. We don't use them right away, but rather leave them for a year or so to mellow a bit before we use them near plants. In large open spaces, new chips are all right. They know that we don't want anything with Black Walnut since some plants are sensitive to that, but what we get is usually a mix of hard and soft woods. If you're buying bagged mulch, look for some that is called Hardwood Mulch because it will last a lot longer that pine. Avoid Cypress. Also avoid stuff with dye in it. Besides being ugly and unnatural, it just can't be good for the plants.

This is an area we recently mulched with wood chips. They gradually rot and will need to be replaced 3 or 4 years from now, but in the meanwhile, they're keeping the weeds down and feeding the soil as they decompose. Our gardens used to be hard clay, but in many places I can plant small things by hand without even needing a trowel. Never thought my soil would get that good, but mulching really helps.

This is our other big source of mulch material. The City of Athens, in the fall, brings out the bagged leaves that people put out for pickup. We never quite use them all up, but the remains become one large compost pile. They also bring us shredded leaves which are dumped in a big pile and which I really like, but they are harder to use in that I have to shovel them into a cart to bring into the garden where the whole leaves are in bags. I tend to use the shredded stuff near small plants or in more formal settings and the whole leaves in more woodsy places. Leaves last a year or two before they need to be replaced. They also do a really good job of keeping weeds down and feeding the soil and plants.
This little Variegated Sage was mulched with shredded leaves.

A more unconventional type of mulch is this chipped limestone which we use around cactus. We rarely have any weeds in this bed - thankfully, since it is so hard to weed. I remember, when I was a little girl and we would go to the beach in the summer, that people used white rocks in their flower beds. I would assume it was for the same reason. Obviously, this is a pretty permanent mulch.

This is probably the ultimate mulch for acid loving plants - pine needle. We will never have enough of this and, unlike in the South, it isn't available to buy here in the North. We do have a bit of pine woods where I can gather some and some comes in the leaf bags (why, of why, would someone get rid of them) so we can usually find enough for the plants that really appreciate it. It lasts for a few years also.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Sad Morning

I was going to write about mulching this morning, since we have been doing a lot of it lately, but instead I think I'll just write about our cat Bubba who died this morning. He was an older kitty and had asthma for many years, much worse lately, and I think it finally just got to be too much for his body to handle any more. He was Mommykatt's kid who was born in the back barn and who she dropped on the porch just as soon as he was weaned as if to say, "Enough, you can have him now". He was one of our biggest cats, but also one of the gentlest, always wanting to sit on your lap or curl up under your chin while you took a nap. He purred loudly and frequently and loved having his long silky hair brushed. He will be missed.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hemerocallis 'Primal Scream'

Some days you go out into the garden and there is a flower that is just perfect - and deserving of its own post. This was 'Primal Scream' this morning, as perfect as I've ever seen it. To say it stands out from anywhere in the garden would be an understatement. The picture hardly does the glowing orange justice. It has been in the garden for a number of years, since it was a fairly new introduction and only gets better. Hybridizer was Curt Hanson back in 1994. According to the registration the scapes are 34 inches tall and the flowers 7 1/4 inches wide. Here the scapes are shorter than that and the flowers larger. That's just fine with me.
Sorry about missing yesterday, but blogger wouldn't let me put any pictures up and I couldn't imagine writing without something pretty to write about.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Daylilies - Unusual Form

No, I'm not calling them names, Unusual Form is one of the latest categories for daylilies. Some of them used to be lumped in with the 'spidery' category since they didn't have petals narrow enough to be classified as spiders. They seem to be becoming popular with some hybridizers. This first one is 'Gold Elephant'.
Next is 'Green Nautulus' which is a newer one, in our garden for just a couple of years.
'Jan's Twister' has been around for awhile. It is a lovely light peach color and the largest of those pictured this morning, probably almost a foot across in our garden.

'Lady Hillary' has also been around for awhile, since back when our first lady's name was Hillary, though I guess it could have also been named for Sir Edmund's wife. I've never heard anyone say.

'Laurena' is also newer. Nice to see some colors other than yellow and cream in this form. Since there are probably more yellow daylilies than any other color, I guess I shouldn't be surprised there are also more yellow UFs.

'Swirley Green' was also added just a year or so ago and has turned into quite a lovely thing. I like the lighter edged on the petals.

'Tahoe Snow Blizzard' starts out this color in the morning, but lightens up as the day progresses. I do most of my daylily pictures early before things cook in the heat (me included), so this one is more cream.

Last but not least is 'Watchyl Protean Spider'. This bloom was out just yesterday.

We had over an inch of rain overnight, so I might have to put off taking my pictures today until things dry up a bit. The daylily foliage with all of the rain we've had this year is over my knees and gets me soaking wet when I walk the rows early in the morning.