Monday, June 29, 2009

Steve Moldovan - Part 2

I started this post yesterday - got all of the pictures chosen and put up, but then Hank needed helf with something and I never got back to the computer.
This is the continuation of the daylilies of Steve Moldovan. This first one is 'Strawberry Swirl'. It has just the faintest darker pink eyezone.

'South Seas' is always a favorite of visitors to the garden. It is just so loud. This picture just doesn't do justice to how loud the color it, virtually glowing most days.

Next is 'Solar Crest', an older one. Just yellow, but a very nice, creamy yellow with ruffled edges and a green throat. I always like green throats on daylilies. (they also come in yellow and orange) On a yellow daylily, any color throat seems all right, but on a deep colored red or purple, the yellow or orange just is kind of glaring, at least to me.

'Salieri' is a deep purple and difficult to photograph and get the color right. This is one of those purples with a yellow throat. Imagine it with a cool green center and you'll see what I mean about the difference throat color can make.

'Rose Tattoo', not sure where the name comes from - I wish hybridizers had to tell how they came up with the name on the registration papers since some names are just peculiar. A lovely pink, anyway.

'Pewter Lake' has always been one of my favorites (I know, I say that a lot) because of the color, which is not ever captured on film in the same way you see it in the garden. It is lavender, but grey and misty. I don't know of any other daylily with the same color.

Not an especially good picture of 'Mountain Majesty', but the color at least is right on this one. Daylilies can be a bit misshaped sometimes due to weather or insects or being recently transplanted. Even cool weather can keep them from opening properly.

Lots of pictures this morning because I just couldn't decide which ones to leave out - and all of these flowers are too prety to skip. This one is 'Mightly Mogul', one of the first ones I planted when I moved here. I still like reds, though pinks and purple are probably my favorites at the moment.

'Mephistopheles' is a difficult flower to open and get to look really good. I'm still trying for a perfect picture of it. The color is a darker purple than shows here and the throat has more green (you can see some of it at the base of the throat). It has a tendency to have some spots where the base of the petal (the white) shows through the color layer, especially on the sepals (the 3 back petals). I think this can also be weather related.

Last is Mariska. Pretty name for a pretty flower. This one is always perfect. I can't get too close to it now because it is at the base of a pole with a bird house on top and bluebirds have babies there now. I like watching them flying in and out bringing and endless supply of food for the babies. Baby birds everywhere now, especially cardinals and rufous sided towhees. They seem to be everywhere. The various finch babies are all grown up as big as their parents so we can't tell them apart any more. The cutest are probably the various woodpecker babies, almost as big as their parents, but still demanding to be fed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Steve Moldovan - Part One

The late Steve Moldovan was one of Ohio's most prolific hybridizers, with nearly 500 introductions over a period of 30 some years. He gardened in northern Ohio and worked with hostas as well as daylilies, though his work in daylilies is much better known. Among other goals, he was trying to create a blue daylily, a quite elusive quest since the gene for blue doesn't exist in daylilies. He came quite close, with almost blue eyezones, but never quite reached his goal.
This first photo is of 'Jade Star' , an older introduction with just a hint of a white edge.
Next is a lovely red, 'Imperial Guard'.

Another older cultivar is 'Gideon'. These are all in the older 'traditional' form which was the norm when I first started collecting daylilies, back when spidery ones and very round 'fat' ones were not consdered pretty or desirable.

This is 'Empress Seal', one of many purples he created. I tend to like his purples and lavenders best of the ones I have.

'Daydreamer' is a lovely peach.

And 'Caviar' is one of his darkest purples.

Part Two tomorrow since I have so many of Steve's daylilies that I like.
I expect peak bloom in our daylily gardens to be starting next weekend and continuing to the weekend after that, so if you were thinking about visiting to see the daylilies, this is the time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Crintonic Gardens

One of our best known Ohio hybridzers, Curt Hanson, operates Crintonic Gardens. Curt has been at ths a long time, over 20 years now, and has nearly 500 creations to his name. Here are only a few or my favorites. Curt is known for his quirky and sometimes controversial names. I don't seem to have pictures of any/many with really odd names. The daylily society (American Hemerocallis Society) website has a database of registrations. If you want to see more introductions by any of these hybridizers you can to there and just type in their last name under hybridizer.
This first one is 'Unfolding Paradox'. It is a rather odd thing, being not quite symmetrical. Each flower is a slightly different shape.
This lovely pale pink one is 'Temporary and Eternal'.
'Spiritual Corridor' has been in the garden for quite a few years. It took it a long time t settle in and for the colors to be right - some daylilies are like that. It is now gorgeous and just covered with blooms for many weeks.

This is 'Primal Scream' which is one of my all time favorite's of Curt's. The color can be seen from quite a distance and it is a rather large flower.

This is 'Notify Ground Crew' which looks like a simple yellow flower in the picture. If you notice, though, I am looking up at the bloom to take the picture. It's the only way I can do it since it is taller than I am. We have it growing under a redbud tree and in years when the deer are bad, they usually miss the buds on this one because they are up in the branches and they just don't see them.

'Nosferatu' is really quite a darker color than this picture indicates, but it is the only one I have until it blooms again this year. Dark flowers are often hard to photograph.

'Gunsmoke' is an older one.

We got 'Game Theory' two years ago and it is a lovely lavender/pink/not sure exactly what color. Different in different light and at different times of the day.

Last for this morning is 'Bela Lugosi' which is one of the darkest ones in the garden. It is always velvety and doesn't fade in the sun like to many of the dark ones do. Daylilies are always best first thing in the morning before they have to put up with the heat and sun, but then again, the blooms only last one day, so they don't have to be able to put up with all that much. New ones appear day after day for several weeks.

Off to weeding and pruning and potting. Not many changes in the routine this time of year.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ashwood Gardens

Richard Norris's Ashwood Gardens is about a half hour drive from us, right here in Athens County Ohio. I wish we could get out there more often to see his plants, but unfortunately, when you have your own nursery, the time to visit other gardens is also the time people are visiting yours, and when there is so much work to do, that we rarely get to see other's gardens at their peak, and with daylilies, unfortunately, peak is the only time to see them. That's probably my only complaint with them (other than that the deer see them as a free lunch), that when they're not blooming, they don't hold much interest, whereas hostas are pretty all season long. I even know people who cut off the bloomscapes from their hostas because they think it detracts from the look of the plants. I happen to like the blooms and they also make good cut flowers.
Off track a bit there - sorry.
Richard has been hybridizing for awhile and since he retired has done some wonderful things with daylilies. Ths first one is Regal Shield.
Next is Kermit's Scream, one of his wide and flat ones which come out of his breeding with Lights of Detroit, a very wide flat yellow. I like how the darker color is almost hidden as the petals curve around.

This one is Flight of the Raven and is the first one of Richard's daylilies we got. It was registered in 1999 and was one of the first, if not the first, he registered. The color is often darker than this in the garden, with a correspondingly darker eye, but is always lovely.

These last two photos are in the 'Ashwood' series. This first one is Ashwood Still night...

and this is Ashwood Dark Side. Both are lovely dark blooms that don't see to fade in the heat and sun of the day and have increased to large clumps here.

Enough with these 90 degree temperatures. We can have summer and lovely flowers and delicious vegatables at 80 degrees just as well. No point in frying the gardener with this heat. Most of my real gardening is taking place before noon now and the vegatable garden has to be tended pretty much before 9 when the sun gets around there. Shady gardens are just getting lovlier and lovlier as my time is spend there rather than in the sunny spaces. Pretty normal for July, but this is only June . . .
Another Ohio hybridizer tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heavenly Gardens

All gardens are heavenly, but this is about Jamie Gossard's nursery outside of Columbus Ohio. I had a picture of one of his creations yesterday, and since I didn't see any daylilies that really caught my eye when I was taking pictures yesterday, I thought I'd just put some more of his up and highlight one of our Ohio hybridizers.
This first flower is one of my favorites, Tahoe Snow Blizzard. The shape is always perfect and the color is sort of a light french vanilla rather than a pure white. The shape is call and Unusual Form.
This next one is Startling Creation...

followed by Radiation Biohazard.

Heavenly Curls is another of his unusual forms ...

As is Heavenly Angel Ice. Quite a few of his over 200 introductions are Heavenly 'Something' after the name of his nursery.

Last is Brown Exotica, a bit different from the others I have from him. It's still an unusual form, but the color is a bit dark and mysterious looking. Much more subtle than the others.

Since I got started on this, I think I'll continue with some of the other Ohio hybridizers for the next few days. In a few weeks there will be a tour of the gardens in Ohio so I guess this is a good time to promote them.
Hot this week, so most of my heavy duty gardening will be done in the morning. Beans to plant this morning and then weeding. Afternoons when it gets like this are for weeding in shady places - which will at least partly explain why my shade gardens are always so much more weed free than the sunny places. Then again, I have a stack of books to catch up on, but that usually waits until August when even mornings get difficult for gardening.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Red Dragon

Yesterday's star in the garden was 'Great Red Dragon', a Jamie Gossard daylily. It's going to get harder to pick a favorite as more things bloom, but yesterday was easy. This is last years picture and this year the blooms are even better - thinner petals, and they look like they were cut out of oilcloth. I guess you'll have to be somewhat older to picture oilcloth, but that's what it reminded me of. Jamie is one of our Ohio hybridizers. He's been at this awhile and his flowers just keep getting better. His new introductions aren't cheap, but patience will get them in a few years when they will be just as pretty for a more reasonable price. As I've gotten older, I've learned more patience than I thought possible, and since I always love a bargain, most of the 'new introductions' in my beds are now added when they are a few years old. Still gorgeous, but within my budget. As you all know, plant collecting can be an expensive hobby, but as many people have said, there are lots of worse ways we could be spending our money and gardening keeps us out of trouble - too busy weeding during the day and too tired at night to go out. Then again, maybe it's just being old that keeps me out of trouble.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Daylily season has begun

Actually, daylily season started a month ago. It starts here very gradually with the earliest of the earlies always at least a month before the rest start. A bloom here, a bloom there. There are over 1500 named varieties and probably the same number of seedlings in our gardens. The one pictured, 'Wings of Chance' was the first non-yellow, non-small flower this year. It is actually a darker yellow than this picture looks here, at least on my computer. The peak of our daylily bloom season will be in about 2 weeks, I think. It promises to be a good one since at least so far the deer have done very little damage. I promise a lot of new pictures as the season starts.
A little about daylilies. They like full sun, or at least 6 hours a day. Otherwise they are quite undemanding plants. Keep them weeded and add some compost occasionally for mulch and they will reward you with lots of bloom. Our total season runs from mid May until frost since we grow extra early bloomers and everything else up to very late bloomers. Each blossom only lasts a day, but there will be hundreds and thousands of them in the garden over the next month or so. I hope some of you are close enough to visit. I'll let you all know when things get really 'blossomy'.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spirea 'Lemon Princess'

A small spirea with little lemon colored leaves is 'Lemon Princess'. Just now it is covered with pinky lavender blooms. It was new here last year and has definitely found a home. Quite a pretty thing. It is now about 2 feet tall and I think it won't get much bigger - though I've been promised a dwarf plant before only to be surprised by it's eventual size.
A quick post this morning because I have weeding to do before it is 90 degrees out there or raining cats and dogs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pictures from Yesterday in the Garden

We had visitors here from the Dayton area yesterday to tour the gardens and had just a wonderful time visiting with them. I wish more of you could visit so we could show you the gardens in person rather then just by these pictures I post here.

The picture above, is a Japanese or Ensata Iris. Pure white except for the small bits of yellow. I think its name is Snowy Hills, an older variety, actually from 1954. The Ensate Irises are just now putting on their show and they are much better than last year when we were so dry. They like moisture, though not being too wet. I expcet that the Louisiana Irises will be good this year too since they don't mind wet feet.

This next picture is waterlily 'Almost Black'. It is actually a bit darker than this photo shows, all of the petals being more like the ones in the center. It had gotten quite cloudy and the camera insisted on using the flash, so I got some reflections on the outside petal. this one is a really dependable bloomer and spreads quite a bit, mostly taking over a 12 foot diameter pond at this point.

The Papaver somniferum have started blooming. These are always a favorite, especially among those visitors who haven't seen them before. They are annuals, but come up readily from seed. You have to plant the seed just as soon as it is ripe in late summer. It doesn't come up until spring, but needs to be planted right away, if only to keep it from just dropping where it is (or being eaten by birds). We have way too many of these this year since Hank just spread seed everywhere last summer.

I love these Peruvian Daffodils (not sure of the botanical name right now - I'll remember it eventually) that I have growing in a pot. I've had them in the pot for about 10 years ever since I received them as a bonus plant with a hosta order. Odd bonus since they aren't hardy here, but they have been happily increasing ever since and bloom several times a year, outside and in the greenhouse.

Last is a full picture of the blue flowered plant I am trying to identify. It starts out with a basal rosette when it first comes up, but once the bloomscapes grow, the leaves seem to be more on the stems. I sure hope this picture helps someone to recognize it. I've looked in all of my books and found nothing. That's the trouble with mixed packets of seed. You can get lovely things that you have absolutely not idea what they are.

Off to weed out more thistle until it gets too hot.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sagina subulata 'Aurea'

Although I have a very large garden by anyone's standards (about 10 acres) I have a special fondness for tiny plants. Back in West Virginia I used to win blue ribbons at the county fair for my miniature flower arrangements. This one is about as tiny as you can get. Sagina subulata 'Aurea', Golden Irish Moss, is neither Irish or a moss, but despite that, it is a lovely plant for light shade, filling in between stepping stones or crawling over rocks. The flowers are extremely tiny and white, but because of their sheer numbers, turn the carpet from gold to gold and white when they bloom. They are on short stems, just above the moss. It can take light foot traffic. There is also a 'plain' version, the green form, but I find that this one is so much more attractive since it lights up the shady spots where I grow it. If you want to divide it and start a new colony, you just take a knife and cut out a square (which will fill in quickly and never look like it had been missing) and kind of press it into moist soil in its new location. Couldn't be easier. Too much sun or drought will not be to its liking, but it does seem to recover well once the rains come again. Even a light misting during dry times will be enough to keep it looking good.
I use a lot of thymes in the sunnier spots as a ground cover, but depend on Sagina for the shadier places.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Malva sylvestris

Malvas are great garden plants, happiest in full sun, but tolerant of light shade. They can be anywhere from 8 inches tall to probably 3 feet. Flowers are up and down the stem and they will bloom off and on from early summer until frost. They are perennial and also will seed. I grew them for the first time about 25 years ago and dug some up and brought them with me when I moved to Ohio. The one above is one of those, Malva sylvestris ' Zebrina'. It was the only one I grew for many years, at least until I discovered some seed for 2 other varieties.
The one below is 'Mystic Merlin'. Not all that much different from the one above, just a bit more red in the purple. Flower size and every thing else is quite the same.

The third one I grow, or grew (maybe), since it doesn't seem to be up yet and blooming although the others are, is 'Primley Blue'. I think this one might be my favorite. It is even more blue than shows in this picture.

As far as a source, Thompson and Morgan carries the seed. I'm not sure if anyone is selling plants, but when they are so easy from seed, it is a much more economical way to have some.


A Floral Mystery

This lovely blue flower came from a packet of mixed seeds a number of years ago. We had no idea if it was an annual or perennial, and since it was in an out of the way place, not likely to be noticed if it were an annual that would self seed, and definitely wanting to perpetuate this one, we transplanted it to a place where we could keep an eye on it. It has reappeared for several years, a much larger and healthier plant than the first year, probably about a foot tall. We still don't recognize it and so I was wondering if anyone out there might know what it is. It has a permanent place in my garden for as long as it wants to stay since it is well behaved and long blooming. I would just like to know who it is. Any ideas?????

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The Traescantias, also called Spiderworts or Snotweed (for the mucous-like sap) are scattered all around the gardens. Although we have bought many named varieties over the years, not all of the ones in the garden today are named because these hybridize so freely. They are bee or small insect pollinated and new seedlings just pop up all over the place. When I first started to grow them, I was told they were a shade plant, but I find they do much better in the sun, or at least half a day of sun. Most are about 15 inches tall and will rebloom if cut back after the first late spring/early summer bloom. Colors are white, blues of various shades, purples/fuchias and even a pink. They are easy to divide and transplant, though they will wilt and sulk for a few days after being moved. It is probably easiest to move them just as they're coming up in the spring while the foliage is still only a couple of inches tall.
This first one is Tradescantia cerinthoides 'Varietata'. I know it looks like a tender houseplant, but don't worry. Although it dies to the ground in the winter and doesn't come back from the roots, it self-seeds and comes true from seed, so once you have this one, it will pretty much always be there. You just need to weed out any stray all green ones because they will just take over. The flowers on this one are a bright, clear blue.

The next is 'Hawaiian Punch'. The picture here might not be the exact right color, but in person the color is just that of a glass of Hawaiian Punch - do they still make that??? I know I drank a lot of it when I was little.

This one is 'Concord Grape'. The flowers are pretty grape-juicy, but what I like most about this one is the foliage that is a deeper grey/green rather than the color of all of the other ones I grow.

'Litle Doll' has a full sized flower, but the plants are considerable shorter, probably not quite a foot tall.
'Sweet Kate' has a blue/purple flower (quite a bit more purple than the picture) but it's distinguishing characteristic is the gold foliage. It will occasionally revert to make a green eye or two, but just remove them. If you don't they will eventually take over the plan. We have this one growing in a dry space in full sun near daylilies, at the edge of a pond and in a semi-shaded garden and it does well in all three places.

'Bluestone' is a light, clear blue. We have other blues, names long since forgotten, but this one is probably the best.

'Bilberry Ice' grow at Lake Amanda and has made a huge clump over the years. This is another shorter one and has slightly darker foliage.

This last one is 'Osprey' and is a pure white with blue in the center. It grows in a number of places since it is one of my favorites.

If you haven't tried these, you should look for some. I don't think you'll probably find them at a big box store, but better gardening catalogs have plenty of choices. One word of caution. Many catalogs list Tradescantia 'Maiden's Blush' as hardy. It isn't. It is a lovely plant but is a tropical - zones 8-10. I grow it for it's wonderful green, white and pink foliage, but it needs to be a house plant that summers outside, not an outside plant. One way I can tell if a catalog is put out by a nursery that actually has someone who knows the plants as opposed to a nursery that just buys a bunch of stuff to sell is if they list Maiden's Blush as hardy to zone 6. If they do, I tend to have some suspicion about any other plants they list as far as the descriptions being accurate. I can't believe that they've been doing this for so many years and haven't corrected it. People must have demanded replacement plants or complained about it not coming back.
Sunny day so far. Lots to do.