Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Blooming Perennials, Part 1

I had originally thought I would make one post on Fall blooming perennials, but once I started thinking and writing, I realized that I would need 2 posts to get them all in and not be way too long, so here is part one. For my definition of Fall blooming, I have chosen things that don't start blooming until after Labor Day. There are certainly other things blooming in the garden, daylilies, hibiscus or various sorts, yarrows, hostas and others, but they have all been blooming for awhile or are reblooming. All of the plants I'm going to write about are just now starting to bloom, or in some cases, haven't even started their bloom yet for this season.
Blue Asters seem to pretty much say Fall for me. This one is Aster patens 'Slatey Blue'. This is tryly a late blooming plant that fortunately doesn't mind a bit of frost. This is a photo I took last year since it is only now beginning to bud. It's a large thing, 2 or 3 feet tall and at least as wide. At its peak bloom, there are hundreds, maybe thousands or blooms open at once. It makes an excellent cut flower for fall bouquets; excellent with some Golden Rod collected along the side of my road. Likes sun, but generally isn't very fussy about where it lives.

Chelone obliqua just doesn't look to me like a fall bloomer; maybe it's the pink bloom which doesn't seem to me to be a fall color. This one likes lite shade and doesn't seem to mind a slightly damp spot. About 2 feet tall or a little more and a slowly spreading clump.

Colchicum 'Violet Wonder' is sort of a magical plant. Like those Neked Ladies that were blooming in August, Colchicums put up their leaves in the spring. Dark green and heavy, straplike and produced in large numbers, they leave you anticipating wonderful flowers - which don't appear. The leaves fade away and you kind of forget about them. Then one September day, you go out, and where there was nothing yesterday, there is now this explosion of color and very un-Autumn-like blossoms. Some people call these Autumn Crocus, but they're not, they're Colchicums. Sun is best, but I've had some in light shade that also did fine. Those that ended up in heavy shade after trees got big around them had to be moved to a sunnier spot to keep blooming.

There are actually fall crocus and this one is named 'Kotschyanus' - a lovely blue with darker blue striping. This is another photo from last year since these have not yet come up this year. I just planted some more of these today since they are such a welcome sight this time of year. Right now, by the way, is the time to plant both fall crocus and colchicums.

Impatiens Omeiana makes a lovely show of foliage all summer, 12-18 inches tall, lightly patterned foliage in a clump that increases in size every year. This is a shade plant, though it seems to like some dappled sun, especially morning sun. Bright sun will leave you with a wilting and decidedly unhappy looking plant. I noticed this past weekend that it was starting to bud, so blooms should be out in a few days. They don't show it in this photo all that well, but they blossoms always remind me of goldfish hanging there. Even though this is an Impatiens, it is perfectly hardy here in zone 6 and probably good in zone 5 with some protection.

Kalimeris yomena 'Fuji' is a nice variegated plant all season. Dappled sun to light shade work equally well. Full sun doesn't seem to suit quite so much, though some sun will keep the variegation bright. It's easy to divide and I've divided mine several times so that I can spread the fall blooming around the garden. Only about a foot tall, it spreads nicely without being a pest and doesn't seem to seed around, at least it hasn't in the dozen or so years it has lived here.

The Kalimeris blooms are a nice pale blue aster-like flower and last for several weeks once they start. They make good cut flowers.

Leucoseptrum stellipilum also likes lite shade. This version (I grow 4 different ones) has a plain leaf and pink flower spikes. These clumps can get to be 3 feet tall and as wide. They seem to like a moist place and are well liked by honey bees.

This variegated Leucoseptrum likes the same conditions and has yellow/cream flower spikes. I have also gotten, last summer, one with green leaves with a gold edge, and one with gold leaves.

So that's it for the first installment of Fall Bloomers. All of these are quite hardy here in zone 6, though if you are a different zone, you should check on the hardiness for your zone. As far as I know, all are readily available.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Pictured here - Hibiscus 'Flyer'. Fall is coming (quickly) and this is definitely a harbinger of things to come. If you need a plant that will make a statement in the garden, this is it. Bright red flowers, some a foot across, on plants that can reach 10 feet tall. Definitely something you can see from across the yard if not from down the street.
Actually, I wasn't going to write about Hibiscus today, but rather about changes to the blog. As I've gotten older and the garden has gotten bigger (the problem with having pretty unlimited space in which to plant), my time for sitting at the computer has shrunk, so I'm going to try a monthly newsletter sort of thing with what's blooming now, maintenance type things I'm doing in the garden, new plants we've added, bugs we're fighting with and much more. This won't, of course, keep me from posting more often as things occur to me or when I have pictures to share, but maybe I can stop feeling so guilty about not posting so frequently if I can keep telling myself that I promised one newsy post a month. Maybe it's just the time of year when the garden gets dry and the weeds finally get totally out of control in spots and I find myself struggling to keep everything looking its best (and losing miserably in the effort). Of course, hosta beds and shade gardens look good except where the deer have munched, so if you're planning a visit, there will be plenty to enjoy.
So, shortly after the Labor Day holiday, look for my first monthly newsletter, or follow my weekly (or more often) updates on Facebook, always with a picture of something that's blooming. And while you're on Facebook, why don't you 'friend' us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Edible Landscaping

Edible Landscaping was the name of a book I had at one time, though I don't see it on the shelf now. I must have passed it along to someone else. The premise was that you don't always need a separate garden for your vegetables since plenty of them are just as ornamental as the flowers. Herbs are the most common example, but since I had so much trouble with deer and other critters getting into my vegatable garden when I had it across the road, I decided to try and incorporate all of my veggies into the gardens around the house rather than just the thyme, parsley, sage and basil. Plenty of sun on this side of the road too.
This first picture is of the small fenced off are where I have planted 8 broccoli plants and 8 cabbage plants. They're back behind other plants. I had to work a bit to even get a good picture where you could see them, and even in this one they aren't all that visible. There is also a row of beets and one of carrots between the others. Broccoli will be ready soon and the cabbages are starting to head. Although I much prefer a pretty garden with nice neat rows of lots of things, this will have to do for this year.

This next one is my cucumber patch, where they seem to be much larger every time I look. Just about to flower and make me some cucumbers that I will turn into bread and butter pickles. The whole patch is about 6 feet by 10 feet. Plenty of space for a lot of pickles to grow. I have a short fence around it and netting over the top, rigged up sort of like a circus tent. The baby groundhogs aren't going to get these.

Tomatoes are actually kind of easy to do since you can put one plant (and a fence) in a pretty small space. With this green fencing, it blends in very nicely with the other plants. You really have to look to see it sometimes. I have 6 - 3 Rutgers for Hank and 3 Beefsteak for me. There are green tomatoes on the Rutgers, so not too much longer to wait. These are pretty much for fresh eating. I'll get the quantity I need for canning from the farmers' market.

And if you can't find a place amongst the perennials, just grow your veggies in pots. My peppers just didn't seem to have a good place to go, so I put them in gallon pots, and already have a pepper growing.

There are also plenty of 'grow them on the patio' types of containers for vegetables, so unless you live in a closet, you really don't have any excuse for not having a fresh tomato or 2 this summer that you grow yourself.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Daylily Time

I guess it's about time for me to write something. I plan posts while I'm weeding and planting and pruning, but by the time I'm done working for the day and have supper, I'm usually too tired to think about actually writing something down.
Things have been really busy around here. We have repaired the pond where the miniature water lilies grow to fix the problem caused by a deer falling into it last winter. We have also been waging a war on bamboo and have totally eradicated the knee-high one from the bed in front of the front barn. It is now planted in hostas and some other shade plants and, if I do say so myself, if much better looking that way. We also got rid of the yellow striped small bamboo on the way into the sales area and that too is not in hostas, but mostly miniatures. The same yellow striped bamboo that was growing along the driveway as you walk in has also been removed and replaced with nothing. It was just growing through everything and didn't need to be there. This small stuff is much easier to get rid of than the tall. You simply have to dig it out. The roots and runners are small enough that although it is a lot of work, it is possible. The tall stuff is still a problem and we will be trying to get rid of some more of that. It would take shovels much sturdier than we have and a much stronger person to dig any of that out.
The other war is on vinca and ivy. It is totally (hopefully) gone from several beds that have been redone this spring. I have a bit more to do, but progress is definitely being made. We've always made some changes in the gardens every year, but this year is major redecorating time. It's kind of nice - gives one new gardens to enjoy without having to expand the gardens and have more to take care of, which at my age I don't really need. Daylilies growing in too much shade have been moved to happier places; hostas in too much sun are in the process of being moved.
Wish I could remember all of this things I had wanted to write about. We do have a family of raccoons who come by each evening. The one with the half-a-tail shows up a 9 o'clock exactly every night to clean up the seeds that are dropped under the bird feeders. He also did us a favor by totally destroying/eating a yellow jacket nest.
I do need to mention that the daylilies are glorious right now. This may be the best weekend of the year to see the largest number in bloom at once. We have had some in bloom since April and will have some almost up until frost. The deer, for the first time in a few years, have done some nipping of buds on them, but Milorganite and Liquid Fence have pretty much stopped it. There are a few bare spots with no bloom, but others are in their full blooming glory. Sunny days today and tomorrow, so you have no excuse to not come and see them.
We added a Blue Atlas Cedar to the back gardens yesterday. It wasn't planned, but when we stopped into Lowe's for some caulk, and of course had to see what we could rescue from their garden center, there was this 6 foot tall Cedar, just begging for us to take it home. It barely fit in our little Toyota Yaris, but it is now planted. Now we just have to keep it alive. They are only marginally hardy here, and although we had one live here for a number of years, they can be tricky. We have tried a new siting and hope this will keep it happy. It has become the centerpiece for what will be a blue garden. Hank says blue and gold, I say blue and white. He gets up earlier, so I expect it will probably be blue and gold.
So, enough for now. If there are any plants of topics anyone has questions about, please leave a comment. Sometimes I just need some inspiration for get writing again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Slide Show

I couldn't decide which plants to write about today, so here's a sample of what was blooming/growing in the garden today. I'm not sure of the proper Latin names for all of them off the top of my head so I'll do the best I can and fill them in tomorrow when I'm at my desk.

Dog Stinkhorn

Cactus 'Claret Cup'

Iris virginica 'Pink Form'

Liriope muscari 'Okina'

Chives in Bloom

Pine with 'candles'

Hosta 'Peanut'

Polygonatum 'No Go Kai'

Trillium luteum

Primula sieboldii

Tree Peony 'Black Douglas'

That's it for today. These are just a small number of all of the photos I took today. Tomorrow I'll try and post a bunch of peony pictures.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Orchids - the hardy type

For all of those who think they can't grow orchids, I would recommend you try some of these hardy types to grow outside in your garden.
This first one is Spiranthes cernua 'Chadds Ford'. The species is native to bogs and damp meadows, grows 6 to 20 inches tall (ours tend to be tall), and bloom late summer through fall with spikes of sweetly scented, white orchid-like flowers. Makes sense, orchids with orchid-like flowers. The common name is Nodding Lady's Tresses. The leaves are a basal rosette. This U.S. native has a preference for acidic soil. Zones 4-8. Spiranthes cernua prefers to not be disturbed or moved once established.
Next is a more unusual one - a vining orchid that thrives in shade. Codonopsis lanceolata grows up a support to a height of about 10-15 feet - our still young plant makes it to about 8 right now. It circles the support (ours grows up a Japanese maple) without strangling it. I've found it to be a good idea to put a small fence, maybe a foot tall around the base because rabbits have found it tasty in the past. It didn't kill it, but it stopped growing for the year and waited for the next year to grow again and bloom, and the blooms are too special to miss.

The blooms remind me a bit of a PawPaw or some species Clematis rather than an orchid. They are maybe an inch across or a little large and are borne singly up and down the stem. I haven't noticed any fragrance. This really does thrive in shade. I don't think ours gets any direct sun at all. Actually I'm not sure this is properly speaking an orchid, but is commonly referred to as a climbing orchid. Zone for this is 6-8. Bloom is later in the summer.

Calanthe tricarinata is a very orchid looking orchid. These leaves seem typical of the Calanthes with their shiny green finish and pleats. The leaves may be evergreen in very mild winters, but I sometimes think it is better when they leave for the winter as they often look pretty ratty in the spring and will be replaced with new ones anyway. Flowers on both of the ones I have pictured start blooming in late spring.

I do love the color on these flowers - the yellows and oranges - and the fringed lower petal. The bloom stalk can have quite a few individual flowers. It is native to Pakistan, through the Himalayas and on east to Japan. The leaves are probably almost a foor tall with the bloom stalk rising above that. Zone 6-9. It likes shade and a woodsy soil.

Last, but not least, is Calanthe discolor. This one is often listed as zones 6b-9, but we have no problem growing it here in 6a. The flowers have burgundy back petals and a white or pale pink center petal. It is native to woods in Japan. This one is smaller, only about 10 inches tall. Like the tricarinata, it may loose its leaves when the winter temperatures go below 10 degrees. This is quite easy to grow and makes a nice clump over time. While the tricarinata I planted about 8 years ago is still only one stem.

I do grow some tropical orchids in the house, but none will ever be as easy to grow and get to bloom as these lovelies from my outside garden.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Hostas

My first job this morning was to (finally) get the names straight on one of our beds of miniature hostas. I knew the names, but just needed to match the names with the faces, so to speak. In the process, the bed got weeded and neatened and everyone got their pictures taken. Here are some of my favorites. All are as easy to grow as their larger brothers and sisters and most increase quickly. I recommend putting them in their own bed, or, if you want to mix them with larger hostas, plant them in a group together and put them next to a rock or something else to keep them from being stepped on or lost. I don't think anything pictured here is over 4 inches tall. The flowers are usually perfectly in proportion. Just toooooo cute.

Venusta Ogon

Pandora's Box


With the exception of a little sprinkle this afternoon, we actually had 2 days in a row where the sun shone. Quite an accomplishment for this spring. More predicted for the first part of tomorrow before we get back to more serious rain. Oh well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of this plant. I'm not sure if it is a very large, woody stemmed perennial that dies to the ground or a small shrub that just isn't quite hardy enough to keep all it's branches during the winter. The common name of Shrub Mint doesn't help with the confusion. My established plants are at least 3 feet tall and as wide. This is the first one we got, simply Leucosceptrum stellipilum. We had ordered the variegated version and got this one by mistake. We kept it and just reordered the variegated one. There aren't that many things that grow in shade and also bloom in September - and that don't look like asters. The spikey blooms are pinkish purple on the plain leafed one and yellowish on the variegated one.

And here is the variegated one, simply called Variegata. The pattern on the leaves is a combination of shades of green and a greenish/goldish/chartreusish color. They are just now leafing out and so usually avoid the worst of the late frosts. Its preferred location would be in light shade to part sun. Zones for it would be from 5 to 8. I've never seen them bothered by critters, with 4 legged or of the flying and biting varieties.

When Asiatica Nursery was closing down last summer and fall, Barry had a lot of good bargains (and I'm a sucker for a good bargain on plants or yarn). The Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel' was one of the things I bought. It took right off and is now about 2 feet tall and wide and wasn't bothered at all by last night's frost.

The other one that I got was this Leucosceptrum stellipilum 'October Moon'. This photo doesn't do the colors justice. The centers of the leaves are a medium green and the edges a creamy chartreuse, but there are lots of small flashes of other colors in the edge and at the margin between the edge and the center. I think this is going to be spectacular when it gets big. It hasn't grown as much as the Golden Angel just yet, but I'm looking forward to a whole bush full of these lovely leaves.

The species is native to Japan and from what I've read, they are the ones doing the hybridizing of these new varieties. If you haven't tried these, you should. I think I say that about everything. I'm so glad I have pretty unlimited gardening space; I don't have to make choices - I can have them all. Now if only I had a bottomless checkbook...


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum'

One of my spring favorites, Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' or Variegated Solomon Seal. It is blooming in many places throughout the gardens and we will be giving quite a bit away this weeked in honor of Mothers' Day to moms and moms-to-be who visit the nursery on Sunday, May 8th. So if you're nearby, please stop to tour the gardens - and smell the lilacs.
Polygonatums are shade creatures, or at least dappled light types. They like woodsy situations with ample moisture, though I've not seen them happy in really damp places. There are many different types and maybe I'll do a post on some of the others some time soon. They range from tiny, 8 inch tall plants, to some that top 4 feet tall.
This particular one is about 2 feet tall, though in the right spot, it might reach 3 feet. It grows happily in gardens from zone (3)4 to 8. Blooming starts in late April here and last for a couple of weeks. The bell shaped flowers seem to attract lots of bumble bees, thought they don't seem designed to pollinate them and they are considerably larger than the flowers. If the flowers do get pollinated, you will see dark blue berries in the fall. Not that you need berries or seeds to get more plants. They spread by underground runners and will, over time, make a nice patch. They are easy to transplant, which is why we have small patches in many places now.
The stems are burgundy colored, though the color is more pronounced some years than others. This year it is especially good. Maybe it is all the rain we've been having. I've noticed that colors everywhere in the garden are really nice - and plants are getting huge. The leaves are edged in creamy white, a narrow margin but quite noticeable.
These are native to Europe and Asia, but have some relative in the U.S. They are commonly available from mail order nurseries and you might even find them in a small local nursery, though I've never seem them at any of the big box stores. They are easy to grow, so if you have space and shade, you really should try some. As I said, we're giving some away this weekend, so if you're in the Athens Ohio area, please stop by to get some.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Carolina Blue(pink)bells

Quick post today since I'm supposed to be working on paperwork (ugh!). This is an oddity that I discovered in the garden this spring. Our Virginia Bluebells had seeded around a bit too much and so I decided to dig a few and transplant to a sort of too shady empty spot. When they bloomed this one was definitely pink. I know some seem to change color, but this one came out pink and stayed pink. I'll keep watching to see if it does the same thing next year or if it was only caused by the stress of being transplanted. Has anyone else ever had one bloom pink like this?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Common Water Snake - Nerodia Sipedon Sipedon

A non plant post today - unless you consider the fact the this Common Water Snake (also sometimes known as Northern Water Snake) is living in the old bathtub where I keep my potted waterlilies. Common Watersnakes are one of the most common snakes in Ohio. It will live in just about any permanent body of water. I can attest to this as I have had them living in the smallest of our ponds. Actually, you don't get much smaller pond than a bathtub.
Compared to a lot of the other snakes that we have on the farm, these are kind of short and fat. They are very fond of basking in the sun and can often be seen on rocks at the edge of a pond, or on a floating log or even on an overhanging branch. They seem a bit nervous to me, disappearing under the water just about as soon as they notice you. I'm surprised that this one allowed me to take its picture. I'm a big snake fan, have been since I was little, but these guys are not on my favorites list. I have 2 major problems with them. First, they are the reason that there are no longer any fish in any of our ponds. This is not just idle chatter. I have seen them eating my poor goldfish. The frog that lived in the bathtub with the waterlilies seems to be missing as well. He used to sing to me. In addition to fish and frogs, they will eat worms, crayfish, leeches, and small mammals and birds. The other thing I dislike about this particular snake is that they are just downright nasty. They seem to delight in attacking people. Hank was weeding around the edge of one of the larger ponds when one attacked and bit him. He didn't even know it was in the pond. Although I don't know about it from personal experience, I have read that they secrete an obnoxious, smelly substance from their musk glands if they are handled.
The color can vary from brown to red to grey to blackish. Its belly can be white, yellow or grey. In general the snake seems to darken as it ages.
Common Water Snakes mate in April and June and their young are born live in late summer and fall. These are not egg layers. As seems to befit these less than lovely creatures, their babies are on their own as soon as they are born, and no parental care is provided. They female can give birth to up to 30 young at a time.
We seem to have quite a few of these snakes around and I see them often, sunning at the edges of the ponds.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Campanula punctata 'Wedding Bells'

I had good intentions of using this plant in my post yesterday, in honor or William and Kate's wedding, but I guess in my excitement of having my DSL back working I totally forgot.
I'm kind of new to Campanulas and it is a love hate sort of relationship. This one especially. It is gorgeous. The flowers are large, but still delicate and the purest white. They are borne in profusion and last for a long time. But . . . they seed voraciously. If you're not careful, you will have a forest of the things in no time at all. So, plant them by all means, but deadhead most of them, leaving maybe one or two blossoms to make you some new plants for next year. They don't seem to spread far - just drop their seeds at the base of the plant, so it is easy to just pluck them out if you get too many.
The flowers are double, two perfect flowers, one inside the other. They are hardy to zone 5. Expect them to get about 18" tall. They like sun, average soil that is neither too dry nor to wet. And so far, deer don't seem to eat them which is a plus for any plant in my garden. For those of you who like to pick flowers to bring into the house to enjoy, these make excellent cut flowers.
They seem to be readily available at a number of mail order nurseries and you may find them in garden centers also.
We had the first totally wonderful sunny day that we've had in a long time today and we totally enjoyed it - though I'm really tired now. Lots of new things dug and potted for the nursery and lots of just walking and enjoying the plants.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Uvularia sessilifolia variegata

This plant is nothing if not really cute. Unlike the more common Uvularia which is about 18 inches to 2 feet tall and has fairly large yellow, bell-shaped flowers, this guy is not much more than 6 inches tall and is perfectly in scale from the thin stem to the thin green and white leaves to the tiny, no more than 1/2inch long, creamy white bell shaped flower, one to a stem. I got this some years ago and it has spread slightly - when something this small and dainty spreads, it will never be called invasive. It has simply gone, over about 10 years, from a single stem to a patch maybe a foot across. Did I say I really like this one????
The Uvularias are woodland plants and are native to the eastern U.S. They like a shaded site and evenly moist soil. I don't think they want wet feet. Mine grows in a shady rock garden with tiny woodland anemones, miniature hostas, some tiny ferns and assorted other small plants. At the top of the slope is a small pond for iris that enjoy a shaded site. Above the pond is a sweep of Epimediums. The whole thing is quite flowery and pretty right now.
I'm not sure just how easy this one is to find, and because of its diminutive size, it needs a special spot, but I really like it. And did I say it's really cute???

Sorry about not posting yesterday. I posted an update to Facebook about today being our opening day, and then when I went over to Blogger, the DSL connection had disappeared and didn't return until almost lunchtime today. No idea what happened to it, but it's back and so am I. We're expecting a sunny day tomorrow and warmer than today - which was just a bit too chilly for my taste this time of year. We had a number of out of town guests to visit and tour the gardens despite the less than perfect weather. Hope to see you tomorrow or Sunday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Podophyllum - Mayapples

We grow plenty of good old American native Mayapples in the garden and they are in many places in our woods, but we also grow a couple of different non-native ones. This first one is Podophyllum 'Kaleidoscope'. This is a big bigger than our native Mayapple, being about 2 feet tall with leaves up to 18" wide. Ours isn't quite that large yet, but it seems to increase in size every year. It seemed downright wimpy for the first couple of years, but now in addition to the plants being larger, the clump is increasing in size. Maybe in a couple more years I'll even have some to share. All Mayapples are shade plants and like woodsy soil. This one has a red or burgundy flower in the spring and may set seed and spread that way too. We have them growing with hostas and some other shade perennials. They are still expensive and are patented, so I don't expect to see them readily available any time soon.

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' is similar to the one above, but has a much more patterned leaf, with dark spots. It is about the same size, likes the same conditions, and also has reddish flowers. Both of these are pretty much restricted to zones 6-8, though there have been reports of it surviving a zone 4 winter. Both of these may come up early (too early) and will need to be protected from late frosts. As long as it hasn't come up too much, we put a styrofoam box over them with a brick on top to keep it from blowing away. Makes a wonderful temporary greenhouse.

I'm writing while I'm sitting here waiting for yet more rain to arrive. Depending on which forecast you read, it could be up to an additional 2 inches. We really don't need 2 more inches of rain. I spent the day slipping a sliding in the mud trying to finish getting all of the sale plants in place for opening day. I had mud caked on up to my knees. I guess I'm going to have to find some gravel to spread if we do get this extra rain so everyone who visits the gardens this weekend isn't also caked with mud. Yuck!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Muscari macrocarpum 'Golden Fragrance'

We tried for a number of years to get this lovely yellow muscari to grow in our garden. We finally have succeeded, under a small pine tree, next to a clump of tulips. Not even sure why Hank planted it there, but it lived...and bloomed, so who am I to question. It's a very un-muscari looking muscari (Grape Hyacinth) and stands about 8 inches tall. The flowers on this species are more like little tubes than my others, which are more rounded. It is extremely fragrant, but unfortunately, unless you're crawling around weeding, you probably won't smell it. With only one bloom scape this first season, I certainly wasn't going to pick it. Maybe next year it will increase and I can bring some into the house to enjoy.
Bloom time is mid to late spring. Plant in full sun to light shade, but like most of the other spring bulbs, it will probably do better in a sunny location, at least in terms of coming back bigger and stronger next year. It will grow just about anywhere in the U.S. since it can live anywhere from zone 4 to 9. A nice thing is that they are rather deer and rodent resistent, at least so far. My other grape hyacinths aren't bothered, though, so I don't expect this one will be either. The only exception has been in winters where the deer have no food in the woods, and if the foliage is up over the winter, it might get nibbled, but in a normal year, the deer seem to avoid it.
This one is a little more expensive that the other muscari types - about $1 a bulb as opposed to more like 50 cents each for the more common ones. As with most spring blooming bulbs, I can't recommend Brent and Becky's Bulbs enough. Wonderful selection, good prices, and always the biggest and best quality bulbs. They are the reason our garden is so lovely in the early spring.
It was certainly a pleasant surprise to finally see one of these bloom this spring.

Looks like we are going to have nice weather for our opening weekend at the nursery. Hard to believe they're predicting 2 days in a row without rain. We'll see if the forecast stays that way until Friday. If you're in the area, stop by.