Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits III

Merry Christmas! Okay, perhaps not. This posted at midnight, precisely as Christmas Day ended. These are not exactly Christmas flowers anyway. They are not even Christmas colors. The pictures are actually from the previous week. I knew then that I would not likely want to go out to get pictures last week. Until now, Christmas was the priority. There was no work to go to.

My six are very limited this week. There are only two genera and three species. There could be more if the Osteospermum have species designations. I know them only as ‘hybrids’. If there are any cultivar names, I do not know what any of them are.

1. Lantana montevidensis – grows as a ground cover. The color range of the bloom is limited. This color is common, but I thought that individual flowers more commonly have white centers.

2. Lantana camara – is the ‘other’ lantana. It is shrubbier and better foliated. Floral color is more variable and generally more brightly colored. Bloom is not as extensive, but is more prolific.

3. Lantana camara – likes this particular landscape where I got these pictures. Another solitary specimen down the road and at a lower elevation already looks shabby from cooling weather.

4. Osteospermum – within this landscape are all modern hybrids. If anyone knows who their parents are, they do not share such information anymore. I think this color might be ‘lavender’.

5. Osteospermum – looks more purplish than the previous picture. I am no good with colors. Despite the attributes of modern hybrids, I still prefer old fashioned Osteospermum fruticosum.

6. Osteospermum – colors are not easy to describe. Is this one light burgundy red or ruddy pink? There might be six or so cultivars here. This unidentifiable color happens to be my favorite.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits II

Rhody did not make the cut this week. There are too many minor flowers blooming. Only six can be shared here. Besides, flowers are more cooperative with getting their pictures taken than Rhody is. I should get six more flower pictures for next week as well, since I am trying to avoid the sort of dreary pictures I had been sharing, and the weather has not yet gotten interesting.

The botanical names of some of these flowers have changed over the years. The names I use may be outdated or updated. I can not be sure anymore. I am not certain about the identity of the hebe.

1. Hebe buxifolia, perhaps ‘Patty’s Purple’ hebe, is now beginning to succumb to cool winter weather. I am not certain if it has a definite bloom season. It seems to bloom randomly until frost.

2. Lobularia maritima, alyssum, is a warm season annual that finishes in winter, but replaces itself with seedlings that perform as cool season annuals for winter until warmer spring weather.

3. Diosma pulchrum, pink breath of Heaven, also seems to bloom whenever it wants to, although not quite as colorfully as hebe. This cultivar has lime green foliage instead of yellowish green.

4. Morea bicolor, butterfly iris, could be dug, divided, and shared with other landscapes. However, we can not adequately maintain the mature colonies that are already out in the landscapes.

5. Salvia greggii, autumn sage, is not just for autumn. Like the others, it blooms whenever it wants to. I like this one because it is only red. The flowers are too small to be both red and white.

6. Senecio X hybrida, cineraria, is leftover from when a few bedding plants were still added seasonally to a few prominent parts of the landscape. This one happens to be potted on a pedestal.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Six on Saturday: Flowery Bits

After so many pictures of fallen leaves, firewood and frost, I should probably share a few floral pictures like everyone else does. All those pictures of ash from the fire did not help much. I can expound a bit excessively on autumn and winter topics because they are not as mundane as they are in other climates. For example, I would not notice frost so much if it were common here.

Some flowers continue to bloom later than they would in other climates. Some bloom too early here. Some can not decide when they should bloom. The fifth picture is not even a bloom at all.

1. Callistemon viminalis ‘Little John’ is a bottlebrush for those who dislike bottlebrush . . . or just lack the space. I hate to say it, but I sort of prefer the formerly common Callistemon citrinus.

2. Eucalyptus pulverulenta foliage is prettier without bloom. Nonetheless, for those who get close enough to see them, these small white flowers are pretty too. Bees appreciate them as well.

3. Lonicera periclymenum ‘Peaches and Cream’ has yet to bloom profusely here. Summer bloom is adequate at best. Bigger trusses of buds develop too late into autumn to bloom completely.

4. Narcissus does not wait for spring to bloom. I do not know what cultivar it is, or if it is a cultivar. Some might know it simply as ‘paperwhite’. Daffodils will bloom later, but are not fragrant.

5. Pseudoflora seem to bloom annually here prior to Christmas. Afterward, they will return to the barn for storage for almost another year. Some people believe that they are real poinsettia.

6. Rhody simply will not cooperate for a picture if he knows I am taking one. I included this picture anyway because, no matter what, or how bad his picture is, everyone always loves Rhody.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Statice

Statice is so popular as a cut flower that it should be more popular than it is in home gardens.

The papery flowers of annual statice, Limonium sinuatum, are so popular as seemingly synthetic dried flowers that many garden enthusiasts are surprised to find that they are happy to bloom naturally in home gardens. The clear shades of blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow and white seem to be dyed. The one or two foot tall flower stems are outfitted with odd papery ‘wings’ that make the stems seem wider than they actually are. Deeply lobed basal foliage forms shallow rosettes. Mature plants are about one or two feet tall, and a foot or so wide. Bloom begins late in summer, and continues into autumn. Good sun exposure and good drainage are preferred. Seed can be sown directly, or young plants can be added to the garden early in spring.

Dried Flowers Last All Year

These flowers were cut weeks ago, and will look just as fresh months later.

Statice, strawflower and globe thistle continue to bloom later than most other summer annuals, and hold their flowers longer. Even after bloom, the flowers are so stiff and ‘crispy’ that they remain intact and colorful until they succumb to exposure to weather. If cut and brought in from the weather soon enough, they will last as dried flowers at least until fresh flowers start to bloom in the garden next spring.

Strawflower and larger globe thistle tend to wilt and droop from the weight of the bulky flowers, so should be tied in small bunches and hung upside down to dry. Perennial statice (which has larger blooms than annual statice) tends to flop to the ground, but the stems often bend only at the base so that the rest of the stem length stays somewhat straight. Smaller globe thistle and annual statice often dry standing up while still out in the garden.

Yarrow and English lavender can be dried as well, but lose most of their color. Lavender dries naturally in the garden. Yarrow can likewise be allowed to dry in the garden, but probably keeps a bit more color if cut while still fresh and hung upside down. Because yarrow blooms are so wide, they should be hung individually or in small bundles. Queen Anne’s lace has even wider blooms that curl inward as they dry, so they really should be hung individually.

Old hydrangea flowers that are only beginning to fade can dry surprisingly well if cut and hung individually before they deteriorate too much or start to rot. Some varieties retain color better than others. Some fade almost completely to an appealing brown paper bag.

There are not many roses this time of year, but when they do bloom, even they can be cut and dried while beginning to unfurl. Only a few small and tightly budded roses can be dried when completely open. Because they droop right below the blooms, roses should be hung upside down to dry. Dark colored roses get very dark as they dry. White roses turn tan. Pink and yellow are probably the better colors.

Cat-tails and pampas grass flowers are big, bold and dated cut flowers. Yet, for situations where big flowers fit, they are just as practical now as they were in the 1970s. Because pampas grass flowers shed, and cat-tails can explode (to disperse their seed), they should be sprayed with hair spray or another fixative to keep them contained. Pampas grass foliage has dangerously serrate edges that can give nasty paper cuts, so should be handled carefully, and displayed out of the way.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum is famously diverse and colorful.

Chrysanthemum compensates for its lack of fragrance with rich color and variable form. Centuries of breeding have produced countless shades and tints within the yellow, orange and red range. This includes pink as a tint of red, cream as a tint of yellow, and bronze as a shade of orange. Some reds and pinks are precariously close to purple or lavender. There is, of course, white as well.

Flowers may be solitary big pom-poms, multiple small buttons, or anything in between. Many are daisy types, mostly with bright yellow centers. Spider chrysanthemums have strangely elongated and hooked ray florets, which are generally thought of as ‘petals’. Some chrysanthemums that would otherwise bloom with many small flowers can be groomed to bloom with fewer bigger flowers.

Chrysanthemums with compact growth and uniform bloom are popular as short term annuals for autumn. Their primary bloom phase is impressively profuse. Unfortunately, few get an opportunity to bloom again. Other cool season annuals replace most of them for winter. In ideal situation, with rich media and regular watering, chrysanthemums can actually perform as short term perennials.

Moss Rose

Moss rose can bloom until frost.

The recent unseasonably warm weather was no problem for any remaining moss rose, Portulaca grandiflora. They usually start to look rather tired as the weather gets cooler this time of year, and eventually succumb to the first frost. Where allowed to do so, they can regenerate next year from seed. I like to collect their seed during the summer or autumn so that I can sow them after the last frost of the following winter. Through spring and summer, I find that additional plants are easy to grow from cuttings.

The inch wide flowers are white, pink, red, orange or yellow, with only a few ruffled petals. Modern varieties that have rufflier ‘double’ flowers and richer colors still seem to be less popular than the more delicate traditional types. The cylindrical and succulent leaves are only about an inch long. The small plants can get more than six inches deep where they are happy or crowded. Moss rose likes good exposure and decent soil, but does not need the rich soil that most other annuals demand. Nor does it necessarily need such regular watering.

These Bulbs Are Not Incandescent

Bulbs do not look too impressive.

It may seem to be too early to be concerned with narcissus, daffodil and grape hyacinth, but this is when their bulbs go into the garden. Once established, these familiar examples, as well as early bearded iris, can be the most reliable for colorful bloom at about the same time early each spring. Crocus and freesia bloom just as early, but may not naturalize as reliably. Lily, tulip, hyacinth, anemone and ranunculus really prefer cooler winters to bloom reliably after their first spring, even though they are worth growing for just one season.

Bulbs, including corms, rhizomes, tubers and tuberous roots, can be found in nurseries when it is time for them to be planted. Gladiolus are not yet available only because they are summer blooming bulbs that should be planted a bit later than spring bulbs. None of the bulbs are much to look at while dormant, and are even less impressive once they get buried out of sight, but they have already stored up everything they need for the blooms that we expect from them next year. Once hidden below the surface of the soil, seemingly dormant bulbs secretly disperse their roots into the surrounding cool and moist soil to be ready to bloom as soon as weather allows.

In their first year, some bulbs can be planted in groups at different times to coincide with the expected durations of their particular bloom cycles. For example, if the flowers of a particular type of bulb can be expected to last two weeks, a second phase of the same bulbs can be planted two weeks after the first phase. As the first phase finishes bloom next spring, the second phase should begin bloom. However, phasing is only effective for the first season, since all bulbs of any particular variety will be synchronized by their second season.

Anemone, ranunculus and bearded iris each bloom synchronously, regardless of when they get planted, so are immune to phasing. Fortunately, the many varieties of bearded iris have different bloom seasons. Some bloom as early as narcissus. Mid-season varieties bloom shortly afterward, and are followed by late varieties. Some modern varieties bloom early, and then again after the late varieties!

October Brings Cool Season Annuals

Warm season annuals are now passe.

As the name implies, ‘annuals’ need to be replaced ‘annually’. What is worse is that they do not even function for an entire year, but only for a specific season. Cool season annuals mostly work from autumn to spring. Warm season annuals mostly work from spring to autumn. Calendula is a popular cool season annual that may not last even that long, since it can mildew half way through winter.

Now that it is time for cool season annuals, it can be unpleasant to remove warm season annuals that are still performing well. In mixed plantings, new annuals can be phased in through autumn as older annuals deteriorate. Busy Lizzie (impatiens), wax begonia and other warm season annuals that are actually perennials can get cut back and overplanted with cool season annuals. The cool season annuals that temporarily overwhelm them can provide shelter from frost. As the cool season annuals finish next spring, the warm season ‘annuals’ can regenerate

However, not all cool season annuals need to finish next spring. Sweet William, cyclamen, chrysanthemum and the various primroses are popular cool season annals that are actually perennials. When the time comes, they can be overplanted with warm season annuals, so that they can regenerate the following autumn. In cool spots, sweet William and some primroses can actually perform all year. (Some people are allergic to primroses like poison oak.)

Alyssum and nasturtium really are annuals, but can function both as warm season and cool season annuals. They sow their own seeds so that new plants can reliably replace old plants without being noticed. The old plants only need to be pulled as they deteriorate. Alyssum is white, or pastel hues of pink or purple. Nasturtium is just the opposite, with bright hues of yellow, orange and red, with only a few pastel options.

Pansies and smaller violas are the two most popular of cool season annuals, since they function like petunias for cool weather. They lack few colors. Most have two or three colors. Ornamental cabbage and kale produce big and bold rosettes of pink, white or pink and white foliage. Kale has weirdly distinctive foliar texture. White, lavender, pink, purple and rose stock is the most fragrant of cool season annuals, and taller varieties are great for cutting. Iceland poppy has delicately nodding flowers on wiry stems. They can be pastel hues of white, pink, yellow, orange or soft red.

Six on Saturday: A Bit More Color

Since the Fire, my Six on Saturday posts have been rather gloomy. Titles such as ‘Pompeii‘, ‘Revelation‘ and ‘Revelation II‘ are appropriately descriptive. More color is in order.

1. Silvery bark of a silver maple is sort of colorful. Hey, the next five really are more colorful. I planted this tree as a young twigling in the Santa Clara Valley when I was in high school. It had a second trunk, which I layered as another tree for the front garden. This tree is in back. I would like to get a copy for my own garden. This is now an old picture that I got during evacuation.

2. Orangish red bloom is that of ‘Pollack’ zonal geranium, which is grown more for its very variegated foliage. However, this bonus bloom is on a specimen that reverted to be less variegated.

3. Peachy Peruvian lily looks pink to me, but is not quite as pink as the pink sort. There is a yellow sort here too. They certainly are prolific. In 1986, I worked with these as a cut flower crop.

4. White phlox self sowed here last year or earlier, and have performed splendidly. There are more this year than there were last year. It would be excellent to get a few more for next year.

5. Blue annual morning glory grew up with my tomatoes. Oddly, they did not do so well where their seed were actually sown intentionally, in pots on the deck up above the vegetable garden.

6. This is my favorite picture this week. I can not read what, if anything, is written in paint on this rock. It looks like someone enjoyed painting it, and placing it to be found out in the garden.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/