Friday, September 22, 2017

2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling: Final views

I'm wrapping up my coverage of the Capital Region Garden Bloggers' Fling with photos from 2 more venues from the last day of our tour.  The first stop of the morning on June 25th was Merrifield Garden Center.  It was a huge place, chock full of beautiful plants.



This was a great way to show shoppers how various ground covers might be used in their own spaces


Under normal circumstances, I eschew the indoor areas of garden centers unless I need to pick up new garden gloves, seeds or fertilizer but as taking plants of any significant size home in my suitcase was impractical, I chose not to tempt myself by spending too much time in the nursery area.  And there was a lot to see inside, not to speak of the fact that the nice people at Merrifield welcomed us with beverages, fruit and muffins.

This was the first time I've seen wine sold in a garden center.  What a great idea!

I can't remember seeing hats sold in my local garden centers either

There were LOTS of decorative items for the garden

For some reason, I fell in love with this frog, adorning both a magazine stand and a platter, but I didn't purchase either


Toward the end of the last jam-packed day of the Fling, we visited a 170 acre estate garden in a rural area of Middleburg, Virginia, the last private garden on the tour.  The owners purchased the property and its stone farmhouse, built in 1790, in the 1970s.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by the property's goodwill ambassador.

I've forgotten this handsome corgi's name but he did a great job herding 2 busloads of bloggers in the right direction


The downside of presenting this garden nearly 3 months following the event is that my memory of many of the details have faded.  As I recall, my exploration was largely limited to the area behind the house; however, views of the horse country surrounding the house were visible on all sides.





Arbors of various kinds divided up the main garden area around the house, creating more pretty photo opportunities.





There was a pretty pond.



And an inviting pool.



There were comfortable places to just sit and enjoy the garden too.



Decorative details were scattered throughout the garden but all blended in beautifully with the landscape.




The last day of my first Garden Bloggers' Fling was as wonderful as the first 2 days.  Tammy Schmitt (Casa Mariposa) and her team did an excellent job of planning the event and I'm appreciative of how friendly all the Flingers were, as well as the generosity of the hosts who opened their gardens to a hoard of bloggers with their cameras.  I'm very glad I attended and only wish I'd been more strategic in my approach to collecting photographs of each of the gardens we visited so I could have presented them in the best possible light.  If you'd like to view my prior posts on the Fling you can find them here:


Best wishes for a great weekend.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday Vignette: Checking out the Dahlias

I'd been planning to stop by my local botanic garden to check out its dahlia display for well over a month.  Last weekend, the garden had an orchid show so I popped over.  There were lots of pretty orchids but nothing to swoon over; however, before I left, I swung by the dahlia garden to see what there was left to see.  The plants, like those in my own cutting garden, were on the decline but there were still a few fabulous blooms.  I wasn't the only visitor, though.

This was my first praying mantis sighting this year - I've yet to see any in my own garden

This one was fairly small yet and clearly hadn't mastered the art of camouflage


The praying mantis is my Wednesday Vignette.  For more images that caught someone's fancy this week, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.

I'll close with a few of those fabulous dahlias.  If they were labeled, I was unable to make out these out behind their screen of mildewed foliage.








All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, September 18, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: Zinnias steal the show

I'd planned to showcase one of my large-flowered Grevilleas, 'Ned Kelly', accenting it with Dahlia 'Terracotta', but the latter's blooms were looking shabby so I cut Zinnias instead.  As it turned out, the Zinnias stole the limelight.

Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' was subordinated to a supporting role

Even Leucadendron 'Chief', used as a foliage filler, seems to overshadow 'Ned Kelly' in this rear view

Top view highlighting the coral Zinnias

Clockwise from the left, the vase contains: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', Tanacetum pathenium, and several varieties of Zinnia elegans


As I've been spending lots of time in the garden on new projects, I'd intended to stop at just one vase this week but I couldn't bring myself to leave the front entry table unadorned.  I immediately thought of the Oncidium orchid I recently found blooming in a shady corner of my garden.  A brief stop at my local botanic garden's orchid show and sale on Saturday had finally provided me with a name for the cultivar, Oncidium 'Wildcat' (although an on-line search suggests a more complicated lineage).  I cut one stem and began hunting for suitable companions.

As you can see, Dahlia 'Loverboy' managed to insinuate itself in yet another arrangement.  While all the other Dahlias are either bloom-less or looking shabby, 'Loverboy' continues to produce one perfect bloom after another.

The rear view shows off the flower-like bracts of Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'

I'd intended to give the orchid star billing but, looking at it from above, it's hard to claim that the orchid outshines either 'Loverboy' or 'Safari Sunset'

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Dahlia 'Loverboy'; Oncidium 'Wildcat'; Leucadenron salignum 'Chief'; Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'; berries of a noID, self-planted Cotoneaster; and Alternanthera 'Little Ruby'


The color palette used for this week's vases, like our cooler weather, has a distinctly autumnal feel.  As fall officially arrives on Friday, perhaps that's appropriate.



It'll be interesting to see if other "In a Vase on Monday" participants are also feeling the seasonal shift.  Visit our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, to see.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Foliage Follow-up - The first signs of fall

With the return of cooler temperatures in coastal Southern California, I've thrown myself into a variety of fall garden projects and had just about forgotten that it was time to celebrate the foliage in my garden with Pam at Digging, who hosts the Foliage Follow-up meme on the 16th of each month after Bloom Day.  The first foliage plant that caught my eye was Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku', also known as coral bark maple.  It's one of just 2 Japanese maples in my garden.  I've tried growing others but our summer heat, water restrictions, and exposure to heavy winds makes my garden relatively inhospitable for these beautiful trees.  'Sango Kaku' is a delightful exception and she's already showing a bit of fall color too, something else that is in short supply here.

This east facing spot next to the garage offers protection from the wind, morning sun, and shade from the hot afternoon sun, which seems to be just what the maple wants


My other Japanese maple is the dwarf, Acer palmatum 'Mikawa Yatsubusa'.  Unfortunately, it doesn't handle summer heat as well as the coral bark maple.  Last winter, I moved it from the backyard to a more protected area in the cutting garden in the hope that would improve its performance.  It may have helped some but the lengthy heatwave that began in late August and extended into early September was too much for it.  Just as it did last year in the back garden, it prematurely dropped all its leaves.  However, this week, I noticed that it responded to the small amount of rain we got from a surprise September thunderstorm and our current cooler temperatures by producing new, spring-like growth.

It still looks fairly bare but the bright green foliage helps its appearance a little


Meanwhile, in the back garden, Jacaranda mimosifolia 'Bonsai Blue', the tree that replaced the dwarf maple in its former location, took the long heatwave in stride.

Planted last December, the tree handled its first summer here with no trouble


Before I close this post, I'll mention another sign of fall, albeit an unwelcome one.  My mimosa tree, Albizia julibrissin, has moved to the next stage of its messy annual cycle.  Having littered my garden with a fuzzy mass of dried brown flowers for months, it's now dropping its leaves and its seedpods.  This week, while taking photos for bloom Day, I saw this:

This Albizia seedling was hiding behind a mass of Agapanthus foliage along a dirt path I travel infrequently.  I fear that one day the Albizia seedlings will get away from e and I'll wake up in a forest of mimosa trees.


I immediately pulled up the seedling, which was already nearly 2 feet tall.  The foliage was darker than that of my mature tree and brought the hybrid form Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' to mind but, pretty as it might have been, I couldn't bring myself to invite another of those messy trees into my garden.

This photo of the seedling sitting in a tub waiting to be hauled out to the compost bin shows its darker color better than the first photo


For more Foliage Follow-up posts, visit Pam at Digging.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, September 15, 2017

September Scavenger Hunt - Bloom Day Edition

I stepped into the garden to conduct my Bloom Day survey believing once again that I didn't have much going on.  In actuality, there are a lot of plants with blooms but few plants with a lot of blooms.  However, there were a few exceptions.

Gaura lindheimeri is back after being cut back by half in June

The Pennisetums are in their glory.  From left to right are Pennisetum 'Fireworks', P. advena 'Rubrum', and P. orientale

This part of the backyard border is the most floriferous right now.  Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' and Mimulus 'Fiesta Marigold' occupy the foreground; Leonotis leonurus (also back after a June trim) sits in the background; and Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' is scattered in between.

Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree) is making its regular September appearance


With the exception of the Gaura, most of the plants shown above were also blooming last month, although less robustly.  There are only a few recent arrivals.

This noID Oncidium produced several bloom stalks for the first time since last December

This variegated rosemary, Rosmarinus 'Gold Dust', just developed flowers

Most of the cutting garden flowers are on the decline but Salvia elegans (aka pineapple sage) has finally produced a mass of flowers


The stars of last month's Bloom Day post - the dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias and Lisianthus - are on their way out.

Clockwise from the left are: Dahlia 'Loverboy', D. 'Little Robert', D. 'Otto's Thrill', D. 'Punkin' Spice', and D. 'Terracotta'.  'Otto's Thrill' and 'Punkin' Spice' produced what seem to be the last of their blooms earlier this month but the other 3 are troopers.

After I cut the head off Helianthus annuus 'Lemon Queen', she produced a large batch of short-stemmed flowers, all clustered tightly around her stem and half-hidden under her leaves

I pulled about a third of my scorched Zinnia elegans after our last heatwave but some are still going strong

Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus) did poorly overall this summer and I'm not sure why as the plants got more water this year than during last year's drought.  The one on the far left is 'Rosanne Black Pearl' but I don't have cultivar names for the others shown here.  The pink, solid blue, yellow and green forms are all MIA.


The tough, virtually ever-blooming plants are still going strong despite the extended heatwave we had from late August into early September.

Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'

Duranta repens 'Sapphire Showers'

Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'

The large-flowered Grevilleas, left to right: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', G. 'Peaches & Cream', and G. 'Superb'

The Lantanas also enjoy summer's heat.  From left to right: noID trailing lavender variety, variegated L. 'Samantha', and L. 'Lucky White'

All the ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are blooming well


The heatwave may have set back the clematis, which was blooming more heavily last year at this time than it is at present.

Clematis paniculata (aka Sweet Autumn Clematis)


Other tidbits of bloom found during my scavenger hunt can be seen here:

Clockwise from the left: Mandevilla 'Sun Parasol Apricot', Achillea 'Moonshine', Coreopsis 'Redshift', Gaiilardia aristata 'Gallo Peach', Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark', Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', and Russelia 'Flamingo Park'

Clockwise from the left: Abelia 'Kaleidoscope', Anemone hupehensis japonica, Asparagus fern, Cosmos bipinnatus, noID white Pentas, Tanacetum parthenium, and Zephyranthes candida

Clockwise from the upper left: Argyranthemum frutescens; Correa 'Wyn's Wonder, Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks', noID violet Pentas, Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star', and Rosa chinensis "Mutabilis'


Top row: noID Angelonia, Catananche caerulea, and Globularia x indubia
Middle row: Liriope muscari, Lobelia valida, and noID Osteospermum
Bottom row: Salvia macrophylla, Symphyotrichum 'Monch', and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'


If you're hunting for more flowers to view, visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens, the host of the monthly event that is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party