Monday, October 19, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Going crazy

The title of this post has less to do with my mental state than the fact that, at long last, Dahlia 'Gitts Crazy' has bloomed, earning it the starring role in my first arrangement.  The dahlia was planted during the latter part of April, late based on my usual practice, but not as late as others that bloomed much earlier.  I'd nearly given up on it when it finally budded out.

I sacrificed several nascent buds to cut the first blooming stem of 'Gitts Crazy' but, as its season is going to be relatively short, that seemed a better approach than sacrificing the bloom while waiting for those buds to mature

I filled the arrangement out with stems of Dahlia 'Labyrinth', which has continued to be generous with its blooms.  The 'Labyrinth' and 'Gitts Crazy' tubers were planted on the same date.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlias 'Gitts Crazy' and 'Labyrinth', Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', Auranticarpa rhombifolium, Calliandra haematocephala, Correa 'Sister Dawn', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Blush'

My usual fall bloomers have recently shown up too, chief among them the bush violet (Barleria obtusa).  Since it made its first appearance with a few stray blooms last week, it's moved into high gear.  Each stem bears literally dozens of buds.  No single bloom lasts long but even those still in bud open gradually after the stem is cut, extending the show.

Barleria obtusa was the inspiration for this arrangement but Dahlia 'Iceberg' is nudging everything else into supporting roles

Back view: I used variegated mint bush (Prostanthera ovalifolia)  to lighten up the darker foliage of the bush violet.  Mint bush produces beautiful purple blooms in the spring but I grow it for its wonderful foliage.

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Barleria obtusa, Dahlia 'Iceberg', Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', and Eustoma grandiflorum (aka Lisianthus)

For more arrangements created by contributors from materials on hand in their gardens, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.



All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Bloom Day - October 2020

Last month on Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day we'd just put our worst heatwave of the season behind us but California and a good part of the Pacific Northwest were dealing with catastrophic wildfires and truly terrible air quality.  We've had more heatwaves since, including this week, and our air quality has been up and down but at least things are better than in mid-September.  We enjoyed a brief flirtation with fall last week and I'm hoping that, when the current heatwave passes, cooler temperatures will stick around for the long haul.

This month I'll start my bloom review with the newest arrivals.

These Anemone hupehensis (Japanese anemones) came with the garden but it still startles me when they return despite our generally dry conditions.  The pink variety in the front garden has yet to appear but I'm not about to count them out.

I invested in a flower-less one gallon container of Barleria obtusa (bush violet) at the local botanic garden's fall plant sale in 2014 and the plant now occupies several areas in my garden.  If I hadn't been vigilant, it probably would've taken over by now.  It certainly keeps trying but I can forgive a lot for those blue blooms.

The Australian fuchsias (Correa) are off to their usual slow, measured start.  From left to right are: Correa 'Ivory Bells', 'Sister Dawn', and 'Wyn's Wonder'Correa pulchella 'Pink Eyre' is covered in buds but appears to be waiting out the heatwave before it flowers.

This Hibiscus trionum (flower-of-an-hour) is a recent gift from a friend.  I grew it previously but it died out, while she's blessed with more seedlings than she can use.  Like daylilies, the blooms don't last long.

Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue' is a virtual weed in this climate and I've never planted it in the ground but I have two plants in pots that take off at this time of year.  I love the color of the flowers if not their stickiness.

Zauschneria californica (California fuchsia) is making a big splash this year, although it's battling for space with a Grevillea I'd forgotten was planted just behind it

I planted rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida) here in 2014 but never remember they're there until they appear each fall, rain or not

While the new blooms have added flashes of color here and there, the old summer stalwarts still dominate the stage.

The dahlias went crazy during the last heatwave.  I photographed these last weekend before the current heatwave set in.  The blooms are steadily decreasing in size and their foliage is getting grungy so I suspect this is their last Bloom Day appearance of the year.
Top row: Dahlias 'Belle of Barmera', 'Labyrinth', and 'Candlelight'
Middle row: 'Enchantress', 'Iceberg', and 'Sellwood Glory'
Bottom row: 'Loverboy', 'Mr Optimist', and 'Rip City'

This is one of 15 buds on Dahlia 'Gitts Crazy'.  I planted it in late April and it sprouted less than three weeks later.  As all the other dahlias are finishing up, it's only just now preparing to bloom.

The large-flowered Grevillea bloom all year but they're really floriferous right now.  The closeups in the top row are, left to right: Grevillea 'Ned Kelly', 'Peaches & Cream', and 'Superb'.  Photos of the last two shrubs are shown below.  When grooming the shrubs, I'm surrounded by a constant buzz of bees, none of which have ever stung me.

These Lantana are blooming especially well this year.  The orange and yellow varieties (left), planted in a half barrel container three years ago, may have gotten a boost from the fertilizer I've been adding to get another dahlia, planted late in the season, to bloom, but the variegated Lantana 'Samantha' (right) never received any fertilizer and it's going strong after being cut to the ground last winter.

I can always count on Pennisetum to put on a show starting in late summer.  On the left is Pennisetum 'Fireworks' and on the right is P. advena 'Rubrum'.

Salvia leucantha is also having a good year

This is probably the last hurrah for the Zinnia elegans this year too.  The foliage is developing a bad case of mildew due to the mixed influence of our damp morning marine layer and the continuing high temperatures.

The Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) that had burned out earlier this summer also staged a recovery, or two varieties did anyway.

I'm always happy to have them back

There were several other surprises as well.

A friend gave me this Iris germanica 'Autumn Circus' in late May.  I didn't expect any blooms until next year but I got this one earlier this month.  Another bud followed but it was incinerated by the last heatwave.

I planted Lessingia filaginifolia 'Silver Carpet' (carpet beach aster), a groundcover, in 2015.  It's persisted but I seldom notice it until it flowers, partly because Helichrysum petiolare 'Petite Licorice', a weed here, is constantly seeking to overwhelm it, as shown.

Stapelia grandiflora made another appearance.  Its bud, shown on the left, opened a couple of days after I discovered it.  I took the photo on the right before its characteristic odor began attracting flies.

This isn't quite a bloom yet but it's the first time I've ever seen a bloom stalk on Vriesea ospinae cv gruberi (now classified as Goudaea ospinae)

This Yucca 'Bright Star' bloomed earlier this year but it unexpectedly developed a side bloom I only just noticed last week

That brings me to the the usual color collages I end my Bloom Day posts with, featuring the best of the rest.

Clockwise from the upper left: Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic', Brachyscome 'Brasco Violet', Lavandula multifida, Plectranthus neochilus, Polygala myrtifolia, Oxalis triangularis, and Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'

Clockwise from the upper left: Cuphea 'Honeybells', Rosa 'Pink Meidiland', Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', Pentas lanceolata, noID rose, noID Phalaeonopsis, and Bauhinia x blakeana

Clockwise from the upper left: Alstroemeria 'Inca Sundance', Abelia grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', A. 'Kaleidoscope', Euryops chrysanthemoides, Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake', Oncostele 'Wildcat', noID self-seeded Osteospermum, and noID Phalaeonopsis

Clockwise from top left: Rosa 'Medallion', Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', noID Amaranthus, Cuphea 'Vermillionaire', Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', Pelargonium peltatum, Penstemon mexicali, and Rosa 'Joseph's Coat'

For more on what's blooming in other parts of the country and around the world, visit our bloom-fest host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: A pleasing combination

Mindful that Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is just a day away, I'm limiting this post to a single image, collected as I was taking photos of my flowering plants for tomorrow's post.  


The yellow-flowered Lantana, while no longer at its peak, picks up the similarly-colored edging of Agave multicolor next to it.  I'd like to say that was planned but it wasn't.  It was simply a lucky coincidence.

I'm feeling calmer this week.  I scaled back my news consumption; completed my ballot and mailed it (with ballot tracking turned on to follow its delivery to the Los Angeles Registrar of Voters, which confirmed receipt); and even took care of my large backlog of ironing.  Before the newest heatwave settled in, I also got started on one one of my fall garden projects.  Addressing what's within my control while turning off the noise relating to what I can't control was the ticket.

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


Monday, October 12, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Sprinting to the finish line

Most of my dahlias are showing signs of finishing up their season.  Flower stalks have grown overly tall; blooms are getting smaller; and foliage is mildewing.  The majority peaked right in the middle of our last heatwave.  Some bloomed out so quickly they ended up in my compost bin.  Faced with too many blooms to use even after handing some off to friends, I left six bottles filled with dahlias and zinnias on the curb for neighbors and other passers-by to take last week.  Yesterday morning I cut all the dahlias that were in full bloom, filling six vases for the house.  Two of those contained blooms that were past their prime but I'll share the other four here.

Vase #1:

Dahlias 'Belle of Barmera' and 'Labyrinth' played the starring roles in this arrangement

'Belle of Barmera' has pretty blooms but its foliage is hideous and I don't think I'll be making room for it next year

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Labyrinth' (a winner by any measure), Agonis flexuosa 'Nana', Correa 'Wyn's Wonder' (aka variegated Australian fuchsia), Dahlia 'Belle of Barmera', and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Blush'

Vase #2:

Dahlia 'Mr Optimist' was the inspiration for this vase but, when I discovered aphids on two of the blooms and tossed them, I added two other dahlias to fill out the arrangement, using Alstroemeria 'Inca Sunshine' to mediate their differences

Back view: I also used zinnias as fillers

Top view: I initially had reservations about this arrangement but now it's my personal favorite this week

Clockwise from the upper left: Abelia grandiflora 'Kaleidoscope', Dahlia 'Mr Optimist', D. 'Loverboy', D. 'Candlelight', Lantana 'Samantha', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', red and yellow Zinnia elegans and, in the middle, Alstroemeria 'Inca Sunshine'

Vase #3:

Dahlia 'Rip City' is running neck and neck with 'Enchantress' as the most prolific bloomer among this year's dahlia crop but the zinnia blooms may have eclipsed it in this arrangement

Back view: Very similar to the front view

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Dahlia 'Rip City', Leptospermum 'Copper Glow', and Zinnia elegans 'Benary Giant Lilac' and 'Benary Giant Purple'

Vase #4:

With another heatwave in the offing, I couldn't bring myself to leave the very large Dahlia 'Iceberg' bloom to face incineration.  The blue Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) blooms are holdovers from one of last week's vases.  The buds on cut stems open in a lavender color rather than dark blue.

Back view: In retrospect, the arrangement might have looked better without the Salvia stems

Top view

Clockwise from the left: Dahlia 'Iceberg', Baleria obtusa (aka bush violet) with Eustoma grandiflorum, Salvia leucantha, and Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'

Although yet another heatwave it expected to start today and continue for several days, I expect stray blooms out of many of my dahlias before I give up on them in November and dig up the tubers to make room for cool season flowers in my cutting garden.  Dahlias 'Labyrinth', 'Enchantress', and 'Rip City' certainly seem ready to continue blooming for awhile yet.  I still have high hopes for 'Gitts Crazy' which finally has bloom stalks (five of them!) studded with buds, and I haven't entirely given up on 'Rancho', part of the last, very late shipment of tubers I received in early May.

For more arrangements this week, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find links to other IAVOM posts.



All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party