Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Bloom Day - September 2021

It's hard for me to get excited about my garden in late summer, especially this year when the garden never got the boost normally provided by our winter rainy season.  The downside of sandy, well-drained soil is that it doesn't hold onto moisture long enough.  I'd like to give everything a really good soak but I feel guilty about providing extra water when our drought is so serious.  Even when I find something new in bloom, I can't avoid seeing what's dead or dying out of the corner of my eye.  However, my Bloom Day survey helped put things in perspective!  I may not have as many flowers in bloom as I did last year or the year before but I've still got a good supply to share this September.

I haven't watered my cutting garden as much as I usually do during the hot summer months but it's still watered much more liberally than the rest of my garden.  The dahlias and zinnias are once again playing starring roles.

Dahlia 'Akita', which I'm growing for the first time this year, is my favorite.  These are three views of the same flower as it aged.

Other Dahlias blooming at the moment include, clockwise from the upper left: 'Cafe au Lait', 'Cafe au Lait Royal', 'Enchantress', 'Gitt's Crazy', 'Summer's End', and 'Waltzing Mathilda''Loverboy' and 'Breakout' have buds but haven't yet bloomed.  'Iceberg', 'Kogane Fabuki', and 'Magic Moment' look like they're nearing bud stage but that may be wishful thinking on my part.

Like my Dahlias, the Zinnias got a late start.  The top row features 3 varieties in the 'Profusion' series, purchased as plugs.
Second row: seed-sown 'Benary's Giant Wine' (first 2 photos) and 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose'
Third row: seed-sown 'Queen Red Lime' and 'Queen Lime Orange'


Several plants surprised me by putting on strong showings in defiance of summer's heat.

Euryops chrysanthemoides 'Sonnenschein', a common plant putting on an uncommon performance in partial shade with relatively little water

The #1 bee magnet in my garden this summer is this African blue basil (Ocimum hybrid)

All my Phalaenopsis (moth orchids) are blooming in my shaded lath house.  I don't have proper names for any of them.


However, the most unexpected blooms were these:

This Plumeria was a gift from a neighbor who found this cutting and others in a trash can.  I've had another, larger Plumeria in a bigger pot for years and it's never bloomed.


 As many of the summer bloomers begin to shut down, others are just getting started:

This twiggy Bauhinia x blakeana (aka Hong Kong orchid tree) needs a good trim, which will have to wait as it's full of flowers (most well above my head)

This year, I managed to get Clematis terniflora (aka sweet autumn clematis) to climb to the very top of its arbor, also putting the flowers above my head (and making them difficult to photograph in the process)

Correa 'Ivory Bells' (aka Australian fuchsia)

The Japanese anemones have apparently been reclassified as Eriocapitella hupehensis

I thought this hybrid Nepeta 'Blue Prelude' had given up last month but it came back to life this month.  Even more miraculous, the neighborhood cat that spends a lot of time here hasn't eaten it to the ground as he's done with every other catmint I've planted.

I was late in cutting back the ornamental grasses this year but Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is getting its bloom on now

I've tried growing Plectranthus ecklonii twice before without success but it looks as though I finally found a spot it likes.  Planted in March, it's still well shy of the 6 foot plant it's supposed to become but it's alive and flowering.

Vitex trifolia 'Purpurea' (aka Arabian lilac) is also difficult to photograph but it produces a lot of these delicate flowers and the leaves are also attractive


As usual, the dependable Grevilleas continue to deliver.

Grevillea 'Superb' (left and top right) and G. 'Peaches & Cream' flower year round in my climate and both bees and hummingbirds love them as much as I do


I'll close with my usual color collages showing blooms found here and there in my garden.

Top row: Centranthus ruber, Cuphea 'Starfire Pink', and Eustoma grandiflorum
Second row: noID Gladiolus, Rosa 'Pink Meidiland', and Pentas lanceolata
Third row: Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Rose Pink', Daucus carota 'Dara', and Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'

Top row: Duranta repens, Leucophyllum laevigatum, and Lycianthes ratonnetii
Second row: Pelargonium peltatum, noID Scaevola, and Symphyotrichum chilense
Third row: Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic', Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop', and Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud'

Top row: Amaryllis belladonna, Angelonia 'Archangel White', and Cosmos bipinnatus
Second row: Crassula pubescens radicans 'Large Red', noID Gazania, and Globularia x indubia
Third row: Lantana 'Lucky White', Pandorea jasminoides, and Zephyranthes candida

Top row: Achillea 'Moonshine' Helianthus 'Lemon Queen', and Lantana 'Lucky Yellow'
Second row: Gazania 'Red Stripe' and Lantana 'Irene'
Third row: Xerochrysum bracteatum in red and orange


To see what's blooming elsewhere in the country and the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party







26 comments:

  1. Except for a few remaining dahlias, my garden is done blooming. I'm taken with single petals/dark foliage varieties, so 'Waltzing Mathilda' has caught my eye, plus the name is fabulous. As usual, the Bauhinia is a favorite, but what's most exciting is the Plumeria: the fragrance is amazing. Wish I could grow it, lucky you.

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    1. Well, that Plumeria was a gift from a neighbor so the mojo involved in getting it to bloom may be hers rather than mine!

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  2. You have a plethora of blooms! Those dahlias and zinnias are just gorgeous.

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    1. Dahlias and zinnias have combined to change my entire perception of late summer, Dorothy, even if they were as slow to bloom as they were this year.

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  3. "It's hard for me to get excited about my garden in late summer," that could be me talking. I know exactly what you mean. Based on the photos in this post, however, there's plenty to be excited about!

    The variety of dahlias you grow never fails to amaze me. And your selection of zinnias isn't far behind. These two genera alone seem to give you plenty of flowers!

    My wife planted an African blue basil a couple of years ago, and I swear, there hasn't been a single day without flowers since then. Even in the dead of winter, it keeps going. As you said, the bees find it irresistible.

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    1. You're right, Gerhard, African blue basil is one tough plant. I didn't pull my last one until it got too big for its space. I should probably take it out of my cutting garden and plant it in my back garden border, which could really use a resilient plant like that.

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  4. What a garden - so many wonderful flowers. I am thinking about how/where to add some dahlias.

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  5. One would never think that this is a "low bloom" year for you! I do love the Plumeria - the shape & curve of those petals is perfection.

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    1. I've got a little of a lot of different flowers this September but the volume in each category is relatively low. I was giving away dahlias and zinnias right and left by this time in prior years but this year's "crop" was very slow to develop and I suspect that mildew is going to have me pulling plants before dahlias and zinnias peak. The zinnia foliage is already getting nasty.

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  6. Wow, look at all those Dahlias! I really need to plant mine in more sun...but the sun is so limited on this property...some day! So many amazing blooms, Kris! Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Dahlias do want lots of sun - and water (after sprouting). I've been feeding this year's crop a lot by comparison to prior years, trying to increase flower production.

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  7. I love seeing your Bloom Day posts, Kris, filled with so many wonderful flowers!
    Gorgeous dahlias - 'Akita' is a winner, for sure. I was also taken with Nepeta 'Blue Prelude' and was happy to see it is hardy to zone 5, but it must be new as it is hard to find. Most companies were only wholesale. Perhaps more will be on offer next year.
    You must be thrilled with your plumeria... heavenly fragrance!

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    1. I'd never seen Nepeta 'Blue Prelude' before I picked this plant up on a whim, Eliza. I haven't seen it since either so I suspect you're right that it's relatively new on the market. The neighbor's cat has previously eaten all Nepeta I plant to the ground virtually overnight so I don't know if the scent of this one is simply less pungent or if planting it in a half barrel off the ground was the ticket.

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  8. Oh Kris, you are killing me with all that abundance! Like every year, I swoon over that Bauhinia... so gorgeous! Did you know Dahlias were named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl in the late 1700's? He was a student of Linnaeus. I just learned this bit of horticultural trivia a couple of days ago. Anyway, I think he would be absolutely floored by your garden!

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    1. I did know that, Anna ;) I've gone overboard with the dahlias again this year. I experimented and tried a couple in my one of my borders to see if I could expand my collection even further. They didn't do well at all due to insufficient water so I expect I'm going to have to restrict their numbers in future years to what I can cram into my cutting garden.

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  9. I do like that blue basil. I wasn't familiar with it. Dahlias are creeping up on me and I wish I had room for more. They perform really well here. I've thought about trying the sweet autumn clematis here. It was a thug in the South but probably not here?

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    1. Well, you get much more rain in Washington than we do in SoCal but the Clematis is most definitely not a thug here. I cut mine down to less than a foot tall each year during what passes for winter here.

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  10. I have to wait for some time for Dahlias, your orchids are superb. I envy your grevillas as they don't bloom in our part of world.

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    1. I feel very lucky to be able to grow Grevilleas - and Leucadendrons - Arun!

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  11. So many orchid blooms! And another look at Zinnia 'Queen Lime Orange'!

    Is your Japanese anemone/Eriocapitella hupehensis in the ground? Does it run?

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    1. Yes, the white and several pink Japanese anemones are in the ground. They came with the garden. The white one gets the most sun and is the strongest bloomer but neither it nor the pink variety, which is struggling this year, have shown any inclination to spread. Of course, that could be because they're constantly on the thirsty side.

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  12. That is an impressive set of blooms, despite the drought difficulties.
    Your plumeria looks to be a wonderful plant with a tale to tell! :) And now I'm checking Vitex trifolia purpurea, which looks like it might stand a chance in my area... I'd not seen it before, but I love the blend of pale blue and smoky purple.
    I'm also admiring your African basil. I see you're growing it in your cutting garden. Is it terribly thirsty (always been an issue for me with basils)?

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    1. Vitex trifolia seems much more vigorous in this climate than the more well-known Vitex agnus-castus. I planted the latter from a small pot 2 years ago and, while it's still alive, it hasn't grown significantly, much less bloomed. As to the African blue basil, I've always grown it in my cutting garden so whether it's up to growing in one of my borders remains a question.

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  13. 'Akita' is gorgeous. Awesome array of flowers for September!

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    1. I'm definitely holding on to Dahlia 'Akita' - and 'Gitt's Crazy' and 'Enchantress'. All the others will be evaluated at the end of the season.

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