An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

November 15, 2013

Bloom Day - First Freeze

     Yesterday morning we had our first freeze of the season. One side of my brain is well aware that this type of weather is expected at this time of year, but it always comes as a complete surprise to the other side. Despite the low temperatures I still have a few things to show for Bloom Day, and many of them are some of my favorite plants.

     I have raved about Ajania pacifica (Silver and Gold Chrysanthemum) before, but in case you missed it, I like its semi-evergreen nature, ease of growth, drought tolerance, late bloom time, and I especially appreciate its foliage. Behind it is another favorite perennial, Amsonia hubrichtii (Blue Star Amsonia) which should be grown for its ferny foliage which turns gold in the fall. However, in my opinion you can keep its skim milk blue flowers. Coming up through my patch of Ajania is another favorite, Salvia leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage).
Ajania pacifica (1)

Ajania pacifica and Salvia leucantha

     The Amsonia foliage also does a good job at backing up the still showy flowers of Cuphea 'David Verity', which has been blooming non-stop since May.
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'

     Another plant I appreciate just for its foliage is Arum italicum (Italian Arum).
Arum italicum

     Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' (Compact Strawberry Tree) could be grown for either one of its traits. It is evergreen, drought tolerant, has beautiful bark, has delicate white flowers and edible fruit (if you are hungry, really, really hungry).
Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

     November would probably qualify as the most melancholy month, but for the blooming Camellia sasanqua. Camellias make winter bearable. The following are 'Autumn Rocket' (2), 'Kanjiro' and 'Yuletide'.
Camellia sasanqua 'Autumn Rocket' (1)

Camellia sasanqua 'Autumn Rocket' (2)

Camellia japonica 'Kanjiro'

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

     Now that all of the look-at-me summer annuals have either been pulled or are frozen, some of my subtler evergreens can be appreciated. This pair is Ilex cornuta 'O'Spring' (O'Spring Chinese Holly) and Danae racemosa (Poet's Laurel).
Ilex cornuta 'O'Spring' and Danae racemosa

     To see how the changing season is treating other people's gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who graciously hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.

35 comments:

  1. Beautiful...esp the strawberry tree...happy gbbd!

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    1. I love the Arbutus as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Lovely blooms, especially the Camellias!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
    Lea

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    1. I could not garden without camellias.

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  3. Your first photo of the Ajania pacifica makes me want to run right out and buy it. Also I'm dreaming of the day my clump of Amsonia hubrichtii is that big...beautiful!

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    1. Loree, I had to reign in the Amsonia several years ago. I think it might be due some more clipping next summer.

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  4. Beautiful pictures and fantastic collection of flowers !

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  5. A very enjoyable bloom day post. Thank you. All beautiful photos, as usual. I especially enjoyed the backround pup in the 'Yuletide' photo, and was surprised to see Salvia leucantha doing well in your colder zone. I did not realize it had some measure of cold hardiness. Also very impressed with Ajania pacifica--what perfect foliage! Now I must go look it up.

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    1. HB, we are in the coolest part of zone 8 and can grow many salvias, but many others remain elusive. If S. leucantha gets good winter drainage, it will thrive.

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  6. Les, your sasanquas are gorgeous. I meant to get at least one to try here his fall but didn't follow through. Next year Yuletide will be on my "must have" list.

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    1. Lynn, look for one of the über hardy ones. I am not sure 'Yuletide' will make it through every NC Mnt. winter, but given global warming, you never know.

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  7. Perfect pictures of beautiful camellias. Every fall when I see Mexican bush sage in other people's garden I remind me I must get some the following spring. Nothing else quite those fuzzy bright purple flowers.

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    1. Sweetbay, if you look in the herb section of a garden center you can often find Mex. bush sage for much cheaper than in the perennial section.

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  8. It was so nice to see camillas in bloom - my first ones (virtually) of the year. That's a flower that does not grow in upstate New York, and I love them so much. Thank you for sharing these blooms.

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    1. Bookworm, thanks for stopping by. I know ages ago Camellias were considered a conservatory plant, so you may be able to grow a potted one if you are prepared to drag it in and out each year.

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  9. I always enjoy the site of your lovely camellias, and I think you are the only person who grows Ajania pacifica and blogs, a really attractive plant. Love your strawberry tree too - nice selection, still loads to enjoy.

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    1. Janet, you probably know that Arbutus unedo is native to just across the Irish Sea from you, so I know you could grow it.

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  10. Awww c'mon Les. That's now have a garden looks after a frost ! Everything should look flat and brown. lol. Your post-frost gardens are quite lovely compared to ours. Of course, we've been having some pretty heavy frosts for a month now. And you say November is the most "melancholy" month ? Not February ? Your garden is so lovely at all times of the year. You are very fortunate to live where you do.

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    1. February is my least favorite month where my melancholy has morphed into determined bitterness.

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  11. Great pictures! Very colorful for an after frost day. Love that first picture, I want a Silver and Gold Chrysanthemum!

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    1. Ni, thanks for stopping by. I know the Ajania is hardy in all parts of Virginia, so you should give it a try.

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  12. Sigh. I would have to build and heat a greenhouse to grow camellias. I think Ajania used to have a different botanical name. Was it originally a Chrysanthemum?

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    1. Yes it was a Chrysanthemum, but the taxonomists have been bush mucking around in the DNA and have determined it should be something else.

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  13. The first frost also catches me by surprise too. Great photos!

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    1. I knew another southerner would know what it's like.

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  14. the first freeze...would you believe me if I say I'm envious of such clearly defined seasonal markers? And I think I've mentioned before that I've grown that Ajania under the name Chrysanthemum pacificum before -- maybe the name change is the reason I've lost track of such a good garden plant. I wonder if the taxonomists ever think for a moment their constant reshuffling of nomenclature is at the expense of the nursery industry.

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    1. Denise, I would be envious of a little murkier defined seasonal markers. I lived in Charleston before Norfolk and thought the weather was near perfect, and the long hot and humid summer helped weed out the weak.

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  15. Less, I remember you've featured the Silver and Gold Chrysanthemum in the past, covered in raindrops with the buds not yet open. I loved it then and I love it now! Isn't it growing where a car smashed into the front of your garden? Beautiful and hardy, this baby is going on my shopping list.

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    1. Chav, I wish it did have some raindrops on it, and right now. We could use a little rain to water all those fall planted additions.

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  16. You always bad mouth Amsonia blooms. I happen to like them...especially when they appear in the spring.
    I thought of you when we were in SF, there was so many Arbutus growing. Yours was the first one I had seen firsthand.
    You have so many Camellias at your fingertips....was looking through my pictures from a November a few years back....wow! I still want a pink one.

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    1. Janet, first of all, I am glad to hear from you, and glad I am not the only person too busy to blog. Secondly, you should get a pink sasanqua. I'd recommend 'Kanjiro' or 'Autumn Delight'.

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    2. thanks for the recommendations. Will be on the lookout for those two.

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  17. Lovely photos. I love the Arbutus. Does it need an acid soil and is it hardy?
    Chloris

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    1. Chloris, the Arbutus is hardy in zones 7-9 and does fine in my more acidic soils. I find it very easy to grow.

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