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.

August 15, 2015

Bloom Day - Thankful Yet Again

     Someone asked me tonight how I was liked working in the weather this week, which was more than just small talk considering we have been enjoying a remarkable-for-August spate of weather with crystal clear skies, lower (but not absent) humidity, and temps in the low to mid-80's. I answered that I was indeed thankful for the weather, but can take anything as long as it is not cold. It is bordering on late summer, and I still haven't forgotten February, and I'm not about to either.

     As for Bloom Day, I only have a few bits of color beyond green to show you. Let's start near the front steps. My former next door neighbors planted 3 Rudbeckia fulgida (probably 'Goldstrum') years ago in their garden, and the current owner has allowed them to grow with abandon. Seeds blow into my garden, and I keep what I want, the others are pulled. This one grows in a small crack in the concrete.
Rudbeckia fulgida

     Climbing above the Rudbeckia is the grape Nehi smelling, misleadingly named evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata).
Millettia reticulata

     Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire' is still blooming on the steps. I'll try to save the tuber for next year.
Begonia boliviensis 'Bonfire'

     I need to keep an eye on my Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum' so it won't be choked by an air potato (Dioscorea alata) planted in the same pot.
Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum' and Dioscorea alata

     After two horrid winters, I was afraid that my Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest' would not come back, but it did, though dying to the roots this year. It was later than normal to bloom, but has been going non-stop since early July.
Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'  (2)

Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'  (1)

      Red flowers are common, black foliage a little less so. Put them together and you have Dahlia 'Mystic Enchantment' and a welcome addition to a sea of surrounding yellow foliage.
Dahlia 'Mystic Enchantment'

     The flowers on my unidentified Haworthia look more like a spider than a flower.

     I moved Lantana 'Miss Huff' early in the summer, and she has been sulking and stingy with blooms. So I doubly appreciate 'Landmark Sunrise Rose', one of the best annual lantanas.
Lantan 'Landmark Sunrise Rose'

     If you would like to see what other garden bloggers have growing, then visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, where a glass is raised on the 15th of each month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.


  1. Beautiful!
    Have a great day!

  2. Beautiful pictures Les. I was told the two Miss Huff Lantana I had died because I moved them. Guess that was an "old wives tale" and I will be curious to hear how yours bloom next summer. Vikki in VA

  3. Hey Les, my cestrum dies back to the ground every year and comes back stronger each summer. I just wanted to let you know so that you won't worry if we have another cold winter. I get so much colder here in zone 7a than you. I love that "evergreen" wisteria, but alas, we can't grow it here. I saw it at the Dallas Arboretum and fell in love years ago. I do think your top flower is Goldsturm. I have it too, and yes, if not deadheaded and weeded out, it tried to take over. I'm amazed that you and I can grow so many similar flowers. It makes me happy to think so.

  4. Black leaf Dahlias are my favorite. I inherited one that came with the house and figured it was bishop of llandaff, but maybe it's mystic enchantment. I don't suppose it matters that much, they are just beautiful.

  5. Les, our hydrangeas were nipped by a late freeze for the second year in a row. I think this year we will cover them because I hate not having my glorious Nikkos. Almost all of the roses survived and my black and blue salvia came back AGAIN! Also all three dahlias made it. We decided to just use about 6" of mulch and did not bother to dig them up. Love your 'Mystic Enchantment."

  6. My begonia "Bonfire" has been such a disappointment this year. I don't know why. I love the Cestrum. Pam Harper introduced me to that plant.

  7. So many plants that I have never even heard of! Clearly stuck in my Zone.

  8. Wish you were my neighbour Les and I lived next to your lovely garden ... however I am not so keen on this hot weather. We're hitting 30 C here when our normal high is 23 C (over 80 F VS 72 or so). I just melt in the heat ...

  9. Your photography is incredible! I'm hoping for a very snowy winter. Our snow days are 'use or lose' so I want every single one.

  10. The Begonia looks great and rather unusual. A "few bits of color beyond green"? I don't think so. The rudbeckia alone is a riot of color.

  11. The first photo is fantastic.
    I'll be in VA for the next 10 months; look forward to checking out some of your favorite places.

  12. Beautiful shot of that yellow Cestrum. It's amazing how many (non weed) plants can grow happily in a crack in the concrete. Hope your summer continues mild. Ours has been a lot better than the last two, which were brutal.

  13. Lucky you had weather in the eighties. In PA it was mid-nineties with humidity to match. Your flowers look fresh.