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.

June 15, 2009

Bloom Day: Brought to You by the Letter "H"

"H" is for Hemerocallis...
which is the perennial species most in flower in my garden for this June Bloom Day. I have lost count of how many different varieties I have and most of their names are lost to me as well. I just enjoy what comes up.

"H" is for Historical...
as in this is not the historical Yorktown Onion that I thought I was planting, rather it is Elephant Garlic (Allium ampeloprasum). However, I am OK with that as my son has already told me he wants to eat it, and technically it is in his garden.
"H" is for Hemo...
as in the Greek word root for blood, as in Blood Flower, one of the common names for this tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). It is a great butterfly (and aphid) attractor which we carry at work in an inexpensive cell-pack for $1.38, so I bought 3. I have grown them now for three years, and last year I was disappointed that they all came out yellow. But if you look for foliage that has a tinge of bronze to it, the flowers will come out two-toned. "H" is for Honey Bees...
who have been enjoying the Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia gauranitica 'Black and Blue').
"H" is for Heady...
which describes the fragrance coming from the August Beauty Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'). When is someone going to come up with a cake that tastes as good as this plant smells? "H" is for Hell Strip...
which is where the next two plants not only survive, but thrive. Hell Strips are the little patches of soil between the sidewalk and the street where plants are subjected to lots of heat from the pavement. The first picture is Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and the second is Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'. Both of these came up from seed I did not plant, in fact the Malva comes up in nearly any crevice or crack in the sidewalk. Anything willing to grow under such conditions - I just let be.

"H" is for Hate...
as in I hated waiting 10 years for this Clivia miniata to bloom. "H" is also for Hate Speech which is what you do when you use the common name for this plant, Kaffir Lily. Kaffir is a racially abusive term to describe Africans. It originated from the Arabic word kafir, which means heathen or non-believer, but eventually became a more offensive term in the mouths of Europeans. Who knew that using common plant names could be so politically incorrect? I'll stick to Clivia. "H" is for Hazy, Hot and Humid...
which describes our typical summer weather. This is fortunate for one of my newest plants, Rudbeckia maxima. According to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this plant likes hot humid weather, I am not sure about the hazy part."H" is for Hydrangea...
which are competing for my attentions with the Hemerocallis.

Finally, "H" is for our Hostess...
who happens to be Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and who I would like to thank for coordinating all these crazy gardeners, myself included.


  1. Stunning display of blooms!

  2. A colourful linguistic cocktail
    of summer delight
    with those oh-so-blue
    high geraniums
    the absolute highlight.

    This post deserves a tanka or haiku or whatever. Wish I could actually do one.

  3. Beautiful day lilies ! I have a weakness for the dark red ones : )
    Lots of mind tickling words and flower pictures : )
    Enjoyed it all ... thank you !

  4. H is for hooray...your garden blooms are've used up the h words! I adore spider daylilies and if I could dig past the remaining limestone I would have more sun loving lilies and perennials! Have a great day Les! gail

  5. H. is for Helen coming to see your garden! Boy, I cannot wait!!!

    Too bad H wasn't for hating that clivia, cuz I would surely have taken it off you hands!

    As always, Les, very nicely done! H.

  6. Very clever post Les. Thanks for the link. That one Hemerocallis with the white (cream) edge is striking. Love it! I have that Malva sylvestris -- it was planted at Monticello and was about 6 feet tall. Mine aren't. I ended up pulling up all of them a couple years ago as they had rust spot. bummer.
    My Black and Blue is coming up, but not blooming yet, hope later in the summer.
    Happy Bloom Day to you.
    by the Clivia didn't bloom at all this year. boo hiss

  7. I love your dark red day lily! Your plants always seem to be a couple weeks ahead of our area here. I wish I had such nice "accident" flowers growing like your coneflowers.

  8. Your lilies are gorgeous!And i love your post,too!

  9. You are the clever one Les! Enjoyed the post - your blooms are beautiful!

  10. I enjoyed your "H" theme as well as your flowers.

  11. Fabulous 'H' theme today Les. Your garden is full of beauty! Your Black & Blue Salvia is a bit ahead of mine, I have buds, but no blooms quite yet. :)

  12. Now I know why Echinacea hasn't thrived in my garden - I treat it too well, I thought it was a proper flowerbed plant that needed cossetting! I've got Malva too, growing just like you say it does between the cracks. Gorgeous Hemerocallis, thanks for sharing them.

  13. I was priding myself on conquering my Daylily addiction, then you had to go and show that blue-eyed plant not once, but twice. Not fair! Your Hydrangeas are gorgeous, so lush and blue, so different from my pathetic mopheads.

  14. Very creative concept to tie all those plants together. I've heard the word kafir used as a racial epithet in movies and yet I had not really made that plant connection, so thanks. It is those little words used thoughtlessly that can cause the most pain.

  15. You have wonderful hydrangeas! For the longest time I thought I hated them because all I ever saw were "snowball bushes", but yours I love!

  16. A very clever bloom post. Great job. I have many of the same plants growing in my garden in Oklahoma. I did not know the name of the Clivia. Thanks for the education and happiest of bloom days.~~Dee

  17. Beautiful Bloom Day post.

    Re: the daylilies: Names, I need names!

  18. Darla,
    Thanks for stopping by. I hope your neighbor troubles have cleared up.

    I wish I could write a haiku as well, maybe after a cocktail.

    Garden Joy,
    I like the dark murky ones best.

    The spider is in my son's part of the garden. He likes them better than the regulars.

    I am looking forward to showing you my tiny patch of soil.

    I wish I could tell you the name of the daylily, but I only know a few.

    I wish more of my flowers were accidents. It seems like the more I want something and the more I baby it, the more likely it is to die.

    Chris and Jon,
    Thanks for stopping by, you are welcome to return anytime.

    Thanks for the compliment. I will try not to get a swollen head.

    I kept thinking of Sesame Street as I was writing it. I just didn't have a number for a sponsor to go with the "H".

    It surprises me that my B&B is so far ahead of yours. I know there is a slight difference in where you live, but really it is not that far away.

    Thanks for crossing the pond to visit. I have tried several of the new Echinaceas and coddled them. None of which are with me today. The species does best for me and seeds itself marvelously.

    That daylily is one of the few I know the name of. It is 'Web of Intrigue'. It is a very vigorous one that increases rapidly.

    I did not know about the word until I was doing some research for the post, it stopped me in my tracks. Apparently it is the equivilent of the "N" word in S. Africa. In their defense, the Europeans began using the word in a more innocent manner, but that is not how it was taken by the people it referred to.

    If that is your real name it is lovely. I really like hydrangeas and could not imagine gardening without them.

    Thanks for stopping by and the happiest of bloom days to you as well.

    Sweet Bay,
    I am sorry for the lack of names, but I will tell you what I know. #4 is 'House of Orange', #7 is 'Milk Chocolate' and #8 and #9 are 'Web of Intrigue'.


  19. Lovely pics, all, but I really love your lilies and that black and blue salvia.

  20. You ever find yourself throwing chunks of those daylilies on the compost pile, toss 'em in a box and send them my way. Honestly, they're not my favorite plants. Until the start flowering. (They're rampant along the roadsides here.) And when they do, I ask myself, 'Why do I only have half a dozen varieties?'

  21. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. All your H's are very grand and unusual. You are too clever.

    I sent you an email request about the Lo and Behold. I need two.

  22. Les, thanks for those names. I know how it goes with name tags. :)

    My Commuter Daylily is H. citrina.

  23. Great plants and photos, as always, Les. I've been enjoying all of these "H's" lately as well, in my garden and in those of others. My happiest hour this week was spent wandering with Pam Harper among her magnificent collection of Hydrangeas until it was too dark to see anything except H. quercifolia 'Snowflake'. And I have an enormous orange clivia purchased for me as a birthday present from your nursery 35 years ago; it blooms faithfully every year, but is now the very devil to move in and out of the garage every year. Waiting for the seedlings to bloom (I've grown lots, including yellows and latifolia types this way) is tedious, but worth it!

  24. Dreamybee,
    Thanks for stopping by. Those two are some of my favorites as well.

    I will be sure to let you know if I am giving any away. They are roadside weeds here as well, but only the orange ones. Not only are they referred to as ditch lilies, but also as outhouse lilies.

    Thanks for stopping by. I wish I could help you with the Lo and Behold.

    Sweet Bay,
    You are welcome. Each year I tell myself I will take them to work and have some of the ladies I work with who are in the Daylily Societ I.D. them. But I never do.

    Pam Harper was in the store several weeks ago and we had a nice conversation about the Ophiopogon that was named for her. Although, she said it already had a perfectly acceptable name. I did not have the nerve to invite myself over for a visit. I have never been and would relish it. My Clivia came from one Linda Pinkham was growing. I was over their house about 10 years ago to help move some furniture and she gave me a small piece, and the young man who helped me got a huge piece. At the time I said to myself "he's going just let that Clivia die". I hope I was wrong.

  25. Les, your garden must be a car stopper in your neighborhod right now.

    Everyone up here tries to grow the Hydrangea macrophylla, but they get froze to the ground in the winter and rarely bloom without the old wood they need.

  26. Love the daylilies. So beautiful. Our favorites in the garden right now. :) Thanks for sharing your garden pics. I enjoyed the tour! ~~Rhonda

  27. What an education about H today! Wonderful displays. I am so partial to the orange daylilies. Looking wonderful at your place.

  28. I love the Rudbeckia maxima - it gets so tall and bright. Mine has had good years and bad years and I've haven't a clue why (actually, this year we've gotten good rain and it didn't bloom - the foliage looks great though). Any ideas?

    Your hydangeas are gorgeous - I haven't tried any of the Halo Series - yours look tempting! My lacecaps and Ayesha have been a bit strange this year - I think a late freeze might have nipped some of the flowers - some of them are only blooming on the bottom branches (which were probably protected somewhat). I haven't had this happen before.

    I'm with you on the daylily - I think it's most appropriate to make up your name for them, or simply call them 'that yellow one with a deep maroon inside' - that's the best name don't you think?


  29. oh my, oh my, oh my--such gorgeous blooms! Those daylilies are to die for. Gotta love unkillable plants that are also so generous with blossoms. A wonderful, clever post--I loved it!!