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 19, 2011

Under the Wire

Though it only got down to 33 here last night, we did have our first frost.  It wasn't the killing frost I need for motivation to get in the garden and yank dead summer annuals and to cut down brown perennials or mushy bananas.  A couple of weeks ago we had nighttime lows into the upper thirties with strong winds, and that was enough to knock back the foliage on my Heavenly Blue morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue').  However, it was not cold enough to deter the many buds from opening, and for the past few mornings we have had to cross under a bower of the bluest blooms to leave the house.  You can almost hear their mumbled dying breath "must produce progeny, must produce progeny".

November 15, 2011

Bloom Day - Any Day Now

We are living on the edge here in this corner of Tidewater.  There have been a couple of dips into the thirties, though no frosts or freezes yet.  Slightly west and north it's a different story, but the Chesapeake and the Atlantic are still warm enough to lend us a few degrees. So what does waiting for winter to arrive mean to the garden?  Some of the plants I have been enjoying this summer are more tropical than others, and these suffered during the recent cooler nights, others have already been pulled to make room for pansies, while the rest just hang on half heartedly blooming and should probably be put out of their misery. Other blooms are just starting to come into their own and are helping to ease my way into winter.

This was the first year that I planted Heavenly Blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue'), and I have had blooms here and there.  However, it is now blooming heavily and covered in buds, even though the foliage is hideously disfigured. I can only hope the flowers will continue to open.

Ipomoea tricolor 'Heavenly Blue'

Some hangers-on from last month include Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha)...

Salvia leucantha

... Bolero Chrysanthemum (Dendranthemum 'Bolero')...

Dendranthemum 'Bolero'

... and my Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta), which has amazed me with its flower's longevity.

Tricyrtis hirta

Tricyrtis hirta (2)

Appropriate for November is Ajania pacifica. For some reason, I have never liked this plant's common name (Silver and Gold Chrysanthemum), nor was I happy with its recent botanical name change from Chrysanthemum pacificum.  I really appreciate this plant, not so much for the flowers, which I consider a bonus, but for its persistent foliage that asks for very little.  This picture also shows the ferny foliage of Amsonia hubrichtii, one of the few perennials known for it fall color, which is why I planted it.  The skim milk blue flowers are not my favorite.

Ajania pacifica and Amsonia hubrichtii

My Arbutus (Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'),aka Strawberry Tree, is in full bloom now, and a little cold weather or even a freeze will not change that.  The fruit from last year's flowers is ripening now as well.

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' (2)

Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'

We will end with the first floats in the Camellia parade (all of these are Camellia sasanqua).  First up is Autumn Rocket.

Camellia sasanqua 'Autumn Rocket'


Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro'


Camellia sasanqua 'Show-No-Sake'


Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (2)

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (3)

I know that any day now winter could show its face, but until then I will enjoy what blooms I do have.  If you would like to see what other gardeners are offering for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, then you need to stop by May Dreams Garden, where Carol hosts a garden party on the 15th of each month, no matter the weather.

November 10, 2011

Déjà Vu on Duke of Gloucester

This past Saturday the three of us, plus canines, made our fall pilgrimage to Colonial Williamsburg.  The weather was chilly, but not cold, appropriate for the season.  Our timing was good as this was likely the peak weekend for fall color in Williamsburg, and the trees did not disappoint.  For this post we will skip the history lessons and just enjoy the photos, but if you want to learn more just click on the Williamsburg label in my sidebar for several previous visits.

Duke of Gloucester St (3)

Maple Orange (3)

Birch, Dogwood, Bruton's Parrish (2)

Yellow Berried Holly

Duke of Gloucester St (2)

Hydrangea quercifolia

Duke of Gloucester St

Cornus florida

Duke of Gloucester St.

Duke of Gloucester St (6)

Green Roof (2)

Colonial Nursery (5)


The next few shots were taken in the Adams Garden on the William and Mary campus.

Adams Garden (2)

Adams Garden (6)

Adams Garden (9)

The weeping tree below is Cascade Falls Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum 'Cascade Falls'), a newer cultivar.

Adams Garden (4)

We will end our day trip by taking my favorite way home on the Jamestown-Scotland ferry. It crosses the James River and is one of Virginia's great free treasures, plus it is often quicker and always less frustrating then I-64.

On Board (2)

On Board (3)

On Board

November 8, 2011

Country Comes to Town

I was driving through Smithfield today and had to turn the car around when I saw these urns planted with dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium).  Normally you don't see this planted on purpose, never-the-less it has a firm foothold in local landscapes and is most often seen along roadsides, abandoned fields and in other and various no-man's lands.  Apparently Frances  and Janet have company in being able to see past this plant's reputation to enjoy it's ornamental qualities.