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.

September 15, 2012

Bloom Day - Temporarily Untethered

This weekend finds me through with one part of my professional life and about to embark on a new adventure.  On Thursday I wrapped up 16 years at Smithfield Gardens (this is the first time I have ever typed those two words together in this blog in an effort to keep my different worlds separate), and will start Monday at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  Although it feels good to have little responsibility, even if only for a few days, I am anxious to get started on Monday.

If I had to pick one word to describe my own garden right now, I would say "neglected".  We have had significant rainfall in the past month and a half, so I have not had to water anything but my containers.  However, all that moisture has caused many of my plants to put on some rank growth, and let's not mention what it has done for the weeds.  Having been so distracted lately, I am looking forward to spending some quality time in my garden.

Despite my inattention, several things are blooming, like this Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest', which has been blooming all summer.
Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'

Also blooming all summer has been the annual Melampodium divaricatum. 
Melampodium divaricatum

Even if the hardy begonia (Begonia grandis) never bloomed, I would grow it just for the foliage and because it does so well in shade, but the flowers are indeed nice.
Begonia grandis

This week my Fireworks golden rod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') just started to color up, attracting the attention of some neighbors. 
Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks'

Also just cracking color, with much more on the way, is my Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha).  I am hoping it and the beautyberry planted behind it will make a nice combo.
Salvia leucantha

Callicarpa americana

I am attributing the bumper crop of hardy oranges (Poncirus trifoliata) to the mild winter and abundant summer rains.  I have had to limb it up twice so no one gets impaled or loses an eye.
Poncirus trifoliata

I know I have planted many spider lilies (Lycoris radiata), but this is the only one to bloom this year.  Does anyone know if squirrels are an issue with this bulb?
Lycoris radiata

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, and you can visit her blog for a tour of what's blooming around the world.


  1. Congratulations, Les, on your new adventure. Somehow I think the Norfolk Botanical Gardens will have made a wise choice!

    Not sure where this year/summer has gone, but we are hoping for some rain soon and a little less time being elbow-deep in gathering vegetables.

  2. I am looking forward to hearing about your new job. I love the botanical gardens. A new adventure, for sure.

  3. Lovely, as always. I'm so thrilled for you with your new job!

    I was just thinking ... perhaps I should grow a hardy orange so my husband will stop complaining about rose thorns. He hasn't seen thorns till he gets snagged by one of these babies.

  4. Wow oranges, so cool. I bet your new job is exciting.

  5. I am unfamiliar with the 'Orange Zest' plant, but the shape of the flowers makes me think it is fragrant. Is it? I wish you much success in your new job. I hope you don't need to keep your worlds separate in the future. It would be nice to read blog posts about your work garden as well as your personal garden.

  6. Les, whenever you post your Bloom Day pix I am struck dumb by how many gorgeous plants are in your garden - that I have never heard of nor seen! Thanks for expanding my visual vocabulary of plants and flowers. The Mexican Sage and the beautyberry are a revelation!

  7. My Lycoris didn't bloom the first two years they were in the ground....I think they take a while to build enough energy to bloom.
    Your hardy orange was huge a few years ago...can't imagine how much larger it is.

  8. Beautiful flowers....and the oranges were distracting as I thought of eating them:) Nice crop!!! We have several on our trees right now...including some blood oranges....I'm so hoping to get that one before someone else does. Citrus is a good thing to have in the garden.

  9. LOVE the beautyberry. And the Cestrum. Congrats and best wishes on the new job - sounds like a dream come true.

  10. Everytime I see beautyberry I wonder why am I still not growing it. What a striking plant. And I am jealous of the spider lily; so much color and drama from one bulb.

  11. Hi Les,
    I've had spider lilies for a few years (in Hampton) and no sign of squirrel theft, but I don't have many blooms this year either. I moved most of mine earlier this year though, so I thought they might be skipping a year due to the disturbance. I hope they reward both of us better next year.

  12. Your beautyberry still has its berries! The mockingbirds have eaten nearly all of mine already. I'll be looking for spider lilies to pop up any day now, but for now I'm admiring yours. Congrats on your new job, Les. I look forward to seeing pics from the botanical garden.

  13. Les, The Norfolk Botanical Garden has made a wise choice. What will you be doing there? I hope you get to play with plants after years of selling them. Although I have to say I enjoy my nursery, that's because it's mine. No oranges on my hardy orange. Carolyn

  14. Wow, a new page in your life! Congratulations, Les!
    Wonderful pictures, as always!

  15. The new job sounds like great fun! Can't wait to read about all of the new experiences and adventures!

    Your comment about Google Chrome was right on. I had been having all sorts of issues, and somehow downloaded Google Chrome through something else. All of a sudden Blogspot works perfectly. I hate that Google seems to know more about me than I do myself, but I guess that's just a sign of getting older....

  16. Beautiful! All the best in your new role. They are lucky to have you.

  17. What an adventure. Look forward to hearing about the new location.

  18. Congratulations on your new adventure! Change is exciting, isn't it? Your blooms are lovely--and your photography is excellent (I don't see any neglect--excellent editing!) ;-) We, too, have lots of rain, for which I'm thankful--but our gardens are a tangle of weeds and overgrown veggies, as well as unruly perennials. I need some serious time to whip the garden back into shape! I love your hardy begonia--gorgeous blooms and foliage, and beautyberry is always one of my favorites for the birds. Thank you for the tour of your blooms, and I look forward to visiting again soon to hear about your new position! Cheers!

  19. Congratulations Les---going to work every day at the Botanical Garden is too good to be true. Enjoy your good fortune.

  20. Despite the neglect you have managed to showcase some pretty blooms. I hope that your enjoyed the short break before you started the new job and that all is going well.