Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hibiscus Diversity

I am not currently growing any varieties of the most well-known species of Hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, nor of the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus). However, despite not having either of these common ornamental shrubs at the moment, there are three different types of Hibiscus blooming in the garden right now: the annual flower-of-an-hour or bladder hibiscus (Hibiscus trionum) and roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and the herbaceous perennial swamp rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos).

Flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum)

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

 Swamp rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)

I also have some specimens of Hibiscus acetosella which are now beginning to bud, though with temperatures cooling down I am not sure they will make it to flower.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Over the course of this year, I have ended up growing four different species of passionflower. Passiflora edulis, the one commonly cultivated for passionfruit, grown from seed taken from a fresh passionfruit soda, has become a lush vine clambering in every direction but has yet to show even a trace of a flower bud. The very common blue passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) I picked up as a small cutting from a local garden center on a whim this spring. As during all my previous attempts at growing it as a child in southern Germany - where quite a few people successfully grow it has an exuberant hardy vine that covers entire walls and pergolas - it has only been growing weakly and any flower buds have turned yellow and dropped off well before blooming. The third is a small seedling of a hitherto unidentified species, grown from some seeds I picked somewhere by the side of the road. It is probably too small to flower anyway, but now it also suddenly appears sickly for no apparent reason after growing well for most of the summer. However, the fourth one is a success story; my maypop or purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), grown from root cuttings taken from the plant in my parents' Michigan garden late last fall. They cut a rather pitiful figure through spring and early summer but began to take off with the heat of July and August and lots of fertilizer and watering, and now they have finally begun blooming.

The first to blooms to open... more purple...

... and one more pale

Maybe one day I will have better luck with other passionflowers, too. In the meantime, the native, fragrant Passiflora incarnata is my favorite anyway.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2016

In terms of gardening, the last couple of days have been frustrating, as an infestation of mice has been rapidly decimating the rice I have been growing. The little rascals seem to outsmart any traps I set for them, and consume unripe rice grains at an astonishing rate. However, that uphill battle and the continuing drought notwithstanding, there is much to be pleased about in the garden right now as well.

An early morning view of part of the garden

 There are much fewer cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) in the garden this year than in previous summers, but due to the ongoing dry weather they are mercifully free of mildew so far

Dahlia 'Mrs. I. de Ver Warner'

Red valerian (Centranthus ruber) reviving in the cooler temperatures

 The 'Old Fashioned Vining' petunias tend to look quite bedraggled by this point but bounce back a bit for the fall

The Persian basil has been a fragrant, floriferous stalwart this year

Garlic or Chinese chives (Allium tuberosum) flower for a surprisingly long time period, especially for an allium, and that at a time when virtually no other member of the family is in bloom

The moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) are spectacular this year

This self-sown four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is almost pure pale yellow...

... Though there is no dearth of multicolored ones either

The Joseph's coat amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) continues to get more extravagant

 The chocolate daisies (Berlandiera lyrata) took a long time, but now they have been getting continually bigger and more floriferous for over a month

The yellow seedling cannas are beginning to bloom again

 My African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) are having some disease issues this year but luckily some plants are still blooming well

The klip dagga (Leonotis nepetifolia) bushes have gotten massive and are flopping all over the place but all but one of them are also flowering beautifully

To see what others have growing and flowering the world over, make sure to visit May Dreams Gardens!