Friday, September 19, 2014

A Wall of Flowers

Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) has for the past few weeks been blooming all over town, covering fences, hedges, and the occasional tree in dense curtains of delicate white blossoms.

A close-up of a neighbor's sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)

I sort of want this as a fabric pattern - the muted yet shimmery colors and that intricacy...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2014

For Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this month I mainly have things to show that have been in bloom since at least last month, if not longer. I should start adding some plants that come into flower in early fall to the flowerbeds in the communal garden downstairs and also get some seasonal blooms for the balcony. There are chrysanthemums, of course, but I am also thinking colchicums, cyclamen, Montauk daisies, different asters...

Hibiscus acetosella

A white cultivar of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) with cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) and van tulsi or wild basil (Ocimum gratissimum)

Zinnia elegans

Single tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)

Double tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa 'The Pearl')

The nights are already getting quite chilly, so we will see how much longer all this late-summer color and and fragrance lasts. I have sown mâche and lettuce though, the is kale growing bigger and thicker, and lots of spring-flowering bulbs will be arriving soon for planting. So even as the pleasures of one season are declining there are always new things to look forward to.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The First Rice Harvest

I finally harvested my first batch of rice, of the Russian 'Duborskian' variety.

'Duborskian' rice (Oryza sativa 'Duborskian')

Definitely not enough for a meal - it was only one short row of a handful of plants, after all - but lots of seeds to plant more next year!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another One Joins the Party

Late last fall when I was in New Orleans I collected some seeds of cypress vine or cardinal creeper (Ipomoea quamoclit) by the wayside. I planted some of the seed in May, along with seeds of the moonflower (Ipomoea alba), after having soaked both in water for a day. They must need considerably more warmth to germinate than regular morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea), which usually pop up almost immediately, because no seedlings appeared until almost the end of June. Conditions probably have also been less than ideal for them since then, confined as they are to pots on the balcony with only a few hours of direct sunlight. Yet lo and behold, today the first flower appeared on one of the delicate cardinal creepers.

Cypress vine or cardinal creeper (Ipomoea quamoclit)

Ipomoea alba is setting some buds as well, though they are still very small and developing quite slowly. Perhaps next year I will have to try to find a place for these in the open ground.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Late Summer Garden

These days the garden is a bit of a jungle, with sorghum, Hibiscus acetosella, and a massive 'Hopi Dyeseed' sunflower apparently striving for ever greater heights, masses of cosmos and marigolds, tomato vines and shrubby eggplants, and the fragrance of tuberoses and Nicotiana sylvestris floating on the air at night.

In the evening garden

 A very tall and very floriferous 'Hopi Dyeseed' sunflower

African marigold (Tagetes erecta) as a bit of a messy, sprawling shrub, which I much prefer over the stunted, chubby blobs formed by all the varieties commercially dominant in this part of the world today

 Nicotiana sylvestris

 Sorghum bicolor and Hibiscus acetosella behind it growing taller and taller

A third variety of rice - 'Hmong Sticky' - is also finally beginning to head. It would be awesome if the grains managed to ripen in the two months or so that they have left before it gets really cold. However, considering how slowly this variety has grown in comparison with 'Duborskian' or even 'M-101' that just might not be enough time.