Thursday, June 15, 2017
I am afraid I do not have terribly much to report for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day from my little balcony garden in Delhi this month. This time of the year, at the end of the hottest part of the year, flowering here is at a bit of a low point, and most of what is in bloom are woody vines and trees. My young plant collection lacks both of those so all I can offer at the moment are some Madagascar periwinkles (Catharanthus roseus) and Portulaca.
One color of Madagascar periwinkle...
... and another
Portulaca grandiflora flanked by Bassia scoparia
Meanwhile, in the garden back in New England quite a few things are of course blooming, and the husband extraordinaire sent some pictures:
A newly planted Lantana
Pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa), which I have been trying to establish in the garden for a few years, finally taking off
Blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora)
Hopefully next month I will have more flowers to show from my efforts here. In the meantime, head over to May Dreams Gardens to see what is blooming elsewhere.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
I am back in my New England garden for a quick visit after having been away for six months; the garden is in great shape overall but what has been particularly interesting is to see which plants of questionable hardiness have made it through the winter and which have not. A lot of my plantings are a bit of a gamble in that way. Moreover, since I was going to be away this year, last fall I planted out a few things that I would have otherwise overwintered indoors on the off chance that they might make it. There have been a few real surprises among those plants that made it and those that did not. Complete losses that I had not anticipated included all the fancy florist's chrysanthemums I grew last year as well as all my Parma violets. I knew their hardiness here would be borderline but in our relatively protected garden and with heavy mulching I was not expecting them to be gone entirely. Similarly, Opuntia cacanapa 'Ellisiana' is completely gone, while the native Opuntia humifusa is flourishing and Opuntia phaecantha, too, is doing very well. Two year-old cuttings of 'Chicago Hardy' fig froze back a bit but are sprouting vigorously. The heirloom dahlia 'Mrs. I. de ver Warner', known for its atypical hardiness, survived its second winter in the ground unscathed, but another modern dahlia hybrid in a much more exposed spot also survived, even though it is much further behind in leafing out. The poppies Argemone platyceras and Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum also survived quite happily, and so did all my Kniphofia uvaria seedlings. A healthy 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' rose that should be hardy died while a Phygelius that had not even been happy during the summer is resprouting, if weakly. The foliage of my saffron crocuses, now in their third year, should still be green and photosynthesizing, making food reserves for the corms to power good flowering in the fall, but it has already disappeared almost entirely. I suspect a lack of snow cover during the coldest parts of winter and munching by the rabbits that usually stay in the neighbors' grassier yard are to blame. In any case, I will probably have to replant my saffron patch after this year. On the positive side, by far the most surprising survivals were two tuberoses in a raised bed and, completely unexpected, a seedling Canna indica in a clay pot completely exposed on the front steps of the house. Granted, they are small individual sprouts emerging from formerly sizeable root stocks but even so it is impressive.
Eastern prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa) with a 'Color Guard' yucca sprout
'Chicago Hardy' fig
Dahlia 'Mrs. I. de ver Warner'
A tiny tuberose sprout
A little Canna sprout emerging from a pot that spent the winter on the front steps
The lessons to be drawn from this, I guess, are to a) overwinter cuttings of all fancy chrysanthemums inside, b) experiment with tuberoses planted out and heavily mulched for winter, c) try more dahlias besides 'Mrs. I. de ver Warner' as permanently planted perennials with some winter protection. Always learning!
Thursday, June 1, 2017
The balcony garden is still coming along slowly. There have been some new additions, and some of the plants that for a long time did not seem to do much are beginning to take off, perhaps finally over transplant shock and helped along by recent rains and a bit of a drop in temperatures. Here are just a few snapshots of mainly pink things providing color right now - I will have to make sure to add more other colors as I keep collecting plants:
A caladium I picked up on a whim
This Portulaca grandiflora had more deep-pink striations on the flowers when I bought it; hopefully it will return
One of three colors of Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus rosea) that I have
My little heirloom rose reblooming just a bit in the heat
Hopefully with monsoon rains coming in a few weeks, the balcony will continue to get more lush. I recently got two banana saplings, which should add lots of foliage once they get going. Perhaps some fast-growing vines would also be good to extend the green upwards more...