Monday, June 30, 2008

Stewartia pseudocamellia Blooms!

My tiny 2 feet tall Stewartia pseudocamellia finally bloomed. I was amazed when I spotted a small pea sized bud several weeks ago and eagerly awaited the flower. I saw the flower starting to unfurl a couple of days ago and waited for the next day to take some pictures of the open flower but found the still closed flower lying on the ground. My heart sank and I decided to open the flower so I could at least have a picture of the first bloom.

Fortunately, unbeknownst to me was another bud further up on the shrub hidden by leaves. It bloomed the following day so I was able to take some photos of it blooming on the shrub. The flower is about 2" in diameter not including the frills. This one doesn't have the dark maroon spot of the Stewartia rostrata I wrote about previously.

I thought Stewartias were rare but I've since spotted two within a few blocks of our home. One was planted on the community property of a townhouse unit. I wish our townhouse association had planted nice specimen plants when we lived in a townhouse. The other is in the yard of a private home. I was tempted to walk on the lawn to photograph the flowers but remembering my episode (woman slamming down the window) when taking a picture of the big leaf magnolia, I decided not to risk getting yelled at.

Stewartias are related to Camellias and thus the similar look of the flowers. Since I like Camellias it's nice to have a similar flower blooming earlier in the year. Unfortunately the flowers don't last as long as the Camellias. The second flower fell off after it opened for a day! I hope this is because the shrub is still small and not characteristic of the plant.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lilies and More

The Asiatic lilies are slowly starting to bloom but still beating most of the daylilies which are only starting to set their buds.

This is a noteworthy one. I don't ever remember buying a mottled lily but several of these were included with the order. At first I didn't care for the look but I think it was only because I expected solid colors. I rather like it now because it looks so unusual.

One of the dusky colored hybrid Delphiniums we bought last year. The photo looks a bit strange because the stem was actually horizontal (blew over in a wind) and I rotated the picture.

We liked the Million Bells, Calibrachoa so much last year, we bought a bunch this year too. I ordered some of the Terra Cotta varieties from Park Seed but they arrived in poor condition with the plants small and weak. Several immediately died despite adequate watering. Luckily both Lowes and HD had very healthy ones in 3" pots for a very good price. These are growing nicely and will soon be well established and covered with flowers until the cooler weather arrives in autumn.

The Viburnum 'Quick Fire' is already starting to bloom.

The Canterbury Bells Campanula medium, grew like mad this year. Last year we had only about 6-8 flowers on a single stalk. I don't know what caused it to grow so vigorously this year.

I didn't include a photo showing the elongated stems of the Spider Web Hens and Chicks so here it is. I wonder what happens when the flowers are done? I hope it's not the end of the plant?


And I end this blog on a sad note. The Supreme Court decided in favor of Exxon and reduced the $5 billion punitive damage award by the lower courts to a mere $500 million. Which means the people who lost their livelihood will get another $15,000 each for a total of $30,000. $30,000 for your whole life??? Is this justice? Not to mention that the sound has still not recovered completely from the spill. All this when Exxon is raking in hundreds of BILLIONS dollars. $5 billion would be a pittance. They probably spent more money on attorney fees during the twenty year legal fight. I am truly disappointed and disgusted. See the NY Times article for a more detailed account.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spider and Portulacas

I see many of these small green gold garden spiders this year. I've not seen them previously so I wonder why the sudden appearance? Although they are tiny, their bright green and gold metallic bodies really catches your eye.

If you click on the photo to see an enlargement, you can see some tiny hairs on the spider's hind legs, close to the body, that look like tiny combs or half of fish skeletons.

I know, I know, Portulacas are common as sin but I like them anyway, especially when their relative the Lewisia doesn't seem like it will bloom this year. I also planted some Lewisia rediviva from seed but unlike it's weedy cousin Portulaca oleracea, the common purslane, it has yet to sprout. I think the planting instruction said it could take up to 4 months for germination!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Christmas in June?

We associate Amaryllis - actually Hippeastrum - with Christmas because they are so easily forced to flower at that time. Not ones to follow tradition we overwintered our bulbs in the garage (the temps were always above freezing) and planted them in pots as soon as the weather seemed to be reliably above freezing. The bulbs are flowering now and are a nice way to add color to a bare spot by just moving pots here and there.

I think following a more natural cycle gives the plants more time to store nutrients for their hibernation. We did this last year and the bulbs are so much larger than when we first bought them, even if they were advertised as premium size bulbs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


These are a few of the roses we're attempting to grow this year. We've never had much success with roses before but this year we are making a concerted effort to try to grow them well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

GBBD one day late

On top of our usual busy schedule, we had a visiting guest we hadn't seen for at least 30 years so I wasn't able to post my photos. So, here they are one day late. I will add captions later.

My Photo
Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

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