Tag Archives: blooms

The Peak of our Fall Mums – FFF 10/28/16

Floral Foto Friday is a weekly opportunity to see a collection of flowers from around the world gathers on a nifty site by Nick, who identifies himself as a academic from Melbourne Australia. He and his friends who join him weekly present a collection of plants unfamiliar to me and likely many of you here in the United States. I invite you to follow the link and see what else is available to gardening enthusiasts.

This week I am sharing the fall mums my wife planted in our west facing window boxes on the front of our home. From Mid May until Mid September they are home to Geraniums, but usually we switch them out for chrysanthemums when they have done their thing for the summer. This year my wife selected some robust yellow mums and they have made a wonderful show.

in my region these will not always live though our winter. I am thinking about trying a different approach, taking these out of the window boxes and digging into a pile of wood chips and planting them to try to allow them to survive until spring. If it works I will share the proof next spring.



My Love Affair With Clematis



Over time I have had the joy of planting and enjoying at least a half-dozen varieties of Clematis. The range of colors is dazzling, from white to dark purple to a combination of different colors. Clematis is a perennial, which means you can get many years of enjoyment from this plant.

Clematis is a full sun type of plant, something many of us seek when we go ot the garden center or greenhouse to find a new plant. To be sure many folks enjoy some shade in their yard but at my house our three and a quarter acres benefit from the shade of only three maple trees. One tree per acre just doesn’t shade nearly enough.

But do not fear, you can still grow these in spaces where they do not benefit from full sun. The one above only gets direct sun until noon or so and does very well along with another that is planted about eight feet away. Both of these benefit from a deck railing onto which they attach and climb.

Of all the Clematis I have grown the one to do so well is a variety called Montana Reubens. On the product tag it said it could grown to be 30-40 feet tall. With this in mind I planted it near a telephone pole and then took some lightweight fencing and nailed it around the pole to allow the plant something to climb on. As you can see from the photo it did not reach the potential height, but rather due to its weight fell back down to the sides to make an even more spectacular display.

To say that I will mourn a plant when it dies seems an exaggeration, because all plants will at some point, but when this beauty failed to sprout two growing season ago I was saddened. Such a beautiful and seemingly vibrant and hardy plant showed no signs of distress. But alas after sitting dormant for most of a second growing season I knew it was time to replace the beauty with another. The replacement has the potential to be somewhat like its predecessor, but the Montana Reubens had been in place for almost a decade and will hold a special place in my flower memory for some time to come.

If you have Clematis photos to share let me know, I enjoy seeing all of them!


2016 A to Z My Favorite Plants – N

Last year (2015) I began the A to Z Challenge started seven years ago by Arlee Buird with such high hopes. I took pains to do so much up front work to put skeletons of my posts together in an attempt to have posts ready prior to their publish date. All was going well until the middle of March of 2015. My daughter, wife and I traveled to Chicago with the high school band so our daughter could march in the Windy City’s Saint Patrick Day’s parade. While there I got a call that the wife of a church member had died and they asked if I would be a pall bearer. In itself that event alone would not have sidetracked me, but t was a mere body blow compared to the one two knockout that followed.


Moments after arriving home on a Monday after a never-ending chartered bus ride (Sleepless ride, I did not mention), I found out my dad’s youngest brother had died unexpectedly. Two days later the family pet died. Now don’t get me wrong, I would never equate the two events, but provide them for context. I am a dog person so much that when I see one out with its owner I ask to pet the critter. So you can imagine how being exhausted and having these two events coincide combined to make me feel uninspired.

But this is another year later and their is a new puppy in the house and with it a renewed vigor. So I thought I would pick up where I left off last year. I did not sing up on the master A-to-Z list because I was not sure of or when I might be motivated to try again.

Nicotiana is a plant I grew in my greenhouse during the six growing seasons I tried to make a go of selling annuals and perennials. In the climate where I live, the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, this is only grown as an Annual. The colors are rich and varied. The plant, leaves and blooms share some characteristics of the larger plant grown for use as smoking tobacco.

For the Sake of Volunteers!

If you are a true and seasoned gardener you will nod with a knowing satisfaction when I mention volunteers as well as their place in your gardening world. A volunteer can surprise you with its unexpected appearance and beauty, especially when it emerges in a bed of something totally different.

When we talk about how this can happen we have to consider the way different plants reproduce. Some have seeds while others have growth from extensions that will grow underneath and emerge in another nearby location. By and large most of my volunteers result from the first option as the seeds fall from a parent plant a year or more previous.

The sunflowers I have pictured definitely are the benefit of previous plants as they are all  within a short distance from last year’s plants. I saved half a five gallon bucket of seeds from sunflower heads, but the only plants I have are strictly volunteer. I will try to collect these seeds to re-plant next year.

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The wave petunias back nearly every year and it varies what different colors we enjoy. The fun part is waiting to see what volunteer plant sprouts where and what color it shows when it blooms.

Amaryllis Blooms: A Family Affair

Ok, so just an FYI for those of you new to this blog: I LOVE BLOOMS! Blooms of all kinds. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, I love the blooms that come during all seasons. What? You didn’t think anything blooms during Winter. Well I suppose in the cooler climates it does not, at least not outside. But inside We still have the redeemable cadre of houseplants to buoy our green thumbs and bloom-loving hearts.

The particular plant I want to share today is called an Amaryllis. I won’t go into the scientific and biological names because quite simply I do not know them and find that information kind of boring. Sorry Uncle Charles (former biology teacher for many years). What I feel you should know is this plant came from my Aunt Faye (wife of aforementioned Uncle Charles) and is thriving under our care.

EDIT : A picture of the Amaryllis when I first got it in October of 2013.


Then, like hitting the lottery a second bloom stalk emerges.

Then, like hitting the lottery a second bloom stalk emerges.

The initial cause for celebration, a new bloom stalk.

The initial cause for celebration, a new bloom stalk.

The plant has bloomed once since I have had it and continues to grow larger. I am excited to report and show in the accompanying pictures that it is nearing another bloom cycle. Even more exciting is that there will be two bloom sets this time. The Amaryllis provides four blooms per cycle, so I will have a total of eight this round.

During the gloom of Winter such a sight is welcome to me. Going from several full greenhouses in 2007 to the meager (in comparison) stable we sport now I am always interested in any blooms. We are between blooms in all but one of our cadre of orchids, so the Amaryllis will get center stage.

spring Jan 16 Check back over the next few posts to see the Amaryllis in various stages of bloom.