Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, October 31, 2014

End of the Month View -- The Bottle Tree Bed, October 2014

I didn't do an End of the Month View post for September, because quite frankly I was hard pressed to see any differences between how it looked in September and how it looked in August. I suppose I could have just written a really short post that said simply "See my August post here" but I didn't.

This month the Sheffield Pink mums have started blooming, and quite profusely. I divided and replanted them earlier in the year when I was redoing this bed, and they have responded quite enthusiastically. Too bad all our rain has made them so heavy. They're all hanging their heads like bashful suitors.

There are still plenty of un-cut-back seedheads in this bed now too, from everything that has bloomed this summer -- Veronica 'Lilac Fantasy,' various Verbascums, and Astrantias. I've left it all uncut, which tends to promote a messy overall look. But they do have their own kind of beauty in close-up. Another change since my last post is that the Amsonia hubrichtii, planted for the first time into this bed this year, is starting to color up. The clumps are still small. It'll be interesting to see how they look in a few years when they've bulked up.

The Bottle Tree Bed from the back porch

Droopy mums

Amsonia hubrichtii starting to color up

A second Amsonia clump, not quite as far along on its fall color

Veronica seedheads

Veronica seedheads, Sheffield Pink mums and the eponymous bottle tree

The very, very, very last Veronica flower

Sesleria autumnalis

Technically the Tropaeolum tuberosum isn't planted in the Bottle Tree Bed, it's planted on the other side of the fence, but the vine has traveled up over the fence and the blooms are mostly on this side. I posted about this plant here. I'll share one last shot of the delicate orange flowers.

"Up periscope!"

Helen at The Patient Gardener's Weblog hosts the End of the Month View meme. You can read her October post here, and be sure to check out the comments where other bloggers leave links to their own EoMV posts.

Monday, October 27, 2014

And In Other Late-Breaking News...

Tropaeolum tuberosum is finally blooming.

It's not a lot of flowers, and they're very delicate, but I'll take what I can get.

Tropaeolum tuberosum blooms intertwined with the already-stripped-by-birds, purple-stemmed drupe of 'Black Beauty' elderberry.

It's not a profuse bloomer, at least not yet, but I'll take it. This is only its second year in the ground, so I have high hopes that next year this vining Nasturtium relative will be even more heavily covered. It's possible it's not getting quite enough sun where it's planted, but I'm not going to move it. Who knows how it will do next year, and I don't want to set it back. In fact, I dug the tubers up this spring, thinking they were dead, but noticed growth on them, so hastily put them back. This plant is not just a late bloomer (it's nearly November), but also a late riser.

If memory serves I think I bought this from Far Reaches Farm, either at one of the spring sales that they attend, or on one of my trips to Port Townsend. Here's what Far Reaches has to say about it:

"Mashua - Hardy Tuberous Nasturtium. One of the great cultivated food crops of the Andean slopes in South America. This is the Andean equivalent of what the potato is to the Irish. Forms large tubers which are used as you would spuds. Pretty and tasty tubular orange flowers in late Fall on vining herbaceous stems to 8'-10' tall. We frost early here at the nursery so we don't often see the flowers but everyone in Seattle blooms the heck out of them. Perfect crossover perennial being both edible and ornamental."

  • Family: Tropaeolaceae
  • Hardiness: To Zone 7b
  • Mature Size: 8' - 10'
  • Exposure: Sun to Half Sun
  • Bloom Time: October - November
  • Moisture Needs: Average Moisture
  • Deer Resistant: No
  • Origin: Andes, South America

Worth waiting for, don't you agree?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few Final Flowers

The Hedychium 'Tara' that I posted about recently wasn't the only flower that I overlooked in my Bloom Day post. I thought I'd share a few more.

Dianthus caryophyllus 'Chomley Farran'

Just as pretty from the back as from the front

Reblooming Clematis

Hesperantha coccinea (formerly Schizostylis)

Panicum 'Rohtstrahlbusch' in afternoon sun (on probably the last sunny day of the fall)

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Peek Inside the Greenhouse

It's been a couple of months since I've shown what's inside the greenhouse. For most of the summer, it was just chock-full of tomato plants getting bigger and bigger. They gave me lots of yummy Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes for salads, and loads of lovely Romas, which I recently made into soup and sauce for the freezer.

A week after the swap, I started sorting out the inside of the greenhouse, cutting the tomatoes down and saving as many large green ones as possible, and moving the pots of soil they were growing in out. Last year I reused the soil for seed starting, but I may not do that this year. I think it may be one reason some of my seedlings didn't thrive as well as they should have. It may just end up in the compost bins.

I've moved my metal shelving unit, which was the summer home for my Bromelaids and some of my seedlings, located on the somewhat shady north side of the greenhouse, back inside, and bought a second one. Then I moved many of my drought tolerant plants in pots, Agaves, Aloes, tender succulents, etc., inside and onto the shelves. I've made a good amount of progress, but I still have a long way to go. And already real estate inside is getting precious.

The greenhouse in afternoon sun, seen from the front door

On the north side of the greenhouse, a collection of plant stands, seedlings, and perennials destined for the front garden.

Seedlings still unplanted in the garden, from last winter's sowing.

Just inside the greenhouse door, on the left hand side. The small white metal box on the wooden stand in the right lower corner of the picture is the heater, not really in use quite yet, but it has to have a spot.

The second metal shelving unit, not quite full yet, and several potted plants to the right of it, including a lime tree given to me at the swap.

My Manfreda (probably Macho Mocha, but untagged when bought), is producing pups galore.

The bottom shelf of one of the shelving units

There's still room for a few more plants on the wire table, but I'd like to leave room for me to work there too.

Bromeliads and a couple of Begonia boliviensis tucked underneath the table. When I water the plants on the table, they will get dripped on, which should be just the right amount of water.

This stripey Vriesea started to produce a flower earlier this summer, but then fell off the shelf it was on and the stalk was snapped off. Now it looks like it might be making pups.

And there are four nice-size pups in the pot with this bloomed-out Aechmea. I'm not sure at what point I should separate them from the mother plant and pot them up.

There's still plenty of room here to the right of the wire table, but there are still many large pots that need to find a home.

For example, four enormous Brugmansias.





And three pots full of assorted succulents that spend the summer on top of the gabions in the gravel garden.




And two huge pots of Cannas.



And one Echium

A banana and an Astelia

An Abutilon, that I need to somehow clean the aphids off.

A restio

I'd also like to take apart these pots and pot up many of the inhabitants separately for over-wintering.

'Miss Andrea' Cordyline, looking a bit under the weather

Two Pelargonum sidoides, which over-wintered last year and thrived once they were brought back outside.

Each of those stalks bore many, many pretty flowers over the summer

I have two 'Cha Cha' Cordylines that I want to save

And a small Loropetalum called 'Carolina Midnight'

And this Begonia luxurians
What am I going to do with that Muppet-headed thing?