Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bloom Day - October 2011

Happy October Bloom Day! Rather than repeat some of the blooms I've pictured in more recent posts, here are a few you haven't seen much of.

My passalong Persicaria (could it be 'Lance Corporal'?) is determined to take over the world, to judge from the hundreds of tiny flowers and eventual seeds that are produced by just a few plants. They look like bright pink beads on the flower stems.

The crape myrtle is way past its flowering prime and like me, it's missing the hot, sunny days of summer. But there are still full trusses of blossom that haven't opened. I wonder if they will continue to open one at a time, as it seems they are doing here.

Hardy fuchsias are long bloomers in the garden. Both this little variegated Fuchsia magellanica macrostema and the larger Fuchsia hatchbatchii below it have had flowers for months and show no signs of stopping.

A sweet little Cistus x obtusifolius keeps plugging away with a few blooms at a time.

At a distance, I didn't see the slight rain damage that became apparent when I saw the image below on my screen. It's a charming flower anyway: I'll take it any time of year.

My climbing 'Sally Holmes' rose is also suffering from the inches of rain Portland has already endured this month. This is her fourth wave of blooms this year, and the trusses are getting getting totally drenched.

The really big excitement here is that after four summers, my Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) has finally produced three panicles. I wanted (and thought I got) a white-plumed variety, so I'm a little concerned that they look pinkish (even brown in this late afternoon shot.) Maybe they'll bleach out as they age?

After driving up the coast to Big Sur, I can see why pampas are considered such a huge nuisance in California, but I still love them. I hope I'm not going to be guilty of harboring an invasive species here in Oregon in years to come...

After a very slow start this year, the dwarf Pomegranite (Punica granatum 'True Dwarf') is still putting out a few flowers.

Following three years of serious winter setbacks, both Trachelospermum jasminoides have come back like gangbusters and climbed the fence as they were originally intended to do. Although their peak bloom period is over, there are quite a few flowers and you can catch their faint scent when the sun is on them.

Three Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb' have been blooming most of the summer. I brought a pot of them from my last house five years ago and just this summer I plopped divisions into the ground to fill an open spot. They are supreme survivors, adding a splat of intense yellow to the front garden.

And finally, the Cape fuchsia, Phygelius x rectus 'Passsionate' has spires that are over my head and still flowering at the tips. The hummingbirds that were enjoying them have gone for the winter, but the flowers keep hopefully opening, just in case one returns hungry.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Click on over to see flowers from all over the world!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unexpected Fall color

I'm not a fan of autumn. I guess it's the inevitability of winter that really puts me off it, but even if spring came right after fall, I don't think I'd be very enthused. As I live in Portland, however, I reluctantly make my peace with fall each year. And I'm prepared to admit that the return of cloudy skies affects the way color looks in the garden in a very good way.

Some of it is subtle. I love the look of my two new agaves: A. gypsofila (left) and A. titanota are soft blue-green in blue pots against our "perfect green" paint.  I acquired them from Sage Eco Nursery on our September trip to Los Osos, California, and they survived the remainder of the trip up the coast carefully cushioned from all our other traveling gear.

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' has yet to be planted out, but it's already coloring up with the most alluring coral shade along its yellow stripes.

My Cannas typically peak both in foliage and blossoms when they're about to be slammed with autumn's cold, wet weather.

These huckleberry berries just keep getting bigger and darker purple. It beats me why they haven't been stripped off by the birds or our local raccoon population. They certainly are as ripe as I've picked them for pancakes in Gifford Pinchot.

More subtle color from Melianthus major: now that I've grown it, I understand what all the fuss is about. Who could resist the soft, new growth contrasting with the mature leaves of 'Purple Haze'?

Here's some in-your-face color contrast: Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' with Abutilon 'Tangerine'.

And another Abutilon: 'Temple Bells', finally achieving some height and sporting beautifully red-veined flowers against the pampas and other tan grasses.

Here's some traditional autumn color: We had to replace our original dogwood (Cornus x 'Eddie's White Wonder') when it died after we moved it, and although it's hard starting over, we're thrilled about the gorgeous oranges we're seeing now. I like the orange better than our last dogwood which turned a kind of dull purple color in fall.

And the orange looks even better when it's backed by the new chocolate color we painted the neighbor's garage wall.

We started out with the garage wall painted "Winchester", the same new color as our foundation. It's a great color for a foundation and works well with the new exposed aggregate patio, but it was dull, dull, dull on the garage as a backdrop to plants and trees and it had to go.

Now the wall is lovely, warm "Chocolate" (literally, that's Miller's name for it) and it's delicious behind  Mahonia aquifolium and the young Mountain Hemlock.

Back to more traditional autumn color, enjoy these blond  Koeleria macrantha seedheads against the pines.

In keeping with the return of wet weather, I'm enjoying the look of this rusted vertebral art against the camellia.

And for sheer contrast, how about this bright green Irish moss backing wet mulch. This is a look with which all we Portlanders will become very familiar over the next six months ... or will it be longer?