Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A late Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2019

Summer has well and truly left us, I'm afraid. I'm noting all the autumn jobs that need attention, now that the heat and languor of my favorite season are clearly behind me. And I'm mourning summer's passing as I wander around the garden seeing what's still blooming for this late September Bloom Day post.

Clivia miniata 'Belgian Hybrid Orange' has sent out four bloom stalks (this is one advantage of a bit of crowding in the pot.) I adore those brilliant orange blooms against the dark-green, strappy leaves.

Mahonia fortunei 'Dan Hinckley' is putting on a modest show and delighting the honey bees. It's the perfect height to enjoy from my breakfast room window right now, as seen in the second shot.
Lagerstroemia 'Natchez' has had fewer blooms this cooler summer, and they are way up high. I still love it for its gorgeous peeling trunk bark.

Cyclamen hederifolium 'Xera's Sterling' is popping up in the Northwest Territory.

Echinops ritro adds its spiky ball-shaped blooms to the mix.

Pelargonium sidoides made it through winter and has been quietly blooming for a month now.

These NOID heliathus came from a bloggers plant swap years ago, and they have politely spread to form a small colony that brightens the end of summer.

Tithonia rotundifolia responds to the rain by pumping out a few more blossoms.

Sphaeralcea 'Newleaze Coral' continues with a few small blooms.

Agastache 'Acapulco Orange' is my very favorite cultivar of anise hyssop. This young plant isn't very robust yet, but it's doing its best to keep flowering as summer cools down.
Occasionally, the brilliant orange small flowers of Punica granatum 'Nana' turn into a little fruit. It's probably just a matter of time before the voracious local squirrels decide to steal it.

And last, the graceful, drooping seedheads on Chasmanthium latifolium are easy to appreciate.

Although late, I'm joining with Carol of May Dreams Gardens to showcase what's blooming in my garden in the middle of the month. You can see blossoms from all over if you visit her site.

Happy belated Bloom Day!!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Back (late) for Bloom Day - August 2019

Hi there! I've been missing from the blogisphere, but I'm back with a late Bloom Day post in the last real summer month. Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens monthly and you can check out gardens from all over creation if you hop over there.

I'll work in color-wheel order this month, beginning with three Echinacea 'Sombrero' hybrids from last year that have melded into one gigantic, flower-covered mound. Two are supposedly 'Salsa Red' and one is 'Adobe Orange', but I can't see a bit of difference between them. They're quite an eyeful, regardless.

The flowers of Hesperaloe parviflora had to be staked since they want to lean out into the street. I miss the lovely curve of the bloom stalks, but cars were threatening to break them off when they parked.

In similar colors but a very different habit, Agastache rupestris.

Tithonia rotundifolia 'Goldfinger' was hoping for rich soil... ha! It's doing its best with the rocky garden and minimal water.

Punica granatum 'Nana', having a happy summer on the deck.

Clivia miniata 'Belgian Hybrid Orange', sending up a new bloom truss.

Heterotheca villosa, or Hairy Golden Aster in the Northwest Territory.

Kniphofia 'Percy's Pride'.

The minute flowers of Ardisia japonica 'Dragon Brocade'.

Eucomus comosa 'Sparkling Burgundy' has relaxed into a greener version of itself in late summer. Only the flower stalks remain true to its name.

Caryopteris, just coming into bloom
Echinops ritro, a stalwart bloomer in my garden. Bees love it, too.

This Calluna vulgaris cultivar could be any one of six similar heathers for which I have tags. I grow them mostly for their spring foliage color, but this fluff of mauve is a nice touch in the late-summer garden.

Another unknown Calluna vulgaris cultivar leads us into the white flowers.

Lewisia columbiana var rupicola blooms off and on all summer.
A gentle scent wafts up as I pass by Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance' in the garden.

Trachelospermum jasminoides is still blooming on the sunny side of the fence, although the scent is hardly noticeable now.
And to knock it out of the park, my annual purchase, a Bougainvillea that starts off more orange but matures to this astonishing magenta.

Happy belated Bloom Day, all!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

My ten-year blogiversary!

Ten years ago, on April 3, 2009, I published my very first MulchMaid blog post.

It wasn't much of a post. I didn't have a lot to say. There were no pictures. I wanted to start blogging about the garden, so I just threw a virtual stone into the blog pond with a few sentences.

How little I realized what huge ripples in my life that beginning toss would yield. In the ensuing ten years, I have met the most wonderful group of gardeners, both locally and nationally. Some of them I'm lucky to call real friends. All of them have been generous with their encouragement, knowledge, camaraderie and plants.

Also in those ten years, the garden has grown, changed, frustrated and delighted me. Plants in the garden have come and gone. My interest in various plant groups has changed. My space for experimentation has shrunk as I filled up the garden. More beds have been carved out. Plant maturity and death have required new plans and new solutions.
Everything is still far from perfect in the garden. My other two original goals–teaching myself to write and learning to take better pictures–remain elusive. And I don't blog as often as I did in those first, heady years. 

But I'm having a great time. I look forward to seeing gardening and blogging friends at open gardens, plant swaps, and the annual Garden Bloggers Fling.
Especially this time of year, I can't wait to be out in the garden doing something–anything–so I can breath in the earthy scent of the beds and the spring fragrance of flowering shrubs.

I can't wait to plant the next wonderful find from a nursery or a plant sale or swap.
Life is good at Longview Ranch. I wonder what the next ten years will bring?

Thursday, March 21, 2019


I am loving the amazing spring weather we have enjoyed for the past week. Everything in the garden is hurtling headlong into leaf and flower and making me very happy as I watch my garden emerge from winter.

I know the fluff of new growth above is Dodecatheon dentatum, and the one below is D. hendersonii. But I'm occasionally confused as I see a new living thing emerging from the ground that my memory won't dredge up.

For example, this one will remain a mystery until it opens enough for me to identify. It looks like a good one!
Here's what was billed as an annual and it's coming back: Plantago major 'Rubrifolium'.  I expect my lax deadheading of it last summer will result in a few volunteers, as well.
I asked for Facebook help IDing the first image below last week, without success. Thank you to those of you who tried hard to suggest a name: the second image shows leaves open enough today to remind me that it's Jeffersonia diphylla.
It's time to get out the Sluggo, as Dianthus 'Green Ball is making a comeback. This is another plant I expected to be an annual only.
Athyrium niponicum pictum, showing just one fiddlehead so far.

Here's a cute one I'm happy to see again: an orange Eremuris .
Chasmanthium latifolium blades emerging in the spring sunlight.
The fresh, burgundy-colored new foliage of Beesia deltophylla.
And finally, here are the very best sprouts around. These shaggy-headed little stalks are a Syneilesis hybrid, probably S. aconitifolium x palmata.
Here's to delightful Spring sproutiness all over the garden!