Tag Archives: asclepias

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2015

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides hosts GBFD on the 22nd of each month to highlight the importance of foliage in our gardens. The past week has been unusually busy with little time for the garden so Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) sneaked up on me this month.

In a side garden along the front drive Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed ) has formed long okra-like seed pods. There are two other Asclepius tuberosa in the main garden, but neither has formed the pods.  I cannot find a label for the shrub in the background—some kind of slow-grower, a juniper I think. Visible in the upper left corner is a Betula nigra (River Birch) that grows at the street just on the edge of our property.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

I like the river birch. It began dropping leaves very early this summer because of the drought. The shaggy cinnamon-red bark is characteristic of this native tree.

Bark of native tree Betula nigra (River Birch)

Bark of native tree Betula nigra (River Birch)

By the way a week ago in another part of the garden I saw my first Monarch(s) of the year. I usually see them in October here. Without a camera on two consecutive days, I watched one nectaring on remnant flowers of a Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ There is something special about seeing the Monarchs that raises a feeling of gladness and appreciation.

I was recently complaining about how that Rudbeckia had been knocked over in a storm and needed to be cut back, but now I think I will leave it a bit longer.  A child of that one, the ‘Irish Eyes’ below is in the side garden just at the gate. It splayed over also after the same storm, but I managed to tie it up. It is not blooming much now but the foliage is still looking healthy. It received some extra water this summer because I was filling a nearby bird bath almost daily. In the background the river birch is visible again.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Silvery Dusty Miller has spread with wild abandon in the western border. It is easy to pull out when I finally decide “Enough,” so I let it roam this summer. It is not as attractive when it flowers so it is time to clip it back. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is new this year. Fresh new leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) add softness to this area.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Thanks to Christina for hosting. Be sure to visit her to see her featured foliage and find links to other foliage highlights of other GBFD bloggers.

In A Vase On Monday—Summer Spectrum

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Monday morning is time to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

After watering the garden Sunday morning I gathered flowers for a vase.  Choosing as many Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ as I could find, I clustered them together in the center of my grandmother’s glass floral frog as the starting point for an arrangement. The container is a hand-thrown ceramic glazed picece, about 9 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches tall.

Cluster stems of Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' in center of glass frog

Cluster stems of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ in center of glass frog

I added a few stems of Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define the outer edges of design.

Add Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define outer edge of design

Add Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) to help define outer edge of design

For filler flowers I used a stem of Alstroemeria and different colors of Angelonia.

Add Angelonia to fill in design toward outer edge

Add Angelonia to fill in design toward outer edge

Next I deconstructed a gladiolus to use the individual blooms around the base of the arrangement.

Descontruct Gladiolus. Use to add color and hide mechanics.

Descontruct Gladiolus. Use to add color and hide mechanics.

A single Dahlia ‘Firepot’ and  an Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed) were used as focal flowers.

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed), Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed), Gladiolus

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

I can quibble with the design proportions—the materials need to be extended out wider and the shape is uneven. As I rotate the vase I realize the arrangement looks very different from front to back and from overhead it is askew.

In A Vase On Monday. View From Above

In A Vase On Monday. View From Above

And yet, I love this vase of flowers. The flowers are fresh, the textures are interesting together.

The rich vibrant hues in this assortment speak to me of summer itself. At first the colors contrast and shock, then they blend and meld.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Dahlia ‘Firepot’, Gladiolus

Materials

Alstroemeria x ‘Tesmach’ (Inticancha® Machu Peruvian Lily)
Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’
Angelonia ‘Raspberry’
Angelonia ’Serena White’
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)
Dahlia ‘Firepot’
Gladiolus sp.
Gomphrena globosa (Globe amaranth)
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' and Gladiolus

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Gladiolus

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ‘Raspberry’

Angelonia ‘Raspberry’

Gomphrena, Angelonia ‘Raspberry’, Gladiolus

Gomphrena, Angelonia ‘Raspberry’, Gladiolus

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this opportunity to share a vase each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Cottage Garden Bouquet

Cottage Bouquet in Pringle Pitcher

Cottage Bouquet in Pringle Pitcher

Each Monday brings opportunity to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

I think of my garden as an informal one, a cottage garden planted with old-fashioned, easy-to-grow favorites. Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) began blooming about two weeks ago and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) opened just a couple of days ago. I took them as a starting point for creating this loosely arranged collection of blossoms.

Both of these plants produce their flowers in clusters (umbels). The flat-topped clusters of Appleblossum yarrow range in hue from a pale, straw yellow to this peachy colored one.  The Asclepias, of course, is a bright, deep orange.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Now that the irises and peonies are but a memory for another year, the garden is transitioning toward summer flowers. Currently there is not a lot of any one plant dominant in the borders, so I gathered a bit of this and that to round out the cottage garden bouquet.

For foliage I selected Dusty Miller from a large silvery clump in the western border. For a tall, spiky accent I found two colors of Veronica spicata, ‘Pink Goblin’ and only slightly darker ‘Rotfuchs.’ Both are just coming into bloom.

Veronica spicata 'Rotfuchs' (Red Fox Veronica) and Dusty Miller

Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ (Red Fox Veronica) and Dusty Miller

Verbena bonariensis is finally taking hold in my garden after a few years of trying it in different locations. This week it is cheerful, still standing tall. The American goldfinches enjoy it and its stems bend gently under their ever so slight weight once they begin perching on it and harvesting seeds.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in front of Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) in front of yellow straw-colored Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)

Three stems of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) provide round focal flowers for today’s arrangement. These flowers are just coming into bloom and usually I can still find one or two for a quick vase in October. Each year I try to add a few more of this native plant to the garden. The Echinacea’s orange cone center echoes the color of the Asclepias, which could be exploited in a more formal design for an interesting effect. The yellow-hued achillea works less well with the color of the Purple Coneflower.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday-Cottage Bouquet1

Today’s floral container was handmade by local artist Jim Pringle of Pringle Pottery. A treasured wedding gift, this ceramic pitcher is part of a set that came with four cups similarly decorated in bands of blue, green and white. Together the pieces have held countless informal arrangements of garden flowers, but they are rarely used for beverages.

Cottage Garden Bouquet

 

Materials

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow)
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Dusty Miller
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)
Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ (Red Fox Veronica)

Cottage Bouquet

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. I encourage you to visit her to learn what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Blooming In Mid-September Part 4

This completes a series illustrating the variety of blooms found in this garden in mid-September.  Once extreme heat and drought set in during July the garden looked browned and parched. Now, eight weeks have passed with little maintenance, and the garden has awakened. Cooler temperatures and some key rainfalls have brought out a burst of blossoms.

Echinacea

Echinacea (purple coneflower) is planted throughout the garden and these perennials have remained in bloom longer this year than usual. As the petals drop the seed cones provide food for the American goldfinches. Most of the Echinacea have dried up now and the brown stalks and cones are being left for winter interest and for the birds.

Crape Myrtle

A pair of pink dwarf Crape Myrtles at the front entrance took forever to bloom this year, while these Southern favorites were coloring the landscape all around town (and even in this neighborhood). The peak flowering period seemed to be about mid-August.

Periwinkle (Vinca)

Because this annual is so commonly used, bringing it home was merely an afterthought at the garden center in early summer.  During the worst of the dry, hot July days though, it added happy spots of color (both pink and magenta) to the border.

Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)

Only a few cosmos self-seeded from last year’s effort to fill the side border with feathery greenery and delicate blossoms.  Usually these are very simple to grow but last year neither these nor the zinnia seeds produced a reward.  The deer still graze down this side garden and seem to be attracted to the cosmos.

Cleome

Cleome or Spider Flower is a magnificent accent in the border. The complex structure of the blooms and the long seed pods forming below the flower give this annual an architectural look.  This is an old-fashioned flower that is remarkable.

More In the September Garden

Ending the tour of blooms in this mid-September garden, there are several flowers blooming for there are no accompanying photographs, but they have been featured before: Pink YarrowDianthus, and Verbena bonariensis. The pink yarrow bloomed profusely in the spring before browning in the heat.  Only a couple of these are in bloom now.  The dianthus was planted this spring and did well with deadheading though early summer before fading in the heat. It has revived somewhat but is not significantly showy. Verbena bonariensis, a tall plant with small flower clusters on long stems, has been blooming since mid-May.  Yellow American goldfinches love them and love to sit on them, bending the stems eventually. Several new ones added to the garden in late spring survived.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)

While this Asclepias tuberosa is not actually blooming now, the seed pods are interesting. Milkweed is the host plant for the monarch butterfly. The caterpillar is feeding on the leaves and storing energy for the pupa stage.

Shasta Daisy Moment

Shasta Daisy and Asclepias

The first Shasta daisy opened this morning, probably the cultivar Leucanthemum superbum ‘Becky’ but alas, possibly Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska.’

There are several clumps of shasta around the garden and this very large grouping really needs to be separated.  It is a task which seems difficult, often resulting in mangled, broken pieces without root.

In late winter I managed to separate and replant a few that are now thriving.  Those may not bloom this year but by next year should be big enough to contribute a nice show.

When deadheaded regularly Shasta daisies reportedly bloom into autumn, but in this garden the first blooms are the purest and prettiest.  After that the foliage browns, probably from the strong heat of Piedmont North Carolina summer and from lack of regular water.  So, this is the moment to enjoy the Shastas.