Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bloom Digest

Enthusiastic Echinacea purpurea (presumably)

Hurrah for April! It's May at the moment, but much of what's blooming now is gliding on the momentum of April (except the echinacea, of course--that's just warming up). Summer and fall flushes of flowers can't match the juicy and exuberant profuseness of April. Already we're past the big flush of blooms for the roses. There are still roses in bloom, but not as jubilantly as a week ago.

In happy news, 'Lichterloh' is finally blooming. It took two years of grumpy stasis, but it's finally decided to act like an antique. I don't think the problem is with the cultivar itself: I suspect I just did a sloppy job of planting it or it got a particularly lousy bit of soil. I grew it for years and years in a big pot and it never complained--so I know it's normally tough.

'Lichterloh' finally blooms--and it's acting like it means it.

In other notable rose news, I got a decent picture of 'New Dawn.' 'New Dawn' is very prolific and very pretty from a distance, where you see masses of flesh-pale flowers on a glossy dark background. Up close, though, the flowers always seem to look a little faded and browned. However, I was taking pictures at 8:30 this morning, and I actually caught several especially fresh blossoms. Here are two.

'New Dawn,' looking especially crisp and fresh

It's been a good several weeks for the amaryllids. Almost all of my Hippeastrum have bloomed.

Miniature 'Pamela' in bloom. Sorry for the blurriness--but the color is accurate, anyway.

The Aztec lily (AKA Jacobean lily, AKA Sprekelia formosissima) is currently in bloom, looking as fantastical and improbable as ever. I don't know why people don't grow these more often. They're so very showy and striking.

Sprekelia formosissima in bloom

And there are crinum buds and blooms all over the place. The first to bloom so far are the C. × powellii by the study door.

We've also got some trees in bloom. The 'Little Gem' magnolia has more buds now than it did last year, though the tree itself is still a bit thin in terms of leaf cover. It's awfully airy for a M. grandiflora, which should be a dense pillar of dark greenness. Still. Happy to see the flowers.

And the new chitalpa is blooming like nuts, apparently oblivious to the fact that I just put it in the ground! What a trooper. The cordia is also stalwartly blooming, despite being young and scrawny. Attaboy!

Chitalpa tashkentensis 'Morning Cloud' isn't at all bothered by being transplanted.

Status Updates
From here on out, to be honest, the pictures get a lot less interesting. I'm tracking the status of some of my plants. From a horticultural perspective, "Yay! They're taller and greener!" From a photographic perspective, "Oh, look. It's a small green blob. How thrilling." You see what I mean? I won't hold it against you if you surf on at this point.

First bit of good news: The Meyer lemon still has lemons on it. Last year, we lost them all to the drought. Fingers are crossed that this year the weather gods will be kinder.

Three cheers for Eve's Necklace (Sophora affinis)! This plant gets the Most Abused Plant That Actually Lived award. We chucked it in the ground, didn't give it enough water, dug it up, chucked it elsewhere, still didn't give it enough water, and then subjected it to a drought. We've treated other plants that way. They're all dead (Pistacia texensis, we hardly knew ya...).

Sophora affinis--small, but doughty

The vegetable... it's not even a garden. The vegetable accumulation. The vegetable optimism. The vegetable petiteness. There's row of microscopic tomato seedlings on the right. There are several pots of somewhat promising tomatillos. There's a handful of tiny little fragile-looking chile sprouts. And there are some eggplants somewhere in there (I hope). (Apparently, I only grow members of the tomato family, the solanaceae. I can't explain it--it just happened.)

Behold! The mighty vegetable patch!

And finally, my "dark purple" passionflower from Garden of the Ancients has come back. A promising beginning.

The elegant curl of an adolescent passionflower

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