Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bloom Day: October 2014

Autumn has finally arrived here in my zone 9b garden in Central California. Although the trees haven't changed into their fall colors yet, today's predicted high is a pleasant 79º and the remainder of the week should continue in the high 70's and low 80's. What a welcome relief from last week's 90º days!

Take some time to visit May Dreams Gardens and other pretty gardens from around the world. Here's what's blooming in my early fall garden:

The Monarchs have been dancing around the yard playing tag for a couple of weeks and enjoying the nectar from the Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) and Milkweed/Butterfly Weed (Aesclepias) before they begin their migration to California's mild coastal areas where they will overwinter until their return trip in the spring.

Butterfly Bush Buddleia

Milkweed/Butterfly Weed (Aesclepias)
I planted a cutting of Mexican Petunia Ruellia Brittoniana in a large pot a few years ago, knowing that it can be very aggressive. I also planted the dwarf form, Ruellia 'Katie'. It took awhile to get going, but this year it's finally blooming. It's a low maintenece plant and doesn't need much water.

Mexican Petunia Ruellia Brittonaiana
Dwarf Ruellia 'Katie'

'Rose of Sharon' Hibiscus syriacus
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Salvia 'Hot Lips Sage'
'Don Juan' climbing rose

Rose 'Double Delight'
Clematis 'Gillian Blades'
Clematis 'Perle d' Azure
The Morning Glory wants to be a groundcover.

Morning Glory Ipomoea 'Grandpa Otts"

New Guinea Impatiens
No blooms yet on the Brugmansia but there are buds!

Brugmansia Buds/Angel's Trumpet
I know that fall is here because the squirrels have been busy collecting the persimmons. This year they have left a few for us!

Persimmon 'Fuyu' (Diospyros kaki)
Happy Fall and Happy Bloom Day!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Plant it and they will come!

Monarch on Aesclepias (Milkweed/Butterfly Weed)

Earlier in the summer, I planted several Milkweed plants (Asclepias curassavica, also known as Butterfly Weed), hoping to attract Monarch butterflies to the yard. As you probably know, Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of Milkweed leaves, and the caterpillars, which will eventually become butterflies, only eat Milkweed. The flowers also provides a nectar source for these endangered butterflies. In January I wrote about the decline of Monarchs in this post.

I also had one plant that I was able to over winter from last year, and it's blooming now, too.

'Butterfly Weed' Asclepias curassavica
Around noon time every day for the past few days, two Monarchs have been circling around and visiting the Milkweed and the Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) planted by the kitchen windowIt is such a delight to watch them as they glide and swirl about so gracefully, and then land on the flowers for a drink of nectar.

I haven't seen any eggs or caterpillars on the leaves, but I think that these two are probably members of the fifth generation of Monarchs, the fall generation. (You can read about their life cycle here). This is the generation that will fly to warmer climates to overwinter. The Monarchs from the east of the Rockies fly to Mexico to winter and the western Monarchs will fly to areas of California's Central and Southern coasts. I think they have stopped by my garden only to refuel. 

They look very healthy but still have a long flight ahead of them to the California coast where they will cluster in Eucalyptus and other trees from late October through February. They will mate in February and then make their way back to their summer sites again to lay their eggs on Milkweed plants and to begin another generation. Hopefully they will remember the Milkweed growing in our yard and visit us again next spring.

I found a clump of Milkweed seeds clinging to one of the plants. I think I'll save them to plant in another area. Plant them and they will come!

Milkweed seeds

Aren't the colors of the Monarchs and the Milkweed just perfect in the October garden?

Wishing you a happy autumn!

Monday, September 29, 2014

In A Vase on Monday: A Few of My Favorite Roses

Yesterday morning I woke up to the pleasant sound of rain drops splashing on the big leaves of the persimmon tree outside my window. The storm, which left 0.18 inches of rain, was a welcome relief after months of hot dry weather.

During our long hot summers, the roses bloom only sporadically, but as the days begin to cool in autumn, they return for another season of blooms. This morning as I took a walk around the garden enjoying the fresh clean air, I noticed that some of my favorite roses were looking especially refreshed. I decided to bring a few inside to enjoy "in a vase on Monday."

I'm joining Cathy at her blog Rambling in the Garden and her weekly meme "In a Vase on Monday" to share my vase of roses and to see other beautiful and unique flower arrangements, guaranteed to brighten your day!

(My vase contains 'Don Juan' my favorite red climber, 'Graham Thomas' my favorite yellow rose, 'Heritage' a favorite shrub rose, 'Lace Cascade' a favorite white climber, 'Happy Chappy' my favorite groundcover rose, and 'Double Delight' a favorite hybrid tea.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Summer's Survivors

Although there is a hint of autumn in the air, summer simmers on here in my zone 9b garden in the Central Valley of California. But there are a few more roses in bloom than last month and a few clematis are putting out some new growth.

Because of the drought, the plants have not looked their best this summer, but they have hung in there offering a few blooms here and there.

One of the most reliable plants in the garden is the Geranium 'Rozanne'

I'm welcoming back the roses and a few clematis:
'Don Juan' climbing rose

unidentified rose

New Dawn climbing rose

'Happy Chappy' groundcover rose

unidentified shrub rose

'Heritage' rose

unidentified rose

Clematis 'Rooguchi'

Clematis 'Harlow Carr'

Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon'

Gardenia 'Mystery'

Woodland Tobacco reseeded from years past and is now everywhere in the garden, not phased by the heat.
'Woodland Tobacco' Nicotiana sylvestris

The old standbys: Crape Myrtle and Oleander:
Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica

Nerium Oleander

The Mallow has bloomed continually through the intense heat.
'Cape Mallow' Anisodontea 'Slightly Strawberry'

'Rose of Sharon' Hibiscus syriacus

'Fairy Lily/Rain Lily Zephyranthes

The Tall Verbena is going to seed.
'Tall Verbena' Verbena bonariensis

Waiting for the Monarchs:

'Butterfly Weed' Asclepias

'Butterfly Weed' Asclepias

Garlic Chives

The 4 O'Clocks were still asleep when I took their photo this morning.
'Four O'clocks'  Mirabilis jalapa

'Morning Glory' Ipomoea

In spite of the hot weather, the cyclamen are perking up, and this one decided it was time to bloom!

I hope you are enjoying your garden as this season comes to an end.
To see what is bloom in gardens all over the world, visit Carol at  May Dreams Gardens.

Wishing you a happy gardening and a happy Bloom Day!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September Morning Glory

Annual Morning Glory Ipomoea
I planted a package of annual Morning Glory seeds a number of years ago, and they have been reseeding and planting themselves in every area of the yard ever since. This year I haven't minded having them around so much since they do provide some color when there is not much else in bloom.

These are not the perennial morning glories, known as 'Blue Dawn Vine' Ipomoea acuminata, which grow aggressively by underground runners. Although beautiful, the perennial Morning Glory was determined to dominate my entire yard when I planted it on the fence a number of years ago. Although it has been long gone from my garden,  yesterday I noticed the flowers looking down at me from high in a tree in a neighbor's yard. It is not welcome back in my yard! This is a plant that calls for eternal vigilance!

Perennial Morning Glory 'New Dawn Vine' Ipomoea acuminata
The Morning Glory, along with the Aster, is the flower of the month for September according to the The Old Farmer's Almanac. So I will allow the annual variety it to stay. But only the annual variety!

Aster novae-angliae 'Skyscraper'
I also have an Aster, the other September Flower of the Month, growing in my garden. I planted Aster novae-angliae 'Skyscraper' last fall after seeing photos of Asters in bloom on other blogs. I've never grown Asters before, but when I saw a sign at the nursery that said this one is recommended for zones 4-10, does well in hot dry climates, and is clay tolerant, I expected to have 'tons of flowers' by now. Instead I have a spindly, sickly looking plant with only a few flowers. I won't even show the entire plant. But this is probably a case of 'right plant, wrong place'. I planted it in dry shade. I think I will try transplanting it to a different location and see if it perks up.

Happy September gardening!