17 September 2012

september: what's blooming now

It's that time again- summer has almost come and gone but luckily there is still lots of color to be found outside, not to mention the intoxicating scent of such flowers as the Acidanthera which appears below. 

The top left is a new addition- a type of Tricyrtis or 'toad lily'.  It's a delicate shade perennial with late-blooming beautiful colourful flowers that resemble orchids.  These get fairly tall- about 30 inches, but with strong stems holding up light flowers they seem to to be holding their own so far.  Moving right, there is the summer annual Nicotiana, still blooming away profusely.  I don't add many annuals but have always had a fondness for these reliable little guys--this year planted in a large pot beneath the tropical leaves of a calla lily. 

The next perennial deserves it's own paragraph- Acidanthera (Gladiolus callianthus) has the absolute best smelling flower I have ever encountered- it has a tropical look to it, too, which fits right in next to the calla lilies which have recently stopped blooming.  The foliage is much like a tall Crocosmia, but these are more compact plants with larger flowers.  This one is going to be an experiment for overwintering.  The tag says zone 8, and with some further research I have come across this handy little table which confirms my thinking that some mulching should do the trick throughout our mild zone 8 winters.  Wish me luck.

USDA Hardiness Zones
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Sp/C Sp/C Sp/C Sp/C M M H H H
C=container; H=hardy; M=hardy with mulch; Sp=plant spring, harvest fall; F=fall plant 

Finally on the bottom right is the popular Limelight Hydrangea- I purchased one last year, but this one is a new addition which has been pruned into the shape of a tree. Standing about 5 feet tall, it has been a wonderful addition to the new border. It provides some height and late-season color, right into October and November when the thousands of petals will transform from lime green to bright white to cream to a rosy blush and then finally the dried flower heads will remain until I prune it back in early spring.

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