Phlowers – Evening Primrose

Water, reflecting the form of the flowers above it, highlights the yellow of Evening Primrose.

This beautiful plant is considered a wildflower. If you look closely while traveling, you can spot it in the hedgerows along the highways.

“King’s cure-all or common evening primrose is an erect, 2-6 ft. biennial with leafy, branched stems from a basal rosette. The bright-yellow, four-petaled flowers, up to 2 inches across, open at night. These fragrant flowers occur in a many-flowered, terminal spike.” ~Wildflowers.org

I love the lemon yellow of the flowers, in my opinion, a true crayon-box yellow. (Do you see the small spider captured in the photograph below?) I don’t remember sowing the seeds of these plants. Could they have sprung from a wildflower packet of seeds or were they planted by the birds that drink from the birdbath? Whatever the source, I’m happy to have this tall wildflower in my garden.

Evening Primroses are a bonus for gardeners who are also birdwatchers. Goldfinches, perfect color counterparts to the lemon-yellow petals, visit the plant regularly to open the seedpods and feast on the oily seeds within. The spent flower in the photograph below will drop away and leave behind a pod full of seed.

Evening Primrose is part of Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #51.

Phlowers – Laurentia/Pretty in Pink

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I’m growing Laurentia, (Isotoma axillaris) the ‘Pretty in Pink’ variety, as a container plant again this year. This lovely star-shaped flower also comes in a periwinkle blue and white. The foliage is daisy-like in a pretty green shade.

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The flowers are lovely from both front and side-view. The buds are interesting as they form and open.

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The petals have a nice curve and capture raindrops as they fall. I don’t do anything special for this plant. It grows in full sun from mid-morning until early afternoon. If the soil becomes a little dry it doesn’t seem to suffer. A few rainy days in a row don’t seem to bother it too much.

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The only problem I have found the plant to have is the leaves begin to yellow as they age. I remove them without difficulty for a better appearance. The Master Gardener Program of the University of Wisconsin says that Laurentia plants shed their spent flowers and don’t need deadheading. Shearing them back in mid-season will promote regrowth.

Laurentia are native to Australia.

This post is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

 

Phlowers – FOTD/Verbena

I press quite a few flowers over the course of the growing season and verbena is one of my favorites for this craft. I was pleased to find a pinwheel variety this year and can’t wait to see if it will hold its colors. Verbena is easily preserved between the pages of books or in a flower press. The flower is somewhere between the size of a dime and nickel. For small pressed flower arrangements it is irreplaceable. Red is usually a fugitive color in flower pressing, but verbena holds the red color for years. An entry from the Philadelphia Flower Show 1994 hangs on my wall and the verbena still has a bit of red left in its petals.

Verbena comes in a great variety of colors. Red, purple, lavender, fuschia, peach and whites. Just like my new pinwheel variety, new looks are debuted every year.

I don’t plant verbena directly in the ground. Every verbena plant I have is in a hanging basket or pot of some kind because the greatest threat to a long growing season is powdery mildew. I’ve found growing the verbena in pots protects the leaves from this problem for a longer period of time. I’ve read fungicides will work, but usually I just throw the plant away if it becomes diseased.

Verbena is my choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers – Flower of the Day/Poinsettia

I know it’s a bit strange, but this poinsettia plant is my Flower of the Day. It has held onto its colorful bracts since November, and is still looking good. I think it deserves a second chance at life outside among the ivy. If I can coax it to grow after the bracts fall off or brown, I will try to get the green leaves to color up again, although I have heard it is near impossible. Still…I can dream.

Phlower & Perspective – Iris Cathedral

Purple Iris – Flower of the Day

“I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

This regal flower reminds me today of beauty lost. How horrifying it was yesterday to witness Notre Dame in flames and realize there was nothing to be done to save it. A reminder to make the most of every moment, so much can change in just a matter of minutes or hours.

Phlowers – Matrix Yellow Purple Wing Pansy

It’s hard to make a decision. Today I stood in a greenhouse gazing at hundreds of pansies in every color imaginable. Matrix Yellow Purple Wing won out for this year. I love the contrast of deep purple and yellow, and as always, feel drawn to the flowers that resemble the face of a cat.

There is no other plant that better captures in flower form my feelings of spring.

Phlowers – A Humble Weed

It might be a weed, but I think it’s also pretty enough to be included in Cee’s Flower of the Day. Garden Cress is a wild edible. It grows luxuriantly in nooks and crannies all over my yard. This small plant has interesting leaves. I press quite a few each year to use in pressed flower crafting. You can take a look at how to press this on The Flower Ark – Pressing Garden Cress.

What you might not have noticed in the first photograph is how very small the flower is. The flowers in the first photograph would barely cover the diameter of a dime.

Phlowers – Silken Petals

Autumn Rose Scepter
Pure silk bloom of royalty
Reigning o’er chill Fall

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
                                                              ~ Matthew 6:28-30

This rose isn’t waiting for dormancy, but is blooming still. When I pick a flower, whatever the season, I have contact with the Creator of heaven and earth. Does this bring the 2018 growing season a sense of closure or will I still dream of rosebuds in December?

Today’s beautiful blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Blog Post.

Phlowers – Marigolds

At this time of year, I often walk around my gardens with pencil and tablet to record what I’ve liked, or even more important, make note of what I don’t want to repeat.

To add a bit of Autumn color to my flowered-out front garden, I transplanted a few bunches of marigolds that were growing in an over-crowded area in the backyard. The marigolds have shallow roots and were easy to move. I thought ahead and chose an overcast day with rain in the forecast to dig them out and replant. The cooler temperatures and rainy weather have helped them adapt to the front gardens. I’ve enjoyed their russet burst of color so much, next year I’m planning to plant a patch of this variety in an out of the way place, expressly for transplanting to the front gardens in Autumn.

My garden keeps me young and full of dreams for each season.

“Garden as though you will live forever.” ~ William Kent

Phlowers – Dahlia Show

Longwood Gardens and The Greater Philadelphia Dahlia Society hosted The American Dahlia Society’s 2018 National Show this past weekend. I was able to attend and admire the many varieties. My husband and I are inspired to grow a few named varieties of dahlias in next year’s garden. We both had our favorites. I loved the large dinner plate dahlias. My favorite was the pink and yellow bloom.  These dahlias are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day. 

My husband likes the simpler daisy-like blossom. I’m sure there is room for both our favorites in our 2019 gardens. It will be fun to research and plan ahead throughout the winter months. 

I love this view of the display. The spectators blend right into the blooms and seem to be part of the beautiful indoor garden. 

Dahlia love: A garden of dahlias and admirers. 

Longwood Gardens has a very informative article on growing dahlias: Growing Dahlias at Home

There are several sources for dahlia tubers in the US, I’ve included a sampling:

Swan Islands Dahlias 

Corralito’s Gardens

Another good source for dahlia information can be found at the Dahlia Addict site.

Phlowers – Wildflower Walk

“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.” ~ Native American Proverb

Jewelweed – Autumn Wildflower

I haven’t taken part in a WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for quite a while. For the month of September, the host has chosen wildflowers. I thought it a great opportunity to grab my camera and take a walk to look for Autumn wildflowers. The jewelweed, in the photo above, might seem fragile, but the plant has some mighty powers; jewelweed is a natural remedy for poison ivy.

“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Other wildflowers I found were goldenrod, autumn clematis, late-season honeysuckle, and evening primrose.

My wildflower walk is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Phlowers & Photograph – Rose of Sharon

My Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) photograph is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Today is an overcast day in southern New Jersey…again. We’ve had a very wet summer and it looks like the upcoming Autumn season might bring the same. When I take a walk a little later in the morning, I will be sure and grab my camera to take along. I have found grey days create an amazing background for skyline photographs. The moisture in the air forms a screen of sorts, and shadows magically appear within the mistiness surrounding the plant. You can see this effect in the unretouched photo above.

A few years ago a generous friend sent me seeds from her Rose of Sharon bush. This sweet little tree is the result. I grew it in the house for quite a while, and then, when I felt it was hardy enough, planted it outdoors. It has thrived this summer and grown to about three feet tall. Plants given to me by friends always bring me great joy.

The leaves of the Rose of Sharon are glossy and green and don’t appear to be tempting to many garden pests. Hooray. Thanks again to the kind lady who sent me these seeds. You can find excellent growing and pruning tips for Rose of Sharon at The Spruce.

These photographs are part of Skywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by today.

Phlowers – Sunlit Crimsons

Crimson Blooms are still blossoming in my gardens.

The Lady Baltimore hibiscus is one of my most reliable perennials. She is always late to the party, her stalks being one of the last to emerge from the ground in the spring, but she always outdoes the other perennials in color, bloom count, and size. Each blossom is as large as a dinner plate. Lady Baltimore grows 4 – 5 feet tall each year.

My red tropical hibiscus is a favorite too. I carried this plant away from a neighbor’s trash heap several years ago. The hibiscus wasn’t in the best of shape, half dead and a bit buggy, but I’ve nurtured it over the years and it has rewarded me with double blooms all year long. This hibiscus must be brought indoors before the first frost arrives.

Angel-wing begonias come in pink and red. My hanging basket has done well in semi-shade all summer. I will try and save the entire plant in a sunny window to bloom again next year. I also rooted a cutting in water; it is now planted in a small pot and growing under my basement plant lights.

All of these plants grow reliably outdoors. Lady Baltimore dies back to the ground every winter but sends up new stalks in the spring. The tropical hibiscus and Angel-wing begonia do double-duty as houseplants.

Phlower – Hibiscus/Unlikely Sources

Several of my favorite plants have been found in the unlikeliest places. I discovered this beautiful hibiscus for sale in a local deli. It wasn’t blooming when I bought it; I assumed it would have the appearance of a typical garden shop hibiscus. What a surprise awaited me when the multi-hued double petals opened for the first time. In the Autumn, I will bring the plant indoors and try to keep it alive and blooming for years. At some point I know I will have to capture this flower in watercolor.

This beautiful bloom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Planting & Phlowers – Wildflower Packets

I planted three small garden patches with an inexpensive wildflower packet this year. I think I paid about 20 cents each for a handful of packets. They grew with hardy exuberance, filling the patches with foliage. When the temperatures warmed up they began to bloom in a glorious array of variety and colors.

The nectar and pollen draw all types of pollinators, both large and small, and today when taking photographs I saw a few butterflies hovering over the patches.

The foliage can look a little weedy and that’s okay because, in reality, many of these wildflowers are considered weeds.

I love the Black-Eyed Susans that grew from the packets. The close-up details fill me with awe over what the good Lord has created in miniature. This photo is part of Skywatch Friday. The burst of petals is reminiscent of the fireworks on Wednesday night.

Sir Water Scott perfectly describes the way my wildflower garden grows and how I want to live my life. I like orderly garden beds that bloom with decorum at the right time and in the right place, but I prefer the glorious action and surprises in a patch of mixed wildflowers.

If you press flowers, you will find that many of these wildflowers make terrific candidates for pressing, as does their sparse foliage.

Sketching, painting and other forms of art using wildflowers becomes easier by isolating single varieties with a large sheet of posterboard.

It’s not too late to plant wildflowers. I will be adding fresh seeds to my gardens for a few weeks yet in hopes of enjoying wildflowers throughout the entire summer and fall.

Photographs & Phlowers – Poppies and a Weather Vane on the 4th of July

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! 

Beautiful fringed poppies are growing in my garden. I don’t know what’s prettier, the flower or the pods they develop after blooming.

Today’s 4th of July Weather Vane Wednesday.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge