Thursday, September 4, 2014

Love Those Bromeliads

What is it about we gardeners that when we see a plant we really love, the next thing you know we've got two hundred of them???? (or around three hundred fifty or so as is the case with my bromeliads)  Or is it just me? I really don't think so as I've seen a lot of beautiful and very large collections of all sorts of plants on people's blogs. Anyway, my most recent obsession is bromeliads. I absolutely adore them. They come in all different sizes, colors and patterns and are easy peasy to take care of.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how much room a gardener has, they grow, bloom and send out pups like agaves. So, I now have multiples of just about everything, they are all growing to adulthood and it's time to bring things indoors and also time to thin out my collection.  I'm  going to have to sell or give away about half my bromeliads this fall but that's OK as because that will make room for new cultivars that I just can't live without. (I'm hopeless)

My brother built me these steps so I can display the broms on the deck to the patio. The light there is particularly good for the vrieseas
VRIESEA 'Splenriet'
Vriesea 'Hilo Rainbow'

Vriesea 'Snows of 'Mauna Kea'
Vriesea 'Ku'ulei' x (Fost. Select x 'Hilo Rainbow')
Vriesea 'Sherlette 'Shiigi'

Neoregelia  hybrid (can't find the tag at the moment)   Neoregelia 'Hannibal Lecter'
A collection of spotted Neoregelia
Vriesea 'Hieroglyphica'

Love this 'beast' of an Aechmea blanchetiana (yes I know I've shown this one before but it deserves multiple views)
The diminutive Neoregelia 'Donger' at the base of the fuchsia

The bromeliad 'tree' I put together a couple years ago. I'm going to have to dismantle it this fall
Neoregelia correia-araujoi albomaginata
Love how this Neoregelia provides great contrast in form and texture in this grouping
A grouping of bromeliads around a few container arrangements.  I've even added a Neoregelia 'Purple Star' to the large urn.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Favorite Plant in the Garden - This Week

Better late than never, LOL...

This sedum is a seedling that appeared about six years ago. I almost weeded it out but it was one of those weeding tasks I never got around to. Anyway the first time it bloomed I did a double then triple take. The flowers on this lovely plant are yellow with that beautiful foliage. A definite unique sedum I've not seen the likes of in any nurseries around here. There was a Sedum 'Purple Emperor' nearby so I'm assuming that is one of the parents to this plant. I like to call it 'Emperor's Gold'

Thanks to Loree from Danger Garden for hosting our weekly favorites.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Bountiful American Mountain-ash

About twenty years ago, a seed from this indigenous tree germinated in my back yard. It was probably deposited by a bird. Lucky for the seedling it appeared between a couple of large granite rocks. If  it had been in the lawn it would have been mowed down before I realized what it was.  I was pretty happy when I realized it was a seedling from a Mountain-ash tree.  I've always admired their graceful compound leaves and especially the beautiful red-orange fruit it produces which ripen up in the late summer and fall.  The Sorbus americana is native to north-eastern North America and follows the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Tennessee. 

Over the years it's become a lovely specimen of its type and has produced fruit faithfully every year, some years more than others. This year the tree is so loaded with fruit it is bent over with the weight of it. The fruit has ripened to the delight of our local American Robin population and the yearly feeding frenzy has begun. I often wonder how the birds know the fruit is now ready to eat. A couple weeks ago there wasn't a bird to be seen in the tree except to perch and preen but last week the Robins and other birds descended. So far I've had the Robins as well as Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Finches, Cedar Waxwings and Northern Flickers feeding in the tree but the most numerous are the Robins. I have a great time watching them enjoy the bounty of this terrific small, ornamental tree.

The Robins are in many stages of moulting their feathers. We have juveniles from several nestings that display various degrees of the spotted plumage the youngsters sport. Some are still begging dinner from mom but they seem to go between feeding themselves and getting a handout from a parent. In some years the birds can completely strip the tree of fruit in a matter of a couple weeks. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to work their way through the masses of berries this year.
You can see the tree is bent over from the weight of the fruit

This bird is partway though growing new breast feathers

I guess it's deciding which berry to go for next

A pretty raggedy looking bird halfway though moulting

Love the babies spotted breasts

This bird went for two and tried for three at a time but kept dropping the third one.

There are apparently small insects in the bunches of berries. The Hummingbird was foraging in the tree the other day

This cute youngster is still begging for food from it's parents. A late fledgeling from this year's nesting

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flying Gems...

My favorite thing about the August gardens here is that the bulk of the hard work is done for a bit, the containers are all filled in and only need occasional pruning, the borders just need deadheading and light maintenance so I have time to enjoy my daily visits from our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  One of the reasons I 'disappear' during winters is that I'm an avid bird photographer and spend my winters with my telephoto lenses and our beautiful feathered friends.  I even set up a bird blind in the back yard. (The neighbors think I'm cracked because I spend time outside in a 'tent' when it's really cold outside) Anyway, back to the Hummingbirds, these little gems are constantly in attendance and love all the fuchsias, cupheas etc in the gardens. I spent a few days this week with the camera and here are a few of the results. I haven't seen any of the lovely males with their pretty red gorgets but there have been lots of females and immature birds around recently