September 28, 2023

Flinging at Longwood Gardens


I'm just getting settled at home after a wonderful trip to Philadelphia for the Garden Fling. Garden bloggers, writers, photographers, podcasters, and video-makers on public social media platforms from around the U.S. and several other countries visited public and private gardens together.

I'm still processing the experience and reliving the beautiful memories, but here are some brief thoughts about our first stop: the fabulous Longwood Gardens. So many photos and observations; here are just a few...

border 2

border 1

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I really enjoyed the border gardens at Longwood. The plant combinations--colors, structures, foliage, and blooms--were beautiful and creative. 

lantana trees

Can you believe these are Lantana trees? I wonder if I could train Lantanas to do this: potted and outside during the summer, and in the sunroom during the winter. Hmmm...

native plants

Longwood has several beautiful areas devoted to native plants, like these New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), Cardinal Flowers (Lobelia cardinalis), Goldenrods (Solidago spp.), native grasses, and others.

potted plants

The potted collections and arrangements were impressive, too.


We had a behind-the-scenes session demonstrating Bonsaii care and development, which was fascinating and fun.

And the roses...

rose 1

rose 2

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rose 5

Whenever I see a rose display, I must stop and sniff and dream!

water lilies

Another behind-the-scenes session focused on Longwood's water lilies (Nymphaea spp.)--so dreamy and lovely!

I can't share everything about this amazing trip, but stay tuned for more coverage in the days and weeks ahead. And check out many more descriptions at the Fling website.

For more information about the history and philosophy of Longwood Gardens, visit this link.

August 26, 2023

Six on Saturday...With Pollinators

Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sensation Mix'
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sensation Mix'

It's time for Six on Saturday, hosted by Garden Ruminations. To participate, we highlight six things of note in our gardens. I thought it would be fun to take a quick walk around the garden and capture plants with pollinators on them. My first find was 'Sensation Mix' Cosmos, with a happy little resting bumble bee.

Rosa x 'Boznatafra'
Rosa x 'Boznatafra'

Next, a tiny fly on Flavorette Honey-Apricot Rose.

Asclepias incarnata
Asclepias incarnata

Toward the end of the summer, there are fewer monarch eggs and caterpillars on the Swamp Milkweed, but the flies are plentiful.

Heliopsis helianthoides
Heliopsis helianthoides

The False Sunflowers are favorites of the goldenrod soldier beetles.

Lycoris squamigera
Lycoris squamigera

This hoverfly was happily hanging out on the Surprise Lilies.

Tithonia rotundifolia 'goldfinger'
Tithonia rotundifolia 'Goldfinger'

And another favorite of the goldenrod soldier beetles: 'Goldfinger' Mexican Sunflowers.

There were many more blooms and many more pollinators, of course, but these caught my eye during a quick walk-around. Head on over to Garden Ruminations to see more Six on Saturday posts from around the world.

August 15, 2023

New Blooms for August GBBD


Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! This month, I'm sharing plants that either recently started blooming, or ones I haven't shared much in previous posts.

Senna hebecarpa

In addition to the mix of plants in the potager garden shown in the first photo, many other colorful blooms are brightening my days. The tall Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa) adds its bright yellow buds and blossoms as a focal point of the backyard shade garden.

Lablab purpureus

Nearby, while the Hyacinth Bean plants (Lablab purpureus) have been blooming and producing pods for many weeks, they're putting on fresh, new growth and towering tendrils.

Tithonia rotundifolia 'Goldfinger'

The Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia 'Goldfinger') I started from seed are performing much better this summer than last summer. I'm not sure why. They're so bright and hopeful.

Clinopodium nepeta

Lesser Calamint (Clinopodium nepeta) is blooming with abandon as a ground cover amongst other sun-loving plants near the potager. The flowers are so tiny, but favored by the bumble bees.

Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'

This is my first year with Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'). Though I'm in a harsh climate where it's unlikely to become invasive, I'm keeping it potted and deadheading the spent blooms to prevent re-seeding. The new buds are as pretty as the open flower heads.

Lycoris squamigera

The Surprise Lilies (Lycoris squamigera) are appearing later than usual this year, but some are starting to bloom. I'm thinking the delay might be partially because of our early summer drought. Recent plentiful rains have many plants much happier.

Solenostemon scutellarioides mix

In most years, I often deadhead the nearly spent flower spikes of the mixed, potted Coleus plants (Solenostemon scutellarioides). But this year, I've noticed the hummingbirds nectaring on them, so I'm retaining them longer. I admit: They are very stately. 

Passiflora incarnata

Finally, this is the second year my newish Maypops (Passiflora incarnata) have bloomed. Such a fascinating, complicated, intricate flower.

What's blooming in your garden? Check out the other Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens!

July 29, 2023

Six on Saturday: Plant Performers


I'm joining in with Garden Ruminations' Six on Saturday meme: highlighting six things of note in the garden. With this post, I'm highlighting plants that are great performers, for various reasons.

1. The 'Summer Beauty' Alliums (A. tanguticum) in the first photo. I planted these last summer and they're taking over their spot around the mailbox. It's OK: They bloom nonstop midsummer, they're drought-tolerant, and they're lovely. Plus, the rabbits don't eat them.


2. Potted Coleus (C. scutellarioides) mixed cultivars. Coleus have been essential annuals for me for many, many years. They're so colorful and lush, and they thrive in shade.


3. Bugbane (Actaea racemosa) is a reliable native perennial that supplies plentiful pollen for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. It's also a regal focal point in the shady garden.


4. Gladiolus (G. grandiflora) blooms. What can I say? They're beautiful, elegant, and great for cut flower arrangements.

hyacinth bean

5. Hyacinth Bean Vine (Lablab purpureus) is another must-plant annual for me. It really seems to like this dappled shade spot, and I rarely need to buy more seeds. I clip these, dry them, and plant them the following year.


6. Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are fabulous native perennials. I've recently planted them in new places throughout the garden, in full sun and partial shade. They're performing well in all locations, and like so many other plants in this post, they're great cut flowers and they serve the pollinators.

The garden is happy with recent rains! Thanks to Garden Ruminations for hosting!

July 15, 2023

Happy Garden, Happy Gardener on July Bloom Day

potted combo

All the plants are happy after recent plentiful rains! And this gardener is thankful that our drought is lessened. We may be at one of our peaks for seasonal blooming in the garden. It was hard to pick flowers to share on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, so I just snapped the ones that caught my eye.

spigelia marilandica

Starting in the shade (in addition to the potted Impatiens combined with other plants in the first photo), the Woodland Pinkroot (Spigelia marilandica) blooms are waning but still lovely. I think I'll plant more of these; they bring so much bright color to the shady areas.


In partial shade, the Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are thriving after the recent precipitation.

lilium asiatica

The Asiatic Lilies (Lilium spp.) are full and regal.

zinnia state fair mix

zinnia zowie

The sunny garden is brightened with the happy faces of Zinnias (Z. elegans; top, 'State Fair Mix'; just above, 'Zowie Yellow Flame').

Rudbeckia hirta

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are just about to add even more sunlight to the potager garden.

liatris spicata

The Blazing Star Liatris plants (L. spicata) seem to have taken longer to bud and bloom this year. Maybe it was the lack of natural precipitation. Now they're popping with color.

lantana sunrise rose 2

lantana sunrise rose 1

Lucky 'Sunrise Rose' Lantanas (L. camara), in all their color variations, look extra pretty adorned with raindrops.

heliopsis helianthoides

This Ox-Eye Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) is a volunteer. While I did plant it in this spot in previous years, it disappeared last year. The seeds must have skipped a year to regerminate.

allium sphaerocephalon

Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon) are adding their unique fireworks.

asclepias incarnata

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) brings the lovely scent of vanilla, along with its beauty, monarch butterflies, and their eggs (can you see them in the photo?). 

asclepias tuberosa

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is blooming at the same time, sharing its bright orange flowers with bumblebees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

echinacea purpurea

Of course, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a pollinator (and gardener) favorite, for so many reasons.

clinopodium nepeta

Lesser calamint (Clinopodium nepeta; aka Calamintha nepeta) fills in its area nicely, and the blooms are beginning to explode with their tiny brightness.

alcea rosea

Finally, the Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) are gigantic and gorgeous this summer.

alcea rosea height

I stood next to this spike, and estimate it's taller than seven feet!

Head on over to May Dreams Gardens for more blooms in many other gardens! Happy Bloom Day!