Delosperma nubigenum blooms only in spring but makes quite a show. It spreads by trailing branches and after a gentle winter it is looking great. As I write this, this particular plant has been hard hit by the wild swings of the current winter but as with most delospermas, any green bits that remain make a quick recovery. Plus all delospermas are easy to regenerate from seeds, and many self sow in sandy soils in my gardens. The spot of bright magenta is a Ruschia pulvinaris also in bloom.
Three more seed grown peonies come into bloom, these are also from the American Peony Society. This is their first bloom, many more will bloom next year and I imagine that even these plants will look a bit different as they get stronger.
A species rose I grew from seed looks rather nice, but its blooms are short lived. Not sure which one it is though.
I am pretty proud of this Lonicera hirsuta I grew from seed from Gardens North. It grows stronger each year but is not aggressive. The foliage is quite nice too. A blackberry that has grown way too vigorously competes with it for space on the chickenwire fence that was here when we got the property, but after we got less than impressive fruit in summer I cut the blackberry vines way back.
Delosperma dyeri does not always get through our winters, nor does it like the worst of summer heat and humidity, but this year it did well
Osteospermum jucundum and "Avalanche" continue their spring show for quite a while. They will bloom off and on all summer but are at their best in June. A couple of bright purple Senecio macrocephalus bloom further back. This is one of a trio of hardy perennial South African purple senecios that do very well in my gardens. This one is very cold hardy and spreads by seed to make large colonies in favored locations. I had to remove some this year so that they would not overwhelm some of their smaller neighbors and to keep them in certain areas of the gardens where I want them to stay. A cute fern, Cheilanthes feei, loves this spot and, judging from the colony our friends in town have of it, it can spread slowly to make a decent sized mat. The fronds curl when dry or frozen, then open up when temperatures and moisture are conducive to growing. It likes as much sun as I can give it, this is not a woodland fern.
Another delosperma, probably D ashtonii "Blut", has seeded itself into a crack. A similar colored but less floriferous species grows nearby, it, however, blooms all summer long. A tiny silver leaved Cotula shows off little yellow button flowers on thin stalks. I have seen it called Cotula hispida but I don't think that is a correct identification. It is quite hardy but its also easy to overwinter a few cuttings under lights just in case.
Delosperma nubigenum in another part of the garden blooms along with a mystery pink one. The hardy opuntia cactus will have to be trimmed someday, but for now it looks rather neat in its spot. Rigid leaves of two Hesperaloe parviflora, a hardy yucca relative, stick up behind another Conradina verticillata. Later they will bear red or yellow flowers, depending on the variety. Dictamus albus
flowers in the background as do many Viola tricolor.
Aquilegia chrysantha and hybrids of it and some "clematis" flowered Aquilegia vulgaris provide a show of color in this area. I later had the conifer behind them removed to make more room for flowers.
Dianthus grationopolitanus, the Cheddar Pink, is a fine low growing pink. I have a nice colony of several plants that were grown from exchange seeds. If one stoops to get a whiff, the fragrance is worth the effort.
June brings the finest flowering of this native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, but it will flower off and on later too. I planted a red and yellow one on this arbor. The yellow one is less vigorous than the red, but both are beautiful and loved by hummingbirds. They are a far better plant for this arbor than the Trumpet vine, Campsis radicans, that was there when we got the house. It needs a much larger space and I am still pulling out suckers from its long roots some years after getting rid of it. The lonicera isn't nearly as aggressive and makes more flowers.
June is the favored month for the Orange River Lilies, Crinum bulbispermum to start blooming. All of mine are grown from seeds, a process that takes a few years to get flowering sized bulbs. This is the hardiest crinum species as far as I am aware. I protect some of the bulbs, especially newly planted young ones, with wood chip mulch just in case, but older bulbs should be quite hardy. I have heard of them being grown in Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri which certainly see some colder lows than we experience. They will rebloom on occasion during the summer or fall and produce copious amounts of large green round seeds. These seeds should be planted within a few week of harvest as they are not viable if they dry out. Planting is easy, just press them into a decent soil mix in a large pot, don't cover them. They send out a root which digs down into the soil to make a small bulb from which the first leaves will emerge. Bulbs younger than 2 years are best overwintered indoors in a cool dry location (or they can be kept in growth in a sunny windowsill or under lights). These are big plants with bold leaves of considerable interest on their own. Their only fault is that they don't have that powerful sweet fragrance that other, more tender, crinum species have.
Catanache caespitosa came from Wrightman Alpines during their annual visit to the Stonecrop Gardens Alpine Plant Sale. It has done well, staying low and not running all over the place.
I wouldn't have planted this rhododendron where we found it but it does put on a nice show every spring. It also offers a bit of shade during the hotter days of summer for some container gardens in front of it.
Monarda bradburiana is about the earliest of them to flower and a big plus is that it does not get mildew like its taller, later flowering, relatives do. With pungent leaves as one would expect of a plant in the mint family, all Monarda are ignored by mammals but loved by hummingbirds.
Allium moly is a vigorous yellow flowered onion that can be had from the Dutch bulb suppliers quite cheaply. I wonder why it is not seen more often, its beautiful and easy. Bulbs divide and multiply and it self sows too but not to the point of invasiveness. I planted some in my home gardens too, but these are in the school garden where they thrive with little care. They disappear underground soon after flowering.
A lone white Dutch Iris has persisted in the school garden for some years. They are not particularly reliable here from year to year in our climate as the foliage tries to come up early and can suffer during winter.
I don't think I have ever seen a spuria iris in anyone else's gardens, but I grew these from SIGNA seeds. They are durable and pretty and need no care other than occasional weeding. I intend to move some to our home gardens one day, as the clumps are growing larger and could be divided.
The Sweet Williams are supposed to be biennials, but more often they live for a few years. Self sown seeds come up in a wide array of colors and patterns. I like variation and this is one of my favorite flowers, as each plant seems to be different than all the others.
Delosperma nubigenum is still looking nice in the raised rocky area of the South African garden.
Cotula sp Tiffendell does superbly in the cracks between bricks. They get larger with each year and self sow. Flowers peak in June but can come throughout the summer.
Corydalis ochroleuca (Pseudofumaria alba) is an easy to grow thing that will seed around when happy. It blooms all year except for the coldest parts of winter, but is at its best in June. This particular plant really likes its spot, but they can be short lived so keep the ground clear around it so seedlings can appear. In some situations it can be a bit of a thug, but it is valuable for both early and late flowers when not much else is in bloom, let alone the nice display in June.
Eumorphia sericea (or prostrata?) is a creeping species from the high Drakensberg that is quite frost resistant. It benefits from a bit of protection around the base in case of harsh winters but this past winter it didnt show any signs of dieback so they flowered very well. Small white daisies are born over a rather long period of several weeks with an occasional later one. It can be propagated by seeds and by cuttings or branches that root along the ground as they travel. The soft fine foliage is attractive too.
Aquilegia buergeriana is a very long flowering columbine. Some bloomed for several months which is not what aquilegias normally do. Its one of the smaller species with flowers that are rather subtly colored but it is a good doer in the garden. Once again I got this from leftover seeds from NARGS, as I probably would not have ordered it specifically. But as with many things, trying something new and unplanned can lead to good things, and I count this reliable little plant as a good thing indeed.
Every gardener has certain ideas about plants that they naturally like. The umbellifers (Apiaceae) contain a great many plants with nice foliage and flowers but so many are iterations of white lacy flowers above finely divided foliage. So its even more appealing when something different comes along, and Pimpinella major rosea brings that with its pink flowers. It does not bloom for long and I only wish that it had half the spreading ability of its better known cousin Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota). I haven't had it seed around yet even though I wish it would.
This Packera (Senecio) species was something I collected down South in the sandhills region of Georgia or South Carolina one summer. It doesnt seem to travel like Packera aurea does, at least not so far. It has different foliage too, and grows much taller. It blooms for several weeks. Packera aurea is a lovely thing but it does wander by means of threadlike stolons so it has been exiled to one of the property borders, where I hope it will invade that particular neighbor's side and replace the garlic mustard and other weeds understory between some rather nice dogwoods and shrubs over there. I often go in there and weed myself but the easiest thing is to get a good groundcover going to suppress the weeds which send their seeds my way, and to help reduce the number of invasive Norway Maple saplings germinating every spring that threaten to become large trashy trees unless I keep them in check.
Nearby the A viridis a penstemon, probably P. barbatus or eatonii, blooms along with various delospermas. New pads are appearing on a hardy opuntia grown from seeds. Marauding mammals tend to not go near the cactus, I wonder why....
There are dianthus in many spots in my gardens. I do have some plants that I got from Santa Rosa Gardens of newer varieties that I got during one of their amazing sales but I have to say that nothing beats the ones I grow from seeds like the ones below. A plant of Epimedium wushanense can be seen nearby but I will move it to a shadier spot. There are some small arborvitae trees on the other side of the brick walkway that send roots into this area and that may also be a factor affecting the epimediums. I may very well get rid of the arborvitae soon as I need that corner for expansion of the South African garden anyway.
Iris fulva is one of the Lousiana Iris species which has been used to create yet another colorful class of iris hybrids. Generally water loving sorts, they do fine in ordinary garden soil. The coppery red flowers are certainly different than most iris. The seeds of this group of iris have a corky covering that can be peeled off when planting the seeds. Most probably this covering serves to help them disperse by floating in water along rivers and other bodies of water in their native habitats.
In the front garden hot pink Silene armeria, also known as None So Pretty, bloom in the foreground. I have the standard form and a very pale pink, almost white form known as "Aphrodite". Both self seed readily and are winter annuals which bloom en mass in June, with some plants sprouting and blooming later as well. I also grow the very closely related S. orientalis, which is barely distinguishable by a slightly more rounded flower head and a bit less of a tendency to self sow everywhere. The purple swathe behind that is the main colony of Senecio macrocephalus, a tough South African daisy that doesnt mind the sometimes mucky heavy soil in part of the front garden. It also grows equally well in the areas I have amended with coarse sand.
Self sown Shirley poppies are everywhere in the gardens. When they are past their prime and the seeds begin to ripen I pull up the plants and tear them apart and scatter them around to ensure that more will arise in future years.
This old cabbage flowered rose came with the property and looks splendid for about one week in June. Some days I think of removing it as it is an ugly lanky shrub prone to black spot when not in bloom but I have to admit the flowers are quite pretty. However the newer "English" roses have the same lovely flower type on plants that repeat bloom unlike this one.
More kniphofia, in this case from South African seeds but probably also K caulescens, bloom in another area of the front garden. Pink Phuopsis stylosa forms a groudcover in front of them.
Eumorpha sericea (or prostrata) continues blooming through the end of the month. It spreads out and can be rooted from ground layered stems or cuttings can be taken.
A closer look reveals that there is one odd flower here with double the usual number of petals.
Zingiber mioga is quite hardy, and the only hardy member of its genus as far as I am aware. This plant is a selection I got from Far Reaches Farm which has darker than normal flowers in August, which is when this species blooms. I gave it some winter protection until I am sure that it is as hardy as the normal yellow flowered one that I have a patch of (well actually two patches). The normal form is nearby, lining one side of the driveway opposite from the bearded irises where hostas once existed until I removed them. An annual daisy that came in a Chiltern's mix blooms along with some other annuals nearby. I have to remove some of this daisy after they bloom as they seed around too much but a few plants are nice to have around at this time of year. Silene armeria "Aprodite' blooms nearby.
Helichrysum foetidum is the larger leaved plant below, it will flower in yellow or red/pink then set seeds and die later on. H. basalticum makes little silver leaved tufts from which decumbent stems spread outwards before flowering. A Delosperma floribundum has also found a home in the crevices. The winter before was so mild that there was no damage to either helichrysum species, at least in this patio. The current winter is harsher and there is some foliar damage but both species will continue to do fine from what I can see. They both self sow abundantly here and some need to be removed to ensure that individual plants have enough room to grow well.
I got this bright blue echium from leftover NARGS seeds but thought it was gentanoides but it turned out to be the more common Viper's Bugloss, E. vulgare. It is a pretty biennial but I removed it after flowering because it produces masses of seeds and it is another prickly plant that can be difficult to remove without gloves. I should have suspected something when the rosettes sailed through winter without trouble, as the most choice echiums are not supposed to be winter hardy here (with the exception of the lovely red flowered ones from Russia and Europe). In a wild garden this E. vulgare would be a good bee plant, all it needs is sun and a fairly dry position. It finds that along certain stretches of Interstate 81 down in West Virginia and Virginia where it thrives among other roadside weeds.
In the South African garden Senecio species Tiffendell is setting seeds. It is a better repeat bloomer than the other two perennial purple senecios.
A closeup of Helichrysum splendidum in full bloom.
In the bird bath trough garden, the recently planted Delosperma congestum sends out a later than usual flower.