Thursday, September 22, 2016

This Flower Bud's For You

I have always been amazed when I first see a flower bud starting to form and then see the beautiful final result.  Just as no two flowers are alike ... neither are the buds.  How about a little photo magic?
                     This is a Nasturtium bud with just a tiny hint of color.

This is a Nasturtium bud further along. Now let's see

the pretty lady in full flower. I love Nasturtiums! They are bright, cheerful and when they flower they last for quite a long time.
Best of all, they are edible!

This is a annual Somniferum poppy bud. Lauren's Grape to be exact. Poppies are pretty amazing to begin with. The buds start off tiny and slowly begin to grow out and then upward. Some poppies, like perennial Oriental poppies, have fuzzy buds and leaves. The leaves of the Lauren's Grape poppy are smooth and soft. 

This is Lauren's Grape in all her glory.  I had been dying to try growing this particular poppy. I love mauves and purples, and I was so happy with this one. It is absolutely stunning don't  you think? Sadly, the flower petals seem to begin falling almost as soon as the flower opens. A stiff breeze or a drenching rain only makes these poppies fade even faster.

It's not a bud, but the seed pods of Somniferum poppies are almost as beautiful as the flowers. The pods have started to dry out now and I have been collecting the seeds for next year. 

This was my first year growing Moonflowers. When the buds begin to form they are really quite strange looking. At first, I didn't even realize that the buds on the right were actually moonflower buds.

After I did some research, I learned that the bud continues to evolve for quite a long time.  The bud pictured here was about 2 1/2 inches long. I was so impatient for this one to open. 

Oh, but let me tell you  ... it was so worth the wait! 
It's funny though, although they are described as opening after dusk, for me they seem to open whenever they felt like it! My very first one opened about 4:30 in the late afternoon. Others at 7pm. Some between 8 and 10pm. Some even later. Come morning when the sun begins to shine brightly they begin to curl inward. On cloudy days, I noticed that they stayed open well into almost late afternoon.  How about 2 more buds?

Know what this is? I bet you do!

It's a French Marigold!

How about this one?

It's a flower from the Black-eyed Susan Vine.

                                      Hope you enjoyed the BUDS.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Growing Moonflowers In The Poconos

For the longest time I had wanted to grow Moonflowers. So ... this year I decided to try. Moonflowers are vining plants with 6 inch, pure white flowers which open after dusk and stay open all night long. They slowly begin to wither with the morning light. 
   In warm climates moonflowers are tender perennials. In our cold mountain region, they are late summer blooming annuals. So the seeds are best started indoors. I wish I'd taken a photo of the seeds to show you. As a simple comparison, they kind of look like feed corn kernels, only a bit larger.  Since I would need to start them about 4 weeks before moving them outdoors, I planted the seeds indoors in 3 inch peat pots on April 3rd. Because moonflower seeds have a rather hard seed coat, I first nicked the seeds with a nail clipper and then soaked them in a water/peroxide mixture for about 36 hours before planting.
It's now April 14th. The moonflowers are the young seedlings pictured in the center row. In the back row are Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. Black-eyed Susan Vine seeds are just starting to push through the soil in the front row. By mid-May all the seedlings were large enough to move outside to begin hardening off for a period of about 10 days.
May 26th. Deer are a major problem where I live, so I grow many of my plants in pots to keep them out of their reach. Since I didn't have a tall trellis for my moonflowers to climb, I improvised and used a tomato cage instead. For extra climbing supports, I attached additional strands of fishing line to the framework of the cage. A day or so later, I also added some indoor sown Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seedlings to the pot.
It's now a month later, June 26th. The vines have definitely grown. Since there are Heavenly Blue Morning Glories also planted in the pot with the Moonflowers, I really can't tell which is which right now.
July 28th.  The vines are beginning to climb over the top of the tomato cage now. The purple flower in the yellow pot is a poppy, Lauren's Grape. I tend to group a lot of  different flowerpots on my front porch.
August 26th. Moonflower buds. Notice the bottom bud? The bud is much more pronounced.
Later the same day. August 26th ... There is another Moonflower bud on the vine that is about to open.
Ta Da!  My very first Moonflower!
Who could ask for more? Heavenly Blue Morning Glories to welcome the day.
And gorgeous Moonflowers to brighten the onset of evening!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Pocono Mountain Flowers In September

Usually by late August into early September most flowers start petering out. Some, on the other hand, are just starting to show off their beautiful blooms.
My Moonflower vine has just started producing flowers. I started them from seeds in mid-April. Then planted them outside in a large pot along with some ...
Heavenly Blue morning glories which I had also sown from seed. What a treat to see the morning glories open in the morning, and then watch the Moonflowers open at night.
I love Marigolds. They are such cheery flowers. They bloom late in the season and last right up until a hard frost. Added plus - deer don't eat them.
My mini roses are doing fine,but I did notice a bit of black spot on some of the leaves. A squirt of a fungicide spray on the leaves definitely helps.
The yarrow is still hanging in there and getting very thick. I probably will have to thin out some of it next spring.
The sweet alyssum is still pretty. I had sheared them down twice during the course of the summer.
The tall, light purple-colored phlox planted with dark pink impatiens has spread out nicely. I have trimmed them both back a few times to keep them looking their best.
I'm still getting a flower or two from my Lauren's Grape Poppies, but they have really slowed down now ...
but the seedheads are actually pretty in their own right. I'm now leaving the seedheads on the plants so I can collect the seeds for next year.
My Calibrachoa (Million Bells) are still going strong.  The bees love them!
I love Nasturtiums! This year I planted Empress of India in a windowbox
and tall vining Nasturtiums in a large flower pot. They quickly outgrew their trellis, so I had to improvise. A tall garden rake turned upside down solved the problem temporarily. A few days later my sweet hubby was nice enough to go out and buy some new trellises for me and will put them up next spring.

Hope you enjoyed my flower tour ....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pocono Mountain Summer Wildlife

The Pocono Mountains are bursting with wildlife this summer.
Does and fawns are in abundance. And who can resist a fawn?
They are covered in spots. Have long spindly legs, and they have the cutest little faces. They are just so easy to fall in love with. 
Now, black bear cubs are also very cute, but always remember. When they are small, you can bet Mama bear is somewhere close by.
Hummingbirds usually start arriving here in mid-May and stay until about early October. They are fun to watch. And if you're lucky, one might buzz right past you in anticipation as you are hanging a freshly filled feeder.
Bubble bees are busy all summer right into Fall. You might even catch one sleeping inside a flower on a cool early morning.
Mourning Doves are here all year.  Their distinctive "cooing" is unmistakeable.
Ospreys are also here year round and have their young in the spring.
Chipmunks and squirrels are also year round residents. They are both quick to scamper away when they feel threatened. Ever seen one dart across the road? They run with their tail straight up!
Wild turkeys are also here all year. This young one is now fending for itself. It still comes every day for some cracked corn. 
Oh, my. I almost forgot "Big Guy".  We have 3 large bucks we are feeding this summer. Two are 8 pointers and one is a 6.  We feed all the deer cracked corn, apples, and old veggies and fruits. But "Big Guy" is special. He comes right up to the deck rail looking for his special treat and won't leave until he gets it.
Plain white bread is not the healthiest thing for him, but he is very insistent!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Some Late August Pocono Blooms

It's hard to believe August is more than half gone. The days are growing shorter and the nights a bit longer. Late bloomers are just starting to strut their stuff.

Marigolds are so pretty! They seem to glow in the late summer sun and will last all the way til frost.

Yarrow is another flower that starts in late July and keeps on blooming through late September.

Then there is Tall Garden Phlox. This is my first year growing them. They bloomed once and and then I cut them back. They are now producing a second flush of flowers. They have a lovely intoxicating scent ....

           I spotted my first Heavenly Blue morning glory today.  Just love the color.

I have Moonflower vines planted with the morning glories, but they still have awhile to go before they flower. First time growing them this year.

I still have a few Lauren's Grape poppy flowers yet to bloom, but as you can see, the spent flower heads are lovely in their own way.

And what would a garden be without Roses? This is one of the red mini roses that I purchased from the bargain bin after Valentine's Day 3 years ago. I have 3 lovely little bushes planted together in a large pot that spend their summers outside and then spend their winters in the garage. I also have another rescued pink mini rose planted in a smaller pot that is 4 years old that I treat exactly the same way.  They all are very happy!

Nasturtiums are just wonderful. This one is a tall climbing variety planted in a larger flower pot. Before long it began to run out of room to ramble. I used a garden rake as a quick fix.

                  This is another variety of Nasturtiums, Empress of India,
                                  which are growing in a window box.

This is a hanging pot of Calibrachoa, or Million Bells. I think I have pruned them about 3 times this summer  Most annual flowers will look tired  by the end of the summer. Regular haircuts keep them rejuvenated!

My Black-eyed Susan Vines are just starting to produce flowers. They have such cheerful little faces.

Hope you enjoyed the stroll around my Pocono Garden!