Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Camellias and other flowers at Duke Gardens

Here are more photos from last Sunday's walk at Sara P Duke Gardens. Those of you that know me a little would know that I was looking for camellias in bloom, lots were! Here are some photos of the camellias and other delights.

Not a camellia this is an David Austin Rose called 'Belle Story'. The gardens had a small grouping of Austin roses and this one was my favorite. They had an aroma I could smell from about 20 foot away. Speaking of aromas many parts of the garden had two kinds of fall blooming hollies that really gave one the sense of spring hollies in bloom.
Above is an anemone hybrid called 'Pamina'
Below is another anemone hybrid called 'Prince Heinrick'
Believe I'll be looking for some anemones for our garden,  Duke Gardens had lots of patches of anemones even the whites were stunning, most reached 2-3 foot tall too!

A fall crocus goulimyi.
There was just a small patch of these in the garden and lucky for me they had a tag to tell us what kind they were.
Above and below is Camellia sasanqua 'Slim N Trim'
This was in the newest garden with camellias that I discovered last spring. Certainly one of my favorites seen on Sunday. Sasanquas are the normal fall blooming camellia for those of you that don't know about camellias.

Above is an camellia hybrid called 'Autumn Spirit'
Camellia hiemalis 'Sparkling Burgundy'
I also saw another Camellia hiemalis 'Kanjiro' that I thought was a sasanqua 'Kanjiro' which is doing great in our garden, this one was just starting with a single bloom. Kanjiro looks a lot like this one BTW.
Speaking of 'Kanjiro' here is an open seed pod on it.
Japonicas are supposed to be spring bloomers yet the next two camellias are japonicas.
Above is Camellia japonica 'Rosea Supreme'

This one is a wow for a white no question Camellia japonica 'Ballerina'
The gardens have several decent planting of ginger. But it appears I came too late to enjoy the ginger in bloom. This was about all that was left.
I'll leave you with a local fall color photo of Flowering Dogwood berries.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wow Tropical Waterlilies

This photo is why I just love my G11 camera! These are from Sunday's walk in Sara P Duke Gardens on a beautiful sunny day.

Tropical Waterlily 'Lindsey Woods'

Tropical Waterlily 'Panama Pacific'

Mosaic Plant (Ludwigia sedoides)
This is the Duke Gardens tropical waterlily garden. It was totally sunny and getting a real good photo was not possible. Without the sun the above waterlilies would not have been blooming, so one or the other.

Soon I'll post some other photos from my Duke Gardens visit. Lots of camellias in bloom and maybe 20 I'd not seen blooming before. I did get a few photos of seeds on the camellia plants too. At least 2 japonicas were in bloom as well as many hybrids and sasanquas.
 Also autumn crocus, hardy tapioca, a new lantana that was awesome and several anemones to name a few.
 Camellia sasanqua 'Maidens Blush'
The main path down the center of the garden was lined  for 150 foot with Maiden's Blush planted on both sides about every 6 foot with a 10 foot tall plant. Each 10 foot camellia had hundreds of blooms on them it was really something.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seeds and Weeds!

It has been quite the year here for the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) trees, they are laden with seeds unlike anything I has seen before. I grew up with Eastern Redbuds so this is a longtime. The trees over the garden and along our drives are dark brown with seeds. Wish I could sell them by the pound I could make some money.
I'm worried that one of these trees will drop seeds all over our garden, pulled up nearly 100 seedlings in the shade garden this spring. This tree is about 1/3 the size of the tree to the left both are over the edge of the garden. Anyone else experiencing a huge seed year for Eastern Redbud?

Now for the bad stuff Field Bindweed a morning glory invasive invaded our garden about 3 years ago, it came here in a load of top soil. I no longer buy top soil instead we get organic compost which heats up as it matures and the weeds die off, at least I hope.
 Today I dug up two 16 ft rows in the garden and hand picked this 4 gallon bucket of bind weed roots.

I found an interesting page on controlling Field Bindweed, you can till it up every two weeks for up to two years and 95% of it will die off, but your can't plant either.
 This photo was taken at eye level on one of Meg's Pea trellises.

Here are two tidbits on  Field Bindweed I got from the page linked above:

 Field bindweed can be spread by seed, root fragments, farm implements, infested soil adhering to the roots of nursery stock, root growth from infested areas, and by animals. Field bindweed has a deep root system that competes with crop plants for water and nutrients. Vines climb on plants and shade crops, cause lodging of small grains, and make harvesting difficult by clogging machinery. Dense field bindweed infestations may reduce crop yields by 50 to 60 percent. Land infested with field bindweed is reduced in value.

Field bindweed can develop extensive above and below ground growth soon after germination. A single plant six months after germination produced 197 vertical roots, each at least 4 feet long for a total of 788 feet, while growing in a large container. Plants had 34 horizontal underground roots coming from the tap root, which averaged 4 feet in length and gave the plant 136 additional feet of growth. These 34 roots produced 141 new shoots which established as individual plants. 

So for the record our weed problems in the garden here are pretty intense. We have field bindweed, Japanese bamboo grass, acorns(oaks), redbuds, mimosa, pokeweed and partridge pea just to name a few. 

Just so you know if the stalks of Swamp Sunflower touch the ground, they will take root! The Obedient plants are about a foot tall, those Swamp Sunflower stalks are 12 foot long.

 Here are some seeds to get excited about my first camellia seeds, I found two pods about the diameter of a dime on my Camellia sasanqua 'Tsumaorigasa'. Each pod had two seeds as shown above. Looked up how to plant and them and planted them the easy way by poked them in the ground and I placed a small stake to mark them. I read each seed will produce an hybrid camellia bush, it could be years before we see any blooms.
Our 12 year old toadlily is going strong. I liked this photo taken this morning and wanted to share it. Note: they do not show like this all day in the garden you have to get the light right.
We are down to 3 cyclamen flowers right now. I think at one point we had close to 15 blooming at one time. I found some cyclamen corms at Southern States the other day one of the corms had a small bloom poking out of the bag! 
    Cyclamen if you turn it up to look at it from the bottom up! 
    I also planted in the garden today. Planted garlic, red onions, white onions, rape, mustard and lettuce.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Camellia and bulbs

Yesterday I found a white camellia that we saw at Duke Gardens last year Camellia sasanqua 'Setsugekka'. It was at the local garden center by Megs school it was a 4 ft tall plant and only $25 so I picked it up. Now to find a spot for a really big camellia, Duke Gardens Setsugekka was 15 ft tall and 10 ft in diameter with lots of large white blooms.
Camellia sasanqua 'Setsugekka' in a 3 gallon pot with lots of buds!

I also picked up 12 Crocus Sativus which is the Autumn Saffron Crocus, planted them beside the driveway so we would not miss them if they do bloom this fall. 12 for $5 seemed pretty good, should have picked up a few more dozen, I just love crocus. This is the crocus that they harvest saffron from!

New bulbs not yet planted:
8 Daffodil Misty Glen (large cupped white with a greenish center)
8 Daffodil Broadway Star (split corona white with orange and white corona)
5 Daffodil Double Poet's Daffodil (white on white heirloom dates back to 1601)
25 Anemones blanda (mixed windflowers)
15 Wood Hyacinth (a pink heirloom that can grow in shade)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Unexpected visitor (again)

Today in the garden we had a visitor, one not seen since September of 1997. Not even expected to be seen here again, but it flew right by me. This butterfly the Zebra Longwing is supposed to be in Florida, there are colonies know from Charleston SC. Did this guy get a ride on the winds of recent storms or did it hitch a ride on a passion flower to a nursery nearby? Guess it'll be something to wonder about... 

Gardening news
Today I worked in the garden once it warmed up that is.  Thinking spring already as I planted some spring bulbs and baby hellebores
    For the record I planted :
     5 split corona daffodils called Orangery
     5 Poetious daffodils called Actaea
    10 Galanthus Flore Pleno or Double Snowdrops these bulbs did not look well..
    15 Galanthus (Snowdrops)
     8 Leucojum aestivium (Snow Flakes)

    Also I finally planted 11 hellebore babies I collected this spring. They did quite well surviving the heat of the summer here. I'm hoping they will make a good showing in about 3 years. One of the large hellebores we received  at our house warming party when the addition was finished has lots of babies around it.

    The first Camellia of the season to bloom!

    Camellia sinensis  the tea camellia
    These blooms are only an inch across, one day when the plant gets much bigger we'll make tea from the tender new leaves.
    This is what I think is Rosebud Saliva. It grows huge 6-7 foot tall. We moved it to a new spot in the spring it is doing very well there. The photo below shows the flower before it is open all the way. Then as you can see in the photo above it changes up to a much different look.
    Toad Lily just getting started!
    I have had this plant for over ten years. No care mostly neglected and it still makes you smile!

    The Swamp Sunflower!
    Lovely flowers but completely out of control.  These 10-12 foot flower stalks have once again fallen over and now we have a 16 foot diameter loose ring of these flower covering the veggy garden. Good thing the veggies are done for the year.

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    One Scary Bug on Our Porch!

    Tonight Meg found a bug that we both were clueless on. It was attached to the screening on the outside of the screened in porch. At first I thought it was a beetle. But no antennae, cock roach maybe, nope they have antennaes too.  So I'm grasping for straws here... Bugguide I try it and I searched the recent ID requests hoping somebody else would be asking the same thing I am what the heck is this giant bug? It  was 2 inches from the rear of the abdomen to the tip of the head, that is how bugs are measured, so over all a good 2 1/2 inches and nasty!
    Giant Water Bug or Eastern Toe-Biter (Lethocerus griseus)
    Apparently there are 5 different species of Giant Water Bugs in the US. I have seen them in our pond and other ponds and lakes, but never out of water. Those are wings so they can fly. Here is a good link to find out more about them.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Last Dragonfly to Emerge of the Season

    Today I was going to pull and cut weeds around the pond. I started yesterday with the front bed which was completely out of control with stilt grass and blackberries. The blackberries did not as well as they did last year because of our drought, the stilt grass didn't seem to care.

    I made a new path along the sunny side of the pond and got distracted by the dragonflies flying in tandem over the pond. I knew instantly they were Autumn Meadowhawks (formerly called Yellow-legged Meadowhawks). So instead of weeding I ended up watching behavior and photographing the meadowhawks. The Autumn Meadowhawk is the last dragonfly to emerge in late summer or early fall here. I have seen them flying as late as December 10 here!
    This pair of Autumn Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum landed on this canna leaf for my first photo of this species in tandem. I think these are the only meadowhawks that fly in tandem and lay eggs as they fly together over the water. Tandem is not mated, the male who is grasping the females head will wait for the female to swing her abdomen around to mate with him in the wheel position.
    Here the female looks like she has her appendages open yet no eggs are visible. Never seen this before either. I watched for at least an hour and I saw a mated pair the entire time(when in sight) I was watching, no single females were seen.
    Male Autumn Meadowhawk above and below.  These photos look to be the best I have taken of this small 1 1/4 inch dragonfly! I saw 6 of these tiny beauties over and around our pond today!

    male Southern Spreadwing, Lestes australis
    Three of these were in the Johnson Grass on our pond today. At first I thought it was a new species for our pond the Swamp Spreadwing but the legs are not black. Then Sweetflag Spreadwing was another choice and I went back to the pond to photograph a female, the females can be disguised by the rear appendage which I managed to get a photo of to confirm Southern Spreadwing.

    Monday, October 04, 2010

    On Golden Rod

    On Saturday I took a butterfly walk in the Flat River Impoundments. The butterflies were in huge numbers, yet less species than previously seen. I estimated seeing 750+ Common Buckeyes and 750+ Pearl Crescents just to give you an idea.

    Back to Goldenrod it was covered in mostly buckeyes and I had many opportunities to get some butterfly photos for the blog, do we have enough of them here yet?
    This male Monarch really gave me a nice angle! I have hundreds of Monarch photos, this one stands out a little. See the black dot on the rear wing, that is the male scent patch.

    Here is a fresh fall form Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis These butterflies have two forms summer (black) and fall form (orange). You can tell the Question Mark from the Eastern Comma by the 4 spots on the center of the forewing, Eastern Comma has 3 spots. Best to check my link above too!
    Here is the Common Buckeye. Lots of places in the eastern US is having a boom year for them. Around here they have been seen in big numbers for 2 months at least. To be honest it was difficult just choosing 2 photos of buckeyes as I took lots of photos of them posing at will everywhere on the goldenrod.

    This time of year if your lucky and look at every buckeye you can, chances are you might find a 'rosa" form Common Buckeye which is all red on the underside. So far this year I have seen one 'rosa' in the yard and another in the field. Look at the bottom of this page to see a 'rosa' form buckeye.
     Here is an Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, I estimated seeing over 75 of these on my stroll in the impoundments! Not easy to get a photo of as they are usually very fast moving.
     Above is the Viceroy and below is a close relative the Red-spotted Purple. I might have seen more Viceroys than I'd ever seen before, estimated seeing 75+! Red-spotted Purples are winding down, they come out earlier than Viceroys.
    Sulphurs puddling
    One the left is a Sleepy Orange, the second and forth ones are Orange Sulphurs and the third one is the Cloudless Sulphur. All of these butterflies are males, males get minerals from the sand to aid in reproduction. Puddling was a big event on my walk, several places I found 50 or more Pearl Crescents and lots of Common Checkered Skippers. All of the species shown above were puddling one place or the other usually in smaller numbers.
    This Monarch was taken on Sunday. I knew Brian was leading a Monarch Tagging session along the tracks near Falls Lake, I kind of dropped in on them. They tagged two monarchs while I was hanging out with them. That flower is Groundseltree, Eastern Baccharis a huge shrub that can get to 10 foot tall in about 20 years it is a native shrub here. This one was blooming a tad early, it had 5 Monarchs, 3 Viceroys, 2 Red-spotted Purples and 8-10 Common Buckeyes on it, none were going anywhere they were 'glued' to it. I took this photo with my G11 camera with the flash turned on for fill from a steep gravely slope with the camera held up as far as I could reach with it, using the flexible view finder screen bent down to see my photo. Also I walked the RR tracks nearly 2 miles to get this photo.

    Groundseltree, Eastern Baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia) has male and female plants, the male plants attract the butterflies. I have found that the flowers only attach butterflies for just a few days when they are yellow like in the photo above.

    That is Brian just after netting a Monarch! Notice all the goldenrod!
    Getting the Monarch ready to tag.

    Here is it NPG 431 be looking for it south of North Carolina! Both Monarchs they caught were very fresh. Between Saturday and Sunday I saw something like 36 Monarchs and only 2 were beat up, the rest just as fresh as this one. Both days I was able to watch the sky and see a single Monarch floating far overhead, one of the coolest things in my memory. I have seen hundreds floating over head, to be honest seeing just one is just as good as seeing hundreds when they just drift by unknowingly to most people.

    One last thing to tell you about I observed for the first time spiders ballooning high up in the sky on Saturday. The silken webs twisted and floated along in the breeze. They looked like tiny lightning bolts in the sun light. I also saw one web leave the field for the sky, that confirmed what they were. It is believed that spiders balloon to disperse to new hunting grounds.I did not see the tiny spiders only the webs...