Tag Archives: buds

Birth of a Montauk Daisy

26 Sep

Montauk Daisies are cheery flowers to behold, even they are sure signs the season is nearing an end.  Cheery they may be, but shy and reserved they are not. When I first planted my two Montauk daisies, they were small little things, but they soon expanded exponentially, smothering a few other flowers in the process. The relatively fragile lilies in their path were no match for the bush-like Montauks. The ease with which the daisies established their dominance reminded me yet again of the importance of checking a plant’s spread. I kept looking at them as they grew, and grew, and grew, asking myself how this came to pass, since they were so little when I first planted them. In this respect, they remind me of my children.

For the past month, I have been waiting very patiently for them to bloom (the daisies, that is). They take their time; the first buds appeared in the center of the lovely dark-green foliage on September 1, but the first flower did not bloom until today. However, it was worth the wait. Here is the birth of a Montauk Daisy:


Tis the Season for…Crape Myrtle

31 Jul

It’s that time of year. All over our neighborhood, Crape Myrtles (also known as Crepe Myrtles) are in bloom.  The long-flowering trees and shrubs originated in Asia, but made their way to the southeastern part of the United States more than 200 years ago after a pit stop in Europe. With so many different sizes and colors to choose from, there is bound to be a Crape Myrtle for almost every garden.

Our Siren Red is a relatively small variety–it will only be about 10 feet tall when fully mature, which is just right for our townhouse yard.  Of course, I also thought the Porcupine Grass was just right for our yard, but failed to adequately imagine what 8-foot tall clumps of  vibrant ornamental grass would look like at their peak; with two of them on either side of the Crape Myrtle, it is in danger of becoming the filling in a Porcupine Grass sandwich. I’m hoping the Crape Myrtle will soon outgrow the Porcupine Grass. If not, I’ll have to think of a Plan B.

I chose the Siren Red because of its size, and also because of its beautiful deep-red flowers. With crimson-colored new-growth foliage that turns green, and berry-like buds, every part of Siren Red is a pleasure to behold:


King of the Garden

4 Jul

At the center of every flower bed, I have one focal flower. In Garden 3 (G3) that flower is a Hibiscus (Kopper King), and when it is in bloom, it commands attention. This year, it is more than 5 feet tall, though it didn’t start out that way. In fact, the first spring after I planted it, I thought I had killed it.  I dutifully cut it down in Fall 2010 to about 8 inches above the ground and let it settle in for the winter.  And then in Spring 2011, nothing happened. All other plants were emerging, but not the Kopper King.  I was about to dig it up in defeat one day when I noticed tiny shoots emerging around the old wood from the previous year. And those shoots took off. Kopper King may be a late bloomer, but it makes up for it with warp-speed growth.

In the lower left of the left-hand photo you can see the Kopper King on May 1, 2012. Well, actually, you can’t see it; the new shoots are still microscopic at this point. But you can see the upside-down flower pots I put around the old wood to keep Schnauzer 1 and Schnauzer 2 from trampling the new growth in their squirrel-chasing rampages through the flower beds. Two brand-new (2012) lilacs are in the background against the fence. The photo on the right shows the Kopper King one month later, in early June.  In less than a month, it grew to the height of the fence. Note the lovely copper-colored foliage.


Within a few weeks, the buds had emerged, and then began to open:


And voila, on July 4 — a flower the size of a dinner plate, one of many to come from a regal plant that more than earns its place in the garden.