Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day September 2011

Pressure of work and other commitments have left me little time for blogging - or enjoying other's blogs - over the last few weeks but I've made some time and taken some photographs for my contribution to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, kindly hosted by May Dreams Garden.  As in previous months I've only shown plants in flower today - although some of the photos are older.  Although it's not that cold yet we've had a lot of wind and rain in the last couple of weeks and plants have suffered.

At this time of year my hardy and tender begonias come into their own.  I grow both the smaller white form and the more vigorous pink form of Begonia grandis evansiana without any protection in garden.  They've survived -8C on many occasions and come back to flower in September and October before dying off as the nights get longer.  They've both flowered a little earlier this year after our warm spring so I'm enjoying a better display than normal.  Their only problem is that they can be a little invasive, reproducing by small tubers that develop in the leaf axils at this time of year.  These get scattered around the garden and new plants pop up the following year.  Established plants can develop decently large tubers for even faster growth.

Begonia grandis evansiana 'Alba'

Begonia grandis evansiana
The 'Nonstop F1' series of bedding begonias are another mainstay in the garden.  Available in a multitude of colours, they're seed grown for flowering in the same season but also produce tubers that can be overwintered frost free for following years.  I've got a few different ones but I'm only illustrating the white form today.  They flower all summer and well into the autumn and are well worth the initial expense.
Begonia 'NonStop F1'
I love Hedychiums - the ginger lilies - for their dramatic foliage and intricate flowers.  I thought I had four survivors from the last two winter's extreme cold - H.greenii, H.'Pink Hybrid', H.coccineum 'Tara' and H.'Stephen' - but a couple of weeks ago I noticed a little shoot where my small clump of H.gardnerianum had been.  So now I have five.  But only one has flowered so far.  Hedychium 'Stephen' is variously described as a form or a hybrid of H.densiflorum.  It's definitely my most reliable Hedychium for flowering though the spectacular and sweetly scented foot long heads only last a week in beauty.  With luck I'll get a second flowering later in the year from the new stems that are already developing.

Hedychium 'Stephen'
I was surprised back in May when Ipomea indica, the perennial blue morning glory, started back into growth against my South house wall.  It's definitely tender in the UK.  But it's survived and, at the beginning of September, flowered.  Each flower lasts a day before withering but a constant succession develop from spiky heads in the upper leaf axils.  Here's a couple of blooms from today:

Ipomea indica
A low spreader rather than a climber and with considerably smaller blue trumpets than its more tropical relative is Convolvulus mauritanicus.  I've written about this before - but it's still going strong after starting to flower in June.

Convolvulus mauritanicus
One reason why the Ipomea has survived could be the evergreen bulk of a myrtle in front of the climber.  This was one of my first plantings in the garden when I moved here fifteen years ago.  At the time I believed it was tender so it got a choice spot against my South wall.  I know better now.  Here in South West England it's tough as old boots.  I could have grown it in the open garden.  No matter.  This is its flowering time, little white powderpuffs adorning the glossy green foliage.

Myrtus communis
The common blue passion flower, Passiflora caerulea, has been a fixture in the garden for many years.  I have it trained up an old cherry tree and every year it delights, producing trails of foliage dotted with fat buds that open to the intricate flowers.

Passiflora caerulea
I've grown other passion flowers in the past - and will again (although 'Purple Haze', added earlier this year grew well but then died on me), but this is definitely one of the most decorative for our cool temperate climate.

I grow a few fuchsias in the garden but my most reliable has to be Fuchsia 'Genii'.  Red and purple bell flowers are not that exotic but combine them with bright golden foliage and good hardiness and it's a  plant well worth growing.  If winter doesn't do it for me I cut it hard back in early spring and it regularly makes 4-5 ft / 120-150cm of growth in a year.  Flowering starts in June and goes on forever (or till winter, whichever comes sooner).

Fuchsia 'Genii'
I'm used to Epimediums flowering in spring but one I bought earlier this year seems to continually produce little arching wands hung with yellow flowers.  It may settle down next year but I'm not complaining about bonus flowers in September.  Especially when they are as attractive as this:

Epimedium x franchettii 'Brimstone Butterfly'
I'm shortly adding to my small collection of Epimediums to provide extra spring colour in the garden so, with luck, one or two more of these Chinese species and forms will provide similar interest over a long season.

Iochroma grandiflora is doing well in it's warm corner and building up in flowering intensity.  I photographed this flower display a few days ago though there are similar displays in evidence today:

Iochroma grandiflora
I definitely want to keep this one alive through the winter.  It's got lots of potential here in Plymouth.

Finally, who can resist the little faces of pansies.  Not me.  I always grow a few for their long season of flower, even in semi shade.


  1. OMG...I had no idea that Epimediums could flower for so long...I MUST find that one!!! I love that purple/blue Morning Glory...just stunning!

  2. Lovely blooms John. LOVE the Passiflora caerulea! Stunning.
    Happy GBBD :)

  3. Those are some lovely blooms and some very unique ones.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  4. John, lovely post. You have inspired me to try Begonia grandis evansiana here next year. I love the contrast it makes with the Ensete in your shot. I am also growing Hedychium greenii here but it has not flowered. No matter, the floliage is worth it on its own!

  5. That passion flower is amazing! Love the epimedium too. Thanks for a lovely post.

  6. You've shown some really lovely blooms today. Of course, I love the Begonias as I have a real love affair with that plant. I have a couple of varieties that do so well for me in the shaded areas here and I simply love their gorgeous flowers. I also love the colour of that Ginger flower spike.

  7. Thanks everyone

    I should be able to catch upon your plants this weekend - there are bound to be some ideas I haven't thought of for September colour.