Saturday, November 6, 2010

Surprised by Horticulture

Every summer I enjoy getting out and doing yard work around the house. My wife knows a lot about planting shrubs and flowers, so she usually supervises the yard plans and planting arrangements. This summer was particularly harsh with some very hot, dry weather. Some of our plantings did well for the first half of the summer, and other things either languished or withered completely. We bought two oak leaf hydrangeas but only one has survived through the summer. Daises and begonias seemed to fare the best. We do have some perennials: three varieties of rose and a stand of red calla lilies.

We had a few pleasant surprises. The first big surprise was a group of volunteer vinca flowers (periwinkles). We had a pot of them by the back porch last year. This year they sprang up in the gravel on the ground just below where the pot had been last year. They did well and are still blooming now in the first week of November.

Along our back fence we planted some morning glories and cypress vine. The morning glories did fairly well...

but the most abundant blossoms were on the cypress vines. The small red trumpeted blooms were beautiful, and an even greater joy was the sight of so many humming birds and butterflies that were attracted by the flowers.

The moonflowers were one of our biggest surprises. They grew along the fence beside the cypress vine, but yielded no blooms throughout the summer. We had actually forgotten that we had planted moonflower. We thought it was a morning glory vine that for some reason would not bloom. Then all of a sudden, after we had a brief cold snap, the beautiful white blossoms burst into bloom! It was a last hurrah for our floral endeavors.

The cold is now causing most of our flowers to wither, but my wife has already made plans to put some winter color into the yard. Here are some violas ready for planting. All they need is for my wife to tell me where to plant them. And if the violas are here, pansies cannot be far behind!

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