This Saturday’s six will be a quick rundown of what is blooming in the garden now. Most are natives; there are two notable exceptions of Asian import.
1. The first, and I do mean first, is the oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia). It is the Alabama State Wildflower, and it is blooming generously throughout the garden and down the hill to the lake. The featured photo captures the heavy clusters of single flowers characteristic of the natives in the garden. I used to have a cultivar with double flowers, ‘Snowflake.’ The drought of 2016 got it, though.
2. Silphium, or rosinweed is another native wildflower blooming in the wooded area of the garden. Actually, there are two species, but I am not confident that I have them accurately identified as, first, starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus) and, second, whorled rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus trifoliatum) below. I’m open to assistance from any of my wildflower friends in Alabama.
3. Carolina climbing milkweed (Matelea carolinensis) is a third native and well deserving of the adjective climbing in its common name. This one has overgrown its stick tepee and threatens to take over the bridge spanning the dry creek bed. The maroon flowers are quite attractive and distinctive; in fact, it is sometimes called maroon Carolina milkweed. The first two photos below were taken this past week, the third was taken earlier in May.
4. My fourth is also a native, but native to the entire western hemisphere: Opuntia, or prickly pear cactus. I’ve never attempted to eat the little “pears” that develop on the small plant variety that I have, but I am always delighted by its beautiful waxy-looking yellow flowers.
5. Next come my two non-natives; however, the first of them might as well be native, given how much it is cultivated and grown in the US–particularly in the Southeast. The shaded hosta garden is doing well with the rain we have been having and with the mottled sun it is now enjoying after the Easter Sunday tree fall. In the red pot is ‘Sum and Substance.’ The hosta in the foreground with variegated leaves has the tasty name ‘Guacamole.’ I believe the one to the left of the pot is a young ‘Blue Angel’; unfortunately, I’ve of lost track of the name of the ones to its left. Nevertheless, I prize their diminutive size. Notice the oakleaf hydrangeas growing in and all around this shade bed.
6. This final entry is native to East Asia. The color of the blue balloon plant (Platycodon grandiflorus) is set off by the deeper color of the veined bell-shaped flower. What makes this plant a favorite of mine is what I suppose makes it a favorite of many others: the ‘ballooning’ habit of its buds before they open up. In the second photo below, from right to left, is a green bud, a balloon, and an open flower.
So, from wildflowers to odd flowers, that’s my six for this week. Don’t forget to visit the Propagator’s site for links to more Six on Saturday gardens and to guidelines for taking part yourself next Saturday.