May Flowers

Just a stroll around the garden.  My flowering plants have always been kind of spread out – not grouped together all that much, so when I go around and take pics of everything that’s flowering I’m always shocked!

Let’s start with the Clematis.  I think Grace and I agreed the other day that this could well be ‘Elsa Spath’ (it came with the house so we’ll never know for sure but the description fits very well).

My hand span is 8″.

Whole plant:

This will be quite the show. The fence is 5′; at its tallest now the plant is up to 10′

My sister gave me this blueberry and it’s extremely floriferous!

Chives – Allium schoenoprasum

These pansies seeded themselves (from a hanging basket two years ago) into this pot with the grape and have been happily blooming away for months now.

Dwarf Korean Lilac – Syringa meyeri – is just starting its fragrant flower show.  I love its super-cute cupped leaves.  Excellent fall color, too!

Syringa meyeri

I let all that broccoli go to seed and the bees are having a ball.

Aptly named Polygonatum odoratum smells lovely, a very interesting scent.  You really have to get down low to smell it, though!

Polygonatum odoratum

My one Rhododendron.  I kind of want to keep this one… Kind of.   There were two others against the east wall of the house which we removed last year – they were so infested with lace bugs and bud blast and they were coarse and not fun to be around on the patio.  This one has some lace bugs too, but it’s not as bad.  I pruned it pretty hard last year, so it’s not covering itself with flowers like usual, but I think it’s healthier overall.

Speaking of covering self with flowers.  This is my neighbor’s and it’s very fragrant.  It WAFTS.

Look at the lusciousness.

I wish you could smell this.

This next plant never ceases to amaze me.  It started blooming in January, and look:

It will be FIVE MONTHS in flower by the time these are done. Amazing Hellebore.

Pelargonium ‘Vancouver Centennial’ bloomed indoors over the winter, and it’s been adjusting to outdoor life for several weeks now by coloring up its leaves with anthocynanin.  It was much lighter over the winter (pic from November).

Pelargonium ‘Vancouver Centennial’

Little Limnanthes is so cheery! I kind of like this with that weird orange Heuchera (upper right).

Limnanthes douglasii

And then there’s this old girl.  This won’t stop until frost.

Hot (Frickin) Lips Salvia. I’m working on making peace with it.

Here’s my plan with that Salvia, and yeah, hold me to this, would you? I’ve planted a few things around it that, once they grow a bit, will allow me to drastically reduce the size of the Salvia or move it/remove it (most likely the latter because this color of flowers is damned hard to work with and it’s not what I really want here). But until then, I’m going to just prune it as needed to allow those other plants some space.  I kind of like how it’s a weird shape right now which you can only see from the other side (I tried, but could’t get a convincing picture – you have to see it in person).  Maybe I should think of it as a sculpture.

Moving on – more pansies in a pot! Survivors from last year’s Mother’s Day event.

My third Geranium to bloom this year (three more to go) (unless I buy more plants, which I will).

NOID (yet)

The other geraniums are G. macrorrhizum and G. pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’ and you can see them both in this post.

This little Geum rivale just won’t quit and I find it kind of irresistably cute..  It’s really doing well this year.  I might have to move it to where it can get more water over the summer.  It survived here last year, but I might have been watering it constantly (I don’t remember).

Geum rivale – almost a native

Lavender #1 is off to a great start! Nothin yet from #2.

I like this little Euphorbia.  It’s very delicate and seems to only seed around very lightly. So far. We’ll see.

Euphorbia cyparissias?

Almost at the end, we’re over in the forgotten zone where the pile of wood chips almost buried this Ornithogalum, which I find very aptly named – see how the mass of flowers looks like an umbel?

Ornithogalum umbellatum

I wish it had better foliage, but that’s what cover-up plants are for!

I don’t think I ever took a picture of this CWTH* lily-flowered tulip (which lasted for EVER by the way), but isn’t it just the epitome of absolute decadence right now? I weirdly love tulips when they’re falling apart.  My friend Carol taught me to appreciate them in this state a million years ago, and it has stuck with me.  The parrot tulips are the best.  I should grow them just for that.

*CWTH = Came With The House

I’ll end with the most stunning flowering plant of all right now.  This thing lights up my whole street and I love it when it flowers.  I hope my neighbors do too as they drive by.


Update for Alison! Yes, Geum rivale has pretty nifty seed heads, though they’re not as flamboyant as G. triflorum:


Peppers, this year and last year.

Last year was a fantastic year for peppers and I think this year will be even better.  I got almost all the plants I am going to grow into the ground yesterday:

34 plants in this 4′ x 10′ bed

The one plant I overwintered went in as well.  This is a sweet pepper called ‘Yum Yum Gold’ from Territorial Seed.  It wasn’t my favorite variety of all we grew last year; it was just the one plant that was easiest to get at to dig out of the ground and transfer to a pot for the overwintering experiment.  It continued to flower and fruit throughout the winter.

Yum Yum Gold

It tended to go in batches.  Just finishing one up now:

Ripens brilliant orange.

Of GREAT INTEREST to me is that when I first set pepper plants out, ostensibly to harden off to both direct sun and cold, I usually have to be quite careful especially with direct sun or leaves will get sunscald.  The ONLY plant that experienced any scald at all was this one I overwintered.  And you know what? I barely protected them.  Their first day out was a mostly sunny day and all I did was throw some shade cloths (okay burlap sacks and old patio mats) over the hoop house for a few hours midday.  Their second day was all-out sun.  No scald.  Remarkable? I think so!

Eggplants, and peppers for distribution

The plants above are all 10 of my eggplants and all the peppers I’m hoping to find homes for.  Look, NO sunscald! I attribute this to my new T5 light in the garage. That thing is clearly as bright as the sun! Or damn close.  Also, when the light goes off in the garage at night it gets cold – almost as cold as outside.  So this year’s hardening off process was made much, much easier by that setup. The same thing happened with the tomatoes, by the way; I just didn’t document it.  I’m thrilled.

The one plant that did get sunscald is the overwintered one – it was in my office grow-closet under a (much further away and smaller) T5 and a red/blue LED.  That apparently didn’t prepare it as adequately for direct sun – here’s the result:

It’ll be fine – it’s a big plant and can afford to lose some leaf.  Those little guys just don’t possess the photosynthetic real estate for this.

Another fun happening is that ALL the peppers from the garage are flowering, and some are already fruiting.

BIG flowers on ‘La Bomba’ Jalapeño
Flowers and a tiny fruit! This is ‘Alma’ paprika – new one this year and I’m excited about it.
Unbelievably early fruit on ‘Sarit Gat’ which is one of my favorites. Ripens brilliant yellow and hot as hell.

Here’s where I was last year with this lovely family of plants – as you can see, things are ahead this year.  I sowed earlier this year and they grew much better under the garage T5.  On the far right, top, all those little peppers are the super-hots (Carolina Reapers and such).  I gave all those to my pepper-fiend friend shortly after this and he said he didn’t have much luck with them.  So this year, I’m growing them out…

Solanaceae and some melons, May 3 2017

And here are the super-hots this year:

L-R: Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion, Chocolate Bhutlah

Here’s what they looked like on April 9, less than a month ago; I was just up-potting them:

Lookit this gorgeous thing.  The leaves of these plants smell like Habanero pepper fruit!  Capsicum chinense hybrids are very different plants than the standard C. annuum we’re all familiar with.  This the first time I’ll be growing them all the way to fruiting…

Chocolate Bhutlah

I may grow the super-hot peppers in pots – or maybe some in pots and some in the ground.  If you caught my “almost all the plants” at the beginning of this post, these are what I was talking about.  Oh and these pimientos, most of which are for another friend.  I’ll give him the six big ones and keep the two smaller ones.

‘Ashe County Pimiento’, seed from Baker Creek

Peppers are almost entirely pest-free for me but interestingly, I have had to deal with aphids and slugs(!) already! These little green aphids have been increasingly problematic in the indoor grow areas.  A new one to me in the last couple years, these are foxglove aphids AKA glasshouse potato aphid. Here they are on this eggplant, which they really love. I’ve been simply washing the plants with water repeatedly, and hand-squishing.

They seem to appear in conjunction with some leaf curling and “savoy-ing” on peppers.  You can really see it here – savoyed/curled on left, mostly normal on right.

I expect the plants will grow out of this because these are foxglove aphids and high temps will kill them, HAHAHAAA! I’ll get this hoop house up to 100F easily and fry their asses.

After leaving the peppers in their pots over two or three nights, when I went to plant them in the ground yesterday I was surprised to find slug damage on ONLY Habanero plants!  What’s up with that? All the Habaneros had lots of slug damage while there was next to no damage on any other pepper.


As you can see I put some sluggo down just around these.  And these girls will help, too.

Ramona and Carmen on slug patrol right after I planted the peppers.

This week we have such fantastic weather, and I am so relieved because that means a) plants will finally actually grow and b) we can finish painting the house!  The house painting project has stalled out a lot of gardening plans, because I don’t want to plant things anywhere near where they would get power-washed or trampled or painted.  Bigger plants are easy enough to tie up and/or wrap in plastic, but new little plants are much harder to watch out for!  And I really can’t wait to get the patio finished so I can get all the patio furniture out of the dang garden where it’s sitting around being an obstacle course, and back to the patio.  And my patio plants, of course, which are all over on the north side of the house for the time being.

A list of all the pepper varieties for 2018:

  • Ashe County Pimiento – a small, heart-shaped pimiento (yeah like for stuffing olives)
  • Alma Paprika – round, thick-walled, no heat
  • Feher Ozon Paprika – longer tapered and ripens from sticky-note yellow to brilliant vermilion
  • Yum Yum Gold – small orange sweet pepper
  • Gatherer’s Gold – sweet banana type, ripens orange
  • Mellow Star Shisito – thin-walled, no heat, for frying
  • Carnival Bell – old seed from Burpee and they ALL came up!
  • Padron – thin-walled, definitely heat, for frying
  • Habanero – slug magnets apparently
  • Habanada – zero heat Habanero, also slug magnets
  • Early Jalapeño – small Jalapeño supposedly earlier than others, this is the only one I’ve grown until this year
  • Purple Jalapeño – which ripens red and has purple leaves, very pretty!
  • La Bomba Jalapeño – I hear it’s a taste-test winner among Jalapeños
  • Sarit Gat – bright yellow scimitars of pain
  • Hatch Valley Red – standard med-hot New Mexico type, seed from my friend in NM!
  • Guajillo – also from same friend, I’m not sure he labeled this right, we’ll see
  • Ancho/Poblano – yey rellenos!
  • Golden Ghost – brilliant yellow ghost pepper do NOT confuse this with shisito they look the EXACT SAME when green (ask me how I know this is a problem)

And from the inedible department:

  • Carolina Reaper
  • Trinidad Scorpion x Trinidad Douglah
  • Chocolate Bhutlah

We’ve decided we like to prioritize a wide variety over an abundance of a single type, so I’m really interested in trying even more new ones for next year. I’d love to hear what are your favorite pepper varieties!!