This year, I learned that dahlia tubers are edible. Conveniently, one of my cousins received a windfall of free tubers from a lady whose big on dahlias, so I planted a few of those to try. They're not my favorite flower, but I must admit I've been impressed with these plants. I planted a few severely shriveled tubers in July, and after a slow start they've really exploded. They've developed remarkably sturdy stems that have withstood a summer thunderstorm and even the remnants of Hurricane Oho.
It has been a fun novelty this summer, waiting to see what will emerge from the mystery bag of tubers. So far I've had two basic blooms, a large purple and a golden orange-yellow. Judging from the leaves, there's a third type that hasn't bloomed yet. The purple blooms seem to be rather variable. Some are mostly purple, with white tips. One has emerged almost entirely white. I like oddballs, so the variable nature of these flowers is causing them to grow on me a bit.
Their size is amazing. The bloom below is the largest so far, around 7-8 inches across!
The peach-colored blooms are more petite, only about 4 inches across. I think this flower form falls under the "ball" classification.
Now for something I really like, Tricyrtis, or toad lilies. First up is Tricyrtis hirta. Before the fence went up, this was the only toad lily I felt safe planting, because of the hairy foliage. Sure enough, the deer left them alone. If you suffer from deer plague but desire one of these exotic fall-blooming perennials, try the hairy toad lily, Tricyrtis hirta. If you don't have deer, try it anyway!
Heavily spotted flowers with amazingly intricate structure are born all along the stems in fall.
As soon as the deer fence went up, I planted another tricyrtis, this one without any fuzz. Tricyrtis 'Empress' has large flowers born at the tips of upright stems, with bright chartreuse foliage. It is highly susceptible to slug damage, though, especially early in spring. Apply slug bait with a heavy hand to prevent the foliage from being ugly all summer.
My favorite toad lily in my garden is a new addition, planted just a couple weeks ago. Tricyrtis 'Blue Wonder' has true blue washed over the white petals, with dark purplish-blue speckles scattered across them, too.
Three more new additions are these hardy fuschias. First up is 'Lady Boothby', a scrambling climber. I planted it at the base of a pieris I got from Anna of Flutter and Hum. Hopefully the fuchsia will clamber up through the pieris, prolonging the show after the flowers and new growth of the pieris have faded.
The name of this hardy fuchsia escapes me at the moment. It's a shrubby type loaded with lavender and cerise blooms.
Fuchsia 'Genii' has chartreuse new growth and is literally dripping with pendant blooms.
The ornamental oreganos are still blooming. 'Kent Beauty' is looking rather past its prime, but still putting on a show.
The dainty blooms of Origanum dictamnus still look good, without the brown bracts and foliage that are slowly taking over on 'Kent Beauty'. It will be interesting to see how it performs next summer, after it's been in the ground for a year, assuming it makes it through the winter. I did find some conflicting hardiness information.
The primroses continue to bloom now that they've received a bit of water and cooler weather. The lack of heavy rain has at least kept these blooms looking good longer than normal. It is time to break out the slug bait again, though. Darn, slimy little mollusks.
One of my Thanksgiving cacti is budding up. I hope the other two will follow along shortly.
In the last few weeks, my variegated Ceropegia woodii has finally bloomed. I guess it's enjoyed a summer vacation outside, with more light than the dark corner it was consigned to indoors. I think I'll give it a better location when it comes back in, or maybe even keep it in the greenhouse. I wonder how low it can go temperature-wise.
A small, late-blooming Salvia forskaohlei adds a pop of color next to my Alyssum spinosum. I wonder if I would have gotten more blooms from the others if I had deadheaded them.
Daboecia cantabrica is blooming away now that it has some water. This native of the Irish heathlands did not appreciate the last two hot, dry summers, but it survived them with only one or two deep soakings each summer. Still, I'm going to take pity on it and move it to a location with more moisture.
Dianthus 'Frosty Fire' is another new addition. I love the clove scent, and the combination with the chartreuse heath.
Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland' (East Friesland) is on the tail end of its second bloom.
Cyclamen hederifolium is almost finished blooming and in the process of trading in flowers for foliage.
Cyclamen purpurascens wafts the scent of bubblegum through the air. Now to grab the slug bait before those notches in that flower become no flowers at all.
One daphne was really not enough, so I've added Daphne x transatlantica 'Summer Ice' at the base of my redbud.
Geranium robustum is still blooming! It's slowing down, but still puts out a few flowers every day. Even better, the seed is ripening, though I haven't managed to catch any of the spring-loaded seeds as yet. I'll have to put in a purposeful effort to collect some seed as insurance.
One of my kniphofia has sent up a random bloom for the fall season.
As has Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus (formerly H. flava). What a delight to have an encore of these scented blooms! This stalk is currently on the ground, not having stood up to the wind that the dying Hurricane Oho sent us.
Hoya carnosa took a little break during the last month of its summer vacation outdoors, but has begun another wave just in time to bring it back inside.