(A bit belated) Bloom Day for January

Here are a few of the flowers blooming in our garden this month.

orange tropical hibiscus

This beautiful light orange tropical hibiscus — this large shrub is growing on the middle level of the retaining walls along the front lawn.

orange tropical hibiscus

Below:  Rudbeckia laciniata or cutleaf coneflowers — this is a double variety, possibly ‘Goldquelle,’ ‘Hortensia,’ or ‘Goldenglow.’

Double Rudbeckia

This 3′ to 5′ rudbeckia — usually seen with single coneflower blooms — is native to eastern North America. A double variety appeared in 1897 and became popular as an “outhouse flower,” planted to shield privies from view.

When we arrived in Rwanda, there was one clump in the garden. I divided it, and now, because it is a “vigorous spreader,” I have about 25 plants.


I’m pretty sure the plant below is another American native in our garden: Datura stramonium or Jimson weed or Jamestown weed.

entrance and jimson weed

Because all parts of the plant can produce delirium or bizarre behavior if ingested or smoked, it played a small role in colonial American history when it drugged British soldiers sent to quell a 1676 uprising in Virginia.

The James-Town Weed . . . , being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon; and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves. . . .  [A]fter eleven days [they] returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.

The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705

jimson weed

Below:  Salvia leucantha or Mexican sage — when we moved in over a year ago, there was one clump near the driveway.  I divided it, and now we have the purple and white flowers all around the semi-circle of pavement.

mexican sage

I like its tall, twisty, rather floppy nature, but I think those same attributes annoy our gardener, who keeps trying to stake it upright.

mexican sage and driveway 2

The driveway area is mainly planted with the sage, ‘Fairy’ (I think) roses, yellow daylilies, Jimson weed, and orange lantana. There are also several palm trees, which will eventually add some vertical interest. I’m thinking of adding either some tall, dark pink celosia, burgundy sunflowers, or cranberry-colored hardy hibiscus.

mexican sage and driveway

I am not responsible for the bright yellow and white paint on the curbs, by the way.  I go back and forth about whether I like it or not.

Below:  We have finally stopped using the cutting garden as a holding area for various plants being moved from one place to another.

cutting garden

It is now planted out with zinnias, borage, and cosmos seedlings, as well as some perennials, like the pink chrysanthemums below.

pink chrysatheums in cutting garden

I have really tried to like those acid yellow dahlias in the background, but I just can’t, and I think they are going into the compost pile quite soon.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th day of each month. To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, check out May Dreams Gardens.

Foliage Follow Up

When we were at my parents’ house in September, I went around the garden and gathered seeds from their purple coneflowers, lamb’s ear, and wild mullein.  I put them all in one baggie because I thought I would recognize the seedlings as they emerged.  Of course, now I have no idea whether this is lambs ear or mullein.  I hope it’s mostly lamb’s ear, because I should only need a few of the tall, wide mulleins.

mullein or lambs ear

My mother also gave me some kale seeds, which I forgot about and then mixed in with all the other seeds. Then I went and bought a packet of kale seeds and planted them. So now my vegetable garden is about half kale.  Oh well, it does seem to be the vegetable of the moment.

Thanks to Digging for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Follow Up the 16th of every month.

18 thoughts on “(A bit belated) Bloom Day for January

  1. It’s so lovely to visit your garden, when there’s so little blooming in our area. The hibiscus makes me long for summer, and your driveway planting is lovely. Happy bloom day to you!

  2. Purple Daturas and Salvia leucantha are a handsome pairing. I must put them together here in the spring. Bloom Day brings so many great ideas.

    Why doesn’t your gardener cut back the Salvia before it gets so lanky — before it puts on blooms?

  3. I like the daturas for their unusual look and American backstory. However, I will say that the plants can look rather weedy and tough as they age. I cut them back once to get nice new deep purple stems and fresh leaves. After that I pull them up and let new seedlings come up — they really re-seed here — deadhead.

    Basically, the gardener leaves the Salvia alone because I like their rather floppy look. When it gets out of hand, I goes around with the pruners. It is a good plant for poor and fairly dry soil, but I don’t think it’s hardy. It has grown really fast here though. I only put out small divisions of the original plants in August.

  4. Your dad went out in field and finally found a mullein/verbascum plant to compare with the lamb’s ear. We’re pretty sure that you have mullein because of the more rounded shape and the quilting effect.
    Your garden is amazing.
    Love, Mom

  5. I keep meaning to try mullein in my garden. I love those velvety leaves and pretty blooms. I do have plenty of lamb’s ear, at least. Thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up!

  6. I love the tall grey mullein with pale yellow flowers that grows wild in Northern Virginia, but I didn’t count on having quite so many. I’m still hopeful that a few seedlings are lamb’s ear.

  7. I’m a bit late getting to your late bloom day post. What a treat to see all those colorful flowers. I especially love the color of the hibiscus.

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