Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flower Power

As I was walking around the garden this week there were a few flowers that just struck me as ridiculously perfect.  Notice the structural similarities of the first three which are all more or less lilies (this family is always changing).

Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant Sister' aka Spider Lily
Lilium duchartrei
Gloriosa vine is reportedly hard to grow here in Seattle because of its tropical origins, but for me it has been well worth the effort.  The flowers on this climbing lily are green when they open up, then slowly evolve to red and yellow before flattening out and becoming a deeper, richer red as the grand finale.  They are long-lasting and take about two weeks to complete their entire display. 

Gloriosa rothschildiana
I put some bromeliads & orchids from the clearance rack at Lowes in this hanging basket (No names unfortunately - I need to smack their garden supplier in the head and tell them "Assorted tropical foliage" is not good enough for me).  They have literally been blooming all summer and are still going strong.

Bromeliads & orchids in a basket
Abutilon or flowering maple is not completely hardy but here's what I do to keep it alive: I buy one in the spring and plant it in the ground, let it grow and flower like crazy, then in September or October, I take cuttings (5 or 6 inches long from the growing tip) and stick them in a glass of water with a clear plastic bag loosely covering it to help retain moisture.  They will be sprouting roots in no time, and then I can pot those up and place them next to a window for next year.  If we're lucky and get a mild winter, the one in the ground will survive.  'Tiger Eye' is my favorite cultivar.

Abutilon 'Tiger Eye'
Lobelia tupa is right in the middle of its almost endless stretch of flowering.

Lobelia tupa
Another plant that slowly changes the color of its flower is this Opuntia which I'm 99% sure is Opuntia engelmannii.  It starts out bright yellow, is orange by the next day, and then turns red on the third day.  A flower that lasts for three days isn't bad for a cactus!

Opuntia engelmannii
Same Opuntia engelmannii a day later
And finally, here's one of the Plumeria cuttings I "collected" from my trip to Hawaii this past winter.  This is the only one out of the four I brought back that has flowered so far: