September Bloom Day 2009

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Since we are late, let’s get on with the show. It begins with a vegetable flower, okra, Pitre’s short red bush cowhorn. Added: yes, this is a member of the hibiscus family, or was before they decided to change the name.

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It is almost time to bring the orchids into the sunroom/greenhouse for another winter. First they need the dip of death before coming inside. Click here to read the explanation of that process. Starr Wars, Paphiopedilum (Starr Warr x Maudiae) ‘Pisgah’ x Paph. Dark Spell ‘Wolf Lake’, on the left and Raven, Paphiopedilum Raven ‘Forever More’ x Paph. curtisii ‘Imperial Purple’ on the right have swelling flower buds. Is it their bloom season already? Looks like it.

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Three types of Anemones bloom in the fall here. Anemone hupehensis ‘Robustissima’ on the upper left, A. ‘Praecox’ on the right and in the first garden shot and from under the pine trees, A. sylvestris ‘Madonna’ started from seeds many years ago. Madonna is one of the toughest of ground covers, having to do battle with Vinca major and still spreading nicely in spite of that onslaught.

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A stalwart soldier in the battle against the little leaf syndrome is the Black and Blue Salvia, S. guaranitica ‘Black And Blue’. This is true civil war for a brother to black and blue, S. greggii fights flower and stem on the side of the little leaves.

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Equal in value to flowers are the berries in the garden. Belamcanda chinensis, Blackberry lily is sporting that for which it was named in the shed bed. Also seen are Helenium autumnale and Nasella tenuissima.

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There are natives in our midst, including the white snakeroot, Ageratina altissima

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…and blue mist flower, Conoclinium coelestinum.

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Along with beautiful blooms and fabulous foliage there is an amazing scent that drifts over the entire Fairegarden. A head will tilt and turn, looking for the source of this sweet fragrance.

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The source is the insignificant looking but packing a wallop flowering of the Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans. The name gives it away. Some references said the exquisite smell is like a ripe peach. To this nose it is more like warm honey. In any case, it is indescribably delicious!

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Looking like it has been slimed, Leo, Leonotis leonurus, from last month’s bloom day post, click here to read about the team, has grown yet taller and his blossoms have begun to open. ADDED: Deciding to do more research into why this plant is so much taller than the 4 to 6 feet specified on the seed packet, I now believe it to be L. nepetifolia ‘Staircase’. The leaves are not the narrow ones of L. leonurus, but rather larger like a Nepeta. Makes sense.

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There is just one teeny tiny bone that needs to be picked with this potted seed grown athlete.

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The flower shown on this plant is at the top of a stalk that is at least twelve feet off the ground. Our tallest folding ladder is eight feet. I am just over five feet tall. As you can see by this expertly drawn diagram, the feet of the photographer were on the second step from the top, even though common sense tells us not to go above the point where hands can hold onto the ladder, or something, anything. The things one will do for the blog. Do you like the pink camera? Can you see the orange flower? It is circled with yellow and cyan, but still is hard to make out in this photo. A teepee of birch branches holds up this silliness and has withstood a couple of strong wind storms. We are hoping for some blooms to develop a little closer to earth, or this will be considered a one hit wonder in the Fairegarden.

~~~
To see more blooms from around the world, check out the blog of the vivacious Carol at May Dreams.

Frances

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43 Responses to September Bloom Day 2009

  1. thanks for sharing these wonderful blooms with us. i envy while seeing the anemones. in our subtropical climate, anemone bulbs are planted as annual and even they flower for a short while. they are such delicate flowers. now coming to sweet olive as i am nuts as far as fragrance is concerned. it can be easily grown in our climate but i am unable to find it anywhere. now planning to grow it by seed.

    Hi Muhammad, thanks so much. This type of Anemone is not a bulb, but an herbaceous rooted plant that I believe can be grown from seed. I just saw a tea olive with orange flowers in a magazine article! Must look for that one. :-)
    Frances

  2. gittan says:

    Good morning Frances! The first picture of that Ocra flower fist made me believe it was a Hibiscus. They are a lot look-a-like aren’t they? So many beauties still showes in your garden, it’s nice to see. Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. Research showed it has been called Hibiscus esculentus at one time, so you are spot on! :-)
    Kram,
    Frances

  3. Lottie says:

    As always, lovely lovely photographs – such a pleasure to behold!

    Thanks Charlotte, glad you enjoyed them. :-)
    Frances

  4. Carol says:

    Good Morning Frances, Your okra shot is lovely … at first I thought it a type of hibiscus… are they related? The blackberry lily is stunning, but what takes me away is your Leonitis leonurus… vibrant orange… and just the sound of its name is musical. Yikes! … do be careful on that ladder! Great illustration!

    Hi Carol, thanks. It is a type of hibiscus, or was. You know how those name changers ruin everything for us all the time. Or that is my opinion of these name changes. Don’t get me going. Happy thought happy thoughts…. Leo is wonderful, the flower really does look like a whole bunch of lion’s paws arranged in a circle. I find it hard to believe it is supposed to be that tall. Makes it hard to enjoy the flower, I need binoculars to see it since ladders are not my friends. :-)
    Frances

  5. Les says:

    The Osmanthus is in bloom here as well, and there is NOTHING like it. I am waiting for someone to make a cake that tastes as good as this plant smells. I am glad you gave the Okra position #1, it is a very ornamental edible. I also like the White Snakeroot. Happy Late GBBD!

    Thanks Les, you know what I mean by the scent of the tea olive. Difficult to describe but it is filling the entire garden right now. Yummy! This is our first try with the okra and I just got some info from Baker Creek about how to dry the pods by leaving them on the plant until they are no longer leathery. I want to use them for a wreath. :-)
    Frances

  6. tina says:

    Your anemones are so pretty. I only have the white one here and need to get pink. I love that two toned pink one. And any one that does battle with vinca is a winner. Great drawing on the ladder!

    Hi Tina, thanks. I am looking for the white so we should make an exchange! If you can get it to Gail, she can bring it here then I will send some pink home with her for you both! The Madonna is called invasive, but it is little and I need something vigorous under the pines, no man’s land, or it should be called no plant’s land under there. It took over 20 tries to get that drawing even that legible. HA :-)
    Frances

  7. Frances, first of all, get off that ladder you crazy woman!
    What was that plant thinking growing so tall, didn’t it know that its likeness was going to be captured by camera and exhibited to millions, very ungrateful to have grown too tall.
    I had no idea the okra had such a beautiful flower, they are not commonly grown in Canada. And the sound of the smell of the tea olive, it just sounds heavenly.

    Hi Deborah, thanks for your concern. When I saw the photos looking down, I felt a pang of panic, what on earth was I doing up there? I am loving the okra as an ornamental, it does require warm temps to grow but seeds are cheap so why not try it? Baker Creek seeds is a great place, they had lots of different kinds. :-)
    Frances

  8. Janet says:

    I need to start thinking about bringing my plants in the house. I don’t have a tub that is big enough to do it like you do…maybe I should hit Big Lots and see if there is something I could use. I have Blackberry Lily all over the yard. Guess the birds like it! I also have Conoclinium coelestinum, I am tired of fighting it. It is another salt-tolerant plant.
    We have our landscape plans and they include a bunch of Osmanthus…I am really happy about that.

    Hi Janet, hooray for the Osmanthus, you are going to love it. I think those tubs were a couple of bucks at Big Lots, I bought several and have used them for all kinds of stuff. The blue mistflower can be aggressive, but I love the color it brings in the fall, then tear much of it out, but not all. :-)
    Frances

  9. Dave says:

    For a second I thought you had added some neon signs for garden whimsy on your ladder! The anemones look great. I need to add a few of them, Grace just likes to say the word “anemone!” That snakeroot self sowed in the self sowing garden here so I let it grow.

    HA Dave, good one! Prince Henry is very robust, to say the least. I will give some to Gail for you when she decides to set a date for her visit. The snakeroot gets really large, but I let a couple grow to maturity for the fall presence. Again, easily removed. :-)
    Frances

  10. Frances -

    I thought that my deer resistant garden was the only one battling “small leaf syndrome” LOL! It’s particularly difficult to find “big leaves” that deer don’t eat. I rely on B&B salvia for that reason as well.

    I planted anemones this year and I can’t wait for future blooms.

    We have so many (11 or so) osmanthus fragrans. They are heavy with bloom. The fragrance just about knocks us over when we go outside! Not a bad thing! The white ginger is continuing to bloom in various locations, too.

    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, I’ll bet your garden smells heavenly. We also have, or had a dozen osmanthus. Several died last year due to the drought and have been replaced with Fothergillas that were borrowed from existing stands because I couldn’t find replacements for the osmanthus. There are two empty spots left, maybe I can find some this fall to fill in. They cover a chain link fence on one side of the property. The criteria of large enough, broadleaf evergreen that can withstand some dry shade and grow near walnut trees really narrows the search. Yummmmm to the ginger, I think Ruth at Mouse Creek had some of that in her tropical house. I might ask her about it next time.
    Frances

  11. Oh Frances – you are so funny – I love your drawing of yourself a-top a ladder, especially the pink camera. The things we do for plant pictures!

    Lovely blooms as ever – and I always enjoy the longer shots of your garden.
    K

    Hi Karen, thanks. You don’t know how many times I had to click the *delete pen* tab to do that drawing. I finally decided to just go with this one. It still doesn’t show up the way I would like. Most readers like the long shots too, I need to take more of them. :-)
    Frances

  12. Hi Frances. Lovely blooms as always. I need anemones, but I need to take care of a little vole problem first, I think. Love the ladder picture. I can just barely make out that flower.

    Thanks Carol. We have not a little but a HUGE vole problem and they have not touched these anemones. Without the ladder, I cannot get a good photo of Leo, even with the zoom, HA :-)
    Frances

  13. I’ve never seen an okra flower and it sure is pretty! And I love Japanese anemone! I have an unrelated question: This spring, you did a great post on pruning hellebores. I wanted to bookmark it, but forgot to, and now I can’t find it in your archived posts listing. Can you please provide the URL? That article will be so helpful to me as well as to one of the students in a class I taught last night at WCC. Thanks! :)

    Sure thing Monica. Here is the post Cutting The Hellebores 2009 Edition. There was a post from the year before whose link is in this latest edition.

    http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/cutting-the-hellebores-2009-edition/

    Hope this has the info you need.

    Frances

  14. Tatyana says:

    Hi Frances! Anemones and Snakeroot are my favorites here, and that ladder, too! P.S. I made a correction to my last GBBD post after your question. Bluebird is actually Bluebeard, Caryopteris x clandonensis.

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. I didn’t realize the veberna would get as tall as the caryopteris? Or is that a low flower?
    Frances

  15. Amy Emerick says:

    I like looking at your posts. Your photos are so beautiful with such rich, vivid colors and images.

    Thanks Amy, that is music to my ears and the reason for blogging. :-)
    Frances

  16. LOL at your drawing. How about putting the container of Leonitis on the ground below the deck when it starts blooming?
    Osmanthus is one of those shrubs I wish was hardy enough to grow here. Sigh. As for the Japanese Anemone, it might have been a good idea to go with ‘Honorine Joubert’ anyway. The dryness of my soil was the only thing keep my ‘Andrea Atkinson’ in check. It was only after a couple of wet summers that it started to spread by runners into the path.

    Hi MMD, thanks, that is a good idea, except that the root has come out the hole in the bottom of the pot and grown into the gravel and the subsoil clay below that. Can’t chance killing this plant now. If it is grown next year, by the deck would be perfect! I will look for Honorine, Ruth at Mouse Creek didn’t have it but it might be found elsewhere. Prince Henry is still very welcome, plenty to give to visitors. :-)
    Frances

  17. Pam/Digging says:

    What one won’t do to feed the blog! Stay safe on your ladder, Frances.

    You have lots going on in your garden, and I’m imagining that lovely tea olive fragrance right now. Mmm!

    Thanks Pam, feed the blog, so apt a phrase. There is a lot going on, there always is, even in winter. We live in an ideal climate for growing a huge diversity of plants fortunately. :-)
    Frances

  18. Lola says:

    Love the drawing. On a ladder with nothing to hold on to!!!!!! Girl I got the chills looking at that.
    But I would like to know the name of the grass in the trough below the wall.
    Great post & I really enjoyed it. Great looking blooms, soooo many.

    Thanks Lola, it took 20 tries to get a drawing that good, sad isn’t it? The large reddish grass is Pennisetum rubrum ‘Fireworks’, three plants of it. An annual here but easy to find and inexpensive. Very good container plant.
    Frances

  19. lotusleaf says:

    The Tea olive flowers resemble a very fragrant rare flower called Suragi in the Western ghats of India. I have not seen anemones , they look very pretty.

    Thanks Lotusleaf. The macro shot does look like a very tropical flower, even though it is quite tiny in size. These fall anemones are easy to grow and give a unique color for the fall gardens here. I would like to have white ones for some contrast but the first planting, Whirlwind I think it was, died immediately after being planted. It might be worth trying another white again and taking better care of it.
    Frances

  20. Rose says:

    Frances, I am laughing so hard now I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say:) Oh, the things we will do for scientific research! I’m glad you made it down from that ladder safely, but the diagram certainly made the height of this flower very clear.
    Anyway, love the anemones; seeing them on several blogs lately makes me think I need to plant some. And I’m going to check into the tea olive; sounds heavenly!

    Thanks Rose, I’m glad you got the point of that exercise! HA The Japanese anemones are easy to grow and will spread and seed about giving that longed for mass planting effect. We are at the northern edge of the hardiness for the tea olive, I’m sad to say.
    Frances

  21. Liz says:

    Haha, your picture of you up the ladder really made me chuckle!
    Your photos are fantastic and have inspired me to be more careful about taking photos rather than ‘snaps’and to try to improve the quality of my shots – so thanks for that as well as for a great post! :)

    Hi Liz, thanks for that. It was the comic relief after the scariness of being on the ladder. I loved hearing your seven things, BTW, what a life you had led, so far!!! :-)
    Frances

  22. Frances, you’re surrounded by sweet-smelling and sweet-looking plants! -How interesting that okra used to belong to the Hibiscus family – I can see the resemblance.
    Katarina

    Hi Katarina, thanks. The fragrance is strongest when the wind blows too. Even the leaves of the okra are large and shaped like the hibiscus. I should have guessed that but had to look it up after the first couple of comments mentioned it. :-)
    Frances

  23. Darla says:

    Your gardens look wonderful, still. I love to smell my Dad’s Tea Olive and Banana Shrub…and you make me nervous with your ladder adventures!! Psst. know anything about shingles? I am going to the Dr. in the morning…the left side of my face has been weird for 11 days now…geez….always something isn’t it?

  24. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh Francis I am cracking up at your picture of you standing on the ladder. I also noticed that it is a nice view of the planted troughs below. Do be careful when standing on the ladder. I so appreciate your dedication to the day. Happy GBBD.

    Thanks Lisa. I thought of you as I was trying to draw just a stick figure. Pathetic, isn’t it? I enjoyed the view from so high, one that had never been seen before, but won’t be climbing up there again, flowering plant or not. HA
    Frances

  25. Gail says:

    Frances, Your expertly drawn self portrait shows you to be the gardener I know~~creative, imaginative and determined. Let’s not forget daring…that’s a tall ladder! Fantastic photos~~I love the two toned anemone and wish we have smellavision to catch the fragrance of the Sweet Olive. Service just came on….yippee! gail

    Hi Gail, glad to hear you are back online. Those who know me well would definitely go with the determined description. Taurus you know. You will get the anemone, can’t believe it didn’t already come to live with you. Maybe some extras for Tina and the other bloggers in your area too. Hope the osmanthus is still scenting when you decide to get over here. ;-)
    Frances

  26. Never thought of growing okra as an ornamental, but after seeing your recent shot of the glowing pods, and now the flower and plans for a wreath…it is going on my list right now. Your commentary is every bit as entertaining as the photos. Now I am off to follow a couple of the informative links you have provided. Thanks!

    Hi Ricki, thanks so much for those kind words. I thought this okra was going to be red, but it is still pretty. There is one called Burgundy that I might try next year. :-)
    Frances

  27. Hi Frances, I wonder if my Jap. Anemone has done some reverting? Half of the plants are now bearing light pink flowers while the rest are still sporting the dark pink that I began with. Hmmm? Love the creative way of measuring that crazy-tall flower! (I spotted some hypertufa!)

    Hi Shady, thanks. Maybe some of the seed scattered reverted to a parent? All of mine look the same except the one plant of Robustissima that is solid light pink. The leaves are ever so slightly different on it too. But The Prince is in charge in my garden, for sure! :-)
    Frances

  28. linda says:

    Wow Frances, that okra is worth growing for the blooms alone! You’ve got so many gorgeous blooms in your September garden! I love black-and-blue salvia – our hummingbirds and I wish we had enough sun for it here.

    I’m glad you made it down safely from the ladder. Your drawing cracked me up, and distracted me from worrying too much about you being way up there. You even made me forget my fear of heights for a moment.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I get a chill just looking at that photo myself, with a terrible fear of heights. We still have a couple of months of flowers here until the hard long lasting frost will take many things down. There will still be foliage color and winter interest with grasses and evergreens to last until spring. Our garden never really sleeps, just takes light naps. :-)
    Frances

  29. Catherine says:

    The tea olive sounds wonderful. Your anemones are really pretty, I wish mine looked that good!

    Thanks Catherine. This is the best the anemones have ever looked. Maturity plus extra rain this year are the key, I believe. These Japanese anemones need wet soil to thrive. Ours have had a hard time of it the last couple of years but are looking good finally. :-)
    Frances

  30. Balisha says:

    I’m expecting some of those anemones in the mail on Friday. I hope mine do as well as yours.I ordered them early and forgot all about them. Now they are on the way….surprise!

    Hi Balisha, I hope you are happy with yours too. Plants I ordered several months ago have arrived from two places just this week as well. So fun and a good time to be planting, in the rain! :-)
    Frances

  31. Phillip says:

    What a treat Frances. Do you love the fragrance of the tea olive? I think it is my favorite scent in the garden.

    Thanks Phillip, while I love the scent of dianthus in spring, the tea olive is much stronger and drifts over the whole hillside. It is my favorite as well. :-)
    Frances

  32. Susie says:

    I love Osmanthus fragrans. I try to include it in every garden I design. I can’t believe that you were able to get such a beautiful shot of those itty bitty blooms.

    Hi Susie, thanks. It is a wonderful shrub not used nearly enough. Glad to hear you are using it though. I stuck the camera right into the flower, lucky for me this was right at my arm’s height, no ladder needed! :-)
    Frances

  33. marmee says:

    love your okra photo such a beauty. the man on the ladder is a nice touch to the garden and allows you to leave your ladder out for easy access. happy september.

    Hi Marmee, thanks. I am happy with the okra and have received instructions from Baker Creek to leave the pods on the plants to dry for crafts. The ladder incident was a one time deal. The man is a drawing I made on the photo to show me trying to take the picture while on the ladder. A very poor attempt at drawing, obviously! HA :-)
    Frances

  34. Diana says:

    Love looking at Leo. I have a clump of them in my garden – planted seeds this spring — but no blooms yet. But they are getting TALL. I sure hope mine aren’t as tall as Leo. I had no IDEA they got that big — Aaack! Happy GBBD!

    Thanks Diana, I was just doing some more research on Leo and believe that the plant I have is not L. leonurus as the seed packet claimed, but L. nepetifolia ‘Staircase’ which grows 10 to 12 feet tall. That explains the excessive height. Hope yours is the 4 to 6 foot as advertised. :-)
    Frances

  35. That line drawing. So that’s an ‘artists impression’ ha.

    The Okra is a nice bloom

    Thanks, Rob. Using the word *artist* is a bit of a stretch here. HA stretch HA The okra is a lovely plant in every way. The bloom only lasts one day, but is stunning. :-)
    Frances

  36. Sweet Bay says:

    I love the shot with the anemones in the foreground. It’s beautiful. Osmanthus… sigh… that has been on my want list forever. The fragrance is so sweet!

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. This is the first year the anemones have spread so much to have such a strong late summer presence. Yummy Osmanthus. Mine came from Home Depot. :-)
    Frances

  37. VW says:

    The last drawing is great – about as artistic as I can be with a pencil or pen. Thank goodness for creative expression through gardening for those of us who can’t paint or draw, though you probably do those things too and just decided not to get too fancy for your little illustration!

    Oh VW, thanks, but that was the best I could do after 20 tries with the drawing. I don’t know how people sign their signatures with a computer at all. I can’t even draw a straight line. HA :-)
    Frances

  38. lynnsgarden says:

    WHOA, Frances, be careful up there! Amazing how it keeps growing! I love the anemones and can almost smell the tea olive blooms.

    Thanks for your concern, Lynn. I did find out that this is not the Leonitis that the seed packet said, but rather is L. nepetifolia ‘Stairs’. That one is said to grow 10 to 12 feet. Now they tell me! Ha :-)
    Frances

  39. RobinL says:

    I’ve never grown anemones, but yours are so lovely that perhaps I should try. Are they bulbs? I jinxed myself by saying that my monarda had no mildew, as it promptly developed some! But only a little, so I’ll just ignore it like you do.

    Hi Robin, thanks for stopping by. These Japanese anemones are not bulbs, although there are bulbs, A. blanda that bloom in the spring among others. One tiny plant bought at a farmer’s market years ago has spread and seeded to make a nice show at a perfect time of year. Mildew? I do ignore it completely, poor vision you know. :-)
    Frances

  40. Sylvana says:

    That first picture looks like a “weed” hibiscus that I let grow in my garden because I love it so much.

    Hi Sylvana, thanks and welcome. That type flower grows wild in farmland and roadsides here too. Maybe it is a relative of the vegetable okra too. Very distinctive coloring. :-)
    Frances

  41. LOVELY September you have. I have that hibiscus too…the hibiscus tea, right? I didn’t know the name changed…geez,just when I catching on, things change. H.

    Thanks Helen. That Hibiscus is actually the vegetable okra. I cannot keep up with these name changes anymore, especially sedum, that one really gets me! ;-)
    Frances

  42. Sue says:

    I had to go back and forth a few times, but did see the orange flower in the shot with your expertly drawn self on the ladder. I’m glad you made it down safely. Your blooms are looking great! I want more anemones. I planted September Charm last year, and love it. It’s too close to the mums next to it. I need to see if it can be divided in the spring or moved.

    Thanks for making the extra effort, Sue. Taking a shot of that flower has proven most difficult. Those anemones are wonderful and Prince Henry is very vigorous, spreading by roots and seeds, a good thing in my garden. But the mums need lots of room too. I am sure you can divide it come spring, if not sooner. :-)
    Frances

  43. Kathleen says:

    Hi Frances. I’m just now finding your bloom day post. Your Leonotis does look like ‘nepetifolia’ ~ I grew both it and ‘leonurus’ last season. ‘Leonurus’ definitely remains smaller and has the narrow leaves. ‘Nepetifolia’ has serrated leaves (kind of like a mint) ~ I can’t see them from your photo but it does get tall. Mine reach about 8′. This year, I grew neither but now (after seeing yours) I’m putting seed for them back on the list.
    Lovely, lovely blooms too. Now I’m glad I didn’t summer my measly two orchids outdoors ~ I would be adding this chore to my fall schedule. Maybe I should be doing it with my amaryllis tho (who do summer outside)?? I’ve never noticed much of a bug problem but your experience (with the centipede) convinces me.

    Thanks Kathleen, that is the beauty and wonder of the internet, the stuff waits for you to have time for it. I definitely ordered the shorter leonurus but ended up with the gigantic nepetifolia. The orchids seem like a pain, until they begin blooming in the depths of winter. I have gotten rid of all but the very favorite ones, the paphs, which are smaller than most. I know nothing about amaryllis though. Anything coming inside will get the dunk of death, no exceptions. :-)
    Frances

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