August 18, 2009 013 (2)
Finally the seed grown Black Pearl pepper, Capsicum annuum ‘Black Pearl’ has set fruit. The ones on the top of this plant are black as they should be. These lower ones, which might be older have turned red, the ripe color. We love to grow this pepper for ornament only, and it is right at home in the black garden.

August 18, 2009 007 (2)
Finally the PeeGee hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’, blooms are fully open and will color to a nice pinky brown as the seasons turn to cooler weather. The flowers will be cut for decorations at that stage.

August 18, 2009 001 (2)
Finally the garlic chives, Allium tuberosum are blooming. When these were first planted, a passalong from sweet neighbors Mae and Mickey, they were allowed to set seed. Experience is always the best teacher and it was learned that these little bulb roots are nearly impossible to pull from the ground as they spread farther and wider than anticipated. The spent flowers will be immediately cut to prevent an entire garden of garlic chives. And maybe perilla.

August 18, 2009 037 (2)
Finally a whole year has passed since this self sown Heuchera showed up in the trough. It is the first purple leaf volunteer in the nearly ten years of such things. It was being watched to see if the leaf color remained red through twelve months. It did. Many have sown themselves in this very trough, oddly enough, but the leaves are green with light veining most of the year.

August 18, 2009 038 (2)
Finally we can name one of these wonderful plants ourselves. Any suggestion?

February 2, 2009 greenhouse 007 (2)
Finally we get to the real subject of this post. Back in January, we started seeds of Cobaea scandens on the heat mat in the greenhouse/sunroom. A month later the plant was growing well and after repotting was placed in the sunny south facing window to wait until April to be planted outside.

August 13, 2009 027 (2)
Finally the vine was planted to grow on the large arbor at the edge of the property after all danger of frost was past. Months went by and it grew and grew, but did not bloom. This is an annual here, and a little worry crept into the happy sight of the ever expanding tendrils. Finally, after seeing a close up bloom on blogging buddy Chuck B. of My Back 40(feet) in San Francisco’s plant, the impetus for us attempting to grow Cobaea scandens in the first place, it was learned that the bloom would come from a long stem at the leaf axil. It would appear as a piece of origami made of green tissue. We had one of those! In fact we had lots of them.

August 14, 2009 025 (2)
Finally we decided to look on the back side of the arbor to see if there were any open blooms there, high or low, for the rising sun hits the backside as it climbs across the sky.

August 14, 2009 020 (2)
Finally we saw a bloom, three of them in fact. They begin as light greenish pink color then turn to purple before becoming a bit of origami once again. But this threesome is at the very top of the ten foot tall arbor. The zoom has to be used to get a photo.

August 18, 2009 019 (2)
Finally a bloom opened that could be captured without the zoom, still standing on tippy tip toes and holding the camera at arms length above our head. There are still two months of temperate weather before our first average frost date that might end the life of this fabulous vine. Plenty of time for a good show of green, pink and purple stages of flowers.



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40 Responses to Finally

  1. Les says:

    I have admired Chuck’s Cobea, and it is good to know that someone east of the Mississippi and north of Florida can grow it, even if it will be annual.

    Thanks Les. Chuck’s Cobaea is legendary and he has the perfect climate and location for it on his decking where he can admire it up close and personal too. I have hopes of it maybe wintering over here with loads of mulch. Inside the arbor is quite protected. All things are possible. But I might plant more seeds in the greenhouse just in case. πŸ™‚

  2. Yes, “finally” we are getting the blooms and fruit we hoped for when we sowed our seeds in early spring. But pretty soon our plea will be “not yet” as the end of summer looms just over the horizon and around the bend!

    Hi Carol, you are so right! I am looking at the Leonitus and wondering if it will get a chance to bloom before frost hits. Or if the melons will ripen. Every year is different too. Our yoshino cherry tree has already lost most of its leaves and the winterberry hollies are showing color on the berries, already!!

  3. Joy says:

    Frances I must have missed the name to that heuchera .. what is it ? .. I’m spoiled by my heuchera doing well most of the season .. I do love these plants.
    That is a really pretty arbor with the vine .. I love seeing lots of vertical supports in a garden .. heaven knows that is going to be the only space I will have left soon ? LOL
    Great shots : )

    Hi Joy,thanks. The heuchera is as yet unnamed. It is a self sown seedling from the myriad other heucheras growing here. I have no idea who the parents are, but it is the only one whose leaves remained purple the whole twelve months. I am asking for ideas for a name for it. My son, Gardoctor built that arbor for me. It is a large sturdy structure and gives lots of room for growing many things. Roses, bignonia and clemmies are on it along with the cobaea right now. Your garden would look great with a nice large structure for vertical! πŸ™‚

  4. Gail says:

    Frances, Gardens surely offers us lessons in patience! The last photo of the Cobaea is perfect…what a great flower. Thanks for standing on your tippy tip toes to get those shots. Love the Black Pearl, too and how cool is it that heucheras have seeded themselves about. I love gardening! gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. The Cobaea was well worth the effort, lots of learning about that too for future attempts. All of the other baby heucheras have been mostly green with new growth or winter color being more red. This one is special in that the leaves kept the red color all year. If I tried to grow these from seed, it would never work. I don’t know what is happening in the trough, the moss maybe? But many of the self sowns have come from there. Then there is the baby on the rock, still hanging on with no soil whatsoever! πŸ™‚

  5. Why don’t you call your heuchera “Finally”. Afterall, you waited for it – but it was worth it. Love the contrast between the older(?) and newer(?) leaves. Heuchera are also one of my favorite. “Purple Palace” a particularly fine variety in my opinion.

    Hi Heather, thanks! That is an excellent name! I agree, Palace Purple is a fine variety. πŸ™‚

  6. Daphne Gould says:

    Those flowers seem well worth the long wait. BTW I grow garlic chives too. Once I got so tired of trying to get those seedlings out I ripped up the mother plant and got rid of it. I missed it though so now it is back. I’ve resorted to picking off the scapes and eating them. I don’t get flowers then, but I also don’t get those awful seedlings.

    HA Daphne, thanks for stopping by, nice to see you. I agree, I want to have the plant, just not the thousands of babies it seems to produce. We use it alot in cooking too and I love the white flowers this time of year. Just have to be on the lookout when the flowers are done to cut them off. We already have more than we want, and yes, they do grow in the gravel paths too. πŸ™‚

  7. Dave says:

    Good things are worth the wait! The green leaf coloring of the heuchera look a lot like ‘Dale’s Strain’ but ‘Dale’s’ doesn’t really turn purple. Sure looks neat though!

    Hi Dave, they really are. This is a wildling heuchera, probably containing genetic material from the native species which is growing here along with so many named ones. Many have died and they look so similar that who knows the parentage. I think Dale’s is a selection from the native one that grows in the nearby mountains, they are related most likely. Good eye! πŸ™‚

  8. Janet says:

    Gorgeous bloom. Your patience paid off. I wish I had some volunteer Heuchera! If you are naming it for yourself you could call it ‘Blessings’ or ‘Mysterious Gift’ or …oh I don’t know, have fun with it. It is a nice color.

    Thanks Janet. The baby heucheras were a total surprise when they started appearing, where else but in the gravel. I have kept an eye out for them and many have begun life in the troughs. When they get large, they go into the garden where they will hopefully keep making babies. This purple leaf one was under a larger green one that was moved from the trough last fall. I was excited to see the leaf color, but many of them are red during the winter only to green up with the warm weather. This one is different than the rest. I like your name suggestions! πŸ™‚

  9. tina says:

    It’s a beautiful flower Frances. Finally! Maybe call the little heuchera Finally too?

    Hi Tina, thanks. I like that name too! πŸ™‚

  10. Randy says:

    What patience you have to wait so long for an annual to bloom! They really are a lovely shade of purple. I wish I had better luck with seeds, if I can’t direct sow they just about don’t stand a chance. –Randy

    Hi Randy, thanks. Seeds are still a mystery to me, but the heat mat in the greenhouse really made the difference this year. The best ones are the ones that have zero input from me, except maybe to plant the first plant out. Even the zinnias were duds this year. It’s always like that isn’t it?

  11. Gardening – the pleasurable pastime through which we learn patience (or try!). Very pretty flowers on that vine. I’ve never seen it before, that I know. Cute heuchera! Have fun naming it! πŸ™‚

    Hi Shady, so true and thanks. Gardening can be full of lessons, including making one humble before the whims of nature. Sometimes we get lucky, like with the heuchera. πŸ™‚

  12. Congratulations on the Cobaea blooming. It’s just as lovely as Chuck’s are. How about ‘Sugar Plum Fairey’ for the seedling Heuchera?

    Hi MMD, thanks so much. I will be happy if they bloom all up and down the vine like Chuck’s, but fear the frost will get them before that can happen. Great name for the Heuchera! πŸ™‚

  13. Patsi says:

    I heard garlic chives can be troublesome.
    Love the unusual Black Pearl peppers.
    Have to get my husband to grow some different ones next year.
    No way !!! Self sown Heuchera ?
    Lucky you.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. We are lucky in many ways. The garlic chives are very pretty and pretty tasty, but seed like crazy if not deadheaded immediately. The Black Pearls come true from gathered seed too, a nice trait. Easy to grab a few rotted peppers to start in the greenhouse during winter. They germinate with little work too. πŸ™‚

  14. ricki says:

    I tried dividing some heucheras with no luck, but then, like yours, a few babies appeared this spring. Unlike yours, though, they all resembled their parents. Looks like you are getting some fun suggestions for naming the newbies.

    Hi Ricki, thanks for visiting. I have killed many a heuchera trying to divide them, and some just die without me doing anything. We have learned the best time to divide them is in winter while the ground is cool and moist. This is the first time we have had a different leaf in the offspring, so fun. πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Frances

    The Cobaea scandens looks great. I sowed white and purple ones early this year and they’ve failed! Quite why I don’t know. The plan was for them to cover my pergola as it’s the first year for the roses so things are looking bare. Oh well.

    Hi Rob, thanks. I sowed the alba as well, it seemed to be germinating then died. There were only a couple of seeds in the packet too. I will try to save seeds from this one and give it a go come winter, not sowing quite so early this time. I would recommend trying them again. Did you use a heat mat? That really worked wonders for the seed starting. πŸ™‚

  16. Monica says:

    I really adore that Heuchera – and so nice that you get to name it!

    Thanks Monica and welcome. I usually don’t name the mixes that pop up here, but this one might be vegetatively reproduced to keep that leaf color. πŸ™‚

  17. Titania says:

    Hi Frances, special plants special garden. I grow Garlic chives but here they are not invasive, not growing as tall as yours. I remember your Muehligrass it looks so ethereal with its soft pink plumes. It is fun to play detective with self sown plants. The purple bells of Cobea are pretty. Is it a perennial?

    Thanks Titania, nice to see you here. It is the seed heads that go crazy on the garlic chives. The regular chives do not behave that way at all, much better mannered. The Cobaea is an annual here, unfortunately. I will be gathering seeds from it, if I can find some to sow for next year. It is perfect for this large arbor. πŸ˜‰

  18. Frances, I enjoyed your (purple-)black and white show, here – and I envy you your cobaea, I tried fruitlessly for years to get them from seed. Maybe I will try again: any tips on getting them to germinate and grow?

    Have you thought of contacting Tony Avent at Garden Delights about your heuchera? He is a big fan, an excellent taxonomist, and very interested in heucheras which are heat resistant, which yours seem to be.

    Hi Pomona, thanks. The Cobaea was started in the greenhouse on the heat mat in January. None of the alba lived, but the purples did quite well and were huge way before they could be planted outdoors, as tall as me with bamboo stakes in the ever larger pots. My Heuchera is a big deal to me, but barely different from so many of the others on the market now. I think there is H. villosa in the mix, those are the ones that do well in the south and we have several growing here. I appreciate the suggestion though. Maybe after a few years of growing it will prove to be something worthy, with something special about it that people would want to pay for. πŸ™‚

  19. commonweeder says:

    What a tale of Cobaea! Sometimes I have waited so patiently I stopped watching for an anticipated flower – and missed it. At least you are enjoying yours, and will continue, even if it is above eye level.

    Thanks, Pat, glad you liked the story. I nearly missed these, they are on the other side of the arbor, I have to walk into the neighbor’s yard to see them. There are some buds down lower inside the arbor, I have been pulling some of the vines down to grow at eye level so I can more easily photograph and enjoy them. πŸ™‚

  20. I don’t know this vine, but I can see how a gardener will fall in love with it! Such a beauty!

    Hi Cameron, thanks. It is a beauty and I think the common name is cup and saucer vine. I have seen the seeds on display for years, even tried them outside with no luck. Chuck shows his often and as is the case with blogs, it went on my want list and seeds were purchased last year. I still would like to grow the white one too, for a nice mix. πŸ™‚

  21. I’m afraid I’m not that patient, although I did grow my moonflowers and cuphea from seed this year. My moon flowers have buds but no blooms yet. The cobaea is really beautiful, I can see why you wanted to try.

    As far as naming the heuchera, when I saw the picture it reminded me of a quilt, but I couldn’t think of a great name. Of the ones I read, I liked the Sugar Plum Fairey suggestion, as it picks up on Fairegarden and the beautiful iced plum colors it has.

    Hi Hands, thanks. I think moonflowers are wonderful, my saved seeds did not come up, sadly. But the Cuphea miniata was a roaring success. What kind did you plant? I like the Sugar Plum name too. We shall see if the plant is worthy of a name after it is moved into the ground to grow on. It will get too large for the trough, shading out the other smaller things. The other heuchera is Petite Marbles. Maybe it got into the genetic miasma? πŸ™‚

  22. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    A self sown heuchera. Amazing to me. I have had them sort of spread out and multiply that way but never self seed. The Garlic Chive alliums are pretty even if they self sow too.
    That vine is unusual. A good one to have this time of year.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. We have killed so many heucheras it is not funny. A few have shown up in odd places, like the troughs. They are moved to a north facing bed near the garage deck with a group of volunteer painted ferns. I don’t know why some have seeded, who the parents are, or what conditions they even need to self sow. But I do know how to recognize the babies and keep them weed free until they are large enough to move. The Cobaea was admired for a long time at Chuck’s. Happy to get blooms from it before frost takes it away. πŸ™‚

  23. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m trying the ‘Black Pearl’ this year, though mine is not from seed. It really does look black in certain light, and the fruits are a lustrous red. It has proven drought-tolerant too. I love your chives in front of your shed. So cute! But I’ll take heed lest my little passalong clump from Bonnie takes over my garden. And finally, Chuck’s vine is stunning in your garden. Well done!

    Hi Pam, thanks so much. I know you are familiar with Chuck’s Cobaea too. I am hoping for more flowers before the frost comes along. It is a pretty thing, even without the flowers. The tendrils are amazing, long a reddish, grabbing at anything, even my hair! HA As for those garlic chives, it is a great tough plant, but deadhead it before the seeds mature or you will be overrun. Black Pearl has been grown from saved seeds each year for several seasons now. It remains true to seed, with the dark leaves and black fruits. Very easy to germinate from overripe nearly rotting peppers. You could start them in a sunny window, no special mats or lights needed for this one. πŸ™‚

  24. Beckie says:

    Gardening does seem to take a lot of patience doesn’t it? But look at the wonderful results. The heuchera is so delicate looking, I yhinh the Sugar plum is a good name for it. And is that a dragonfly I spy behind it???

    Hi Beckie, it surely does, and thanks. I have several dragonfly ornaments around the garden too. πŸ™‚

  25. Sherry says:

    All so very lovely.
    I needed inspiration and you gave it!

    Hi Sherry, thanks, so nice to see you. Glad to have helped out. πŸ™‚

  26. lynnsgarden says:

    I have this black ornamental pepper in a mixed pot and love it, too! The bloom on that vine is really cool, Frances…have not heard of that plant before. Will you take cuttings and keep it going next year?

    Hi Lynn, thanks for stopping by. The black pepper is great, so easy to save seeds from the rotting peppers and start inside for next year’s crop. I will not take cuttings, I don’t have any luck with those and they take up too much room, but seeds will be obtained for next year.

  27. Frances, do you know the native habitat of the Cobaea. If it is a high altitude mountain tropical, a heavy mulch over the winter could save the root crown for even more growth next year.

    Hi Christopher, I looked up the habitat, it seems to be central and south america and is actually an invasive there. It might work, but I will get seeds anyway. It does look to be pollinated by bats, that we do not have, so there will not likely be any seeds to save from this plant. There are readily accessible though. I do plan on a huge pile of mulched leaves and pine needles to go on the crown.

  28. Charlotte says:

    These pictures are just wonderful – as always!

    Thanks Charlotte, glad you enjoyed the show. πŸ™‚

  29. Jen says:

    Yesterday a friend pulled out some of her garlic chives and gave them to me. They’re still in bud, so I’m very glad to see what they’re supposed to look like! So pretty. Love that cobaea.My peppers are really taking their time this year. Next year I’ll have to try some black ones.

    Hi Jen, thanks. Watch out for the garlic chives when they set seed! The black ornamental peppers are wonderful and take us into fall as a good contrast with the oranges, red and yellows.

  30. Jake says:

    I didn’t realize that the Garlic Chives was such an ornamental plant. I also really like the last picture of the purple bloom.


    Hi Jake, thanks. The garlic chives make a great statement in late summer. The seed heads are very attractive too, but look out for their aggressive qualites! πŸ™‚

  31. Racquel says:

    I just love it when everything works out the way we hoped or anticipated. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks. So nice to see you and welcome back!

  32. Debi says:

    Holy schmoly, Frances. Visiting your blog is like a day at the spa. I feel rested and peaceful and happy. How beautiful everything is there.

    Hi Debi, HA, so nice to see you. Glad you felt relaxed after visiting. πŸ™‚

  33. LOVE the chives in front of the blue trimmed door…perfect! Kim

    Thanks Kim. I like that scene too. The barn like appearance of the shed and the meadow look to the chives is a good match. Lucky once again. I think I was sweeping spilled seeds from the shed floor to get that planting. πŸ™‚

  34. eliz says:

    I just bought that ornamental pepper (fully grown plant) finally!

    HA Elizabeth, that’s a good one. In more ways than one. πŸ™‚

  35. Teresa says:

    So worth the wait. What a beautiful flower!

    Thanks Teresa, and welcome. πŸ™‚

  36. chuck b. says:

    Yay!!! It’s a thrill to see Cobaea scandens on another blog! The flowers on your vine look just like the flowers on mine–imagine that! If it’s any consolation, I think it took a whole year to flower in cold weather San Francisco. I hope you’ll get a lot more flowers during the next two months while things wind down. And get a taste of the nectar from a newly opened flower; it’s so very sweet. And who knows, maybe it will perennialize for you too, if you pile mulch around the crown or something. As it continues to grow and thicken up in my garden I often wonder if I’ve planted a monster. I prune it back constantly and it’s a major contributor of green material to my compost bin. Always a good thing.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Chuck. If this winters over I will be overjoyed, but if not it is easy enough to grow from seed in the greenhouse. I can see how it could be a real monster if hardy, but we have many monsters here so it would be in good company. πŸ™‚

  37. Tabbie says:

    Those ornamental peppers are a favorite of mine! I grow them every year.

    The color and pattern of your unnamed heuchera reminds me very much of the top crust of an apple elderberry pie stained with the juices of the filling which was too exuberant to be contained entirely within.

    Thanks Tabbie, I grow those peppers every year too. They are so easy from seed. The heuchera is very pie like, thanks for your input. πŸ˜‰

  38. Sweet Bay says:

    I like the Black Pearl Pepper. Very striking. And the Cobaea is just lovely!

    Thanks Sweet Bay, glad you like them. The Black Pearl is a must have here, so easy to grow from seeds gathered from the rotted peppers left on the plant in mid winter. πŸ™‚

  39. Pamie G. says:

    Jealousy sayeth the Queen….dumb man must be jealous that woman has made successes of garden, lol….I just came across your blog and this article from Blotanical…I am dying laughing! Happy Gardening my friend…and where can I find a photo of a greenhouse where you house your million and one plants you supposedly went into complete dollar failure to obtain, hehe? Pamie G.

    Hi Pamie, thanks and welcome. Glad you liked this story. It was tongue in cheek, a literary device to show what was happening in the greenhouse. I wrote a post about the greenhouse/sunroom in my beginning blogging days:

    It will probably get written about again since that is sometimes where the most exciting gardening happens during the winter months. Thanks for visiting and do come again. πŸ™‚

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