September 17, 2017
Here, as promised, is my flower display page. Even they are struggling with the toxic environment, as you can see. Last year, though my display was beautiful, it lacked the usual variety. This year, I made sure I planted many different flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. And most are doing well, but there is a certain energetic deadness surrounding them, greatly distressing to me because they are an aspect of my environmental artistic expression.
The photos shown here span over August and September. Everything bloomed late, and I am still waiting for some to bloom. My first poppy just opened, so I have three more varieties to go: two opium, both from Select Seeds (one called "Heirloom" and the other, seeds I had saved a number of years ago called "Lauren's Grape"), plus I also have a black peony-flowered type. The one in bloom is Papaver rhoeas, also called Corn, Flanders, or Shirley Poppy. Those were seeds I also had saved.
As mentioned numerous times, poor genmination is growing worse each year, along with spindlyness and damping-off. Even though I make my own potting soil, these flooded springs and early summer make them a perfect habitat for slugs, and that adds to the difficulties, because slugs will eat the seeds and sprouts before they even show themselves above ground. I usually have an abundance of petunias, with their delicious aroma, but this year I couldn't grow a petunia to save my life. Out of four packs of seeds, I ended up with two plants that are barely growing. You can see by my photos that, even though everything has lots of blooms, the foliage is not bright and bushy. I count on big plants especially four o'clocks to fill the large spaces on the ground around the shelf. None of my four o'clocks germinated this year. I bought the seeds last year, and they didn't do that well even then. This year, I did lavatera, and it is just about to bloom. They are very big and showy. Related to that (and to hollyhocks and hibiscus) is Malva, and that is in bloom. They are perennial, and at one point I had tons of them coming up everywhere, but they, too, succumbed. My new ones are doing fine. Perhaps my showiest flower this year is balsam, a new one for me, related to impatiens. They were gorgeous, in all shades of pink, fuchsia, crimson, coral—just lovely, but very short-lived. I am experimenting with cutting them down to produce side-shoots and an additional bloom, which seems like it might be working. My snapdragons from last year are preparing for their third bloom since April, and they are nice and bushy and showy. My zinnias are exceptional this year. Most of the blooms are quite perfect. I did Cut and Come Again, Cactus-flowered, (whose petals get fringe-y looking, and a few from last year's seed, Giant Lime, and Peppermint Stick. Marigolds are my favorite flower. I have been doing mostly the French-types, which are low and bushy, but this year got some taller ones. The smallest are Hero, the bicolored burgundy/deep yellow are Mister Majestic, double, and the full-sized ones are Fruity Mix. Those are just now opening, and will provide a full, bright background when they are at their peak.
Two of my showiest flowers this year are the Cherry Caramel Phlox, which I bought 'cause they sounded delicious, and are really beautiful, a combination of deep cream and cherry to burgundy, laden with blooms. Ditto for the bright red Bonfire Salvia. My celosias, which are usually one of my brightest display members, are downright funky this year. For numerous years, I relied on them coming up on their own, all over the place, but this year I bought new seed so I could go back to a truer shape and size. Pinetree's Coral Garden are doing well, with their huge cockscomb flowers that keep getting bigger throughout the season, and feel like a pipe cleaner—very strange flower. My other ones, from Twilley are, well, not sure what they're doing except growing tall and skinny with teeny blooms. I need to move them out of the main view of the display until they decide what they are going to turn into. And of course, I have my beloved coleus, though only a few this year, as opposed to last year, where they made up a good portion of the display. They are grown for foliage display, and their leaves range from white to pinks, greens, and maroons. Those are pictured on the Index Page to this series, (see bottom of page).
Though I wanted to avoid dead-heading my sunflowers, so the seeds could mature to feed the critters, these just didn't have enough energy to multi-bloom. I ended up cutting them, and it seems they are trying to go again. My giant ones, a few at the back of the display, will bloom soon. Most of those, however, I have planted with my tomatoes. Something ate about half of them. I thought at first it was groundhogs, but it probably was not, because they tend to mow down a field. It might have been deer, which I have seen at that field, but probably was bunnies, which I see all the time. They nibbbled them down when they were shorter, but then they re-grew, and are actually sprouting multi-blooms on the re-growth—very unusual for this variety.
And so, having given you a rundown, here are the photos. Nearly all the flowers in this dispay come from Pinetree Garden Seeds, which you may find on my Favorite Seed Companies
The first is a current full-view of the display, taken this morning before sun-glare set in. Next is a smaller view, showing zinnias marigolds and the bright Bonfire Salvia. Notice the dark pink fringed Cactus Flowered one in the center. To the lower left is a Peppermint Stick, and between them is one of the two surviving petunias. The next image is the same view, off to the right a bit, focusing on the Mr. Majestic Marigolds and the first of the tall Fruity Mix. the frizzy-looking ones in the center are calendulas