Weird and wonderful flowers

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens) is the best excuse I can think of to show off some of my favorite weirdos. I know my cup of tea isn’t to everyone’s taste. For one thing, I tend to gravitate towards anything with nearly invisible green flowers like crazy-cool petal-less Boltonia ‘Nallie’s Lime Dot’ (below). It comes into bloom-ish in early September and is supposed to be about 4′ tall. Ours grew taller and then probably because it was shaded by our new dawn redwood hedge, flopped right over to hang with an aster. It holds up really well in arrangements so I’ll probably vote to move to a sunnier spot in the cutting garden. I also adore little Nicotiana ‘Delaware Indian Sacred’ (right) obviously because it’s green but also because it seeds itself around and is in bloom in one place or another all season long.

And ’tis the season to love the seedheads. They may look gone-by to some but I prefer the black knobs of rudbeckia sans petals. And aren’t teasel and cardoon at any stage wildly wonderful?

There’s probably nothing weirder than Amaranthus ‘Dreadlocks’ full stop.

And every late-summer/fall I rediscover cuphea. (Who doesn’t?) Suddenly though I’m head-over-heels for a cuphea that probably nobody else here has noticed.  Cuphea ‘Ballistic’ is a tiny little plant with mouse faces that ended up tucked under a whole bunch of other stuff (mostly other cupheas) in the kid’s bed. I vow to put them somewhere front and center next year and took a bunch of cuttings yesterday for insurance.

Speaking of taking cuttings, the speed of the season took us by surprise. (How did it get to be mid-September already?!) We usually start taking cuttings in late August/early September but have only now begun in earnest. If the same thing happened to you and those beautiful cut-able tips that emerge in late summer have since grown and flowered, cut your plants back in a few places to encourage new growth and check again in a couple of weeks.

What’s weird or wonderful in your garden right now? When did you start taking cuttings?

7 thoughts on “Weird and wonderful flowers

  1. I never know when to take cuttings! I try any old time of the year. I think it varies by plant and whether you’re taking softer or harder cuttings. I’m trying to get better at identifying the stems and branches that are likely to make good cuttings. Thanks for your weird blooms – I enjoyed them a whole bunch!

    Country Mouse, I’m glad you liked them! (I’m not alone!) And I know what you mean about the cuttings. It’s totally a Goldilocks thing. They can’t be too soft or too hard… Just right. Good luck! -kris

  2. The Giant Tropical Dutchmans Pipe, Aristolochia gigantea, is in bloom now, and the 8″ maroon splotched blossoms are incredibly sensual.

    I just came across a missing thumb drive that was loaded with some great photos I took earlier in the season. One image that really left me awe-struck was the Crenated Orchid Cactus, Epiphyllum crenata var. chichicastenego. It’s blooms lasted only a few days, but at least that is a bit longer than the Night blooming Cereus blossoms, which open in the evening and are gone by early morn.

    Kathy, what a tease! I hope you post your pictures of that orchid cactus on Garden Foreplay soon! And the Aristochlia. Why don’t we have one of those?… -kris

  3. Love it…I ADORE seedheads…as much as I love Rudbeckia in blooms…those dark, black seedheads are even better…even in the dead of winter!

    Scott, too true. They’re the absolute best sticking up out of a foot or so of snow. -kris

  4. Hi Kris, I LOVE green flowers and weird flowers and all you have shown. The Cupheas are so beloved by the hummingbirds here, we wouldn’t be without them. I wanted to tell you that I planted the Chinese Dunce Cap, Orastachys iwarenge after seeing your article about rock plantings in Fine Gardening. It is doing well here in southeast Tennessee. Keep showing us those weirdos, we are always on the lookout for new plants.

    Will do, Frances. And isn’t Orastachys the coolest? I have some forming funny little puddles on my driveway as they fall out of their wall pockets. Love. – kris

  5. I love seed heads, too… especially ones that make rattling sounds when you shake them! (Careful not to let the seeds all fall out!) I never know when to take cuttings. When I lived in California, pretty much everything was a perennial! Annuals that seeded were perennials, so I didn’t have to worry. In Pennsylvania, I imagine things will be a little different….

    Love your photos! So much drama in the plant world! 🙂

    Shari, Thank you for the compliment and good luck with your cuttings! (and go ahead and shake those seed heads – those will be free plants!) -kris

  6. Tip for the Boltonia ‘Nallie’s Lime Dot’. This year a I cut her back to about a foot in mid July, and the plants are much sturdier. Didn’t effect the timing of blossoming either.

    Thanks, Kathy! I didn’t cut ours back hard enough! (I’m always kind of a wimp about that.) -kris

  7. Hi, Kris,
    The correct cv. name for the Botonia is ‘Nally’s Lime Dots’. I’m not sure why the “Nallies” variant persists. It’s a plant from Wave Hill, named for John Nally, Marco Stufano’s late partner and long-time collaborator at the garden.

    Thanks, Ed! I love knowing the right name of things – and exactly how it got its name. AND after hearing your description today of seeing it a foot tall in a pot covered in a froth of dots, I’m even more determined to get it to grow shorter and fuller next year. -kris

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