Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Blue River ...

I'm only up to a 'drive by' post tonight for two reasons: 1) I've had a killer headache since this afternoon that refuses to give up, and 2) I needed to make the rounds to the other gardening blogs to catch up a bit, so now that that's done, I thought I'd share a couple more shots of 'Blue River,' currently in bloom. 'Kopper King' is still holding out on me, but I'm going to check tomorrow after work and maybe I'll have news on that front ...
The first shot gives a decent impression of what the whole flower looks like, though it's not the best one I've posted, and I hope to have better soon to share with fellow (and incipient) Mallow Maniacs. Another thing I really like about 'Blue River' is that depending on when you look at it during the day, it can take on a lot of different aspects ... from pristine white with a hint of yellow, to creamy white, to stark shadow play in the late afternoon, when this was taken (on August 5, 2008).

Now, what's wrong with that second shot? That is the result of that heavy rain and hail we got last week, and those holes you see in the petals are not insect damage, rather, this flower opened before the hail came in and obviously suffered from it. In previous years early on, I would have lamented and gnashed my teeth in sorrow, but you know what? 'Blue River' is such a reliable, prolific and long blooming Hibiscus, I don't worry anymore. Last year this plant took a 2 week break from blooming in September, came back again and bloomed right up until frost, when it still had unopened buds on it. Yes, it's unfortunate to see such a lovely flower damaged, but these days I just take it in stide, because 1) the damage is already done and I could not prevent it, and 2) since the flowers last only one day, I know there will be numerous others to replace it....

So there you have it for today ... posting may become a bit spotty this week due to work demands, but I'm going to try to keep up, but if I miss a day or two or three, I'll be back once things have eased up a bit at work....

16 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

The bloom looks huge. LOL, I can relate to your mallow addiction since I suffer a similar one for roses.

When I lived in Tennessee, my experience with the old rose of sharon trees kind of put me off. I guess I'm on the fence about them. I have to admit, the new varieties with the massive blooms are certainly traffic stoppers.


I saw a really full double on the cover of Wayside's new catalog. It looked almost like a peony;) Generally speaking, I like flowers with a zillion ruffly, fluffy petals. The doubles are coming close.
Marnie

TC said...

Hello IVG,

'Blue River' is not blue. ;~) Which, of course, doesn't take anything away from its beauty. It's one I'll definitely consider growing.

And thanks too for your comment over on Lilacs and Roses about posting photos on blogger. Although I'm not new to blogging, I'm relatively new to what I call "advanced" blogging which involves posting photos, aligning them aesthetically, adding widgets, etc., etc.

Gail said...

Hey IVG, well I am envious! There is no bud or hint of bud on Monsieur Kopper King that I can find...must be unhappy in his present location...I will have to enjoy yours when he blooms! Blue River is lovely and I enjoyed the side shot from your last post very much. Very nice photos of the zinnia, and Disco Belle, too!

I've been away from the garden for 4 days in the middle of a drought...it looks horrible now and I am seeing mildew on my monarda! Looks like we are planting allium this fall! But I did have a great visit to Chicago....what a delightful city and the street plantings were creative and just a bit over the top this year! I think you would have enjoyed them but the street scenes were even better! People are very entertaining.

Let's hope the headache abates and you can enjoy your day!

gail

Daisy said...

Wow. That flower reminds me of something Georgia O'Keefe would have loved.

boran2 said...

Even your damaged flowers look good, IVG.

Janet said...

Re Lavender, they like it here in Portlan, the city of Roses. I keep their "feet" dry because they are just under my roofline near the front entrance and they don't get hit with the built in sprinky dink system. So they are truly happy and should be getting some new buddies soon as we want to plant some more.

:)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Mallows for me, Roses for you, à chacun son goût as the French say! I enjoy seeing your roses, and hope you like the upcoming hibiscus here! I wonder if I'll get that Wayside catalogue... they've been sending them to me for years, but I've never ordered from them, lol.

Rose of Sharon is actually a very different species of Hibiscus, though the growth habit and flowers are similar, but they have much smaller flowers than these, that often top out at 8-10" ...

I doubt I'd go for a big ruffly one, to be honest, but I'd take a look. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi TC, thanks for stopping by, and hope you'll come by again...

As for planting, you're fine as long as you're in Zone 5 (though I bet they might survive as low as 4 if protected in the winter).

I got your email about posting photos, and I'll get back to you, either tonight or very soon with what I can help with on those issues. I'm in a real crunch at work this week, so if it takes a few days, don't think I've blown you off by any means! I'm just really busy writing a report at present...

I took a look at your blog and you have a very nice start going there. I think a bit of template tweaking might make you feel better about the overall look. I sure know I need to do some more work on mine!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail, and welcome back from the Windy City!

I'm really puzzled by your lack of KKing blooms, I would have thought yours would be way ahead of mine! The only thing I can think of is if it's in such deep shade that it's just not getting enough light. It will do well in part shade as long as it gets several hours of pretty direct sun during the day, though full sun is preferred.

A few other questions: is this his first year? If so, don't fret, as they usually don't bloom the first year, though that's hardly a solid rule, since the Lunas I got this year are going to bloom and have small buds on them already. Ok, so assuming it's getting the right amount of sun, maybe the drought is affecting it (though I suspect you'd be watering this one), or perhaps it wants a feeding? You could try giving it a shot of fish emulsion solution (diluted in water, of course, and it's really stinky stuff), no more than once a month though. Other than those things, I'm baffled, as we've never had that problem, and ours is probably about 8 yrs old now....

As for the powdery mildew, that's likely due to high humidity and heat where you are. You can treat it with a sulfur solution you can find in garden centers (also très stinky) ... when we had that problem we just sprayed the affected areas and also made sure to thoroughly wet the area at the base of the affected plants, as the mildew lurks in the soil and works its way up the plants. And yes, planting alliums will help over the long term by leaching sulfur into the soil over time. Don't expect immediate results but it beats spraying the stinky stuff! Any old allium will do, from ornamental or culinary chives, the globe alliums, matchstick ones, etc. Besides they're pretty and look nice around Monarda. (We have 3 of the tall big purple ones near ours.)

If your Monarda is relatively close to the house, you could even plant onions around the area where it goes, both for protection and for eating!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Daisy,
You know, I've never seen a painting of hibiscus, O'Keefe or otherwise! Wonder why they never caught on with painters?

Blue River is a favorite of ours, and we love how long it blooms!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Thanks, and a little damage now and then can be interesting, but if it were something that only put on a few flowers, I'd be royally P-Oed!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Janet!
You snuck in there while I was responding to comments, sneaky of ya! :-)

Good move on keeping the lavender's feet dry! Looks like you have at least green feet, if not a thumb. And putting them by the entrance is great, you must have a lovely smell at the door when they bloom!

By all means plant more ... at this time of year you can often find some real bargains on perennials at some of the big box places, as well as nurseries. And the rule of thumb is (at least here) that you can plant them anytime at least 4 weeks before you expect a killing frost or freeze and they'll be fine. Though one year, I was planting some bulbs I'd forgotten in December when there was snow on the ground but I could still dig, lol.

Gail said...

IVG,

Thanks for the help with the monarda...KK is a puzzle! He actually bloomed the first year and then has declined I suspect he is hungry! We have longer seasons so I am going to give him some vitamins today! He does indeed get watered but also there is the sun factor...He isn't in full sun and might go on the list to move to the front bed! His leaf coloring will add something to the mess, I mean mass, of rudbeckia!

Gail

troutbirder said...

First time visitor and really enjoyed you blog. Of course noticing you choice of political dogs I was already favorably disposed. Your take on zinnias was also appreciated as it is one of my favorite garden flowers for brightening up a sunny spot. Thanks for sharing.
Troutbirder

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Aha! You just answered a question I forgot to ask ... how intense is the coloring of the foliage? At KK's happiest he should have a lot of deep reds, pale green and an almost bronzy cast.

I think moving him out w/the rudbeckias is a great idea,because if they're happy and blooming KK will be as well! Though I've never moved any of mine, my guess is that you should do this in the fall, probably after frost when it has died back a bit. Let me look into this more to make sure, but it's commonly propagated by division, it has to tolerate a bit of rough treatment. Probably not a bad idea to feed a few times more before you dig, to allow him to put in reserves... again just a supposition.

Throw in some Coneflowers with the Rudbeckias and KK, and you'll have some high contrast color going on there!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Troutbirder, and thanks for stopping by!

I take it you mean the political blogs? (Though we do have two political dogs and they bark Obama.) Glad you found those positive, just my way with keeping up with the important things. :-)

I can't believe I used to pooh-pooh Zinnias, but they're such easy, cheerful flowers how could anyone do without them? We've been planting a mix called Sean Conway State Fair Mix (seems to be sold only at Target) the past few years and they are outstanding! We had some get up to 5 ft tall a couple of years ago, and just never stopped blooming till frost. We usually also throw in some of the Burpee Giants and Cactus Blooms too, just for good measure. That usually gives us plenty of color, but why is it that the first ones to bloom are always pink? LOL

IVG