Sunday, August 10, 2008

Preview of Things To Come ...

No, this is not a soft serve ice cream cone. With apologies to Dr. Freud, there are sometimes where a hibiscus bud is just a hibiscus bud, and in this instance, namely a Hibiscus moscheutos 'Blue River' about to spring into bloom. However, it does share some resemblance don't you think? Actually, this hibiscus started blooming shortly after this was taken, but it needs staking up (again) after that pounding rain we had earlier this week, so I'm refraining from showing it in its full glory just yet. But soon, after I've gotten the bed weeded, and 'Blue River' staked up again, you'll be be seeing a lot more of him around here. That's my only gripe with this spectacular and prolific hibiscus: it gets so tall and unwieldy (it can get to 7 ft!), that strong winds will blow it down, and if there's a hard rain with hail, it doesn't fare very well, as ours demonstrates. Next year, I vow I'm going to get a 'Blue River II,' the shorter and bushier cultivar of this particular strain. The size and beauty of these prolific flowers is astounding, but constantly having to stake it up after hard rains gets a bit tiresome....
Some of you regular readers will immediately recognize this shot as 'Kopper King,' probably one of the most successful Hibiscus moscheutos hybrids ever developed ... by two horticulturalist brothers in Omaha, NE (more on that later). Those who already have it in their gardens know the pleasure of growing this particular cultivar, because it so perfectly encapsulates why we fanatics grow hibiscus. It has huge pink, creamy white and deep red flowers all rolled into one, it's a real dry hot, humid weather lover and during its (albeit brief, compared to other Hibiscus) bloom period, it will wow you (and passersby) with its striking beauty. If you have no other perennial hibiscus in your sunny garden, you owe it to yourself to seek out 'Kopper King' and get it into the ground. That, from an obsessed fan of the Hibiscus species, mind you. Just wait until you see it in bloom ... it's that good. (Or visit the label link to the archives, if you're impatient). More (obviously) to come....

15 comments:

FARfetched said...

Ice cream in a green leafy cone. Hope it doesn't melt!

Mother Nature said...

Those are two really nice ones. My neighbor has a Hibiscus mutabilis/Confederate Rose that I enjoy each year. It is killed back each year and yet, in late summer, it grows to be about 12' high by 12' wide with huge white flowers that turn pink.

Janet said...

That King looks carnivorous. But then again... aren't most kings and politicians? :)

Know what your beautiful garden DOESN'T have? Guess? Guess?

A Triffid. :)

Ever read that? I just did this past year, one of those "I thought I read it in my youth but obviously didn't" books. It ROCKED! Has a bit of the apocolyps feel to it but without the zombies. Netflixed the BBC series of it and it was pretty cool adaptation.

Janet said...

Ever that::: meaning The Day of the Triffids.

Sorry it's Sunday but it's actually my Monday. Working Mom Blues.

boran2 said...

I can't wait to see the blooms!

Daisy said...

Wow! It really looks like soft-serve! I've never grown hibiscus before. Is it finicky? I'll have to look up the Kopper King...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
No melting, it just bursts open into a great big 8-10" flower! More details soon...

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MN,
Get ready, because soon you'll be seeing examples of all of our hibiscus (I think I have 6-7 total). We almost got seeds to plant that one you mentioned, but didn't act fast enough, but we vow to grow it next year and get it in early. So it's an annual down your way too? Park Seed has the seeds, and we'll definitely get some for next year, and the only things we have that top 12' are the Green Castors (though currently it's only about 3-4' tall, but it will shoot up soon).

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Janet,
No Triffids here, lol. But we do have the castors, which are almost as terrifying to our one neighbor who hates them.

I read and loved that book when I was a kid, and the old British film version from the 60's is actually very good, if you haven't seen it. I didn't know the BBC had done a series ... may have to check that out if I ever run out of stuff to watch, lol. My DVR has so many movies I've recorded we never seem to find the time to watch them.

Around here, when we have some big scary plant, we call it a 'Cthulu' plant ... a few years ago Fernymoss let a horrible Poke Weed go (against my protestations) and we only earlier this year finally killed it off! Never again!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Still haven't made it over to the palooza, but hope to soon! Sorry about that!

The blooms will be posted very soon, in fact a I may put up another preview tonight, but will have an extended post sometime later this week!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Daisy!
Hibiscus are really easy to grow once they're established, though I wonder if they're hardy to your zone. :-( Officially, they're hardy from Zones 5a to 9a, and I suspect you may be lower than 5?

If not, you'd probably be fine. If you're in 4, it might make it with protection in the winter, and since it doesn't emerge until late May, you might just be able to pull it off! Maybe you should ask around Missoula to see if anyone has grown it successfully there. If not, there's an annual variety that you could handle ... see Mother Nature's comment above... she says it gets to 12 ft down her way! (TN)

Check out my previous posts (just hit the label below the post for them) for more information, and I'll also have a more extended post up sometime this week.

Annie in Austin said...

My Blue River II's are few in number with this weather - the buds still look like ice cream cones, but from a cheap vendor.

But at least they bloom - the native Texas Star hibiscus is barely alive with no flowers at all this year.

Back in spring 1993 I bought one plant of Blue River II from Park, and planted it in our Illinois garden. In 1999 we brought a division along when we moved to Austin. I'm very interested to see the original Blue River, IVG.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Annie!
Maybe you should give it a bit of a watering? (Maybe you are already doing this?) We hardly ever water ours unless it wilts and it does just fine, but then we're not in TX!

I've been trying to reassure Mr. McGregor's Daughter that she can grow 'Kopper King' successfully over her way, because for us at least, aside from propping up 'Blue River' they really don't ask much of us, even in full summer.

Annie in Austin said...

People with sprinklers can water at certain hours on two days of the week, depending on address number. Hand watering is allowed.
But it doesn't matter how much you hand water when you're in a drought and have had already experienced over 45 days where the temperature was over 100°F.

Some Austin garden bloggers are considering letting everything die.

Annie

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Again Annie,
I should have known you probably had water restrictions in effect, duh on me. I bet you're really missing IL with that kind of weather you've had this year! I expect everyone pretty much stays indoors these days ... we've had heat indices of up to 110 recently, but that actual temp has yet (and probably won't) crack the century mark.

I'll have to read that post you linked to ... oh, and did I tell you that I have The Fall on pre-order at Amazon? It comes out on Sept. 9 and they have a good price on it if you pre-order now... just fyi!