Sunday, September 9, 2018

Welcome Late Bloomers

Magnolia 'Jane' bud
As a comment on my last post, my fellow Kansas blogger Br. Placidus asked if my garden had "burst into bloom like a desert after a storm?" following the recent rains.  Yesterday, as I was mowing, I saw that it was indeed coming alive, new growth perking up here and there, and of course, weeds and more weeds everywhere!  I'm trying to stay ahead of the weeds, but the crabgrass is advancing on a massive front and I'm being flanked and overrun left and right.  There are a few sporadic roses blooming, primarily 'Polar Ice' and 'Iobelle', but many are showing a few buds and suggesting I should have hope for a late September R. rugosa rampage.

Lagerstroemia 'Centennial Spirit'
Oddly though, the plants that are the most visible bloomers right now are plants that I wouldn't have even tried to grow in my garden two decades ago, those I would have been afraid to attempt when I was solidly Zone 5.  The crape myrtles in the garden are all presently blooming profusely, beacons of color spotted around the garden.  In fact, Mrs. ProfessorRoush, peering from the gloom of the house during one of the recent rains, asked me if the bright red plant 80 feet away was a red rose.  Nope, Honey, that's 'Centennial Spirit', which annually reaches around 4-6 feet in my garden (4 feet in this drought year). and then dies back every year.  Thankfully, crape myrtles are one flower that rain doesn't seem to blanch or destroy.

Lagerstroemia 'Tonto'
The other crapes that I have, red and short 'Cherry Dazzle', tall and slender white 'Natchez', a lavender crape myrtle saved from a city bed destined for destruction, and squat purple-pink 'Tonto', are all blooming now as well.  'Tonto', pictured at right, sits as the lone tall plant in a bed of daylilies, anchoring the bed for me and drawing attention away from the weeds among the daylilies at this time of year. 

The most surprising bloomer however, is magnolia hybrid 'Jane', one of the 'Little Girl' ‘hybrids developed at the National Arboretum in the mid-1950's by Francis DeVos and William Kosar.  A cross between M. liliiflora ‘Nigra’ and M. stellata ‘Rosea’, 'Jane' blooms about two weeks later than M. stellata in my garden, usually profusely in early April and usually just in time to get its petals browned by a late frost.  What most printed sources don't tell you, but I've seen several times, is that 'Jane' will repeat bloom, albeit less prolifically, in the fall. I've seen occasional blooms on my darker-pink 'Ann' as well, although she seems to be lacking them this year.  I did find one forum entry that discussed reblooming of liliacs, and one of the respondents indicated that M. stellata, M. liliiflora, and M. loebneri may rebloom in summer.  Since 'Jane' and 'Ann' are hybrids of the two former species, I guess it makes a little sense to see them rebloom.  Sporadic though they might be, that brief promise of magnolia fragrance in the off-season is a welcome gift from my garden. 

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering how your roses faired after the drought. I am not shocked that the Crepe Myrtles are alive and well and in bloom, considering their origin. They get quite huge down south where I am from (my first college, Auburn University, had a road lined with 25' or taller ones) but nice to see they get along okay up here.

    There are a couple large magnolia specimens on Benedictine College's campus, which our monastery butts up against. I have seen a few of the larger ones put out a modest second showing around the start of the academic year a few times now.

    Here's to the nice weather we're supposed to have in the coming week! If only it wasn't school season!


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