My First Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day

by Patrick Muir on July 12, 2014

7:11 Mandevilla CloseupGarden Bloggers Bloom Day encourages all gardeners to show what is blooming in their garden on the 15th of each month and share with the gardening blogosphere. I’m sure if I could get out of my wheelchair and had two good arms, so I could hold a camera, it wouldn’t have taken almost five years of blogging to participate in my first GBBD. I forgot my old ad agency buddy Rick fancied photography so he’s graciously agreed to help with GBBD.  It’s also high time because I’m progressing past just windowboxes to bigger containers. We have two major patios here at Trinity off each major dining room but the majority of the extra pots are on the patio closer to me which is justified since most pots came from my former home garden or my Mum’s patio as she’s slowing down in her garden commitments.

The image below is taken from the back wall of the courtyard. As you can see, we’ve been very busy especially since I spent the whole month in of May in hospital, and only really got started in early June. I found the old birdbath tucked away behind bushes at Trinity and thought it’d make a cool planter, so I filled with rocks so the pots don’t get soaked with excess water. It’s going to be fun seeing this larger variegated plectranthus spill all over the sides.7:11 Full Pation from Birdbath

7:11 Light Post 1Now for a closer look around the planters, as you enter the patio or look from inside the main dining room garden, you’re greeted by a stunning, standard oleander (a standard just means the lower branches have been removed to create a pleasing top). They bring back memories as we had several in our Sydney garden and my in grandmother’s garden on the edge of the Outback.But my lasting memory is tragic because I thought my little turtle needed some greenery in his tank, so I included a small sprig of branch and … killed him… because they’re so poisonous. But I still love them.

The lamp post isn’t a functioning one and I recently found out it was added to prevent people hitting their head on the edge of the hard metal and canvas awning on the dining room window. Now that’s smart designing. Don’t you think? At the base of the oleander, you can’t see three dark purple alternanthera creating a stage for an ultra-lush creeping jenny. And to the left is a hybrid sanseveria, or mother-in-law’s tongue, that I’ve quite smitten with right now. 7:11 Oleander Lamp Post 2   7:11 Senorita Bianca

A hallmark of a refined British gardener back in the day was to include an all white garden (Check out Sissinghurst Castle). As white tends to be the weakest of the varieties (think albinos), only the best gardener could manage a garden of all white (Or more accurately, only the best employee manager could sustain such a garden). So in my own humble way, this is my salute to Sissinghurst featuring ‘Señorita Bianca’ cleome flanked by some lush scaveols and a couple of dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ for additional texture in this monochromatic presentation. 7:11 Fountaingrass Stand with pots  

Can’t wait to see the drama fulfilled in this corner of the patio. The center planter is a two-foot wide basket from the Kinsman Company I had fashioned into this stylish planter. The center is the ubiquitous purple fountain grass but rarely is it given such a high profile presentation and should look smashing against the burgundy awning. It’s surrounded by the Scaveola White and ‘Lemon Gem’ lantana. The two shorter varieties of sanserveria in the glazed planters will join the taller one by the lamp post in my low-light room at the end of the season. 7:11 Senorita Rosalita

The Cleome Señorita Bianca’s sister Señorita Rosalita’s feathery foliage makes a nice foil to the big, bold coloring of these huge Kong coleus. One of the keys to the Señorita series is the fact they are sterile and don’t waste a lot of energy producing all those long seedpods that give cleome its nickname of spider flower. Will be interesting to see if I can bridle the coleus back so as to not overwhelm the cleome. Have been able to do so in my windowboxes. Big disappointment here is a whimsy white lantana that will be shaded over soon enough. The other white/cream lantana I’m growingly in this position.

Well it was too early in the morning for the portulaca ‘Pazazz’ to put on its show but you get the feeling. I want to do my best to ensure the ornamental pepper ‘Purple Flash’ doesn’t get overwhelmed by the gold lantana because the gold flowers with the shiny purple peppers are quite special. 7:11 Yellow Lantana Portulaca

I’m not a real fan of pink flowers (I think it’s the alpha male in me — big HA HA) so I’ve never felt the attraction of the pink mandevilla vine that was the only option for so many years. But now Sun Parasol Giant Crimson has exploded in growth fueled by phenomenal performance in field trials including our local Prairie Star Trials.  In a brilliant marketing move, I was able to pick up a large pot with both Giant Crimson and the white on quite an impressive 2′ trellis. Such an impressive specimen I felt I was cheating somehow. But I had our maintenance guy Paul string three lines of thick aware along our already impressive black patio railing. He’s being very diligent in using pull ties to encourage the vines to meander along the wires and railings. I’ve also challenged him to guide the vines to create a dynamic mix of both red and white on each side. Will be interesting to see how far it proceeds along the railing by end of season.

7:11 Mandevilla on Fence 27:11 Mandevilla on Fence7:11 Mandevilla Closeup Well the tools are in place to do GBBD each month. Only overlook this time is I accidentally hit the publish button before the 15th. Sometimes I do a little fumbling when I’m typing with one arm. Will work on that for next month. I really feel I’ve accomplished something cool here. Thanks so much, Rick . Aint nothing stopping me now, friends!

Patrick's Garden

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome July 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Look at you, right on top of things and even early for July’s bloom day! You certainly put my usually late self to shame! Nice containers. I especially like the white one with the cleome in the center. I don’t do much monochromatic designing, but that one makes me think I should!

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Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome July 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Glad I came back today to read the real commentary! I guess I was too quick on the uptake last night! Early is not a bad thing, unless you’ve been invited to dinner at my house! Show up too early for that, and you’re likely to get handed a knife and pointed toward the salad ingredients!

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Patrick July 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

Hey Kimberley,

Just noticed I hadn’t replied to your comment in a timely manner seems it must have fallen through the cracks. I’ve always been intrigued by le jardin blanc (thank you to my beleaguered french teachers who put up with me for four years so I can use this solitary phrase) since we did have English and Scottish gardeners in my suburb of Sydney who must have romanced about the concept at early age.

I just wish Señorita Bianca was more of a robust beauty but the scaveola are making up for it with their myriad of a floral display. I’m also growing Señorita Rosalita but I don’t think it’s an attractive plant because although it blooms its head off, where the traditional cleome would be putting out engaging seedpods (at least), Rosalita leaves are really elongated with ugly wiry stems. Big disappointment for a plant I’ve seen recommended and utilized by previous bloggers. I chopped off all the flower stems and am starting all over again with the beaten up foliage plant. Will be interesting to see how it responds to the tough love

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snowbird July 13, 2014 at 11:46 am

Everything is looking tickity-boo….I love it all.xxx

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Patrick July 20, 2014 at 6:57 am

Hey sb,

Don’t recall receiving tickity-boo as a compliment before but I’m pleased to take it none the less.

Take care,

Patrick

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AnnetteM July 13, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Welcome to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Never mind that you are early – much better than being late as I usually am. Your containers are looking fantastic – I especially like the purple fountain grass one. Mother-in-law’s tongue brings back memories for me – it was a mother’s day present that I actually remember buying for my Mum as a houseplant many years ago. I don’t have a very good memory so it is strange that it should stick in there quite vividly. I even remember the salesperson telling me to keep it out of the wind on the way home.

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Patrick July 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

Hey Annette,
Appreciate the invitation and glad to be here, nonetheless. Nice to have vivid memories of the endearing past that are so special to you.
Best,
Patrick

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New Hampshire Gardener July 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

The container gardens are beautiful Patrick. It’s a good thing that you’re doing-just think of how much joy they must bring to the other residents and staff. I like the coleus. I’ve never heard of Kong coleus.
I used to work for a lady who hard a large garden with nothing but white flowers. Everything, from the lilacs down to her car and two long haired cats was white. The house was gray, but only so the white flowers would look even whiter against it.

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Patrick July 23, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Hey my Northern friend,

So glad you enjoyed the post and you can tell I really enjoyed myself.

Thanks for sharing your white lady story. She would have gone crazy at Sissinghurst Castle but who knows, maybe she did visit and wanted to paint an homage to it in her own yard — things that make you go hmmm.

Thanks for stopping by,

Patrick

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Peter/Outlaw July 21, 2014 at 3:47 am

Your blooms are lovely, Patrick! So glad that you joined the GBBD party and that I found your blog!

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Thanks for your encouraging words, Peter. Hope to work on a good relationship with you now we’ve established something between our two blogs.
Best,
Patrick

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Shirley July 21, 2014 at 7:21 am

The patio looks so inviting with all those great container combinations you put together. I’m amazed by the coleus options available in the garden centers now. Your white garden is looking good and so much easier to maintain. I’ve tried it too and added at lot of silvery and variegated foliage to help the sparsely flowering plants along. I haven’t tried the Sun Parasol Mandevilla variety and I like the combination you chose.

Many thanks to your friend Rick for showing us the results of your research and planning.

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Patrick July 23, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hey Shirley,

Thanks for the kudos. Yes the coleus options prey upon my bipolar side something awful. Besides the Kongs, I thing my favorite is ‘Molten Fire’ which I think it looks like for all the world like a japanese maple.

Thanks for visiting.

Patrick

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Dorothy/The Nature of Things July 25, 2014 at 6:47 am

What a beautiful garden you have! So glad you have joined the GBBD party. It’s one of my favorite memes. I love visiting gardens around the world each month to see what is blooming and I look forward to adding you to my list.

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Hey Dorothy,
Thanks for visiting and so glad to hear you’re adding me to your list. Look forward to chatting again soon.
Best,
Patrick

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Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening July 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

Welcome to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and your first post! Your gardens are lovely and so inviting and I love all your wonderful planters with the different combinations of blooms and foliage. Looking forward to more of your gardens!

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Hey Lee,
Glad to be here. Thanks for the kudos. Look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.
Thanks for visiting,
Patrick

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Pauline July 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

Patrick, I am seriously impressed with all your beautiful pots, they make the patio look so welcoming and colourful! You have so many wonderful flowers for your first GBBD, i hope we will be seeing more each month.
Your standard Oleander is really beautiful, I feel tempted to try one here. I also love your red and white Mandevilla, that is going to be fantastic when the vines climb along the fence. I don’t know how I missed this post, so sorry for the lateness of my reply!

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Hey Pauline,
No worries as we say back home. Thank you for your heartfelt compliments. I do appreciate them so much. I plan to be a perennial member of the GBBD community from here on out.
You just pointed out the two heroes of the patio right now and I think you should try the oleander but focus on the ‘Giant Crimson’ mandevilla as it is the big award winner.
Thanks for visiting,
Patrick

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Donna@GardensEyeView July 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

Patrick this is fabulous. I always admire gardeners who can plant trees, shrubs, vines and flowers in pots and make them look as if they were planted in the ground. I would say you have out done yourself. And I really love that Giant Crimson. It will look gorgeous as it winds itself along the railing.

You have accomplished much for your first GBBD and I cannot wait to see these pots fill in and spill out all over this incredible garden!! I will be taking many notes from you and your containers…I have a lot to learn to be sure….

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hey Donna,
Fabulous, you say??? Thanks so much coming from such an accomplished gardener like yourself. Hope to start larger containers for small trees for bigger impact in the future. You must try ‘Giant Crimson’ next year as it is even more impressive in person and can’t wait to have multiples in the same area next year.
Thanks,
Patrick

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rusty duck July 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hi Patrick, it’s great to see you on GBBD!
The patio looks magnificent and I like how you’ve had the containers arranged so that you can get up close to admire the blooms. Love the fountain grass basket, it goes really well with that awning!

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Hey Rusty,
Thanks for the supporting kudos. I space the containers out so residents and visitors can get up close and personal with the plants. Thanks for stopping by.
Best,
Patrick

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Mark and Gaz July 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Thank you for visiting our blog Patrick, which made us discover your fab blog :) your blooms are lovely and I’m glad you’ve finally joined the meme.

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Patrick July 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Hey guys,
Appreciate you coming by to take a look around. Look forward to seeing you again soon.
Best,
Patrick

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Cheryl July 26, 2014 at 5:02 am

What a wonderful space you have created! I am supremely jealous of your mandevilla as mine inexplicably dropped all of it’s leaves. At first I though it was chlorotic but the iron did not seem to help. I am still hoping it will leaf out again .I hope you will post pictures later when the birdbath is overflowing with foliage…what a clever idea!

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Cheryl July 26, 2014 at 5:02 am

What a wonderful space you have created! I am supremely jealous of your mandevilla as mine inexplicably dropped all of it’s leaves. At first I though it was chlorotic but the iron did not seem to help. I am still hoping it will leaf out again .I hope you will post pictures later when the birdbath is overflowing with foliage…what a clever idea!

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Patrick July 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

Hey Cheryl,
Good luck with your mandevilla, as it must be so hard to watch. Yes, I’m pretty psyched about the bird bath as well.
Best,
Patrick

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Chloris July 26, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I love all your pots. I have two Oleanders but I never thought of growing them as standards, yours looks great. I am mad on the red Mandevilla too, I ‘ ve only seen pink ones before. It all does you great credit. Your dedication in the face of such challenging circumstances is an inspiration to us all.

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Patrick July 27, 2014 at 10:24 am

Hey Chloris,
Appreciate the kind words, my dear. You must try ‘Giant Crimson’ for yourself.
Best,
Patrick

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Kris P July 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hi Patrick! Thank you for visiting my blog and for providing me the opportunity to link up to yours. Your potted plants are beautiful! I too have a birdbath I use as a planter but mine is full of succulents (as befits our current drought condition). I love the Cleome but have been hesitant to try it in my garden because of its reputation for indiscriminate self-seeding but, as you’ve pointed me in the direction of the sterile Senorita variety, I’ll have to give it a try.

I’m glad you joined in on Bloom Day and I look forward to your future posts.

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Patrick July 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi Kris,
Thanks for visiting my humble abode. Would love to see your birdbath. I’d try ‘Bianca’ over ‘Rosalita’ after the performance I’ve seen in just the last two weeks.
Best,
Patrick

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Dorothy July 26, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hi Patrick, I enjoyed my visit to your blog! You have created a very attractive patio area.
I especially like the cleomes. I grew three ‘Senorita Rosalitas’ last year and they bloomed the entire summer right up until frost, and they never once complained about the heat! I didn’t know about her sister, ‘Bianca,’ but she would have been welcome in my garden, too! I did not see ‘Rosalita’ at the local nurseries this year, but hopefully she will return next year. Your mandevilla is stunning, and I will look forward to seeing its progress!

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Patrick July 27, 2014 at 10:17 am

Hey Dorothy,
Thanks for your kind words. I can’t wait to see the mandevilla vines take off either.
Thanks for visiting.
Patrick

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Sarah/Galloping Horse Garden July 28, 2014 at 6:19 am

I’m impressed! You definitely have a talent for containers. I’ve been eyeing that red mandevilla also and now that I’ve seen it on your blog, I may spring for one next year. Sadly, I am truly awful at designing containers and can’t even manage that thriller/filler/spiller thing. So it’s one plant, one pot for me.

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Patrick September 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for the kudos but I challenge you to keep trying the T/F/S formula. Life’s too short for one plant per pot.

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Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern July 28, 2014 at 7:38 am

Beautiful! I love the containers – what fantastic combinations. If I lived in a warmer clime I would HAVE to grow Oleander poisonous or not. Love the bird bath! I just stashed away an old bird bath and now I know just what to do with it. That Mandevilla is going to steal the whole show – oh, no, wait, there is that purple fountain, too. Love how you fashioned that container! Thanks for inviting me – such a treat.

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Patrick September 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for such vibrant comment. Glad it got your juices flowing.
Best,
Patrick

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thesalemgarden July 29, 2014 at 3:09 am

Hi Patrick! Your work is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for your comment on The Salem Garden! You might be interested in the container/adaptive gardening that I’m doing at my work. Our blog there is http://www.bassrivergarden.wordpress.com I’ll be following you! Michele at The Salem Garden (and Bass River Gardens).

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John Richmond July 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Hi Patrick

A bit late in following up your comment on my blog but it’s a pleasure to pop over and see what you’re up to. Looks like you’re a bit warmer than me for the summer months. Oleander can survive – but it’s not hot enough in SW England to flower well. No matter, there’s plenty of other plants to grow.

The important thing is to make the best of what you’ve got and enjoy the gardening. You obviously do.

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Patrick September 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

So nice to hear from you. I agree with your philosophy to play to your strengths, no matter what they be for best results.

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Jayne September 1, 2014 at 7:26 am

I saw the oleander and was keen to ask a question as I have two in my new garden and know nothing about them. But I read on, and you answered it! It is poisonous – sorry for the turtle! Hope you will show follow ups on those beautiful planters! Happy Labor Day – I am spending mine watching the osprey can on http://www.explore.com. They reportedly are about to migrate to South America – I feel like I am in Maine!

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Patrick September 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Hey Jayne,
Will show off Mandevilla in next GBBD post. What a gift to have osprey in your world. Drink them in for me, Jayne

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