Floral Friday: Sept. 22

While this tree doesn't yet have a permanent home in my garden, I purchased it when I visited Philadelphia, Pa., in early June.  I had found Bartram's Gardens during a Google search to find a botanical day trip while my husband attended his coaching class. I had no idea that I was about to stumble upon one of the first American nurseries. And the Franklin tree. 

During my trip, I became enamored with the lore behind the tree. According to the Bartram's Garden website: "the signature tree, Franklinia alatamaha, was discovered by John and William Bartram in 1765 along the Altamaha River in southern Georgia." While I was on the garden tour at Bartram's, I learned how it took several years for Bartram to find the plant again after its initial discovery. It was difficult to find the plant when it was not in bloom, and while maps were created to find the location, it was still difficult to track down.

William Bartram was able to bring the seed back to the Philadelphia garden in 1777 (12 years later) and named the plant Franklinia, in honor of Benjamin Franklin, his father’s close friend. This is one of America's first rare plants, as it only grew in that one area in Georgia. In fact, the plant has not been found in the wild since the early 19th century, but thanks to the cultivation by the Bartrams, it was essentially saved from extinction. 

The part that sealed the deal for me: All current Franklin trees are descended from those grown by the Bartrams.

You mean I could have a piece of early American history growing in my garden?

Of course I wanted it!

So I made room for it in the car and brought it back to Connecticut with me. (My husband was actually very understanding when I arrived to pick him up from class with a tree in the back seat.) Since then it has lived on the back patio as I continue to try to decide the perfect location to grow the tree in my garden. 

But this week it bloomed, and I can see how the flower caught the Bartrams' attention when they first discovered it back in the 1700s. 



I love it! The blossoms resemble a camilla blossom. (To learn more about the tree and the Bartrams, click here.) I still need to figure out a well-draining, acidic area to plant this tree. The pressure is on. Especially since I need to get it into the ground before winter arrives!

Also stealing the show this week are my Hollywood Hibiscus plants. These are three past varieties that I have grown and overwintered indoors. Below is 'First to Arrive':


And 'Bloom Bash' (which also has an orange flower too):


Here's Hollywood Hibiscus, 'Social Butterfly', which I first started to grow last year.


As for edibles, the Kieffer pears are just about ready for picking.



The large container in the back garden is still looking impressive. I'm now thinking multiple large containers might be a good solution for the back garden, the perimeter of which is surrounded by black walnut and maple trees, a combo of of juglone in the soil from the black walnut and dry conditions due to the maple tree roots.


What's blooming in your garden this week?

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