Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July Bloom Day 2008-A Wide Variety

As we were assembling this month's bloom day photos for the flower extravaganza sponsored by super blogger Carol at
May Dreams Gardens, it was noticed that the flowers open now are as wide a range of types as any other time during the year. You will see what I am talking about in this post. Most of the orchids we grow bloom during the winter months, that is the object of having them, exotic flowers in the greenhouse/sunroom during those dreary days. But here is Paphiopedilum Honey 'Newberry' x Paph. primulinus 'Lemon Glow', with even more buds showing for future flowers in the dog days of summer. The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. There is a growing bud on another of the paphs as well, hooray!
This vanda alliance hybrid usually give us three blooms a year.
More seasonal is this coneflower, echinacea 'Sundown'.
We couldn't resist E. 'Coconut Lime'.
E. 'Harvest Moon' has been a good performer also.
Roses grown here include old fashioned or antique roses such as this R. 'Grootendorst Supreme', we have nicknamed this one Thorny. Even the leaves have sharp spikes.
Rosa' Ferdinand Pitchard' is unscathed by the Japanese beetles so far, thanks to Jersey and her milk jug of soapy water.
Dahlias have been known to winter over here, so we like to give them a try. This is a brand new one, no cultivar name. Lowe's refers to it as *annual dahlia*, we hope for this to be perennial dahlia instead. It could happen. For those of you sensitive souls who have an aversion to red and yellow, what do you think of the addition of the orange from our little friend the Pearl Crescent?
We have had luck overwintering the seed started D. 'Bishop's Children', when we don't try and move them mid season that is. I like the washed out color on this one. The dark leaves earned it a place in the black garden, surrounded by taller shrubs to help protect it against the ravages of winter.
Another annual one with iridescence to the petals. I'll let you know next spring if these made it or not.
Searching for the truest blue of the eryngiums, this flower and stem seemed the darkest hued.
Followed by this one.
Here is the whole plant, showing many blossoms of varying shades of steely blue next to it's new best friend, Helenium 'Mardi Gras'.
The blue balloon flower, platycodon, a passalong from neighbors Mae and Mickey offers cool color during the hot days.
We love the white one too, with it's blue veining.
Monarda 'Blue Stockings' is visited by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
As is the red M. 'Jacob Kline'.
The first flower opened of the rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' group. This little bee wants some pollen, but the actual flowers in the center don't appear to be open for business just yet. Or maybe those at the outer edge are available for the early diners. The brown plate special.
The white phlox paniculata 'David' is enjoying it's new home in the white/yellow garden. Blooming next to it is rudbeckia hirta, the annual gloriosa daisy. In the background is echinacea 'Harvest Moon'.
The old fashioned no name phlox paniculata from Mae and Mickey is very tall and mixes well with the other bright colors of the summer garden. Paniculata means tall when it is seen in the latin name of a plant.
This morning glory snuck by me and bloomed in the pyracantha bushes. We are overrun with all colors of these as they carpeted the top of the hill when we bought this property. Many years of seeds are buried in that soil, and germinate everywhere. We try and catch them all now, but mistakenly let them bloom in the beginning when there was lots of open garden space to fill. The flowers are admittedly lovely, but too many seeds!
Another plant that came with the property is this prunella vulgaris, self heal is one of the common names. According to some laboratory studies, prunella has many potential benefits, including anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-oxidant properties. It is an evergreen rosette in the winter and flowers mid summer with these charming little blue trumpets. At twelve inches tall it fits in nicely with the penstemons in the old gravel driveway of the house next door that was torn down to build our garage. A volunteer purple perilla lends dark mystery to the vignette.
The first zinnia of the year, one of the self sown. The butterflies and hummers are mad for these flowers. We sowed many packages of seeds this spring, too soon, and they all rotted in the too cool soil. We bought more and those are up but not flowering yet.
On the new arbor minus the climbing rose Killer, the crossvine, Bignonia 'Tangerine Beauty' is happily winding its way across the top.
Tiny purple flowers of moss verbena stand out against the dark leaves of groundcover ajuga reptans. Growing in the concrete swan planters is a tough task, the pot portion is small, letting the moisture dry out very quickly. The verbena is well suited to the dryness, a native of the south, we grew it in our Houston garden. It shall be seen if it can overwinter here.
The southern standby crepe myrtle is opening. We have several cultivars here and there, this one is Zuni, two stand sentinel at each end of the center curb planting.
A pink oriental lily, name unknown, as it was a free gift from Wayside last year with the purchase of some viburnums. A package of three, two are this light pink and one was Stargazer. That was a pretty good freebie.
Liatris spicata in the yellow/white bed. It was supposed to be white.
Seeds from Semi of the annual scabiosa atropurpurea produce red, purple and near black flowering plants. They are in the black garden and give candy colored accent to the dark foliage.
Blackberry lily, belamcanda chinensis, with hornet attached was given as seed by friend Laurie years ago. We have faithfully saved the seeds and planted them in this bed by the shed where the eryngium, helenium and stipa call home, trying for a mass planting some day.
Nastursium 'Alaska' seeds were sown in the blue strawberry jar in the driveway.
The leaves are the thing here, the flowers are a bonus.
Also from seed, new to us this year is cerinthe purpurescens. While not as purple as the photo on the seed packet, we are liking them so far. In the background the Japanese blood grass is showing good color. This grass is planted along the forty foot wall behind the main house as a common thread, along with scores of other plants. I love the look of the sun backlighting the red blades.
The wall is just at chest height for me to walk along and pull weeds and tend the flowers growing along it. The containers are all here also to soften the look of the block and are within easy reach of the hose spigot to keep their thirsts quenched. This is micro gardening at its best. I can pull a stray weed, pinch a spent bloom and admire the growth without getting dirty or working up a sweat. Lining the path is a sea of purple perilla. They are very close to being pulled for they have grown too tall and will get much taller, about four feet. I don't like to wade through that much foliage to get to the wall and the deck. A few will be left but they should not be allowed to flower. I say that every year, that is why we have what you see above now. This year I mean it. No flowering.
This is the segment of flowers coming to the end of their season. The larkspur was the best ever this year, planted in the veggie garden at the same time as the sugar snap peas. We are allowing the seed heads to form for next year's sowing. We cannot grow delphiniums here, but these relatives offer that same true blue color.
The last two flowers of crocosmia 'Lucifer' look striking against the foliage of ninebark 'Summer Wine', Physocarpus opulifolious 'Summer Wine', in the black garden. There are seed heads forming, what should be done with them? Does anyone know when to sow them? Just let them drop to the ground, or harvest and save them for special treatment?
Another last bloom, this one of nigella. Most of these have been pulled to keep from having them engulf the entire yard. We still love that blue though.
Dianthus 'Firewitch' sends out sporadic lone flowers long after the big spring show. They too are welcome now.
But the strangest of all is the new flowers blooming on the hellebore. It must be the extra watering that this area has been given, where the hydrangeas now live, around ferngully. It is disconcerting to see these February flowers blooming now.
Even more jarring is seeing these pansies blooming. The plant as a whole looks terrible, but these individual flowers are welcome.
A little tattered but still our Maureen.
Miss Charlotte is still a looker.
Proof of the true season, the Autumn Joy sedum is going from broccoli to pink powderpuff stage. Backed by Blue Star junipers with some wayward Japanese painted fern peeking up, these flowers mean fall is coming. They even have Autumn in the name.

There has been rain here over the last few days. It comes in brief cloud bursts accompanied by thunder and lightning. These storms have added over three inches of water to the gardens and it is much welcomed by the plants and gardener alike. Keep it comin'.