Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

Crazy weather seems to be the norm in the Chicago area this spring, and now summer.  A derecho blew through our area suddenly last night, but didn't seem to cause much damage in our garden.  The minor hail damage on the foliage in this post is from another recent storm.  In spite of our crazy weather so far this season though, wildflowers are thriving in our garden.  

I may have made peace with Ruellia humilis, a native petunia who likes to sprawl and seed herself all over the place.  I pinched them back hard in early May, and even with our record rains, they are standing upright.  As for the rampant self-seeding, last year after they bloomed I cut them way back again, and this spring we've had only a few seedlings.  So as long as I can keep them in check, they'll be sticking around.

Tradescantia Ohiensis - Ohio spiderwort is another purple-flowering native blooming in our garden this month.  The spiderworts bloom well in a pretty shady area, while the ruellias weren't happy there at all and are now situated in full sun in our front foundation landscape.

Asclepias purpurascens - purple milkweed, has been here a few years, and has never set set seeds yet.  I've seen hummingbirds nectaring on these blooms for the first time this year, and hope they're doing some pollinating in the process.  I'd love to be able to collect seeds from this gorgeous plant.  It's the only asclepias that has thrived and bloomed in our part-sun garden.

  I think this is Oenethera fruticosa - narrow-leaf evening primrose.  I had these many years ago in a previous garden. They were passalong plants back then, and the gardening neighbor who shared them with me called them sundrops.

It's hard to pick a favorite June-blooming native in our garden.  If I had to, Indian pink  (Spigelia marilandica) might be the one.  Their red and yellow blooms are unique and so interesting.  Although hummingbirds are said to love these, I've yet to see them visit ours.   I'd hoped to see some seedlings here.  Since none have appeared after four years, last fall I divided our single plant and now there are two.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Bloom Day

It's been an extraordinary June, and an all-around extraordinary spring in the Chicago area.  It's been the polar-opposite of spring 2012.  Last spring was hot and very, very dry.  This spring has been very cool, with record rainfall.  

The garden is lush, full, green, and a little bit holey thanks to an old-fashioned thunderstorm complete with hail and a flattened garden earlier this week.  The photos were taken that day, before the hail that left its mark in the garden and on our patio furniture.  The blooms are all still here though, even the bellflowers the bunnies usually mow down.  The ones blooming are guarded with little fences.

  Purple alliums are done, and white ones are just starting.  The bunnies never touch the alliums.

The mini-rose the Lawn Man gave me years ago still thrives, and just gets better every year.  The bunnies prune it for us every winter.

 'Rozanne' is a little slow getting started this year.

 'Marmalade' has been here a long time.  'Mocha' is a more recent addition.  I will admit to a minor heuchera addiction.

Geranium 'Biokovo'  is winding down.  That old potted pelargonium in the background has spent many winters in the basement.

'May Night' salvia

'Blue Hill' salvia.  Might be time to divide these.

'Happy Returns' daylily is staying warm within the foliage this June.

'Black Lace' sambucus is blooming.  Elderberry wine anyone?

Three 'Pure Joy' sedums, for three granddaughters.  Last year at Walters Gardens Media Day, I won one for the pure joy of our identical twins' birth.  This year the nice people at Walters Gardens sent me three more to trial.  The one from last year is for my grandson now, because he's the oldest.  The new ones are blooming already, and the one I received last year is so cute with it's mounded self and pretty foliage.  Sedums do fantastically well in our part-sun, normally very dry garden.  It's not dry this year, and the sedums are equally as happy with all the rain.

I love lamium.  It really lights up a shady spot.

These Alpine strawberries were grown from seeds from Renee's Garden a few years ago.  From sometime in April, all the way through frost these pretty, runnerless plants bloom, and I eat a handful of little berries almost every day.

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum is native in Great Britain, and thrives in our garden.

Can't remember now which nepeta this is.  It's shorter than Walker's Low. 

'Husker Red' penstemon in a newer bed way in the back corner.  All the little fences thwart the bunnies.  They work, and we don't see them from a distance.

This gorgeous paniculata hydrangea came home with me from Walters Garden last summer.  It's even bigger and better this year.  Can't wait to see 'Quick Fire' bloom any day now.  It has a little fence too.  It's the only way hydrangeas survive around here.  I've lost a few hydrangeas to bunnies.

Winterberry hollies will be blooming any minute.  This one is the male.  I took this photo yesterday - you can see some minor hail damage on the foliage.  It's mostly unscathed though, since it's in a protected spot.

Dragon Wing begonias . . . love . . .even with a few holes in the foliage now.

We're doing less pots around here this year, and zero impatiens.  But the Lawn Man was looking back at old garden photos and found one of New Guinea impatiens and bacopa in a hanging basket.  He wanted to do that again.  I substituted Scaevola for the bacopa.  I think it  holds up better all season long.  He doesn't remember what that hanging basket looked like in August, but I do.  Next year I might do this again with orange New Guineas and blue Scaevola.  

It's been a very unusual spring in Chicagoland.  It's so, so green.  It's beautiful relief after last year's drought.  We've had more than enough rain so far.  We could do without the hail and severe weather.  I hope it will be a good year for farmers and gardeners. We all could use a break.

To see more Bloom Day posts, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.