Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

Normally starting to bloom in July, Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower), like quite a few others this year, is blooming a bit later than usual.  The cooler-than-usual spring and early summer may be responsible, or maybe it's because I pinched them to help prevent sprawling.  It's the first time I've pinched them.  I hoped it wouldn't prevent them from blooming, and it didn't.  I definitely like them better more upright.  I don't think the hummingbirds care.  Cardinal flowers attract hummingbirds here like nothing else except the fuchsias we pot up every year.

Spigelia marilandica/Indian Pinks are reblooming!  They usually do, though not as prolifically as their initial bloom in June.

Helenium autumnale, a/k/a sneezeweed, just getting started.

Earlier in the season somebunny chewed Elymus hystrix (bottlebrush grass) to the ground.  It rebounded, and is blooming here for the first time.  We started bottlebrush grass from seeds Monica sent in spring 2012.  She sent seeds for several native grasses, and all were very easy to start and grow. I put it here in this messy-looking border in front.  I'm still working on convincing the Lawn man we need to yank the ugly yews and Euonymus.  I think I'm getting closer . . .

Monarda fistulosa isn't blooming in the original spot I planted it.  I moved a clump to a sunnier spot this spring, and I'm happy to see it doing so well here.

Joe Pye weed, formerly known as Eupatorium purpureum, now Eutrochium purpureum,  was a flopping mildewed mess and hardly bloomed at all during last summer's heat and drought.  They've recovered beautifully this year, though not quite as tall as usual.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I really wish 'they' would quit re-classifying and re-naming plants.  It took me a long time to learn so many botanical names, and I'm getting too old for this!

Related to Joe Pye, I believe, this volunteer mystery plant appears to be a eutrochium/eupatorium.  For the first time, it decided it wanted to turn a nice dusty pink this year.  We lost a spruce that gave this plant a lot of shade in previous years.  The shade never prevented it blooming, but it's much taller this year, and it's nice to see the pink!  In the past this plant produced white flowers that faded to a rather unattractive gray.   This year they started white and aged to pink!  Whatever it is, it attracts an unbelievable number of bees of every kind.

Please visit the  host of Wildflower Wednesday, Gail at Clay and Limestone, where today she's featuring Blue Mist Flower/hardy ageratum.  Her in-depth posts on natives she grows in her garden are educational, entertaining, and feature gorgeous photography, as well as links to many other Wildflower Wednesday posts. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Blooms

New here this year, complements of Walters Gardens, this is 'Midnight Raider', a semi-evergreen tetraploid daylily.  They have made a beautiful addition to an area where there's lots of morning sun.  'Midnight Raider' is a reblooming daylily.  It may not rebloom its first year, but I'll be hoping, and watching for more of these beauties later this summer or in early fall.

Another trial plant sent to us by Walters Gardens this spring is this beautiful hardy hibiscus, 'Heartthrob'.  And yes, mine does (throb) when these gorgeous , dramatic 8" blooms open.

One of a bunch of hanging baskets here.  This one is New Guinea impatiens and scaveola (fan flower).  I haven't tried scaveolas here before - didn't think we'd have enough sun for them to bloom well.  Apparently I was mistaken - so glad I tried them, and will definitely grow these again here.

The foliage is nothing fancy on this hosta, but the 4 foot scapes loaded with double blooms in light pinky-lavender are pretty awesome.  I look forward to the blooms of Hosta rectifolia 'Fujibotan.' all summer, and so do the hummingbirds.

Surprise lilies were divided and spread around last year.  Some are sulking (as they often will after moving or dividing) and didn't bloom this year, but we do have a few small clumps like this. Phlox, bellflowers, and coneflowers are blooming in the background.

Wax begonias are substituting for impatiens this year - maybe every year going forward.  They are so much less thirsty than impatiens, and are great in part sun.

Phlox paniculata 'David', with Diamond Frost euphorbia.

After last year's drought, agastaches are a shadow of their previous selves this season, and one didn't return this year.  It was a surprise, as they've always seemed so drought tolerant.  Hopefully the remaining ones are gaining strength with our cooler, wetter summer, and will return big and strong next year.

Phlox, black-eyed susans, and coneflowers

This is 'Crystal Palace Gem' pelargonium.  I love the chartreuse foliage so much, I'd grow this geranium even if it never bloomed.  I took cuttings from last year's plants, rooted and overwintered them in our basement greenhouse.

Echinacea purpurea 'Butterfly Kisses' is another trial plant from Walters Gardens.  At maturity it will be a diminutive 18 inches tall.  In its first season, it's under a foot tall - perfect for this border of small and miniature plants, and oh, so cute.  That's dragon wing begonias in the hanging basket, and more Diamond Frost euphorbia in the basket and in the background.  I overwinter Diamond Frost, and they get bigger and better every year.

Another surprise lily, with calamint, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and agastache.  About to bloom is a pink Japanese anemone.  The tall yellow coneflowers in the background are 'Herbstonne', also known as 'Autumn Sun'.  They languished in last year's drought, stunted, mildewed, and hardly bloomed.  They're in their glory this year, like nothing ever happened.  None were lost.  'Herbstonne' may do best in full sun with moist soil, but they do extraordinarily well in our dry, part sun garden.

'Blue Paradise' phlox is blooming again, here with a pelargonium I've overwintered for years, more coneflowers, catmint, calamint, surprise lilies, and 'Mocha' heuchera villosa.  'Mocha' blooms all season, from late spring through frost - the longest-blooming heuchera I've ever seen.  Hummingbirds love 'Mocha' blooms in our garden, along with many other heuchera flowers.  The cooler weather seems to be keeping 'Mocha's foliage more greenish purple this year.  Most summers the foliage is a beautiful mocha-brown color.  

Phlox was one of the first perennials I ever grew, and they remain long-blooming favorites in our summer garden.  This one is 'Laura.' 

Happy Bloom Day everyone.  To see more August blooms, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

 It's the fourth Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to show off the native plants blooming in our garden.

 Veronicastrum virginicum, or Culver's root, is one of my favorite natives.  The dark green foliage stays clean and beautiful all season, and the candelabra blooms are pretty cool.  Culver's root is easy to grow, very well-behaved, a beautiful plant in the garden, and we just love it here.

Stokesias are just about finished,

 while purple coneflowers are just starting to bloom.

 This ginormous plant way in back looks just like Joe Pye weed, with white flowers instead of pink.  It's a volunteer, though I've no idea how it got here since nobody surrounding us grows it.  Wherever it came from, I'm glad it planted itself here.

Liatris spicata needs protection in our garden, lest somebunny eats them.  These get only morning sun, and seem to be doing fine.  They've been here three years, and these are their first blooms.  Last summer after they were mowed down by critters yet again, I fenced them.  They join the growing list of plants with little fences surrounding them to thwart the dastardly rodents.

Asclepias tuberosa is blooming for the first time.  Added four years ago, it's a thrill to see it finally bloom.  They went dormant last summer during the drought, and that makes these blooms extra special.  I wasn't sure if they were dormant or dead last year.

What wildflowers are blooming in your garden this month?

To join the celebration of natives and other wildflowers blooming around the country and around the world,  please visit Gail at Clay and Limestone

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.