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.