Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July Bloom Day Late Edition

I'm several days late for this month's celebration of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, but I couldn't miss this month--it's the height of the garden season, the time of year when everything seems to be blooming in my garden.  Garden work has been put on hold the past two weeks, but the blooms keep a-coming without any help from me.

Daughter and her family, including youngest grandson, were here the week of July 4, so naturally I was focusing on lots of hugging and play time, not gardening.  As soon as they left, Younger Daughter and I took off for nearly a week in Washington, D.C.  It was my first trip ever to D.C., and I hope it won't be my last--there is so much to see and do in this city, I  didn't get to see everything I had wanted to see, though we certainly tried.

While we were gone, Mr. Procrastinator, also known as Mr. I-Don't-Garden, volunteered to keep all my containers watered.  He did a great job, although a downpour one day helped:)  The little red wagon I planted just before the Fourth of July is looking much better than before I left.

This is the time of year when I would welcome visitors to my garden.  Coneflowers are everywhere and attracting bees and butterflies galore.  If you want to see all my coneflowers, check out my last post.  But they're not alone:  my addiction to daylilies the last few years has resulted in an explosion of color that has lasted several weeks and is still going strong.  I have so many different daylilies that rather than show individual photos, I decided to make a collage of some with i.d.'s below.
 Top Row:  Nettie's Rubies*, NOID passalong from friend Barb, NOID yellow.  Middle Row: 'Little Grapette, mystery NOID, newer unnamed hybrid. Bottom Row:  'Tangerine Orange Ruffle', Andrea's Dragonfly*, Prairie Sunrise*.

*Those marked with an asterisk are not registered lilies, so please don't report me to the daylily police:)  They are either passalongs from friends or relatives or one-of-a-kind hybrids that I purchased from our local 5 Acre Daylily Farm and decided to name myself.

Clockwise from top left: Passalong from friend Beckie, Nettie's Coral*, 'Susan Webber,' Spider lily, and 'Tangerine Orange Ruffle'...again.

I'm doing my best to remember all the names of these lilies, but with misplaced tags and my unreliable memory, it gets harder every year, especially when I seem to have so many peach and orange-colored lilies.  Then there are the mystery lilies, like this one that I forgot to include in a collage--I have absolutely no memory of planting this one!

The names I definitely remember are my small collection of "literary lilies" below.  Even though I don't know where I'll put them, I hope to add even more in the next few years as I find them.

Clockwise from top left: 'Divine Comedy,'  'Tennyson,' 'Romeo Is Bleeding,' no idea, 'Canterbury Tales,' and Juliet.*

These are doing well, especially Juliet, one of my self-named lilies.  
She produced so many blooms that poor 'Romeo' looked pretty puny next to her this year.

My favorite deserves a photo all by herself--'Mistress Prynne.' 
 No scarlet letter here--I love her pale ruffled petals.

Besides the daylilies, the Oriental lilies have begun to bloom in the last week.  I'm not sure there is anything that can rival 'Stargazer' for sheer beauty.

Unless you prefer the pristine white and intoxicating fragrance of 'Casablanca.'  A swallowtail butterfly apparently prefers it, flitting among the many blossoms as I was taking photos yesterday.

My love for lilies has branched out to other types as well.  Last year I planted some Orienpets 'Black Beauty.'  I'm glad to see how tall they have gotten this year, tall enough that I don't have to bend down to see their blooms.

A new lily this year growing next to 'Black Beauty' is this one which has me scratching my head.  I remember planting something called Turkish lilies, I believe.  There is a native lily called Turk's cap, but I thought it was only orange.  Hmmm, will have to check back through my records to see if I can find the real name of this one.

Although coneflowers and lilies draw most of the attention in my garden, they are not the only flowers blooming right now. Gray-headed coneflowers Ratibida pinnata rise above the mass confusion in my butterfly garden.

A new bloom that greeted me when I returned from D.C. was the Nicotania.  For the past several years it has re-seeded all over my arbor bed, threatening to take over at times.  I pulled most of the seedlings this year, but I always miss a few.  A few are fine with me, especially as a backdrop for 'Wendy's Wish' Salvia.

Another volunteer/gift from the birds, the pink phlox in the shade garden is beginning to bloom.

Meanwhile, back in the Arbor Bed the 'David' phlox is thriving this year.  I love these pure white blooms!

The annual hibiscus planted in a container is finally producing more than one bloom at a time--unfortunately, they are quickly devoured by Japanese beetles.

The shade garden is lush--and crowded--as it is every summer.  I wish I knew the name of this hosta in the forefront of the garden.  It's one of my favorites, and it is getting huge!

Not everyone likes the blooms on hostas, but I enjoy them, and so do the bumblebees.  This fellow was crawling into every bloom, coming out covered in pollen.

Sophie likes this garden, too--no wonder I can't keep the bird bath filled!

One of my favorites in late summer/early fall, the 'Limelight' is already starting to bloom.  I pruned it quite a bit this spring, but obviously not as much as I thought--it's already reached the roof of our one-story house.

I just can't leave here without one more photo of one of my many coneflowers.  I was thrilled to have another visit from a Monarch on Sunday--this one is a female.  I hope she finds some milkweed in my garden to lay some eggs!

July is such a beautiful, colorful time in the garden; I wish I could stop time for awhile.  It's been very hot so not much garden work has been done, but that's okay--I am content to just sit back and enjoy all the blooms in my garden.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is brought to you the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  Thanks, Carol, for hosting this showcase of blooms around the world once again.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

In Love with Coneflowers

Have I ever mentioned how much I like coneflowers?

I have a few different cultivars, but the hardiest and most prolific ones in my garden are the native species Echinacea purpurea.

They self-seed and multiply each year in different parts of my garden, but they especially love my little sidewalk garden at the front of the house.

Butterflies have been scarce this year, but I can always count on the coneflowers to attract any butterflies that might be in the area.

As soon as they begin to bloom, the butterflies suddenly appear, as if by magic.

Butterflies like the large flowers for "landing pads," a nice spot to rest for a bit and get a snack, do a little sunbathing, and maybe even meet some new friends.

Butterflies aren't the only creatures attracted to coneflowers.  

Most times of the day, this swath of coneflowers is swarming with bumblebees!

Other bees enjoy them, too.

There is plenty of room for two to share the pollen!

I was so excited to see what I thought was a Monarch one day.  But after posting this on Facebook, I was told this was actually a Viceroy--see the tell-tale horizontal line on its hind wing?

But I finally saw the real deal this week--my first Monarch sighting of the year!

I hope to see more as well as other butterfly friends--there are plenty of coneflowers to share!

Have I mentioned before how much I love coneflowers?  Yes, I probably have--and more than once.  But every June and July when they bloom, I fall in love all over again.

Next week is the annual Bloggers' Fling in Minneapolis.  I was really looking forward to going, especially since I spent my first two years of college in the area and enjoyed going to "the Cities" whenever I could.  Unfortunately, however, I had a conflict with a previous commitment--I'll be in D.C. with my daughter next week.  To my friends who are going to the Fling, I'll miss re-connecting with you, but enjoy your time in one of my favorite cities in the Midwest!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

GBBD: June Is Heating Up

I can't believe it's mid-June already!  Where has the past month gone?  And why haven't I posted in over a month?  I could say that I've been spending all my time in the garden, but that's not exactly true.  But it is true that I've spent every free moment possible working in the garden, battling the never-ending weeds and trying to get all my new plants in the ground--there are still a quite a few sitting on my patio getting more root-bound by the day, I'm embarrassed to say.

But enough of excuses.  I have a plethora of blooms to share on this Bloom Day, so let's get down to business.

One or two lonely peony blooms are still hanging on, but the big show was at the end of May.

Taking a month-long blogging break meant I didn't get to show off some blooms like these Allium. 
I think these are Allium roseum.

Or these--maybe Allium unifolium?

The climbing roses are still blooming, but they, too, looked the best in late May.  The pink one is 'Zephirine Drouhin,' which has done extremely well this year.  But the red one behind it had three times as many blooms!

This is the first year I've had red roses on this trellis (and yes, it's leaning, and yes, I've tried to straighten it out with no success), and I was bewildered at first.  Finally I decided they were from the root stock, which I apparently let grow too much.  I suppose I should cut back all the canes from the root stock, but it's awfully hard for me after seeing all these gorgeous red roses mixed in with the pink!

One of the things that has kept me busy the past few weeks is planting containers, something I do enjoy.  Sometimes I plant my "usual," but many times I just grab what appeals to me while plant shopping and see what goes together when I get home.  This is one of those hodgepodge planters.

Another combo of Supertunias, 'Diamond Frost' Euphorbia, and Angelonia 
that I plant in this container every year.

We're definitely into summer now with the hot temperatures we've had for the past week, and summer flowers are bursting into bloom each day.  Red poppies are everywhere!

Two NOID Asiatic lilies are blooming--I still don't remember planting these:)

Always the first daylilies to bloom, old reliable 'Stella d/Oro' is also putting 
out its usual prolific blooms.

Another reliable bloomer--a little too reliable, sometimes--
'Appleblossom' yarrow is at its best right now.

Lamb's ears are putting up their funky blooms, too.

In front of the house, the Spirea 'Magic Carpet' is also covered in blooms.

Once there were many hollyhocks scattered around the farmstead here.  In recent years, they have succumbed to rust, and now only a few return each year.  They usually appear in places they shouldn't be, like this large one in the vegetable garden.  But I leave them be and scatter a few seeds in more suitable places each fall, hoping they will become more numerous in the future.

A perennial that I would recommend for anyone wanting a low-maintenance garden is the 'Walker's Low' Nepeta seen above in the lefthand corner.  It blooms all summer long and is a favorite of the bees and Toby, too.

Now, a few blooms I'm especially excited about--Indian pinks, Spigelia marilandica, just starting to bloom.  For a native plant, it certainly hasn't been easy to get started, but at least this one survived the rabbits this year.

A new daisy planted last year is looking good--another name forgotten, I'm afraid.

And what I'm really happy about is that the lavender has returned this year!  I planted one 'Phenomenal' lavender on the recommendation of Kylee, which is doing well.  But the one above--once again, I don't remember the variety--is especially thriving.

The 'Annabelle' hydrangea is beginning to bloom, but more exciting to me is this one that has grown so tall this year--nearly 4 1/2 feet.  'Mary Nell' is a lacecap, but classified by Michael Dirr as Hydrangea arborescens. It's quite a unique hydrangea: I got a start of this a few years ago from a fellow MG, and the story, if I remember it correctly, is that Dirr discovered this hydrangea growing on the University of Illinois campus and named it.

The first daylily bloom--other than 'Stella'--is 'Moonlight Masquerade.'  

Soon it will be coneflower and daylily season.  I'm hoping to get all the garden chores finished soon so that I can just sit back and enjoy my favorite time in the garden.

Thanks once again to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly celebration of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.