In spring and summer a gardener's fancy turns to flowers . . . and to baseball. It's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day today, and also time to start voting for your favorite players for the All-Star game in July.
A consistent performer every season who usually goes on a hitting streak in June is Stella D'Oro. Like the faithful Cubs' fans who fill Wrigley Field for every game no matter how dismal the season, Stella keeps coming back and coming back each year despite being dividing and pushed off onto relatives and friends. She may not be around in October . . . but then neither are the Cubs:) Usually she gets along well with everyone, though I think she clashes with that pink pot--must be a White Sox or a Cardinal fan.
A new star on the roster this year is the Asiatic lily, "Brindisi." Despite her rookie status, she has already commanded a lot of attention from the fans.
Another new rookie on the team is 'Moonlight Madness.' Much shorter in stature than her Asiatic teammate, 'Moonlight' shows promise and gets some points for being one of the earliest to arrive on game day.
We're sorry, but we have to go to a rain delay for awhile. Field conditions have become too wet for further play, and as you can see, outlying areas (the soybean fields) are filled with puddles. (Actually, this was yesterday morning; by last night the puddles had become full-fledged ponds. I'm not sure how much rain we had, but it came down so hard and so fast that there was nowhere for it to go, other than into my basement. Sigh.)
While we're waiting for the fields (and my basement) to dry out, let's go back to our roster. The perennial slugger Echinacea Purpurea is just beginning to emerge, with this the first bloom. Looking back to two years ago, Echinacea was the star of the July Bloom Day, not June's. Like everything else this year, it seems to be peaking early.
The old veteran, the hollyhock, is also coming into its own. Plagued by possible injuries or disease, it's not as physically imposing this year as in the past. The ants seem to be big fans of it this year.
On professional sports teams, there are no such things as walk-ons, yet the Prairie team boasts several that deserve consideration. Nigella are occupying a large section of the bench in the butterfly garden, re-seeding themselves freely with no coaching.
Likewise, the Bachelor's Buttons surprised the team by returning voluntarily this year. Can anyone i.d. the fan sitting in the upper deck? There seem to be quite a few of these in the garden right now; I hope they aren't potential troublemakers.
A welcome returnee to the team this year is the slugger known only as Rudbeckia. While two perennial 'Goldsturm' were planted last year, this appears to be one of the many offspring of the annual varieties. Rudbeckia is also a contender for the humanitarian award, for its contributions to supporting wildlife. (Click to enlarge the picture if you can't see the little hoverfly in the center.)
Other contenders for the All-Star team in June include this petite Monarda. More disciplined than its boisterous counterparts in the butterfly garden, this one stays in bounds.
Free-spirited 'Moonbeam' coreopsis, however, is a candidate for the Golden Glove award, covering more and more of the outfield.
Every team needs a leader, and in the shade garden, 'Let's Dance in the Moonlight' commands everyone's attention. Even with a name like that, no one dares snicker, but rather gives her the respect she deserves.
Often overlooked, the hostas are dependable team members all season long. While others often go into a slump, these garden athletes consistently produce, even dazzling us at times with blooms like these. Not to influence you by portraying this star with a bigger photo here, but I am rather starstruck by this physique.
Forgive me for the pitiful attempt at baseball analogies . . . it seemed a lot more clever when I started. But. it's late, and I've just spent a couple hours with a shop vac trying to dry out my basement I'm tired, and I'm very tired of rain!
For other blooms around the world without such contrived formats, please visit our always entertaining hostess, Carol of May Dreams Gardens.