Friday, June 16, 2017

June GBBD: Almost Summer

If I had written this blog post last night, it would have been another one of my whiny, grumpy posts.  It's been in the 90's here this past week, and I don't do well in heat--I turn into a complete grouch when sweat starts running down my face.  As if that weren't bad enough, it's been bone dry without a drop of rain for two weeks or more.  About all I've gotten done outside lately is drag hoses around to water and then water some more.

That is, until last night--it rained!!  I don't know how much rainfall we received since I discovered my rain gauge is cracked.  But whether it was 1/2 inch or an inch, my garden--and this gardener--is so much happier.  It's still unbearably hot, but I'm so thankful for rain I'm not going to complain today.

So, let's take a look around the garden and see what is blooming on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in June.

People may turn up their noses at the ubiquitous 'Stella d'Oro' that seems to be the staple of every commercial planting.  But when they bloom this prolifically every June, I just don't have the heart to tear them out.

And who knew the bees like them??  Actually, the bees much prefer the 'Walker's Low' Nepeta next to the Stellas, but this bee seemed to find something to his liking in the lilies.

Another plant one of my gardening friends considers a weed rather than a flower is Yarrow.  This is 'Appleblossom,' and the blooms are actually much pinker than this photo shows.  Yarrow is one of those plants that will spread, but it's easy to pull out wherever you don't want it, and I happen to like it, especially since it's such a tough plant that doesn't mind the dry spell we've had.

While we're talking about plants that not everyone likes, the Chicory is blooming.  It's another one of those weedy wildflowers that I happen to like, especially when it is blooming along the roadsides.  For me, it's hard not to like these pretty blue blooms.

In the butterfly garden I have a new addition that I'm sure I didn't plant--Evening Primrose, perhaps??

Another volunteer in the Arbor Bed--Nicotania.  I haven't planted any of these for five or six years, yet every year they keep coming back.

Back to the butterfly garden, the Butterfly Weed is just beginning to open up.  You can barely make out the blooms behind them of Phlox Pilosa, which have been blooming for more than a month.

The native/wildflower I am most excited about right now is the Indian Pinks, Spigelia Marilandica.  I planted these three or four years ago, and they are finally spreading out--a bit.  Although these are considered natives in Illinois, they are not found very often in natural settings, especially in central and northern Illinois.

Elsewhere in the garden, a couple of Asiatic lilies are blooming.  Both of these are NOIDS, probably passalongs from a friend.

I much prefer this brighter red one, but it's rather hidden away under taller plants at the back of the Arbor bed.  Maybe someday I'll get around to moving it to where it can really be seen.

The last two weeks have been poppy time.  I don't have as many as usual this year--I plant them in late winter, scattering them over the snow, so they tend to pop up in some strange places.  But we didn't have any late snow this year, so I have a feeling many of the seeds just blew away.

I don't grow many roses, but 'Zephirin Drouhin' is doing well climbing the arbor trellis, though the heat and drought have taken their toll on her, too.

Only a couple hydrangeas are blooming so far, including the 'Annabelles.'

I've planted two different hydrangeas at the back of the shade garden in the last few years that have really grown. One is a 'Mary Nelle,' a unique variation of 'Annabelle,' but I have no memory of what the other one is!

Another mystery at the front of the shade garden are these little purple blooms.  They seem to be coming from an Epimedeum, but I'm not sure--anyone recognize this plant?

The rest of the shade garden is growing to jungle proportions as usual.

Nearby, the miniature Japanese garden is almost ready for visitors.

Spirea blooming along the front of the house.

In the sidewalk garden one lavender plant is blooming, which makes me happy since I cut them back to the ground in the spring, not knowing at the time you should cut them back only by a third or so.

Some of the lamb's ears in the Lily Bed are sending up their quirky blooming stalks.

I took a break yesterday in the middle of writing this post, because I wanted to finish planting while the ground was soft from the overnight rain.  I can finally announce I have ALL my new plants planted!  (Well, except for three new shrubs . . . but they're going to wait till it's a little cooler.)  My back porch and patio no longer look like I'm holding my own plant sale:)  Some of those plants, I'm embarrassed to admit, had been sitting there since April 24, my first plant shopping trip.

I did lose a few annuals by holding them so long, some to poor watering by the gardener, and some to toads.  We have quite a family of toads here, much to the delight of the grandsons and Frank (the pug) and Teddy (the mini Yorkie).  While I'm happy to have them, they like to burrow into the moist soil of the pots.  Many times I've been startled while planting containers when a toad jumped out of one of the annuals!  It's not a problem, except when small pots have been sitting too long, as mine have,  and one of the fatter toads has burrowed in and out of the same pot, displacing some of the soil. Now that I've planted all those small containers, I'm not sure where the toads will sleep--I'd better not dig too deeply in my large pots:)

I think I went a little crazy this year buying annuals, especially petunias.  I won't show you all my annuals--this post is getting too long already--but I do want to share a couple of my favorite petunias.  This is 'Johnny Flame'; it really caught my eye when I saw it at our local nursery, and I quickly snapped up the last three, with no idea where to plant them.

Two favorites I buy every year--'Royal Velvet,' a dark purple planted in the porch planter here as well as several other containers, and the contrasting 'Bordeaux.'

One of my favorites I plant every year--Supertunia 'Raspberry Blast.'

Two new varieties I just couldn't resist this year--'Latte' and 'Black Mambo' (I think I have those names correct.)  I'm not usually a fan of black petunias, but I like this combo.

Although it seems as if I have a lot of blooms, most of my garden is still green right now.  The summer show of color won't begin for a couple more weeks.  Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' is one of the early arrivals for the summer riot of color.

'Moonlit Masquerade' is always the first daylily--other than the Stellas--to appear.  It will soon be joined by many more.

And, of course, my summer garden wouldn't be complete without purple coneflowers.  A few are blooming, but the mass of blooms is still a week or two away.  I'm hoping they will bring back the butterflies that seem to have disappeared.

This weekend is the annual Garden Walk of our local Master Gardeners group, and I'll be very busy, especially since the nursing home garden, where I volunteer, is featured on the walk this year.  But I'll catch up with everyone's Bloom Day posts in a few days.

Thanks, as always, to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!