Wednesday, July 15, 2009

GBBD July: It's all about the Coneflowers...

Today is that special day of the month, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, and I am so glad! It seems for the past few weeks I have been focusing on other people's gardens that I haven't shown much of what is blooming in my own garden. So put on your walking shoes, and let's wander around to see what is brightening up my little corner of the prairie.

Everywhere you look these days, the purple coneflowers are in bloom, and my garden is no exception. They have been multiplying like crazy, threatening to take over one corner of the main garden next to the house. Next year I will have to get an earlier start on digging up and transplanting the seedlings, but I don't really mind--they are my favorite plant, and I can never have too many coneflowers.

The same is true of the roadside garden, where they are obscuring some lovely daylilies. Coneflowers are native plants and attract bees, butterflies, and other winged creatures . . . but I've mentioned this all before; if you want to know more about coneflowers, you can read my post from last year's July Bloom Day, where I focused on coneflowers more than any other plant. They also make great photo opportunities since the center makes a nice landing spot for bees and butterflies. Sadly, I haven't seen many butterflies this year, but I've taken dozens of photos of the bees on the coneflowers, including one on yesterday's post.

One plant that also has attracted bees, as I expected it would, is the bee balm, name unknown, but it is a dwarf variety. This plant's blooms have faded, but since it began blooming the day after the June Bloom Day, I thought it deserved a shot on this Bloom Day post.

Another plant that has been blooming for quite a while is the hollyhock. They began blooming about the same time the Japanese beetles arrived, so many of the leaves now look like green lace.

All my hollyhocks are the old-fashioned variety, originally planted by my husband's grandfather or from my grandmother, transplanted from my mother's garden. I don't know why I bothered to collect seeds last year, when they self-seed so easily. This hollyhock plant is the tallest and fullest of all . . . and it's growing out of my compost heap! (Shhh, don't tell anyone what a lazy composter I am.)

Last month the only daylilies I had to share were my Stella d'Oros. Thankfully, I have a few others that are now blooming, but not nearly as many as I would like--I've been envying all the beautiful daylilies I've seen on other blogs, and I intend to plant more, just as soon as I can figure out where! Above is a new one I purchased last year, and the tag is around here somewhere . . . this is another good reason to add labels to your blog posts, because I also can't find the post from last year when I planted it.

Other lilies here have no names; this one was an "accident", I think, in the midst of a planting of Stellas.

Another unknown variety, this deep rusty-red was a passlong from my aunt.

As were these. I find it hard to get the true color of reds and deep pinks to show up in my photos; dark coral is the best way to describe their true shade. Although I transplanted several of these, the rest of the lilies are planted behind the roadside coneflowers, something that needs to be remedied next year, because they really deserve to be seen by passers-by.

Another common flower, the yarrow, is surrounding this large boulder. As the blossoms fade, I just snip them off--no worries about hurting this plant:)

Also blooming for several weeks now, the Coreopsis "Moonbeam" re-blooms after a good haircut.

A new bloom since last month is the Russian Sage. Not a very good photo, but since it's a bee magnet, too, I'll have plenty of opportunities to get a better photo later.

Another plant that I can't photograph well is the Baby's Breath. I always thought this was hard to grow, but this plant has survived and thrived here for several years.

In the shade garden, the hostas are sending up blooms, too. I have many different varieties of hostas, providing a steady succession of blooms.

I know not everyone likes these blooms--after all, it's the foliage of a hosta that is the beauty of a hosta. But I like these blooms, some of them quite dainty, and I think they add some vertical interest to a shady area.

Our Bloom Day hostess, Carol, has asked what differences we are noticing in our garden this year. I think some of my flowers are blooming a little earlier than last year, but overall the biggest difference I notice is that everything is doing better this year. With the regular rainfall we have had this summer, my garden is fuller and healthier-looking than it's ever been. This butterfly weed, Asclepias Tuberosa, is just one example. Not only is it blooming, but it's probably three times the size it was last year. Now if I only had some butterflies!

Nowhere do I notice the benefits of steady rainfall as much as with the hydrangeas. I lost one "Endless Summer" over the winter, but the two older "Endless" are fuller and taller than ever before and rarely wilt in the heat. They have just begun to put out a few blooms in the last two weeks, but many more buds are showing.

The first hydrangea to bloom this year was my new macrophylla, "Let's Dance in the Moonlight." I bought this at an end-of-the season sale last year, so this is the first time I've seen its blooms. This photograph doesn't do it justice--though the plant is smaller than the "Endless Summers," the blooms are much larger and fuller. I think "Endless Summer" may have been just an infatuation; instead, I want to dance in the moonlight a little more with my new love:)

But maybe I shouldn't give my heart away too soon. There's another new beauty looming on the horizon--by the next Bloom Day, I will hopefully have some blooms to show from another new hydrangea, "Limelight."

That's the joy of gardening. While July is the height of summer blooms here, there will be something new next month.

You never know what might be peeking out of the ground next time.

To see other blooms from around the world, be sure to visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Thanks, Carol, for being such a great hostess!


  1. That was a very nice tour of your garden. Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

  2. Very nice! I love the mass plantings, something I need to focus on! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rose.....what a wonderful post. I love the coneflowers....they are exquisite in your garden.....I find them very dramatic. I am captured by this flower, it is native for you so do enjoy it and love it a little more each year.

    I have made a careful mental note and you seem to be able to grow most of the plants that I cannot. Russian sage, day lillies, yarrow, hollyhocks do not do well in my garden.

    I can grow hydrangeas though and have a good collection. Sadly this has been a dry summer, and they do not like it....but they will be ok next year perhaps......

    I have so enjoyed your garden we have tea now??

  4. I have a few coneflowers, but I think I'd like more. They do stand up to the heat well!

  5. Great tour of your garden. Thanks for showing me around.
    The hollyhocks are lovely and reminded me of my childhood home that I loved so much.
    cannot grow lilies because of the wretched lily beetle that has come from abroad. It is gradually creeping up from the south.
    I see you have a beetle eating chunks out of your hollyhocks.We get a kind of *rust* on the ones here.
    Oh well..... always something to try & ruin things!

  6. Hi Rose, I am totally impressed and loving all the coneflowers you have! They look so good massed. Mine get scattered among the Susans or is that the Susans move in on them! I just bought a Big Sky Harvest Moon/Matthew saul...yellow petals and orange cone. Let's see if it makes it!

    I love your old fashioned holly hocks...those darn j beetles are a pain...I suspect that now that I have HH in the garden they will find their way here eventually! Bad bugs!

    Thank you for a lovely time...I hope to see you soon!


  7. Rose you have lots of pretty things blooming. It was fun seeing all of them. I love the hollyhock growing out of the compost pile. That's a nice surprise I bet.

  8. Your garden is looking mighty good! I love those coneflowers too. Those and brown eyes are a mainstay. I am like you, endeavoring to move the seedlings a bit earlier next year. Your hydrangeas look great. Dancing in the moonlight is most romantic. Haven't done that in a while. I simply love your hollyhocks. I don't have a big stand of them here and no old fashioned ones. Yours are great and it looks like you have plenty for you and the beetles. They are pesky but don't seem to be as bad as usual. The butterflies are a coming. We have tons here. I really enjoy them. Another day or two and you'll be innundated with all those wonderful flowers.

  9. Rose what a wonderful post !
    I am waiting for more of my cone flowers to open up for me .. the day lilies have been blooming for a while now but I am lucky to have them blooming in succession ? many more to come .. I wanted to find Lets Dance Moonlight and never did this year but I do have 2 new Cityline hydrangea that I am waiting and wondering about .. my Russian Sage is not doing well for some reason .. not sure but I'm enjoying yours !
    Can you feel the summer winding up or down ? LOL ;-)
    Halloween is coming !!

  10. Your garden is lovely Rose! I think yours is the first bunch of Baby's Breath I have seen on the blogs. I had some....alas the voles liked it too. Nice variety of blooms.

  11. I particularly like your small tiger. . .

    I grow hostas both for the foliage and the blooms. I find the stalks of flowers lovely, and the hummingbirds think they are the perfect food. What I love about them is that they are beautiful even when they aren't blooming.

    Your garden is beautiful!

  12. Wow that mass planting of Coneflowers is gorgeous. They really are a great summer perennial & such a magnet for all the critters. :) Congrats on your soon to bloom 'Limelight'!!!! I'm so happy for you.

  13. Coneflowers are so great, and your mass of them is just stunning. Sorry about the Japanese Beetles on the Hollyhocks. I bet they came because the Hollyhocks were starting to bloom. I love your mystery lavender Daylily. All too often, purported "lavender" ones turn out to be more peachy than anything else.

  14. Looks like you've been spared the hollyhock rust we're all having here in town. Yours are just beautiful!

  15. You have some great blooms Rose. I love the hollyhocks. I am always delighted when I find some plant growing in or around the compost heap. I have a squash volunteer this year. I can't wait to see what kind it is. Happy GBBD.

  16. You have some spectacular blooms going! I love your hollyhocks, especially the fact that they were passed down. Do you ever have problems with rust on them? I tried them for the 1st time this year and was disappointed at how much rust they got.

    I also like the hosta flowers. I guess I'm still enchanted with hostas so anything they do is okay by me!

    Great garden tour, thanks!

  17. The coneflowers are just starting to bloom here. The hollyhocks are sublime and what fun to have them still growing from generations past. So many blooms and it is interesting to see the pink hydrangeas. I would never have pink here. Acid soils and all. Enjoy the blooms!

  18. Rose, like you, my coneflowers are at thir peak. They are such a joy to see. I love your daylilies-especially the lavender one. maybe we will find some more next week. Or at least drool over them.

    Love your new hydrangea, 'Let's Dance...' Such a pretty color and upright habit. We should look for more in this series.

  19. Hi Rose, for being a somewhat new gardener, your garden is quite impressive! You have many favorites of the pollinators, I envy your coneflower crowd, what a group! I love the hosta flowers too, and find them to be a favorite of the hummingbirds. People who cut off the flowers are missing out on the flying flowers!

  20. I used to have coneflowers, but they have all gone. Where? How did that happen? I love those hollyhocks!

  21. Carol, Thanks for hosting us!

    Sheila, Thanks; the coneflowers have really become a "mass" this year:)

    Cheryl, It's too bad you can't grow coneflowers, but then I can't grow everything you do, either. Diversity is good:) A cup of tea sounds very nice after touring the gardens!

    Muum, The coneflowers seem to withstand any kind of adverse conditions. And they don't need staking!

    Maggie May, The hollyhocks bring up nostalgic memories for me, too. The farm I grew up on had stands of them everywhere in the summer. Apparently, the rust has hit here, too, but fortunately not in my garden.

    Gail, I love coneflowers, so they have been planted everywhere, and now I have so many seedlings coming up each spring. I have just a few Susans this year--finally--but they aren't blooming yet. Hope those Japanese beetles can't find their way to Tennessee!

    Susie, I almost missed the hollyhock in the compost; just shows what really good soil can do:)

    Tina, The Japanese beetles don't seem to be as bad as last year, but I've noticed them on plants I've never seen them go to before. But the hollyhocks survive no matter what. "Let's Dance" is a beauty I'd recommend. I saw my first Painted Lady last night!

    Joy, I'm not ready for fall yet! I just saw a "Pinky Winky" at a local garden center last weekend--I'm going to watch for sales. My Russian Sage is impervious to any problems, for some reason.

    Janet, The blooms on the Baby's Breath are hard to photograph. This plant has been a surprise to me at how well it's done.

  22. Healingmagichands, Thanks for visiting! I love hostas; you can't beat them for a shady garden. But I've never seen a hummingbird in mine.

    Racquel, The coneflowers do very well here and they certainly attract all kinds of critters. I am checking my "limelight" every day; can't wait for it to bloom!

    MMD, The beetles must be drawn to the hollyhocks more this year, because my roses aren't doing well.I have to find the tag for that daylily--it really is lavender. But I know what you mean; I bought a red daylily for my daughter-in-law that has peachy blooms instead.

    Joyce, I haven't seen any rust on my hollyhocks, I think. I will have to check out this disease.

    Lisa, I've had squash, melons, and tomatoes growing in my compost, but the hollyhock was a first.

    Jean, My hollyhocks don't seem bothered by diseases, maybe because they do come from old stock. They provide a lot of memories for me. I'm with you--I like everything about hostas.

    Layanee, So that explains the blue blooms on yours! LOL, I have to add acidic food to mine to try to get them to turn blue. Usually they then turn lavender:)

    Beckie, You know I love it when the coneflowers bloom! I went to the hydrangea seminars last weekend by myself; I have a new wish list:) And the daylily site looks great--I'd better start pinching pennies on the groceries.

    Frances, Thank you! I keep adding more each year, and I am trying to add mostly natives. Besides attracting the pollinators, they're simply so much easier to care for. I can't imagine cutting off those hosta blooms!

    Commonweeder, When I first planted coneflowers, I did lose a few plants over the winter. But I have so many seedlings now, that a lost plant here or there will never be missed.

  23. Hi Rose, not surprisingly we have lots of the same things blooming. Love your hydrangea. I never make much of an attempt to remember daylily names. There are millions of cultivars and it just doesn't seem important. My gardens are loving all this rain too. The coneflowers are taking over, need to thin them out. One plant takes up a lot of room.

  24. Beautiful hollyhocks! I've redone my whole garden this year to showcase hollyhocks, but since it's their first year, I won't get many blooms. Several plants were grown from seed that a friend gave me, so I don't even know what colors I'll have until next year... Magic and mystery :-)

  25. I always LOVE walking around your garden :)

    That mauve daylilly is an amazing colour, I've not seen one that shade before.

    And that last photo......what a great shot!

    Thanks for sharing. S x

  26. I can agree on the appreciation for Coneflowers. They are increasing every year. Have you tried 'Pink Double Delight'? They are particularly nice as a cut flower.

  27. Now those are cone flowers! Sorry to hear about the Japanese beetles. They’ve just started showing up here too. Your garden is lovely. I love your cat photo.

  28. Oh, this was a stunning tour! I feel each flower is a mutual friend since I see many of the same here but its so nice to see them from your perspective.
    Also, yesterday's Z's were really fun.
    Have a great weekend coming up!

  29. Marnie, I suppose the names are important if you want exactly the same plant, but the daylily cultivars look so similar I don't know how anyone can tell them apart. Yes, I'm being engulfed by coneflowers:) Not a bad thing, though.

    Ina, That's part of the fun of hollyhocks, not knowing what color they might be. Everything else in my garden is chosen for harmonious colors, but the hollyhocks are free to be themselves!

    Suburbia, I like the mauve daylily, too. I know you've always enjoyed Tarzan; he's such a cooperative poser:)

    Willisjw, I would love to have some of the other cultivars of coneflowers, but I keep waiting for them to drop in price. I'll be watching the sales this fall.

    Sarah, I thought you might escape the Japanese beetles. Welcome home; I'll be over to visit soon.

    Nonizamboni, Thanks for dropping by! It's always interesting to see another gardener's perspective on the same flowers.

  30. What a lovely selection of gasrden flowers you have. I especially love the hollyhocks, - they have prairie memories for me too.

    Here in B.C. they are rather disdained, and last year a hollyhock bud destroyed all I had. But this year they are simply marvelous, - beautiful pastel colours, - they have won everyone's heart and have made them appreciate what a pretty and practical flower it is, - and loyal!!

    I am going to investigate Bloom Day, - sounds like a great idea. Thank you for visiting, and for sharing.

  31. The Coneflowers look wonderful Rose, I had some in a pot but lost them in the Winter. I love the Hollyhocks, so delightfully old fashioned, I haven't had any for a while as they tended to rust, I must try again. As for the Hostas, you are so lucky to have such lush looking plants, mine have been devoured by snails!

  32. Your flowers are so lovely! My coneflowers are always reseeding in the most inconvenient places imaginable, like in sidewalk cracks, rather than making the drifts that I fantasize about.
    Not many butterflies here, either; I wonder why?
    I look forward to seeing more pictures of your bee visitors!

  33. Your tour was lovely, Rose. I joined you with a cup of rich dark roast coffee, a great way to start my morning. You must be delighted! Like you, we've been blessed with plenty of rain and cooler than normal temps, especially for evening, that I believe enhances color intensity. Your old-fashioned hollyhock photos is especially memorable. Enjoy the gifts of your labor and the remainder of this (hopefully) beautiful summer.

  34. I loved looking at all your blooms (and the cute cat peaking out of the plant!)

  35. What a beautiful bed of this purple coneflower. I just planted a cultivar named 'Sunset' (deeper shade of pink)and hoping to add some whites..they are such easy and carefree plants that every gardener should grow them ;) All your blooms are beautiful..especially the fav!

  36. Wow, Rose, except for the hydrangea, I grow everything you do (even orange cats ;-)! I'm so happy to see my echinacea blooms this year; for the past two, the groundhog ate them all. I also love baby's breath and it can get huge! Apparently there are both annual and perennial kinds. There's even a pink mounding variety, Gypsophila paniculata 'Pink', that I particularly like. As do cats. :)

  37. Hildred and Charles, I didn't always appreciate hollyhocks as much as I do now; they've been a favorite of mine. Do join in on Bloom Day!

    ShySongbird, So far I've not had any trouble with snails or hollyhock rust (fingers crossed). The hostas are such an easy plant for shade.

    Diane, I have lots of bees, so there will be more photos to come:) The first butterfly visited the other day--hopefully more will come. Thanks for visiting!

    Joey, You make coffee the way I like it:) It's been a great year for gardening, weather-wise.

    Rosemarie, Thanks; Tarzan is a ham for the camera.

    Lynn, I would love to add Sunset and Sunrise to my garden; I keep waiting for the price to go down:)

    Monica, My baby's breath might be the mounding kind--it doesn't get that tall and stays in the same place, though it's getting crowded out by the coneflowers. Thanks for all the comments on the previous posts--I've missed you!

  38. Oh my goodness - what beautiful flowers you have!! Such a delightful garden. Don't you love July?
    I didn't know you had to give the Moonbeam a haircut? I've never cut mine and they are looking a little scraggly. Your coneflowers are to die for! And the lilies! My favourite (well, one of them, there really are too many to choose from).

    I love little kitty peeking out at the end. How sweet!

  39. Your garden looks great! I can imagine that the hydrangeas are flourishing with all this year's moisture. I can't wait to see 'Limelight'!

    I also love coneflowers. The new cultivars and designer varieties are nice, but good, old-fashioned regular ones are just fabulous. And what's with the lack of butterflies??

    Your mystery bee balm looks like it might be Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot. But don't quote me on that; I can't make a positive ID at this time :)

  40. I really enjoyed seeing what is in bloom in your July garden Rose. Wish that I could grow coneflowers :)

  41. Wendy, When the coreopsis blooms fade away, I just lightly shear the tops and they bloom again. My small grass shears have become my favorite gardening tool:)

    Rose, I'd like to plant some of the new varieties of coneflower, but the old standbys will always be my favorite. You might be right about the Monarda--I bought it from one of those cheap catalogs that don't include botanical names for the plants. Where are the butterflies??

    Anna, You're not the first person from the UK to say you can't grow coneflowers; they're a native here, so that helps. But you can grow so many things that I can't, which is what is fun about seeing other gardens!

  42. The hollyhocks look like they have such a wonderful intense colour! What a handsome kitty peeking out there :)
    Plant Lady

  43. Enjoyed your post, as I am a fan of coneflowers and dayliles. I suppose that is because they are able to thrive on my neglect and the fact that I am a beginner gardener. I succombed to some article or ad for the new Green Envy coneflower, that begins it's blossom as green, and then turns magenta pink from the center; I have been very pleasantly surprised with that purchase! You can see it on my blog as well if you like: :)

  44. Your post and your garden are just beautiful, Rose - such a lovely combination of passalongs and reseeders and deliberately purchased plants. Your coneflowers look so happy and bouncy!

    Although you say you're a relatively new gardener, my suspicion is that you are actually a Human Perennial. There's an old saying about the way many perennial plants look as if they're not doing much while they grow roots and become used to the ground before taking off:

    "First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap"

    Maybe your garden ideas were developing during the "sleeping" years so that you could really leap now!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  45. Rose, those arrays of coneflowers are just dazzling! They're one of my favorites, too ... one of the names I considered for my garden was Coneflower Corner. Love the daylilies, too!

  46. From the coneflowers to the hydrangeas, I love them all!


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