Sunday, July 16, 2017

July GBBD: Mid-Summer Perfection

Most gardeners are never satisfied.  They always see some plant in their garden that should be pruned back or even removed, or they want to do a complete makeover of all or part of their garden.  I'm no exception, but if there is one time of year when I sit back and say, "Wow, I love my garden!" then it is now.  Right now I can look at my garden without thinking I need to add something here or there or focusing on the weeds; instead I am just enjoying it.  Daylilies and coneflowers are at their peak, and the garden is a riot of clashing, but gorgeous color right now.

When it comes to daylilies, I throw out any color scheme and plant according to height and wherever I can find an empty spot of soil to plant "just one more."  I don't even remember planting these yellow lilies, nor do I remember where they came from, so it's just a happy accident that the hot pink phlox in the back provide some contrasting color.

I do remember the names for many of my daylilies, however, especially what I call my "literary lilies," plants I purchased solely because of their names, not their appearance.  'Tennyson' is one of those who also happens to be beautiful.

'Divine Comedy' is another.

And there is my personal favorite, 'Mistress Prynne,' who is just starting to bloom.

There are several others with literary names that I won't take time to show you today, including 'Romeo Lies Bleeding,' a red lily with a yellow throat and edging.  I searched and searched for a Juliet to go with him, but had no luck.  So when I found this one-of-a-kind hybrid at a local daylily farm, I bought her and named her Juliet myself.  You won't find her registered anywhere; she only grows in my garden!  The daylily growers hydbridize many lilies and then decide which ones they want to propagate.  "Juliet" didn't pass the test, so that is why she is one of a kind, but I think they made a mistake--she is a fair beauty and frankly, surpasses 'Romeo' in size and number of flowers.

'Yellow Pinwheel' doesn't have any literary connections, but I couldn't resist this tall, large beauty.  It's supposed to be a later lily, which is why I purchased it, but it's early this year.  So many plants in my garden this year seem a little off schedule.

There are also so many NOIDs in my garden, some because I simply have forgotten their names and some because they were passalongs.  Above is one of the lilies given to me by my aunt, so I simply call them "Nettie's Rubies."

This is a passalong from friend Beckie, who can't remember its name.  I usually gravitate toward pastel colors in lilies, but this dark bloomer has really grown on me--its throat positively glows in the sunlight.

Another no-name; I think it also was a one-time hybrid from the daylily farm.

Another one-time hybrid I planted several years ago that I named "Prairie Sunrise."  My friend Beckie and I have purchased several of these hybrids over the years, partly because they're a bargain, and partly because it's fun to name them ourselves, knowing we have something unique in our gardens.

I won't take time to show all my daylilies here, or this post would be much too long, but I have to share this one.  This beauty just appeared this year--I swear I have never seen it before, and I'm 99% positive I didn't plant it.  I'm thinking it might be a volunteer that is the result of cross-pollination between two nearby lilies.  I suppose I'll never know, but it's a welcome addition to the garden!

Besides the daylilies Hemerocallis,  a few Orienpets are also blooming.  This is supposed to be 'Black Beauty,' but I'm not so sure.

Now this is the color 'Black Beauty' is supposed to be, I believe.  Perhaps a case of mislabeled bulbs or my faulty memory--it really doesn't matter, I enjoy them both.

The Orientals are also beginning to bloom including 'Salmon Surprise,' which is having to fight for room among the spreading coneflowers.

Lilies aren't the only blooms in my garden right now, however.  Blackberry Lily, Iris domestica, took awhile to get established in my garden, but now it is spreading, which makes me happy.

Phlox, including the white 'David' and an unknown pink, provide a lovely backdrop for shorter blooms in the Arbor Bed.

Hydrangeas are just starting to bloom as well.  This is a new cultivar given to me by a friend who is with Bailey Nurseries, called 'Bloomstruck.'  It's supposed to be an improved version of 'Endless Summer,'  producing more blooms, but what has struck me so far this year is that the blooms really are blue!  In my alkaline soil, "blue" hydrangeas always turn pink.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this stays blue.

Another new bloom in my garden--the first time I've been successful with Crocosmia.  I think this is 'Lucifer,' but I'm not sure.

In the butterfly garden, the native gray-headed coneflower Ratibida pinnata rises above butterfly weed and other natives.

And, of course, no summer Bloom Day post would be complete without showing off my beloved purple coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea.  

While originally planted in the Sidewalk Garden in the previous photo and in the Roadside Garden, they have spread to most other flowerbeds as well, including the Arbor Bed above.  I know many of you have commented that you have no luck in growing these, and while I'd like to take credit for my success with them, the fact is, they simply like Illinois prairie soil.  And yes, I know this area is reaching jungle proportions--the result of my habit of plopping new plants in any bare inch of soil I can find😊

Occasionally, I dig up volunteer seedlings and share them others, but I have a hard time thinning these out, because the bees and butterflies love them.

Sadly, I haven't seen many butterflies this summer other than the Red Admirals.

But look what else has been enjoying the coneflowers!  You may have to enlarge the photo to see him, but this little hummingbird has been sampling them the last few days--I've never seen a hummingbird in the coneflowers before.

Coneflowers are usually a butterfly magnet, and my patience finally paid off yesterday when the first Monarch since spring arrived.  I certainly hope to see more of these as the summer continues.

There is so much more going on in my garden right now that I haven't included here, but if you're in the neighborhood, stop by!  I can't think of a better time in my garden than mid-July.

As always, I'm a day late to the party known as Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, but I have a feeling this party is going to go on for awhile.  Thanks, as always, to our hostess Carol of May Dreams Gardens.