Oh my goodness, what an embarrassment of riches to choose from for this Bloom Day. I’ve left out most of the foliage to focus on the flowers, and it’s still hard to decide what makes the cut for this early-summer celebration.
Allium season continues: the species change but the flower form remains the same. Leaving some produce in the garden over winter provides terrific summer flowers from ordinary onions (Allium cepaCepa Group)…
and leeks (A. ampeloprasum Porrum Group, below).
Last month, I mentioned that I haven’t had much luck with Allium atropurpureum lasting for more than a year. This month, though, there’s another deep purple allium that’s been through two winters and shows no sign of weakening: Allium ‘Forelock’.
I’d expected its flowers to be smaller, so I planted the bulbs quite close together. I plan to buy more this fall and will allow about a foot between the bulbs, so the globes are spaced out better.
The clematis are coming along nicely, too. Clematis glaucophylla [above] started last month and is currently loaded with fresh flowers and buds.
A couple other leather flower clematis are just starting to bloom now. Above is C. viorna.
I’m not positive about the one in the photos above and below, but I’m pretty sure it’s C. addisonii. It’s only 2 to 3 feet tall and used to be rather sprawly, but now a neighboring shrub has grown close enough that the clematis can scramble up through the branch tips.
Honeysuckles (Lonicera) are in fully glory now, too. Above is L. x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’; below is L. x heckrottii ‘Goldflame’. Both are very pretty but a little disappointing: I don’t get any fragrance from either of them, and they’re usually covered with aphids in late spring, just as the blooms start to open. ‘Goldflame’ also gets powdery mildew by midsummer.
I’m much more fond of late Dutch honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’, below). Though it’s growing fairly close to the other two (it’s at the front steps, and they’re on the side), it rarely seems bothered by either aphids or powdery mildew. And, its fragrance is strong enough that you notice it as you walk by.
Some other early-summer stars are the sea hollies (Eryngium). I started Miss Willmott’s ghost (E. giganteum, below) from seed about 4 years ago, and one of the four seedlings finally decided to flower. So much for being biennial.
I also have a couple of other sea hollies at the moment. They’re supposed to be perennial, but I’m usually lucky if they last long enough to be annuals. I had to buy these this spring for a project, so I’m going to fully enjoy them however long they survive. Above is Eryngium x zabelii ‘Big Blue’; below is E. x zabelii ‘Donard Variety’.
Speaking of annuals, there are a few in bloom at the moment, including ‘Lauren’s Grape’ poppy (Papaver, above), ‘Purple Twist’ snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus, below)…
…and ‘Angie Blue’ blue pimpernel (Anagallis monelli, below).
In the biennial category (for real), rose campion (Lychnis coronaria, above).
And then, the perennials, starting with dwarf culinary sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Nana’, below).
Above, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)with a bit of purple toadflax (Linaria purpurea), Euphorbia palustris ‘Zauberflote’, and creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum).
Below, Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas).
Above, golden feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ‘Aureum’). Below, ‘Amazone’ tuberous Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa).
I’ve been growing ‘Brookside’ geranium (Geranium) for five or six years now and was very frustrated with it for most of that time. It forms a nice mound in spring, but soon after it starts flowering, it sprawls badly and looks very untidy, like this:
Clearly, it’s not great at the front of a border. I used to get annoyed and chop it back to the ground in early June, but then I missed out on many weeks of the flowering season. A year or two ago, I missed cutting it down, and I noticed that, where it could crawl up through shrubby companions, it looked very pretty indeed.
Above, it’s with golden cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum opulus ‘Aureum’); below, it’s with a variegated sport of ‘Cardinal’ red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea). I’m finally catching on that it’s far better toward the middle of a border, where it can weave and wander without the open center being so obvious.
Giant scabious (Cephalaria gigantea, above and below) is another perennial I have mixed feelings about. It’s very tall – 6 to 7 feet –and kind of gangly-looking in bloom, and it’s not very interesting once it’s done flowering. It’s been established in my little orchard area for many years now, though, and has seeded around, so I just enjoy the flowers and ignore the plant the rest of the year.
A couple other tall things are just about finished now: above is yellow meadow rue (Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum) and below is valerian (Valeriana officinalis).
For a long time, I thought this clump in the “shade” border (above) was goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus). (I really ought to do a better job keeping track of the labels in my seed pots.) But when I took a good look at it a few days ago, I realized that the terminal leaflet is three-lobed, rather than entire, so that makes it false goat’s beard (Astilbe biternata). Darn. I really don’t like astilbes, but now I may have to revise my opinion. It’s a lot more open and graceful than most astilbes, to about 4 feet tall.
At the other end of the height spectrum is creeping bramble (Rubus rolfei, a.k.a. R. calycinoides or R. pentalobus, above), at just a few inches tall. I think this is the first year it’s been practically covered with flower buds. Usually, the leaves – and the flower buds too, I guess – get winter-killed, but the foliage stuck around all through this past winter.
A couple of cottagey pinks: above is strawberry foxglove (Digitalis x mertonensis), with ‘Heavenly Habit’ Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium caeruleum). Below is the miniature rose ‘Sweet Chariot’, which has a wonderful perfumey fragrance that carries through much of the side garden.
Some spiky favorites flowering now: above is seed-grown ‘Flamenco’ torch lily (Kniphofia uvaria), which keeps getting better each year, even though it really shouldn’t like my winter-wet soil. In front is Euphorbia ‘Golden Foam’; behind it is golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’).
Below, on the other side of the same elderberry, is Veronica grandis.
Above is Caucasian germander (Teucrium hyrcanicum, or hircanicum, if you prefer), in front of ‘Moonshine’ yarrow (Achillea).
Below is moth mullein (Verbascum blattaria) and its white version (V. blattaria f. albiflorum). They must have seeded in from the meadow, because I didn’t plant them but they’re coming up all over.
I’m not crazy about heuchera flowers in general, but this clump of ‘Miracle’ (above, with ‘Caramel’) looks pretty nice at the moment.
Lily (Lilium) season is starting, too. Below is ‘Freya’, a super-sturdy Longiflorum-Asiatic hybrid.
Some hotter colors out front: above is ‘Monte Negro’ Asiatic lily, a terrific rich red; below is ‘Orange County’, a lovely clear orange Asiatic hybrid.
Below is ‘Oranges and Lemons’ say the bells of St. Clement’s blanket flower (Gaillardia) against Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’).
Up on the sand-mound meadow: above is white false indigo (Baptisia alba); below is pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), with some Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) and wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) in the background.
I couldn’t resist a few bits of foliage: above is variegated pokeweed (Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’) with golden meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’); below is Sorbus sorbaria ‘Sem’ .
Above, the glossy black leaves of Angelica ‘Ebony’ mingled with Geranium wlassovianum, smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), and ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora).
And below, a bit of fruit, in the form of ‘Pixwell’ gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa).
Now, some combination shots, starting above with Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima), ‘Dark Towers’ beardtongue (Penstemon), and ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena).
Below, ‘Sweet Chariot’ miniature rose, Euphorbia ‘Golden Foam’, ‘Erica’ Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum), and Veronica grandis.
Above, golden oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’), more Euphorbia ‘Golden Foam’, and ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus).
Below, ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ bigleaf ligularia (Ligularia dentata) with Island Brocade sedge (Carex siderosticha ‘Shima-nishiki’) and smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).
Above, American ipecac (Gillenia stipulata), variegated boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Elegantissima’), giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha), and the spiky foliage of ‘Immortality’ iris.
Below, more ‘Immortality’ iris with ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), ‘Brookside’ geranium, and Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima).
Above, Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’), ‘Lauren’s Grape’ poppy (Papaver), crimson scabious (Knautia macedonica), and ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana).
Below, more crimson scabious with ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta).
And above, the promise of lots more color to come along the main path through the front garden.
To see how other summer gardens are coming along (and what winter’s like in Southern Hemisphere gardens), check out the list of links in Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.