Yep, things are heating up this month, both temperature- and color-wise. Above is one of the hottest spots in the front garden, featuring Babylon Red verbena (Verbena ‘Oxena’) and ‘Splash Select Red’ polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya).
There are more bright spots to show off, but I’ll try to mix them up a bit to give you a break in between. So for now…
The alliums, which have featured prominently the last few months, are starting to slow down, but there are a few left. The leeks (above) are just about done, and the garlic (behind the leeks, and below with ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy and Lagurus ovatus) is forming bulbils. I know you’re supposed to cut off the stems, but I mostly grow garlic for the greens, not the bulbs, so I prefer to let the stalks mature and then scatter the bulbils around the main patch. They make great alpaca treats too, unless the boys are in a bad mood. (You haven’t really experienced garlic breath until you’ve been misted with garlic-mixed-with-rumen spit.)
There’s also a new allium blooming this month, in an unusual color among the onions: Allium flavum.
I got the iris below years ago as a tiny seedling labeled Iris setosa, but it looks rather more like Iris ensata, I think. It’s pretty and tough, whatever it is.
I don’t have much luck with common foxgloves here, but rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea) has been well established for several years now and is starting to produce lots of seedlings, which is great. In the photos above and below, it’s with Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHA1’), which I received as free test plants a while back.
July is traditionally daylily (Hemerocallis) time around here. I have a bunch of no-name clumps out back to provide summer alpaca treats, along with a few special favorites out front, including ‘Milk Chocolate’ (above and below)…
…and ‘Nona’s Garnet’ Spider’ (above).
Lots of true lilies (Lilium) have come and gone over the past few weeks, too. ‘Robina’ (below), an Orienpet (Oriental-Trumpet) hybrid, can be a rich pink but tends to bleach out a bit in the heat.
‘Purple Prince’ (above and below), another Orienpet, seems to hold its color a bit better, but it doesn’t have the large, tiered bloom clusters of ‘Robina’. Both of these lilies have wonderfully strong stems and a heavy scent.
Lilium leichtlinii (above and below) isn’t fragrant, but it’s still a beauty. It’s normally more upright, but the ‘Red Majestic’ hazel next to it has expanded by several feet over the last few years, so the lily now has to lean a fair bit. This scene has made for a very nice view from my office window over the last few weeks.
Other July-blooming perennials include seed-grown ‘Axminster Streaked’ balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus, above), wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium, below)…
… ‘Prairie Frost’ purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, above) and giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima, below with Southern bush honeysuckle [Diervilla sessilifolia], frost grass [Spodiopogon sibiricus], and Virginia creeper [Parthenocissus quinquefolia])…
…coreopsis (I think the one above is a fine-leaved form of Coreopsis tripteris, paired with ‘Grace’ smokebush [Cotinus] and Euphorbia ‘Golden Foam’), and Culver’s root (below is Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Erica’ with ‘Conca d’Or Orienpet lily)…
…cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis, above), and New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis, below).
Clematis glaucophylla (above) is mostly seedheads now from its earlier flush of bloom, but it’s already producing new buds and normally keeps flowering into fall. It produced a show like this last year too, but when I went to collect seeds, only two of the dozens of seedheads actually had plump, viable seeds.
Below is common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), a deciduous shrub, heading out of bloom.
Many of the annuals and tender perennials are really taking off now. Above is the planter by the barn door. I keep container plantings to a minimum around here to reduce watering, but it’s easy to give this one the leftovers every time I dump, scrub, and refill the boys’ water bucket. This one includes ‘Sweet Georgia Heart Light Green’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), hot pink ‘Aloha Neon 2011’ and orange ‘Noa Tangerine’ million bells (Calibrachoa), ‘Angie Blue’ anagallis (Anagallis monelli), yellow ‘Samantha’ lantana, ‘Profusion Orange’ zinnia, ‘Sedona’ coleus, yellow-and-green Iresine lindenii ‘Formosa’, ‘Susie Orange Clear’ black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata), and ‘Joan Lorraine’ chickabiddy (Asarina scandens). Below is a bit of detail.
The pink-and-yellow flowers of Echeveria glauca (below) don’t really fit with the other colors in the side garden, but they’re neat-looking, so I usually leave them.
I decided to try a few old favorites again this year, including tweedia (Tweedia caerulea or Oxypetalum caeruleum/coeruleum, above) and bunny tail grass (Lagurus ovatus, below).
A couple of self-sowers making a repeat appearance include dwarf cleome or redwhisker clammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra, above) and ‘Ondra’s Green Mix’ flowering tobacco (Nicotiana, below). (By the way, I see that ‘Nancy Ondra’s Green’ nicotiana is now available commercially through Avant Gardens. It looks like their strain has more N. alata in it, though, while my plants usually appear to have more N. langsdorffii influence.)
I grew yellow lavender (Lavandula viridis) from seed last year and managed to overwinter one clump in the basement, so I got a few flowerheads this year. It’s not particularly ornamental, but the clean, refreshing scent is great.
Below, another tender perennial: Iochroma cyanea. It’s related to brugmansias, but the individual flowers are much smaller: about 2 inches long and maybe 1/3 inch wide.
Above, South African foxglove (Ceratotheca triloba); below, with its sticky hairs quite visible, is clammy cuphea (Cuphea viscosissima), also known as blue waxweed.
I generally don’t have great luck with petunias once summer heat arrives, but this little gem – Petunia integrifolia, above – is one that keeps getting better through the growing season. I was thrilled to get the seeds through the Hardy Plant Society/Mid-Atlantic Group’s Seed Exchange last winter. Come to think of it, the South African foxglove and clammy cuphea came from there too. For any of you who who enjoy finding unusual annuals, I highly recommend joining HPS/MAG (membership info is here) so you’ll have access to the seed exchange this winter. Even better, start collecting seeds now so you can be a donor, too!
The potato beetles have been slow to arrive this year, so my Solanum pyracanthum seedlings got off to a great start and are already starting to flower. If all goes well, I hope to include some of the seed in my HPS/MAG seed donation this fall.
‘Oakhurst’ pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa, above), doesn’t come completely true from seed, but you can get some nice dark-leaved seedlings from it.
‘Jade Princess’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum, below) doesn’t want to set any seed for me, unfortunately.
Vertigo pennisetum (Pennisetum ‘Tift 8’, below) is another one that I usually have to buy new plants of each spring, but it’s worth it.
Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) continues to look fantastic this month. Above, it’s with Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis); below, it’s with the seedheads of ‘Cramer’s Plum’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) and ‘Dark Towers’ beardtongue (Penstemon).
To finish up, some general garden shots, starting below with the front foundation border. The cannas were a gift last year from a fellow blogger (thanks, Marie!). I hope to ID them when they flower.
Above and below, two sides of the middle path in the front garden…
…and below, one of the outermost borders out front, with ‘Full Moon’ coreopsis, Veronica grandis, and Sanguisorba obtusa.
And the side garden (above and below), with the summer-blond seedheads of Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima).
Yeah, it’s hot and it’s dry, so stay in the shade, get a cool drink from the sprinkler (or maybe your refrigerator), and enjoy some virtual garden visits from the comfort of your own computer through the links in Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.