Floral fireworks for July: dill (
Happy Bloom Day, all! It feels good to be back. It’s been kind of a rough year here so far, garden-wise: too many other things that needed attention (including writing several times a month for the
mid-Atlantic section of Fine Gardening‘s website), compounded by a new deer problem. In the last few weeks, I’ve been wavering between trying to reclaim the garden and basically giving up for this year. The process of putting together this post has propped up my enthusiasm for the good things that are going on out there, and I’m ready to see what I can do to get things back on track. So, I truly thank those of you who have encouraged me to start blogging here again, and I hope you enjoy seeing some Hayefield highlights from the last few weeks.
Let’s start in the meadow, which has been the place I can most easily appreciate–mainly because it does its thing regardless of my input. There are always weeds and deer out there, and yet there are always many lovely surprises and beautiful finds as well.
I’m not crazy about spiderworts (
Tradescantia) in general, because they tend to be sprawly and take up a lot of space. Ohio spiderwort (T. ohiensis) looks great in the early-summer meadow, and then other plants fill in once it is past its peak.
Sweet vernal grass (
Anthoxanthum odoratum): Not native, unfortunately, but abundant and pretty, and it does have a pleasantly fresh, sweet scent when dried.
Purple lovegrass (
Eragrostis spectabilis) seems to be getting trendier, and I agree it is beautiful in flower (as here) as well as when it’s in its rosy purple cloud stage as the seeds form in late summer. As lovely as this native grass is in the meadow, I have spent too much time weeding its seedlings out of the garden to appreciate it as a border plant.
I have no problem appreciating white wild indigo (
Baptisia alba) wherever it wants to grow. I’ve been spreading the seeds of the original plants over various parts of the meadow for the past several years, and they’re finally reaching flowering size. They bloom around the same time as wild quinine ( Parthenium integrifolium) and Ohio spiderwort ( Tradescantia ohiensis)–late June this year–for a beautiful white-and-blue combination.
Knowing how readily the galiums can get out of hand, I hesitate to leave hedge bedstraw (
Galium mollugo) in the garden, but it’s charming in the meadow and attracts many insects (sadly, it’s not native, though).
One of my favorite finds each July: ragged fringed orchid (
Platanthera lacera). It’s not particularly rare or showy, but any wild orchid is pretty special, I think.
These are pretty neat too: interesting rosettes on the various meadow goldenrods (
Solidago) caused by goldenrod bunch gall midge ( Rhopalomyia solidaginis) laying eggs in the stem tips. The “green rose” stage lasts for just a week or two; then the stems generally branch and go on to flower in fall.
A developing nut on American hazel (
These wild garlic (
Allium vineale) heads are just so silly!
Meadow garlic (
Allium canadense) also has a lot of personality.
Back in the garden, a few stalwart perennials have proven to be unappealing to the marauding deer–so far, at least (and I’m pretty sure the rotten thing has sampled some of everything by now).
Yet another outstanding allium: top-setting onion (
Allium x proliferum)
Umbrella plant (
Syneilesis aconitifolia): I find the flowering stems to be floppy in shade but strong in sun.
Giant coneflower (
Rudbeckia maxima) is finally starting to seed around a bit.
Wild quinine (
Parthenium integrifolium), also known as American feverfew, starts flowering in mid- to late June and continues through the summer.
Cruel plant (
Cynanchum ascyrifolium, among other names) produces a flush of bloom in May. Those stems elongate and sprawl in June, and then there’s another flush of flowers from July into early fall. I was hoping the seedlings I started a year or two ago from purchased seeds would flower this year, so I’ll have some males and some females and can get some seeds to share, but I guess it’ll be another year yet.
Blackberry lily (
Iris domestica, though I’ll forever think of it as Belamcanda chinensis) is always a July highlight.
Beautiful ‘Axminster Streaked’ balloon flower (
I know deer will feed on burnets (
Sanguisorba)–watching how the plants respond to that is how I learned the clumps can be cut back hard and still recover. Luckily, this ground-hugging ‘Little Angel’ has escaped being eaten…so far.
Southern bush honeysuckle (
Diervilla sessilifolia): the bees adore it and the deer don’t.
Sadly, the vegetable garden is pretty much a total loss for the year, with the beans and tomatoes, in particular, getting repeatedly munched back to bare stems. I’ve been concentrating on protecting the edible and ornamental annuals I really want to collect seed from: some old favorites and some new additions too.
It’s getting harder each year to find ‘Profusion’ zinnias around here, but I managed to score a few ‘Profusion Yellow’ this spring. It’s such a nice color!
I thought I’d lost
Petunia exserta after not being able to collect seed the last two years. I found a few seeds in an old packet in my seed box this spring, and they germinated quickly. It’s looking fantastic now and I’m hoping to get fresh seed from it this year.
How did I forget to grow
Petunia integrifolia for so long? I’m very pleased to have this little gem back in the garden.
In bloom, starflower pincushion (
Scabiosa stellata) is moderately interesting.
The same drumstick pincushion (
Scabiosa stellata) flower a few days later. Isn’t that a great-looking seedhead?
Summer pheasant’s eye (
Adonis aestivalis): small flowers but a big pop of color
Tassel flower (
Emilia javanica): the usual scarlet-red one
A new one for me this year: Florida tassel flower (
Another one that’s easy from seed, just starting its months-long bloom season: Brazilian bachelor’s button (
Centratherum intermedium, aka C. punctatum)
I kind of gave up on growing blue woodruff (
Asperula orientalis) because it’s hard to collect a useful amount of seed, and no one else seemed interested in it anyway. Happy to see this one pop up on its own, though.
I was disappointed when I sowed what was supposed to be
Trachelium caeruleum and ended up with Didiscus caerulea. I got over it; these are really nice for cutting.
Found a few of these seeds when I was sorting through my seed box this spring:
Abelmoschus moschatus ‘Mischief’. I didn’t have luck in previous attempts but it is doing well this year–particularly the one I have in the greenhouse with the black cotton plants.
Another one I had luck with for the first time this year: pink hawk’s beard (
Crepis rubra). It was a short but delightful show.
The bloom season for white South African foxglove
(Ceratotheca triloba ‘Alba’) is just starting now and will continue until frost–assuming the deer doesn’t take a liking to it.
Another long-blooming white flower: white cypress vine (
Ipomoea quamoclit ‘Alba’)
I thought it would be nice to have some night-fragrant flowers for my little sitting area out back. This is night phlox (
Zaluzianskya capensis), also known as midnight candy. I find the scent to be somewhat elusive: powerfully vanilla-almond sometimes and non-existent at others–not sure why. It’s so cute that I will definitely grow it again; it was easy from seed.
Sweet four-o’clock (
Mirabilis longiflora) has a much more consistent fragrance. Though the plants look somewhat weedy during the day, the evening-opening blooms are quite elegant.
One more for night-time perfume: Australian tobacco (
And to finish, some foliage highlights.
‘Monarch Promise’ tropical milkweed (
Asclepias curassavica): Dramatically variegated leaves and pods, and spectacular flowers as well
Day flower (
Commelina tuberosa Coelestis Group) produces brilliant blue flowers. They’re eye-catching on their own and even more striking set against the variegated foliage of ‘Hopleys Variegated’. I grew it from seed last year and overwintered the tubers in my basement. Good thing, as no one seems to be selling the seeds this year.
Another combo of blue flowers and variegated leaves from seed: ‘Splash of Cream’ shoo-fly plant (
Porophyllum ruderale), also known as papaloquelite and Bolivian coriander: Aren’t these cool-looking leaves? The dots are large oil glands, apparently. They’re most obvious when the leaves are backlit. To be honest, I really don’t like this plant, because of the horrible smell; I grow it for friends who actually like the scent and flavor of cilantro. I can harvest from this plant for them all summer to frost–as long as I wear gloves so the odor doesn’t get on my hands (eew!).
Another oddity: New Zealand dock (
Rumex flexuosus). Grows readily from seed and looks great with other coppery-leaved NZ plants, such as bronze sedges (like Carex comans and C. flagellifera).
Yet another bit of fabulous foliage from seed: variegated tobacco (
Nicotiana tabacum ‘Variegatum’). Out of about 12 seedlings, only two had variegation like this. I’d been hoping to grow N. langsdorffii ‘Variegata’ too, but the seeds I got this year ended up being a completely different nicotiana.
Not from seed, but one of my favorite trailing plants for containers: variegated St. Augustine grass (
Stenotaphrum secundatum ‘Variegatum’)
Well, that was fun. I’m ready to get back out there and see what I can do to get more things spruced up before next month. I wish you all a marvelous midsummer! Don’t forget that you can check out what’s going on in other July gardens around the word at
the main Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.