Bloom Day/Weed Day July 2009
July mid finds us with two themes to follow. Ongoing traditional bloom day, hostessed by charming Carol of May Dreams Gardens and newly introduced Weedy Wednesday hosted by our friend and fellow Tennessean, Dave of The Home Garden. (Added: It seems Dave changed his mind about his weed day, moving it to July 29! Oh well, enjoy the weedy bloom day here anyway.) Finding blooming weeds is not at all difficult here, for what is a weed to some is a desirable plant to others, such as Self heal, Prunella vulgaris that came with the property. We adore everything about this plant, it is evergreen, has sweet blue and white flowers and freely self sows. It has grown in places where we have not been able to get anything else to grow. We admit to introducing the seeds of Nigella damascena here in 1996 when we first bought this house for offspring Semi and Chickenpoet to live in while attending the nearby college. The rate of its expansion was unforseen however. We bought A plant of Verbena bonariensis when we moved here ourselves in 2000. It has made itself at home in every bed, but especially in the gravel paths. The long view of the path that leads from the driveway around to the back gardens finds us looking eye to eye with the tall see through V. B. The stem structure is architectural and adds another design element to the verticality. Perhaps you noticed the barrier of boards in the previous shot. Behind the wooden planks is the prickly thistle plant, Sonchus arvensis. How this got here is a mystery, but we are allowing it to reside in the gravel path and bloom for the sake of hungry finches and pretty purple flowers. Backed by yet another introduction of ours in 1996, purple Perilla frutescens has set its sails for a sea of purple to take over the paths and beds. Even with the word *weed* in its common name, Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum ‘Gateway’ is hardly unwelcome. A purchased plant in 2000, this has spread itself and been spread by the gardener to form a dense stand around the rotting carcass of Ferngully. The structure is magnificent and the flowers highly favored by the butterflies of late summer into fall. Is it late summer already? The verdantly gilded cage captures the seed head of the native Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota. This tall annual came with the property and seems to prefer the area behind the knot garden bench. Recent major weeding and clean up back there might allow for more self sowing in the future. The Echinaceas enjoy the company and the butterfly larvae like the proximity of the nectar plants as they emerge as winged royalty. This plant is a mystery. It showed up one year in the front garden and it was left in place because we believed it to be the Chinese Lanterns, Physalis alkekengi that had been seed sown some distance away. How the seeds might have traveled over one hundred feet without the plant ever blooming was unclear. But the lanterns never turn orange, they just turn kind of tan and then fall off. Here is what the flower looks like. At one point it was guessed to be a ground cherry, or even a tomatillo, but fruit of any size has not been noticed. Maybe the birds or other creature get it first. Does anyone recognize it? It obviously shares the Chinese Lantern trait of being attractive to flea beetles. Ignore the hand. We end with a not a weed, but rather a grass image rotated to better fit the computer screen. Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ has begun to flower, and looking closely at the image, it was noticed that there are orange tiny flowers with purple calyxes? It is backed by Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’ foliage in the black garden. Without that macro setting these glorious colors would never have been noticed. Thank you Carol and Dave, for being the impetus to look closer.