Bloom Day/Weed Day July 2009

July 12, 2009 031 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 101 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 086 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 087 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 085 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 060 (2) 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. July 11, 2009 074 (2) The structure is magnificent and the flowers highly favored by the butterflies of late summer into fall. Is it late summer already? July 6, 2009 028 (2) The verdantly gilded cage captures the seed head of the native Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota. July 12, 2009 023 (2) 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. July 7, 2009 032 (2) 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. July 7, 2009 033 (2) 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. July 6, 2009 010 (2) 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.

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38 Responses to Bloom Day/Weed Day July 2009

  1. Les says:

    I curse the Perilla. Someone planted it at work years ago and it comes up everywhere, and I spend too much time keeping it in check. Your other weeds are lovely, happy GBBD!

    Hi Les, thanks. The perilla is quite the self sower, isn’t it? Good thing it is easy to pull. I let them grow to about a foot then pull all the unwanted, easier to grab the stem for a good yank at that size. Makes nice compost too. πŸ™‚

  2. jo says:

    Wish, oh wish, I could call Veronica bonariensis a weed in our garden: I am nurturing three plants in my greenhouse, but they are lying down and sulking.

    Hi Jo, thanks for visiting. The V. B. loves the gravel the most of anyplace in the garden. Maybe if you try a gravel top dressing on your plants?

  3. Janet says:

    Hi there Frances, I too have Verbena freely seeding itself all over the garden. I treat it like a weed in areas that I don’t want it. I don’t even try to save the seedling and transplant…it is just history!! I was reading about Summer Wine being a smaller version of the Physocarpus– what is your take?

    Hi Janet, thanks for stopping by. Some of the VBs get transplanted if there is a need for tall in a new bed. Why not take advantage of free plants, but most are composted. I am loving Summer Wine, but never grew the larger Diablo so cannot compare them. Summer Wine gets pruned here to keep it to about four feet by four feet, the space allotted in the black garden for it. Don’t know how large it would get if left to its own devices, but it is a beauty. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

  4. Tara says:

    Your mystery Chinese Lantern plant-do the ‘lanterns’ have a berry inside? If they do they could be Cape Goose berries (Physalis peruviana)

    Hi Tara, thanks for that, I will check it out. I know there is not a larger fruit, but do believe there is a smaller berry thing. πŸ™‚

  5. gail says:

    Frances, You have desirable weeds in some cases! I love Heal All. In my first rental it grew in the lawn and was a flower to me! It does seem early for several bloomers right now. Joe Pye has totally surprised me. V B is beginning to make itself at home! I love where it pops up…usually not at all where i want it to be. Have a lovely day out there in the blogasphere. I am hoping for rain…gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. Prunella is such a wonderful plant, the flowers are long lasting and just the right color to blend well with everything too. The VB has a way of growing right in the middle of the paths, where it cannot be and has to come out. The ones I planted in the enlarged muhly bed are doing well, sometimes they don’t transplant successfully, but there’s always more. I think we are to get rain later today and tomorrow?

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I don’t see a weed here. Hmmm. Now I could show you some realll weeds. I love seeing the grass blooms. I certainly have never noticed any color on grass heads. I will have to look closer.

    Oh Lisa, you don’t need to show me the real weeds, we have them and plenty of them too. That Heavy Metal is wonderful. I bought it mail order, later finding it for sale all over here, and it was so small. Now it is getting larger and I love it.

  7. I love your shot of the faded Queen Anne’s Lace. I had that at my old garden and couldn’t decide if it was a weed or not. I need a tall grass for out front, and Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ has just moved into the front-runner spot because of your photo of those cool flowers.

    Hi MMD, thanks. Heavy Metal is wonderful, upright, good color and pretty flowers. It would look good in your space. I have been known to pull the Queen Anne’s Lace, but always leave at least one, I wouldn’t want to be without it.

  8. Dave says:

    Sorry about the switch Frances! You mentioned Bloom Day which I completely forgot about initially and I didn’t want to interfere with Bloom Day so I changed it to the 27th a couple days ago. I’ll add this post to it!

    Thanks Dave, I thought it would be fun to have the blooming weeds and am glad to have a twofer! I added your new date to this post too. πŸ™‚

  9. linda says:

    lovely blooms Frances, including the weedy ones. Queen Anne’s lace is one of my favorites and I’d be delighted to have it volunteer in my garden.

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. I would be happy to send you seeds. πŸ™‚

  10. Randy says:

    Just gorgeous, Frances. I wish our Joe Pye would start making bigger clumps, I just love it.

    Hi Randy, thanks. I do love the Joe Pye and began spreading it myself in late fall, since then it has taken off! Give it a try. πŸ™‚

  11. Racquel says:

    Your ‘Weeds’ are gorgeous this bloom day Frances. I think the old saying is appropriate in this case, you have some wonderful examples of how self seeding has created some interest in areas where other plants would not succeed. My only Verbena bonariensis was a volunteer & I would love for it to happily distribute itself throughout the garden. πŸ˜‰

    Hi Racquel, thanks so much. I agree with that old saying too. I have had so much better luck since becoming a follower of the Semi school of gardening. Don’t do anything. It was difficult at first, but I think I am getting the hang of it. πŸ™‚

  12. Dreamybee says:

    Weed or not, your Prunella vulgaris looks like a peacock-very pretty!

    Hi Dreamybee, so nice to see you and thanks. The Prunella is a keeper here. It grows anywhere and thrives.

  13. There are many “weeds” I love, and you’ve mentioned a few of them. I’d add the ox-eye daisy and even the lowly buttercup — though thankfully it isn’t a pest in my garden as it is for some others. Crazy about VB and wish I could grow it.

    Hi Helen, thanks. I have the ox eye daisy too, should have included it. It gets pulled most of the time for after blooming it sprawls so, but by that time it has seeded all over so there are always plenty of plants. That is the way with all of these, plenty! πŸ™‚

  14. As usual, I enjoyed my tour through your garden. I have perilla also, and I actually brought it here myself, I have no one to blame except myself. By now I have recognized it for the scourge it is and I am trying to limit it to the back corners and edges of the property. Ha ha ha ha ha!

    I have to say that my favorite shot here is the one of the gravel path.. I really liked the “weed” aspect of this post. It is so true that there are many wonderful flowers out there that have been “relegated” to weed status simply because of their invasiveness. I always have a few pet sweet cicely around, but try to get them “out of there” before they form those annoying clinging seeds.

    Hi Hands, thanks. That perilla is something. A little of it really enhances a bed, but it doesn’t know when to quit. I always leave some to seed too, I wouldn’t want to be without it. That’s kind of the way I feel about all these weeds, I would miss them if they were not here. Sweet cicely is a wonderful plant too, lots of lore about that one, right? πŸ™‚

  15. Catherine says:

    I love the verbena and I’ve let mine pretty much grow wherever it wants and move it around too. I think it pretty much goes with anything. Love these plants that spread themselves around!

    Hi Catherine, thanks for visiting. I agree, the verbena is a wonderful plant. The butterflies adore it too. πŸ™‚

  16. ryan says:

    The green roof at the Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco is covered with blooming prunella right now. Looks really cool.

    Wow Ryan, that sounds fantastic. This is a plant that deserves more respect, sounds like it might be getting it! California often leads the way. πŸ™‚

  17. Joanne says:

    An interesting post as always. I envey your V.B. I have grown many from seed but they rarely survive our clay soils in the winter except the odd one that self seeds usually were you least want it. I will not choose to grow any more. Sometimes have to go with not against nature.

    Thanks, Joanne. It sounds like the climates with lots of rain and cooler have trouble with this plant. Even here, the gravel is its favorite spot. No sense trying to grow something in your area that just doesn’t want to. There are too many other plants that will be happy there, thank goodness. πŸ™‚

  18. Kanak says:

    Every ‘weed’ is so beautiful. I like your mystery plant. The lanterns look interesting, rather like peppers. Also the little fence there. The pattern, though simple, is unusual. Happy Bloom/Weed Day.

    Hi Kanak, thanks so much. I like those lanterns too and have left it to self sow in the front garden even though it doesn’t fit in with the other plantings at all. The good thing is that it is not too tall to stick up above the azaleas and acorus that fill that spot. The little fence is a made of three little store bought trellises fastened to a long cedar rectangle. I should have used a two inch board instead of one inch, it is sagging in the middle! HA πŸ™‚

  19. Your mystery plant is very pretty… the leaves look a bit like velvetleaf, which I think is in the abutilon/malva family. Maybe that will point you in the right direction for an ID?

    Isn’t it funny, btw, how those tall verbena can grow like crazy in the most inhospitable places? The few that sow themselves in my driveway cracks ALWAYS seem to do much better than the ones in the proper garden beds, even!

    Hi Kim, so nice to see you! Thanks for that help with the mystery plant. Cape gooseberry was also mentioned. I think I will wait to see if there is a fruit of some kind in that husk, but won’t be eating it as a test. I agree about the verbena, it does much better in the gravel than the beds. But so do so many things, gravel really would make a good mulch! πŸ™‚

  20. Phillip says:

    Frances, I have a hard time calling these weeds. They look beautiful to me. Is the Nigella also known as “Love in a mist”? I planted some seeds of that a few years ago at Michael’s salon and we loved them.

    Hi Phillip, I don’t call them weeds either. Yes, Nigella is called Love in a mist and is it ever a self sower here. Give it another try sometime. πŸ™‚

  21. You showcase such a variety of texture in these weeds. The color on the Nigella damascena is stunning. I hope it wasn’t too much of a good thing. I have a soft spot for blooming weeds and wildflowers. You have to admire their tenacity and variety.

    Thanks, Sarah. It is nice to see you. The Nigella comes up by the hundreds, if not more, but it is easily pulled and I wouldn’t want to be without it, like all of them shown here today. πŸ™‚

  22. Rose says:

    What a great post, Frances! And I like the idea of “Weedy Wednesday”;I might give up my ABC’s for this–I can do weeds very easily:) A little story…do you remember me digging up the prairie phlox last week? A neighbor saw me the next day and asked what I was doing in the ditch. When I explained, she said, “But aren’t those weeds?” Just shows that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

    I planted a few of these same “flowers” this year, but the nigella never came up. Now that I see their foliage here, I realize I may have accidentally “weeded” them out. Love all the photos, especially the different look of the Queen Anne’s Lace.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I love your ABC’s, but like the weed idea too. Using the word weed very liberally of course. I do remember your risking life and limb to get that phlox. Anything growing along the roadside would be considered not only weeds but something that needs spraying or mowing at the least by many here too. Save the weeds!!!! HA

  23. Jean says:

    I must say you have some charming looking weeds! I did a silly thing this year. After being beguiled by the Verbena bonariensis that I planted last year, I ordered 4 plants online. Little did I know that I’d get a hundred little V.B.’s growing in the gravel! I could’ve saved a few bucks there. Happy Blooms Day!

    Hi Jean, thanks. Your just loved the verbena so much you had to have it. I didn’t realize it would seed like that either, but we both are wiser now! Happy Blooms Day to you too. πŸ™‚

  24. Kristin says:

    I never thought I’d say this… you have some very pretty weeds! The Prunella is especially cool πŸ™‚

    Hi Kristin, thanks and welcome. The Prunella is one of my favorite weeds. πŸ™‚

  25. Hi Frances! I once planted Joe Pye Weed in the Raised beds… in a Very Shady Spot. I thought he’d given up the ghost, but I see this year there’s One Plant growing… not taller than me, but growing! And it looks as though it might flower. I also bought ‘Little Joe’ last summer for my Sunny Corner bed. He’s growing great this year – and is taller than his “Shady Father!” ha. Everything is always great over here… even the weeds! lol.

    Hi Shady, thanks. It seems to take several years for the Joe Pyes to get going. Ours are in our shadiest spot, which is not that shady, but only recently have they towered over me like they do now. Our good rainfall has helped too. Nothing like Father Time to help those plants be all they can be. πŸ™‚

  26. Darla says:

    I just stumbled over to a post about Michael Powers Place. I thought of you immediately. Check it out if you have time.

    Gosh, Darla, thanks so much! That was amazing. Chuck is always full of delights. πŸ™‚

  27. Jen says:

    I just love that you are featuring “weeds” in your bloom day post! (notice I have the word in quotation marks”) You’ve photographed them so beautifully that I probably wouldn’t have known the difference.

    Thanks Jen. These aren’t really considered weeds here either, but they might be in some places by some people. Everyone has their preferences. All self sow vigorously, that might be the reason for the name calling. πŸ™‚

  28. tina says:

    I’ve never seen self heal before. It is lovely and now I must be on the lookout for it. This was such a fun post and how smart of you to combine it with Weedy Wednesday. In your garden these sure don’t look like weeds. I was looking at my sheffies yesterday thinking about where I might spread them around. I sure do like this plant as it is most robust and has great foliage. ttyl Gotta do school work:( The plant moving has to wait a bit.

    Hi Tina, thanks. The Prunella is an excellent, vigorous, easy self sower. I don’t know how it got here in my garden, but am thankful for it. Now is a good time to move the sheffies, especially with the nice rains we have had. I just spread some here last week.

  29. Muum says:

    I enjoyed your post. So many cultivated flowers have become ‘weeds’ in my garden, including the nigella (at least it is easy to pull out!) and the verbena bonariensis, to name a few. Oh, and I have that chinese lantern ‘weed’, too, and the same thoughts – will the lanterns at least be a pretty orange? no! where did it come from? who knows? mine seem to come back from the root if I don’t extract all of it. It does look like it COULD be part of the nightshade family, too? who knows?

    Thanks Muum. It sounds like we have the same gardening style, LOL. Let ’em sow, let ’em sow, let ’em sow! That crazy lantern plant, I like it though and have not even tried to pull it. I think it has made several babies too, and that is fine with me. πŸ™‚

  30. Patsi says:

    Why do so many plant names end in “weed” ?
    All things start in the wild ?
    Love the Queen Anne’s Lace.
    So many different flowers you’ve collected !

    Hi Patsi, thanks. Do you think it comes from the word *wort* at the end of so many names that simply means plant? I think. Just guessing. Queen Anne is one of the best weeds in our garden. πŸ™‚

  31. joey says:

    A lovely offering for bloom day, Frances (even your weeds are charming)!

    Hi Joey, thanks for that. Glad you enjoyed the weeds. πŸ™‚

  32. Sweet Bay says:

    Great pictures Frances. The Self Heal is beautiful. I agree, there are a lot of garden-worthy blooming “weeds”.

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks. Many of the natives are considered weeds by some, especially here in rural Tennessee. So easy to grow, they live along the roadsides, so couldn’t be worth much is the thinking. An uphill climb to enlightenment, but worth the effort. πŸ™‚

  33. Hi Frances

    Don’t they say a weed is just a plant in the wrong place.

    Your ‘lantern’ looks like a type of abutilon to me. I grow one called ‘Kentish Belle’.

    Thanks, Rob for the lead on the mystery plant. As for weeds being plants in the wrong place, my garden must be all weeds, for everything is moved constantly. HA

  34. Frances, I have that mystery plant, but I don’t know what it is either. I also thought it was Chinese lanterns because I planted seeds for them nearby. I don’t like it very much, but it is easy to pull. I have a lot of the others too, and enjoy them.~~Dee

  35. Love the Perennial Sunflower in 2nd shot…lovely-just lovely!
    GartenGrl at
    Planning Plants to Plant

  36. Sylvana says:

    I like to grow some weeds in my garden – mullein being one of my favorite, but I also have some Prunella vulgaris that I got from my parents. Many of these “weeds” actually have great medicinal properties – hence the name “Self Heal”. Plus, as you pointed out, they tend to grow where little else will!

    Hi Sylvana, thanks for visiting and welcome.. Mullein is a lovely plant, and the Prunella is just marvelous.

  37. Brian says:

    Hi Francis, your garden is as always, enchanting. So sorry to hear of your stolen e-mail account…a lesson for us all! The mystery Chinese lantern like plant was given to me as a pass-a-long plant called a “shew- fly” supposed to keep flies away from the area….not sure if this works or not! Mine are gone for now, waiting ’till the soil turns up some long dropped and forgotten seed.

    Hi Brian, thanks for that. We are waiting to see what fruit develops inside the little tan lanterns. In the meantime is keeps cropping up in other beds in the back gardens too. I kind of like it, but don’t know if it deters flies. That would be a plus. πŸ™‚

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