Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer are in full swing. The brightest and bestest blooms can be found this Bloom Day, courtesy of bright-eyed Carol of May Dreams, on the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ and the annual Cosmos sulphureus ‘Cosmic Orange’. The Cosmos are blooming machines, thanks to ceaseless deadheading. We have been watching to make sure they don’t try to grow eight feet tall while our backs are turned with careful pruning as well. Click here-Cosmic Cosmos Confusion to find out more about the giant Cosmos.
Rosa ‘Altissimo’ now has the rusted metal clothesline pole in the white/yellow garden all to itself. Originally that choice spot, near the path and near the hose spigot, oh so important in droughty times, belonged solely to Rosa ‘Moonlight’. When the addition was built to join the main house with the garage, the arbor plantings of various Clematis and the single flowered red rose were relocated to appropriate beds. Altissimo would give the white flowered Moonlight some pizzazz, it was thought. The outcome was that the Hybrid Musk climber completely engulfed the lesser red, smothering the foliage with its own rampant growth. There were hardly ever more than one or two flowers a season. But sadly this Moonlight, there are still two others growing here in other spots, was infected with the dreaded Rose Rosette disease, click here to read Nan Ondra’s post about it on Gardening Gone Wild, and had to be removed. Instantly, Altissimo perked up and has put on new growth and flowers. There may be a happy ending to the saga after all.
The little Polyantha Rosa ‘Fairy Queen’ in the same white/yellow bed has been the opposite of difficult. It blooms non stop for many months, often well into December. I whack it down from time to time to keep it from stretching out and snagging passersby on the old steps behind the garage and it grows right back with even more flowers. You have to love a plant like this, and the fact that it is a rose is nothing but good.
Bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ is another seed thrower. There are babies of it growing in the gravel paths. We haven’t the heart to pull them for the taproot prevents transplanting to better sites. We will simply walk around them. The best patch grows safely in the white/yellow bed. The spent seed heads will be allowed to stand until March, giving winter interest. They are the favorite food source for the beloved Tiger Swallowtail butterfly larvae here, even though we also offer dill, parlsey and Queen Anne’s Lace for them to munch upon.
The species Phlox paniculata, given to us as a passalong from good neighbor Mae, was stuck in the back corner of the property when she bestowed a clump to us early on in the garden creation here. No water, no attention, no nothing was given it. The next spring, we wondered what that healthy looking plant was growing behind the Hemlock trees and remembered, guiltily. The stems were dug and spread about on the daylily hill and in front of the deciduous Azalea walk. The bloom was incredible, tall and stout, beloved by insects and hummingbirds, the tall garden Phlox is treated with the respect it deserves now. It seeds and runs and is nearly indestructible, which is fine by us. Those traits are necessary to survive in the Fairegarden, there is no coddling of weaklings.
Verbena bonariensis is yet another self sower. The seedlings seems more likely to come up in the gravel than the beds however. The babies are carefully dug and planted en masse at the end of the Fairelurie bed that backs the pink Muhlenbergia capillaris along the driveway. This is another flower sought after by butterflies and bees. This year it has been deadheaded to shorten its stature and prolong the bloom, with care taken to not remove all the flowers at once to leave food for our pollinator friends.
Passion flower, Passiflora incarnata, is slow to return each summer. Often it pops up away from the vines that were allowed to grow and flower the year before. Whether it is by seed or root, most are pulled or we would be overrun with it. A few are welcome, however. This plant is the larval food for the Gulf fritillary butterfly, but we have not seen any for a couple of years now. Maybe this year will be better, for we love the bright orange wings and even the orange with black spiked catt.
Flat leaf parsley, Petroselinum crispum var. neopolitanum is grown for culinary delight, added to carrot and potato dishes, used in pesto and just about any savory treat. We are hoping for a large group of seedlings like offspring Semi has in her garden from the one plant shared with her years ago. So far it has not happened. We must not be holding our mouth right.
Nasturtium ‘Yeti’ has been a resounding success. In times past, the sowing of these large seeds has either produced nothing at all, or leaves with no flowers, like the batch along the wall, N. ‘Spitfire’. It must be that this location is perfect for them, hot, dry and sunny. This will be the spot for Nasturtium sowing from now on.
I thought this was Nicandra physaloides ‘Splash Of Cream’, that was the name on the seed packet, but the flower is not the same as shown online and there is hardly any creamy splashing, mostly green leaves, but there is some. Does anyone know what this is? A weed? There are three plants of it in a container where the seeds were sown last year. (Added: the leaves smell like mint and the flowers do look mint-like.)
Helenium autumnale has been disappointing. There were several promising seedlings from a packet sown last year and a couple of purchased plants. We did a post about it that can be seen here-Helen’s Flower. This year, after a colder and wetter than normal winter, all are dead except this one. You might notice that one stem of it is also dead, to the left. I had high hopes for this but now will not replace this when or if it goes by the wayside. Bad luck.
Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ has large fragrant blooms every August. This is a plant that was brought to this house from my other Tennessee garden and planted the day we closed the deal. It has been spread far and wide, given away, chopped, cut and diced and still returns. It is unkillable, but who would want to? When the foundation was dug for the addition by The Financier, we repeatedly dug this hosta from the space. It kept coming back and is probably still growing underneath the room, just waiting for some daylight and a little water.
Sometimes a photo makes us smile even though it is out of focus. This image of Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum just coming into bloom backed by marigold, Taegetes patula ‘Lemon Drop’ conjures up a mighty fine salad dressing, garlic and lemon.
I hope you enjoyed these blooming images. There are other plants in bloom right now, but most look less than stellar. The next couple or three months should have us sitting pretty however, for by then it will be …
pink Muhly time. (October, 2009 image)