Dog Days Bloom Day-July 2011

The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels and temperatures soar. Humans and animals, not to mention the garden plants are at the end of their rope, hanging on by their last sweaty nerve. But fear not, dear readers! There are still blooms galore for this steaming month of July, plenty to share in the monthly celebration invented by friend Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Let us begin, shall we? First up is the annual sunflower, Helianthus annuus ‘Evening Sun’ one colorway from a mixture of seeds from Baker Creek.

Lilies loom large for the month of July, the later ones like Oriental Lilium ‘Stargazer’. The pollen covered stamens are stealing the show from the hot pink petals.

Orienpet Lilium ‘Robert Swanson’ has risen to new heights this year. Don’t be fooled by the lack of stature the first few years of these and other tall lilies. Believe the statistics given online, these are tall drinks of water and need staking.

Sold as Chinese Trumpet Lilium ‘Lady Alice’, it is believed that the bulbs must have been seed grown and this one reverted to the parent Lilium ‘Henryii’, which is fine by us. Henry is one of the finest lilies around, a very heavy producer of numerous blooms.

These lilies were inherited with the property, Lilium tigrinum, Tiger Lily. We have pulled them all out in fears of a virus that some carry that will affect other lilies, but they keep coming back. Now, we simply leave them to grow and hope for the best. The hummingbirds adore the blooms of all the lilies, by the way.

In the hottest, driest, sunniest area of the Fairegarden, the Shed Bed, blackberry lily, Belamcanda chinensis is rising up to flower above the iris-like fans of pale green foliage. The entire plant is luscious and the seeds that form later will be black shiny jewels that give the common name credibility. These spotted and solid blooms are all children from one original plant, by the way. The cross pollination is notorious for these guys.

There are Echinaceas of various colors blooming happily right now. Our favorite is Echinacea ‘Harvest Moon’, which has the longest flowering period of them all.

On the Daylily Hill, as every year, there has been frantic moving and dividing of plants, trying to get the mix to the level of pleasing. Extra watering is always needed when moving things at this horrible time of year to do so. Only a crazed gardener who throws caution to the wind on impulse would do such an unwise activity. Hemerocallis ‘Elegant Candy’ and Hosta ‘Sum And Substance’ have formed a vignette that reminds us of a moon backdrop to the classy flowers.

Returning for the third? year left over the winter inground in the raised box planter is Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’. There were several Dahlias planted at the same time in this space, all perished except this shorter orangey museum piece. If for one second it was believed that this cultivar is somehow more hardy than the rest, we would order more, many more. But we don’t want to jinx it by being greedy.

Volunteer seedlings appear all over the gravel paths here, and seem to be stronger and more hardy than the human handled plantings. Annuals Perilla frutescens and Nigella damascena are allowed to grow where they appear unless they are totally blocking the pathway.

Back in black, Salvia coccinea in the Knot Garden is another volunteer that is reliable annually. There has been selection of the black calyx sorts, with all green ones culled over many years so that now most are black. We find that color to be quite mysterious and alluring.

The seedheads of most volunteer Datura metel are plucked away, or we would be awash in these very large growing plants. But we do want a few. Closing at daylight, opening at night for moth pollination, there is a sinister quality to the structure of bloom, leaf, seed and stem, much loved and admired, here.

Happily, the Cuphea ‘Purple Passion’ grown in 2010 from seed started in the greenhouse and planted out in spring and left standing all winter, seeded about the area with no work on the part of the gardener. That fits in with the philosophy here of keeping it simple. The placement is not what we would have chosen, but several healthy plants are offering their wares to hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Waterlily Nymphaea ‘Helvola’ blooms sparsely in the pond as the surrounding trees have grown over the years providing ever more shade. Some branch trimming of nearby trees has resulted in a flower this year, for which we are ever so grateful.

It seems that the powers that be have changed the name of calla lily ‘Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Naomi Campbell’ to simply ‘Naomi’. With a new record of three blooms this year, and possible babies lurking in the sheltered bed under the garage deck, she will remain Naomi Campbell to us. We don’t judge a plant by its namesake.


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35 Responses to Dog Days Bloom Day-July 2011

  1. Missy says:

    All so beautiful, but that dahlia is stunning

    Thanks Missy. The Dahlia is very special, proving hardy here so far.

  2. Susan says:

    Seems your garden is unaware that it’s in the dog days……very very lovely. The Stargazer lilies have such a wonderful scent.

    Thanks Susan. Of course I am only showing the best views here. The Stargazers and other lilies are extremely fragrant. I wouldn’t garden without them.

  3. Carol says:

    There are no dogs in your garden when the dog days of summer arrive. All beauties today!

    Thanks Carol. There are enough show dogs to share for July bloom day, the true doggy ones need not apply.

  4. gagarden says:

    The lilies love these hot days of July and your lilies are beautiful. But the pond shot is my favorite, so refreshing and cooling.

    Thanks Donna. I am drawn to the pond more and more as the weather becomes so oppressive. I love to watch the fish swim around in the shady spot.

  5. Darla says:

    Your blooms are just beautiful Ms. Frances. You sent some Blackberry Lily seeds my way year two years ago. Last year I had one plant, this year that very tall plant has buds! Thank you again.

    Hooray!!! Save the seeds from the blooms, Darla, and you will have all the blackberry lilies you want and enough to share. Thanks for telling me, that made my day!

  6. Leslie says:

    Aaaahhh! TGIF!!! I so look forward to your new posts! Love your comment about crazed gardeners dividing and re-arranging plants right now. Crazed gardeners unite! That dahlia is wonderful, as is your photography! Thank you!

    Hi Leslie, thanks so much for those kind words, they really brighten my day! Crazed gardeners R us, we just can’t help ourselves.

  7. CurtissAnn says:

    Fascinating info about the dog days, thanks! And oh, your lilies are beautiful! Do you know if it is true that they are poison to cats? Yes, I can just look that up for myself, but so much easier to ask you, ha, ha! You inspire me to at least think of making more of an effort in gardening and research. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks Curtiss Ann. I have cats, including one that goes outdoors sometimes. He is still alive. That’s all I know for sure. 🙂

  8. Lovely post, Frances! I’ve been reading a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, and so many of your images remind me of her paintings… especially the datura! It’s all so beautiful at Fairegarden. I’m glad I stopped by.

    Thanks Hands, so nice to see you here. I am glad you stopped by, as well. I love Georgia O’Keeffe’s works, that sounds like a good book.

  9. Balisha says:

    I enjoyed my “walk” through your gardens this morning. Just lovely.

    Hi Balisha, thanks, nice to see you here. It was good to have you walk along!

  10. Such beauties! I don’t know what I like best, the water lily? The cuphea? Those mega-lilies? Wonderful!

    Thanks MMD. They are all pretty, no need to pick a favorite. The water lily was the biggest surprise, it doesn’t usually bloom, or I miss it, or I can’t get a decent photo of it. We were lucky this time.

  11. Your lilies are stunning…the colors and their form. You have highlighted your garden so beautifully. Happy GBBD!

    Thanks Sage Butterfly. The lilies are so photogenic, all of them, such a wonderful addition to any garden. Happy GBBD to you!

  12. Leslie says:

    Happy Bloom Day Frances! So many tempting blooms, such a small garden here. I must just enjoy your photos and resist the temptation to place a big lily order.

    Thanks Leslie. One thing about lilies, they don’t take up much garden bed space, all vertical! Not trying to empower you or anything… HA

  13. Valerie says:

    A very colourful garden in the dog days of summer. Thanks for sharing Frances. V

    Thanks Valerie. We need those strong colors in the harsh light of summer. Orange seems to predominate.

  14. nellie says:

    We are sharing some blog captures today and yesterday. Don’t you just love the little blackberry lilly?

    Thanks for visiting, Nellie, and bringing me over to see your lovely blooms! You have an enchanting garden, swaths of daylilies always make me smile.

  15. Your lilies are simply gorgeous and the Salvia coccinea … very interesting looking. Love the red on black.
    Happy GBBD 🙂

    Thanks Christine. The lilies are the stars at this time of year, there is not doubt. We adore the black calyx on the red salvias, too. Happy GBBD to you!

  16. Nell Jean says:

    Marvelous Bloom Day presentation with lilies and calla lilies and daylilies and other things that are called lilies and some that aren’t. Your gardens feature some happy combinations.

    Thanks Nell Jean. There was a lily theme this month, for sure. Glad you enjoyed them.

  17. Emily says:

    Gail at Clay & Limestone recommended I stop by your blog today, and I am so glad I did. I am moving into my great grandmothers cottage home in late fall, and in the planning stages of my gardening efforts. It is so helpful to find TN bloggers and see what is thriving in our climate. You have a beautiful garden, and I can’t wait to see what I can learn from your blog!

    Hi Emily, thanks for coming on over. Gail is my good friend and can also help you learn how to garden in TN. What a delightful turn of events for you to move into the family cottage! Good luck!

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those tall blooming lilies are the most attractive things I have seen in some time. I want some. Must get some. Can’t go on gardening without some. All you have shown us is just beautiful in this doggy time of year.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. You do need some lilies! The more the better. Woof!

  19. emorata says:


    love all the lilies…great colors and your macros are beautiful

    Aloha, Noel, so nice to see you here. I am glad you enjoyed the July offerings.

  20. Ginny says:

    I love the volunteer salvia in your knot garden – very striking! I love having volunteer blooms – even those that are a little too eager and appear where they aren’t wanted.
    The hosta backdrop to your daylilies is gorgeous!

    Hi Ginny, thanks so much. The volunteers make up a large part of my garden, it makes my life much easier. Most are left to grow wherever they arise. My design must be flexible!

  21. Alison says:

    That Dahlia is beautiful! Do you ever get seeds from it? That red salvia with the black calyxes is striking too! Interesting that the Naomi Campbell calla is hardy there, but the dahlia for the most part isn’t. We seem to be the opposite here in the PNW. I can overwinter Dahlias in the ground, but anything other than white callas dies on me.

    Hi Alison, thanks. No seeds from the Dahlia, we are lucky to get flowers! The Calla is in a very protected and low lying area. For Dahlias, I thought drainage was the most important thing so they don’t rot over the winter. Who knows? Not I, said the fly.

  22. Very pretty photos! The Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’ is stunning!

    Hi Karne, thanks. The Dahlia is a special flower here, defying the laws of zonage!

  23. Lola says:

    Beautiful pics.. Love those lilies. Mine have finished. Blackberry lily is still blooming. Hopeful I’ll have some seeds this yr. I’m watching those pods.
    My dahlia is about to bloom {name forgotten at present}. It’s the first for me here. Had them in N.C. The color on my volunteer zinnia is a dirty orangy pink. Hope the other is a different color.
    Our dog days seem to be rain. It’s doing it again today. Can’t mow till it dries out. Arrrrg.

    Thanks Lola. I hope you get some seeds on the Blackberry lilies, then you will be set for life with them. Hooray for your Dahlia. They are so pretty.

  24. Dreamybee says:

    I love the Gallery Cobra–I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that it actually IS a hardy cultivar!

    Thanks Dreamybee! I appreciate your vibes for the Cobra!

  25. Les says:

    You have some beautiful offerings this month. At first I thought my favorite was the Blackberry Lily, then I saw Back in Black, but I think you saved the best for last with Naomi Campbell. Happy GBBD!

    Thanks Les. All were pretty, but I sort of agree about Naomi. Those early morning mood shots sometimes come out okay, if a little out of focus. You’d be surprised at how many shots have to be discarded because I can’t wait for the sun to rise a little higher in the sky. It looks so pretty to the human eye, but my camera just doesn’t see the same. Happy GBBD to you!

  26. Town Mouse says:

    Oh, I love those lilies. Maybe next year I’ll plant a few as well….

    Thanks Town Mouse. Lilies should be in every garden that can grow them, which is most. Have fun choosing!

  27. Wanita says:

    Really enjoy your pictures, you must have a great camera! I have a show dog blooming right now. Only one plant appeared this year. Its a smooth leaf poppy, pink with lavender center. The first time I saw it I thought I had a cabbage growing, the leaves are about that color. Have you heard of this flower or have you seen it? It first appeared at house I had in Denver, built in 1904. I don’t know any history of the flower, it just appeared in the garden one day.

    Hi Wanita, thanks. My camera is a Canon Powershot AS 720, point and shoot. It has a good macro, though. I always shoot on auto. Your poppy sounds like the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, also called breadseed poppy. It is an annual that can seed about. The leaves sort of look like cabbage.

  28. patientgardener says:

    You have loads flowering. I love your lilies, I have to get rid of mine as I have been told lily pollen is poisonous to cats and I have just got a cat who is a real hunter and always out.

    I really like that Dahlia

    Hi Helen, thanks. That is too bad about your lilies. We have a cat that also goes outdoors, but he is smart enough, I guess, not to eat the poisonous plants in the garden and beyond. There are many, many things animals, and humans shouldn’t eat. My indoor cat would eat anything, she is not too bright, but sweet. I don’t bring flowers inside for that reason. The Dahlia is a favorite, hope it keeps returning.

  29. Alistair says:

    So many beautiful plants in your garden Frances. Very interested in your Orienpets. Planted a good few of them in our garden in early Spring. They are well on there way to flowering, looks like they will just be 5ft tall this year. Information said, in subsequent years the stems will be so strong support should not be required. Doesn’t look like this is necessarily the case.

    Hi Alistair, thanks for visiting. Good deal on your orienpets. They all need staking here, or I should say that they all are staked here, some getting well over 6 feet tall. We get some violent storms in summer, it would be heart breaking to lose any stems to high winds. It is the Asiatics and LA hybrids that are short enough not to need staking. I stake all the rest, leave the stakes in the ground all year.

  30. Rose says:

    Your garden is a riot of color during these dog days, Frances! And by the way, every day is a “dog day” here:) Love the black contrasting with the red blooms of your salvia!

    Thanks Rose. HA about your dog days! The Salvia is a cutie, and the hummingbirds adore them.

  31. Tatyana says:

    I love your volunteers, Frances! I wouldn’t mind if some of them take a flight to my garden… i was lucky to visit Freda Cameron’ garden in N.Carolina in June and got some of her Nigella seeds. Hope to have those pretty blooms next year.

    Thanks Tatyana. How wonderful that you got to visit Freda and her garden! I know it is a beautiful and well tended place. Good luck with the Nigella, once you get them started, they will be with you forever, if you are not too neat about cleaning up, that is.

  32. Phillip says:

    Your lilies are stunning as well as your other flowers.

    Thanks Phillip. The Lilies are shining brightly right now.

  33. Hi Frances, A beautiful post in honor of GBBD. I love water in the garden – your water lily photo is so creative!

    Thanks Shady. The pond is a favorite spot here. You should have seen the creative positions I was in trying to get a shot of the flower, in the middle of the pond, without falling in! HA

  34. Love those tall lilies but you are right, they do need staking to look regal.


    Thanks Eileen. The tall lilies all need staking here, and some of the shorter ones if they have lots of blooms, which of course we want.

  35. lynnekovan says:

    Gorgeous flowers, and so many varieties. When ever I’ve grown lilies they always get caught by the dreaded red lily beetle. I think I’ll just enjoy yours instead!

    Thanks Lynn. I am sorry about your lily beetle problem. We don’t seem to be affected by it. Yet.

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