July 2012 Bloom Day

This is Bloom Day, an idea hatched by Carol of May Dreams Gardens to share what is blooming on or around the middle of each month. It is a test for the gardener to find something worth photographing.

Above: Nymphaea ‘Helvola’ , more blooms this year than usual

Flowers are few and far between due to circumstances beyond our control. I tried using the magic wand and it simply did not work.

Above: Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’, reblooming

Like searching for flowers in the dead of winter, we now search out blooms in the dead of summer.

Above: Oriental Lilium ‘Navarosse’, very fragrant

But there are some, if not the usual embarrassment of riches.

Above: Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Glow’, this has self seeded, oh happy day!

Verbena stricta, from seed sown in 2009 is finally looking like something. I wanted Verbena hastata because I saw it listed in the Oudolf/Kingsbury books, but couldn’t find a seed source. This seems similar. It has to be propped up and is hardly a mass planting, but I still like it, in the gravel garden.

Belamcanda chinensis with it’s iris lookalike foliage is coming into bloom in the shed garden. I love the twisty petals after they have finished blooming.

Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ is grown primarily for the dark foliage and large leaves to help combat the Little Leaf Syndrome, but the flowers are pretty, too.

For those of you who have never seen a crape myrtle up close, here is Lagerstroemia indica ‘Zuni’. The petals are ruffled and thin, like the paper streamers that used to decorate high school gymnasiums for dances. I used to squeeze and pop open the buds as a child for some unknown reason. We had two large trees at our house in Oklahoma, pink and purple. I loved them then and still do now.

The Peegee Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ is pruned to standard form so stuff can be grown under it. These flowers will last well into winter as they dry to pinkish then biscuit colored.

I felt the need for some colorful flowers and was attracted to these Purslane oleracea.

In a metal planter with a new liner that needs trimmed, the Purslane are joined by Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’ for a heat loving combo. As you can see in the background, this is the foliage phase of the garden. Still pretty, but this is Bloom Day after all. Go visit Carol and see who has what in bloom around the world.


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25 Responses to July 2012 Bloom Day

  1. Valerie says:

    You and I have some of the same plants even though we are many zones apart. I love the blooms on the Crape Myrtle. We cannot grow them here. Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks for stopping by. I know there are folks who have never seen a crape myrtle close up, so wanted to show some crape-like petals. They really are so thin and curly, like no other flower I know.

  2. The white lily is a true beauty.

    Thanks Green Bench. It is one of the best whites I have ever seen, and smelled. Casa Blanca does not like it here, but Navarosse does. More of those.

  3. Les says:

    It is great that Blue Glow is reseeding in your garden. Echinops is a plant that begs to be touched and the color is great. I have begun planting more Portulaca each year, they sail through the heat unphased. Happy GBBD to you!

    Hi Les, thanks for visiting. I have shunned Portulaca for years, maybe I thought it was too close to the weed that pops up here. That should have been a clue that it would do well here! Shame on me!

  4. Regina says:

    Beautiful shots! The Echinops is glowing. I am draw to the blues so did a search this morning for the other verbena you mentioned. I think you got the better one although now there were many sources for seeds. It is very native here in IL…I think I pull it up a lot as a weed.

    I too have many of the same plants blooming now in my Central IL garden except they are just about done with the extreme drought we have had this year. Many of my late flowering plants have already done their thing. Most of my water has been spent on trees and shrubs so the perennials have had to struggle on their own this year…except for my hostas, they are the special ones who also get watered.

    I see the Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ in the background of the crape myrtle. How old is it?

    Thanks Regina, I would love to see a bunch of that Verbena in its natural environment. It would do well in my lawn/meadow if I could get enough of it going. I am so sorry about your drought, knowing very well how it depresses the garden and the gardener. May you get rain soon. The weeping cedar has been in the ground for 12 years. I wrote about it here: Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Inspiration.

  5. Hold your head high…you have a wonderful assortment of Bloom Day stars and starlets showing up for their red carpet parade on this month’s Bloom Day.

    Thanks Michaele. The close ups always are misleading about the way the garden looks overall. The recent rains have really perked it up, thank goodness.

  6. thefoodery says:

    What a great tour of your garden! Belamcanda chinensis is my favorite…very stunning!

    Thanks Foodery. The Belamcanca is very photogenic, too, it makes me look like a good photographer.

  7. Gail says:

    Frances, What a summer! I like Les’ idea to sail through it with more portulaca! I must find one or both of the native verbenas! They are beauties. I also grow ‘Kopper King’ for foliage but love the flower~It just bloomed once this year and then nada! Maybe this spate of rain will encourage it to bloom. That is an outstanding shot of ‘Zuni’ against that green backdrop. xoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks. It has been an up and down season, hasn’t it? Making note of which plants can withstand this weather will help us make good choices in the future, I hope. Kopper King has taken several years to get going. The original one had several blooms this year and is much taller. The other two, added a couple of years later did not bloom at all and are half the height.

  8. georgiafromga1 says:

    Oh Frances, I’m in love. That freckled lily is a real charmer. Knowing your camera skills I looked up the specs in case it was tiny, tiny. At 2″ across, the flowers would still make an impact and the foliage is very pleasing. Thanks for getting my gardening juices flowing this morning.

    Thanks for those kind words, Georgia. You must mean the Belamcanda? If you can find one plant, let it seed and sow the seeds, you will be awash in it!

  9. Layanee says:

    Such a colorful display. Happy Bloom Day Frances.

    Thanks Layanee. Through the magic of macro, it does look like there is lots of color in the garden. That is misleading. Happy Bloom Day to you!

  10. Not too shabby at all. No excuses needed. (Is the camera not the greatest editing tool ever!) Jack

    Thanks Jack. Yes, the camera makes it look like the garden is full of colorful blooms. It is most definitely not, but a few flowers can always be found to photograph, even in December.

  11. Rose says:

    Finding blooms may be difficult this time of the summer, but I know your garden is still a wondrous delight, Frances, with all the foliage of different textures and heights. The Echinops is stunning, and the Purslane certainly adds a real pop of color. By the way, I finally have a blackberry lily blooming–I’m so excited! I’ve been looking closely at the foliage and have finally figured out the difference between them and irises, so now I’ll know where they are:)

    Hi Rose, thanks for visiting. Good deal on the blackberry lily foliage. It radiates from the center and rises up, sort of. That is not a very good explanation but you probably have noticed what I am trying to describe.

  12. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I haven’t had so much trouble looking for blooms in July before. Geez. Your blooms are gorgeous. My Crepe Myrtle is just beginning to bloom. I was afraid that it wouldn’t because of this horrid weather but there are a few blooms at the top of the plant. Hmmmmmm. Happy GBBD.

    Hi Lisa, Happy GBBD to you. The crape myrtles bloom on new growth, so keep trimming those spent flowers off and it will rebloom nicely for you. Maybe cut them down to a height where you can see them, or photograph them better, too. Now is their time in the sun, and they do need lots of sun.

  13. Lona says:

    Hi Frances. This has been a hard summer on the gardens around here also. I am settling for the sporadic bloom here and there even with burnt foliage. LOL! Your Kopper King Hibiscus is just so beautiful. Have a lovely week.

    Hi Lona, thanks for stopping by. The foliage on most everything here is burnt and/or eaten. I always turn a blind eye to the foliage, though, for that is the norm in the summer for here. Kopper King is having the best year ever, however, even the foliage. You too have a wonderful week.

  14. Leslie says:

    You may have to hunt to find blooms but you found some lovelies! I love that echinops.

    Thanks Leslie. The Echinops is very popular this bloom day it seems. Sort of unusual. It has taken several years for these plants to look like they should. I have high hopes now for more of a swath now that babies have appeared. Now to remember how I did that…

  15. Great shot of Echinops. It almost made me want to grow it (then I remembered the spines). I wish I had known you wanted Verbena hastata. I removed it from the Nanoprairie because it always got mildew. Last week I found a volunteer and yanked it. Sorry, I would have given it to you.
    The “dead of summer” is too scary a phrase to contemplate. At least the waterlily seems to be trying to compensate for the rest of the garden.
    I too used to squeeze and pop open a bud when I was child, but it was of Hosta plants (no crepe myrtle up north). Seeing how beautiful your crepe myrtle is makes Crepe Murder even more inexcusable. It’s wonderfully graceful.

    Hi MMD, thanks. That blue is most difficult to photograph, it confuses my little point and shoot something awful. An overcast day helped get it right. If you find any more V. hastatas, please do send them my way! Crepe Murder is a crime against nature!

  16. I am very glad you showed the metal planter! I bought two plants to start a fairy garden to go with a ceramic wee house I made several years ago and some interesting rocks gathered over the years. I plan to over winter this “garden” in my compost where I keep my bonsai and a few other pots of perennials (I live in the western Suburbs of Chicago) . The stopper for me has been the right pot. The tuffa pots are perfect but I’m not in the mood to make one. The look of the wire and burlap will work and survive compost submersion. Now to find a round one with a flat bottom! Oh the fun of the hunt is on!

    Hi Marty, thanks. What a good idea to use the metal planter for more tender plantings. They come in many sizes and shapes, with coir liners that can be replaced as the old ones rot out. Good lucky with your search and fairy garden!

  17. Nell Jean says:

    The reason to squeeze a crape myrtle bud is to reveal “Grandmother’s Gold.” Choose a bud with some color showing. That is Grandmothers Handkerchief. When you squeeze, the bud pops open, the petals fall away and there’s Grandmother’s Gold!

    Oh Nell Jean, thank you for sharing that tidbit! How delightful! Maybe my grandmothers had told me about that and I had forgotten, but still keep squeezing the buds open. I appreciate your bringing that to the readers and to me.

  18. Gorgeousness abounds Frances. I’m so happy you’re having a good bloom day, and you finally got some rain.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. The rain has certainly saved the garden and my sanity. May your own garden and that of any others suffering from lack of rain be so blessed as well.

  19. Frances your blooms are lovely..as the heat and drought continue I will be hard pressed to find something blooming next month…

    Thanks Donna. I hope you get a break in the weather soon.

  20. Your ‘Pardon Me’ is on its second flush of bloom, and mine has yet to bloom. Hard for me to fathom. And the high 80s seems so hot here, hard to fathom hotter. But if the weatherman is correct, I will get practice next week.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for visiting. I hope your daylilies are able to get going soon, but maybe that is your normal blooming time anyway, much later than here. Hang in there with the heat, work in the earliest morning and keep yourself hydrated!

  21. Hoover says:

    Looks very beautiful to me, despite your rough summer. I hope you get some mild weather soon. That white lily is particularly gorgeous. Happy Bloom Day, a bit belated–so many beautiful blogs to visit!

    Hi Hoover, thanks. It cooled down to the 90s finally, and we did get some rain. That seems crazy, but 90 is way better than 110. The lily Navarosse is wonderful and so fragrant, highly recommeded. Happy Bloom Day to you!

  22. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Once again, I wish I could grow Echinops!

    Hi Cindy, thanks for visiting. I wish you could grow it too.

  23. Vert Nature says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! And what a beautiful flower that purslane! Wow! 8)

    Hi Vert, thanks. The Purslane has been a bright spot here.

  24. Laurrie says:

    This was right on. When I started my garden here (in Connecticut) we had back to back incredibly wet rainy summers, so areas of my garden were built with plants that loved moisture. The last three summers have been incredibly hot, dry (as in no rain whatsoever for weeks, although we are not in true drought conditions). I don’t know if it is unusual or if it is the new norm, but my design and the plants I chose are maturing now into a garden I can’t manage. All the watering drives me crazy and many plants are not doing well.

    Just as you are discovering, a rethink of the whole design is needed!

    Thanks for joining in the discussion, Laurrie. Who knows what is normal anymore, but I need a garden that does not need constant watering to keep it alive, whatever that might mean. I have been keeping track of what does well and planted more of that. A garden that one cannot manage is no good at all.

  25. Pretty pretty blooms Frances!! I have Blackberry lily and love all stages of it!! Yours is a little redder than mine — or is it the lighting? Love how it reseeds throughout the garden.

    Thanks Janet. I have found great variation in the blackberry lilies, each one is slightly different than the next. Some have freckles, some are more red, some more of a mix of colors. All are beautiful! Mine came from seeds from a friend’s plant.

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