Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Happy Bloom Day, everyone! Wait...that was over a week ago, you say? Oh well..., at least it's still August, right?
It's that special time of year, late summer, where I think a lot of people start to feel restless. We're sick of the unrelenting heat and ready for fall, but not quite ready to let go of summers lushness.
I also officially want to call mulligans on the Fling...at least for my garden, which always looks better as we approach fall...but I suppose that isn't fair to everyone else, is it ;-) I'm always surprised by how many people in town say their gardens decline after July...it seems so odd...but I know people plan their gardens to "peak" at different times of the year.
While the poor Agastache in the parking strips still haven't quite recovered from our winter floods, the other Agastache have been blooming happily for months. This 'Desert Sunrise' (or Desert Sunset) got unceremoniously transplanted this spring from a too-shady spot and has recovered nicely.
I've come to the conclusion this summer that even though I really love the blooms and seedheads of Knautia macedonica, it's just so messy after flowering, that I'm going to replace them next spring with this plant, Scabiosa ochroleuca, which blooms forever on these wonderful, spindly stems and never flops open like Knautia always does for me.
I cut the main flowering stems of all my Epilobium back a week or so ago, and they've rewarded me with masses of blooms on smaller side shoots...the bees are extremely grateful.
It wouldn't be late summer without Rudbeckia...as the light moves lower and lower on the horizon, their color intesifies.
If only Rudbeckia triloba were truly perennial, not just short-lived, I'd have it everywhere...it's so perfect. Luckily, I always have a few self-seeded plants...although not always in the most appropriate spots!
Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' could be grown exclusively for it's glowing chartreuse foliage, happily, the blooms are just as good as the leaves!
The similar 'Fire Tail' will never be grown for it's foliage, being rather coarse and almost (dare I say it) "weedy", but the glowing ruby wands of flowers redeem it in my book.
They are especially charming if allowed to be infiltrated by other plants, as here, with Geranium 'Rozanne' and Sidalcea oregana, where they are simply brushstrokes of color.
I'm a huge fan of Sanguisorbias...and the shorter, stockier variety 'Tanna' is one of the best...especially if you have a semi-shady garden like mine and the taller ones are prone to flopping. I may eventually replace the bigger Sanguisorbia mensiezii with this variety.
Can you ever have too many volunteer seedlings? Not when they are Verbena bonariensis...they make everything better!
Absolutely no plant in the garden is as big a bee magnet as the Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium). As soon as they start blooming the glorious mauve flowers are smothered with bees...and all sorts of other pollinators. Not only that, but they are fabulous structural plants, big and bulky, yet still elegantly lithe in a breeze.
The wonderful summer-blooming Allium, 'Summer Beauty' is still going strong...just love it!
While they finished blooming a few weeks ago, the steely blue seed heads of Echinops bannaticus will remain until spring.
I love how the blooms of Echinacea fade and change color over the months...from vibrant magenta-pink to this softer, more romantic peach (in the background), and later on, a dusky rose.
Another plant whose seedheads are as showy as the blooms...Macleaya cordata.
The Cirsium occidentale started blooming last week and are wonderful! At first, I was afraid they would be a rather horrid tomato-red color...but so far, that is happily not the case!
Geranium 'Ann Folkard' has had a really stellar year this year. Some years it gets terribly ratty...but so far, it's still lush and full of blooms!
Speaking of vibrantly-colored flowers, you can hardly ignore the enormous trusses of Ironweed (Vernonia missurica) in the back yard at the moment. These lectrically-colored blooms sway on the tops of 10-foot-tall stems...and they are always covered in pollinators.
There are so many self-seeded Teucrium in the sidewalks right now...I know I'll have to pull some of them this winter, or no one will be able to use the sidewalk next spring.
So, that's the run-down of most of what's blooming in my garden right now, for a wider look, let's keep going.
Here's a wide view of the whole garden, from across the street.
Here's the North Border looking west at sunset.
The same border, form the other direction.
Here's a view of the North Border from the street, looking diagonally across the garden.
Here' the Front Border looking South.
And the same from the North.
Here's a photo of the backyard, much of which was changed and re-planted this spring...hopefully it will have filled in by next year.
And, of course, here are some cats! This is the neighbor's cat, Mowgli, enjoying the birdless bird bath.
Here's Mr. Bates (aka Punky Cat) following me around as I make my rounds in the garden a few days ago.
And here's Boots, giving us a wave until next time!
For more blooms from around the globe, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden!
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
This past weekend, in spite of the blazing temps, I decided to head out to Scappoose to visit Joy Creek Nursery. Even though I was there a few weeks ago for the Fling, it felt like it had been AGES since I'd last visited!
As we entered, the first thing to catch my eye was this amazing Molinia 'Skyracer'. It's hard to tell in this photo, but it's ENORMOUS...I kind of hope mine never get this big, or I'll have to remove them...or dedicate my garden to them!
I can't describe exactly what it is I love about these grasses, they are so graceful, so lithe...so wonderful!
As I wandered around the retail area looking for a particular vine, Maurice excitedly asked if I'd seen a certain Clematis that was looking especially good this year. I headed down to where he had indicated and was enchanted to see it. I do adore these "sugar bowl" type Clematis...there is something wonderfully charming about them.
Heading back up the path, I came upon this large stand of Bronze Fennel. I really love this plant, and had it in my garden for years, but it always flops over for me...not enough sun, I suppose.
Further down the path, I found these wonderful Asclepias...of course, the bees had discovered it even earlier and were positively swarming it!
As I mentioned, it was terribly hot that day (what's up with this stupid summer heat this year?), so I ducked into shady spot for a moment, lest I overheat, and spotted this amazing (and TALL) Aconitum...I've always wanted to plant some of this and never have, for some reason.
Another blue flower just a short way from the Aconitum, this sky-blue Salvia caught my eye.
If you find and Eryngium in a garden, chances are you're going to also find a veritable swarm of pollinators...and this was no exception!
I'm always so jealous of the Actaea I see in other gardens...mine just never seem happy.
When will they breed a dwarf Cotinus for those of us with tiny gardens...WHEN?!?
My biggest surprise for the day was stumbling upon a plant I've never seen here in the PNW...Silphium lanciniatum.
A midwest native of prairies, this imposing plant can get 8-10' tall. The flowers are fairly small, yellow daisies, but the leaves are something else. Oddly irregular, almost finger-like and highlighted by that central rib. It would definitely need to be staked in my garden...but how wonderful would they look, rising up out of a sea of grasses, like sentinels.
Another denizen of the prairies, Panicum...I believe this is 'Heavy Metal', still one of the best Panicums around.
At this time of year, you can hardly miss the paper maché blooms of Romneya.
After some socializing (and looking around for Yowler, who was apparently hiding somewhere, napping), I grabbed the plant I had come for...a purple-leaved Grape (Vitis vinifera 'Purpurea'). This is going on a new arbor I put up last weekend and I can't wait for it to establish and put on a show.
Coming up soon...a post on the new arbor and what I had to remove to install it :-)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Well, I'm a few days late...but at least it's still July! Happy Bloom Day, everyone!
As you may have heard, we had the Garden Bloggers Fling here in Portland last week...and my garden was on the tour (which was terrifying)...but we survived it and now I can enjoy the garden without fretting about it being "presentable" ;-) I have to say, now that the stress is over, I find myself really missing all those bloggers...just another reason to go to the Fling next year in Toronto!
One of my new favorite flowers for this year (well, new to me) is Scabiosa ochroleuca. It's no surprise that I love it, considering how much I adore the similar Knautia macedonica...but this one seems a bit more upright and rigid...whereas the Knautia does tend to splay about after a while. Time will tell if this will behave the same way...we'll see.
I know people shake their heads when they see I grow Epilobium angustifolium (Fireweed), but I can't help but love it...it's a little ridiculous and can easily get out of control...but I love the feeling of wildness and spontaneity it gives to the garden.
The always-wonderful Geranium 'Rozanne' and her slightly-less-vigorour little sister, 'Ann Folkard' in the background.
I adore Echinops...and so do the bees!
Someone asked me recently how many different kind of Persicarias I had...considering there are 3 different kinds in this photo alone...perhaps too many! Just kidding...I'll never turn my nose up at a plant that can handle my heavy, clay soil and sporadic watering schedule.
July is the start of Echinacea season...and I love them! This is a new variety called 'Showoff'.
After three years of waiting, my patience is repaid by a single bloom on my Echinacea pallida...I adore those elegant, drooping petals. Maybe next year I'll have two!
The Sedum 'Matrona' isn't as purply-grey as it usually is this year...and is really short...could be from the flooding, I guess. Oh well, at least it's alive (and blooming)!
Good ol' Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' never fails me :-)
I just wish it's cousin, Rudbeckia trilby was truly perennials...it's even better!
July also marks the beginning of Lily Season here in my garden...and I couldn't be happier. This is my first (and maybe still favorite), 'Black Beauty'. The stems got flattened earlier this spring during a cat fight (literally, the cats were fighting and rolled over them), but they seem to be recovering, and the first stem is blooming beautifully!
One of the lovelies Lilies I've ever encountered, 'Silver Scheherazade' almost supports itself...oh well, let it lean, as long as it doesn't collapse!
The parent of 'Silver Scheherazade', this is 'Scheherazade'. It's still a little small, but if the growth rate of it's progeny is any indication, it's going to be mammoth in a few years!
While none of the previous Lilies are particularly fragrant, Lilium 'Sarabande' is wonderfully fragrant...but not sweet at all...it's completely spicy...I love walking past it...this one plant perfumes the entire back garden (granted, it's a small back garden...but still)!
Another wonderfully fragrant Lily, 'Silk Road'. For those of you who were on the Fling tour, this is the Lily that was in bud by the front door that refused to open for us. It's intoxicatingly fragrant and greets you as you walk up to the house...I love it!
The tiny flowers of Sanguisorbia 'Tanna' are so delightful...and I love how they compliment the similar red tones of the neighboring grass, Panicum ' Cheyenne Sky'.
Teucrium hircanicum mingles happily with a Geranium whose name I never remember!
And so, in closing, here's the Front Garden looking South.
The same, looking North.
The North Garden, looking West.
And the North Garden, looking East.
Here's a shot of the front parking strip...just starting to recover from last winters floods...hopefully next year it will be as full and lush as it was last year.
And here's a look at the entire thing.
Don't fret...here are the cats! Boots, hiding.
The neighbors cat, Oliver, perched on our green roof.
Punky cat, watching me water the garden, wondering when I'll dispense his cat treats.
I hope you're having a great summer and if you want to see more blooms, check out May Dreams Garden for more Bloom Day Posts from around the world!