Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bloom Day August 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 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 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.

Sunny Epilobium
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 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'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

A Summer Visit To Joy Creek!

Pink Clematis h
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!

Molinia Skyracer v
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!

Molinia Skyracer h
I can't describe exactly what it is I love about these grasses, they are so graceful, so wonderful!

Pink Clematis v
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!

Aconitum closer
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.

Blue Salvia
Another blue flower just a short way from the Aconitum, this sky-blue Salvia caught my eye.

Bees on Eryngium
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.

Cotinus fluff
When will they breed a dwarf Cotinus for those of us with tiny gardens...WHEN?!?

silphium h
My biggest surprise for the day was stumbling upon a plant I've never seen here in the PNW...Silphium lanciniatum.

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.

Panicum Heavy Metal
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.

Vitis vinifera purpurea
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 :-)