Sunny days and warm temperatures this week have coaxed the hot weather plants to join the ones that are already in bloom so the garden is filling out. Of course there are also those plants that are on the wane and need a lot of dead heading or a shearing to make them more presentable but its fun to see the constant chance.
Blooming for the first time this week is the very delicate and beautiful Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) that cascades over the edge of the border. The oat-like panicles of flat, green seedheads dangle from slender graceful stems and shimmer in the wind. I like to include them in flower arrangements to bring motion to the bouquet.
The fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is in full bloom and will probably be cut down this week. I have hacked it back several times this year already so that it does shade the phlox and other plants that grow near it. I dearly love it and would not part with it but I have to keep it in bounds. There are already many new shoots up to 12″ coming up around the base to take the place of theses tall stems.
I don’t know why I love this plant so much but I do; Globe thistle (Echinops ritro) is a unique looking plant with its steel blue flowering orbs that really catch the eye with their subtle beauty.
I have a white version too but it is new to my garden and is not so floriferous.
Many different cultivars of butterfly bush (Buddleias) are blooming and add color to the back of the border.
This pretty little pink dwarf bee balm ( Bergamota enana ‘Petite Wonder’) is showings its stuff at the foot of the coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’) that have been blooming for some time now. The dwarf fountain grass (Penesetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’) is just beginning to put out its bushy spikes of flowers.
The tall lavender spikes of Gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’) provide a complementary background for the simple white and yellow flowers of this Shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’).
The lovely long white tubes of white flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) open best in the evening and add fragrance to the garden. The plants are annuals but readily reseed. I especially like the touch of green on each flower.
We were graced by two pink water lilies in our pond this seek. Hurrah!
The container in the middle of the formal garden is finally looking decent although I haven’t got it quite right yet. The center canna (Canna ‘Red Futurity’) is only about 4’ too short for the scale of the container so next year I will try the taller canna ‘Wyoming’ also with reddish foliage but with an orange flower. Verbena “Homestead Purple’ and sweet potato vine ( Ipomea batatas) ‘Margarita’ cascade out of the container.
The rose garden is in the process or reblooming and one of the prettiest is the Rosa rugosa ‘Henry Hudson’.
The pink tinged buds appear in clusters and cover the bush.
The flowers open white with a great mass of gold stamens in the center.
The bumble bees absolutely love them and I always enjoy their company when I dead head.
Another wonderful rose is the Buck shrub rose, ‘Barn Dance’. It is a work horse of a rose and rarely without bloom even when the Japanese beetles attack.
The buds resemble those of a hybrid tea.
The flowers open in multiple shades of pink.
Two weeks ago the Lavender Cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) was blooming.
It finished blooming and became very floppy so I cut it back. It is pretty ugly right now but should quickly grow back.
I have a lot of cuttings and hope to root up a bunch so I can try to make a knot garden with them and the boxwood that already outline the parterres in the herb garden outside my kitchen door.
Santolina does not like the heat with humidity and so I am putting the flat of cutting in the bathtub of my air-conditioned house with a sheet of plastic over the top. This will be interesting.
The vegetable garden is becoming more and more productive and we even have a volunteer sunflower growing with the squash, horseradish (foreground) and tomatoes (background).
In addition to wax beans, yellow squash, zucchini, lettuce, beets, and cucumbers, we are now harvesting green pole beans. This is my third picking this week. We also have our first tomatoes; the large cheery tomatoes are from new plants this year but the small ones are from volunteers. Note the squash; I have one plant that produces a Siamese twin fruit about every other day. I cut them up like the others and there does not seem to be any difference in taste or texture.
I rejoice in the daily changes that take place in my gardens as summer progresses. Many plants are winding down and some new ones are gearing up but I have planted annuals to provide both color and a backdrop for these changes and I look forward with anticipation to see how things will work out. I am always surprised; but that’s what makes this fun.