August 10, 2018

Plant of the Month: 'Summer Beauty' Alliums

SB with swallowtail 1

When I looked out the window the other day and saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on the blooming alliums, I knew what the plant of the month had to be. Fortunately, the butterfly stayed long enough for me to grab my camera and head outside for a few shots.

Something more exciting happened on this plant a couple of days later, but I'll cover that later in this post.

summer beauty 1

I added Allium tanguticum 'Summer Beauty' to the garden a few years ago. I ordered a few bulbs, and also Linda at Each Little World was kind enough to give me some when she divided hers. I planted them here and there in the garden, and while not all of them bloom every year, they find little spots of sun. I planted these beauties because, well...they're beauties, but also because they repel rabbits!

'Summer Beauty' is dramatic massed in a sunny border, but I don't have a choice--I have dappled sun in most of my garden, so that's the way it is. I noticed, however, that it's listed as tolerant of shade, which is true. This hybrid allium, like 'Millenium,' blooms in mid- through late summer, but it starts just a little earlier and the color is a little lighter--lavender-pink--where 'Millenium' is a brighter purple. They're great companions, though, as they bloom around the same time.

Here are a few details about 'Summer Beauty':

  • Height: 12"-18"
  • Spread: 18"-24"
  • Hardiness zones: 5 to 8
  • Attributes: Tolerant of drought, shade, and sun; seeds are sterile

SB with littles

Oh, and then there's the fact that it attracts pollinators of all types! It's fun to watch them climbing among the little flowers of the umbel bloom.

SB with RP 1

And here's the special joy that happened while I was photographing the flowers: The endangered rusty-patched bumblebee made an appearance!

SB with RP 2

I was thrilled to see this rare bumblebee in the garden: I must be doing something right to attract it! I hope to post more in the future about this special pollinator (the first bumblebee to be listed as endangered). Until then, You can read more about its special story here.

summer beauty 2

So, yes, I'd say 'Summer Beauty' Allium was a good addition to the garden! Do you have any summer-blooming alliums?

sb with swallowtail 2

July 30, 2018

Simple Summertime Vases

lilies 2

I'm tardy in joining in the "Vase on Monday" meme. July has been crazy, but I've managed to snap a few photos of simple combinations, from the beginning of the month to the end.

I often plop deadheaded snips, and bits and pieces in vases during the growing season, and this month is no different.


My handy kitty litter bucket filled with a couple inches of water in the bottom is a great, cheap tool for gathering the remains of the day. This first group was from the beginning of July. It included unnamed Asiatic lilies (Lilium spp.), Hosta stems, Bugbane (Actea racemosa), Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon), and Weigela (W. florida) foliage.

glass gems

I had a bag of glass gems, so I added them to the bottom of a glass pitcher--for a little visual interest and to help hold the stems in place.


I also added criss-crossed tape at the top of the pitcher for support.

lilies 1

I knew the foliage and flowers would cover the tape.

zinnias 2

Next, I plopped deadheaded 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' Zinnias (Zinnia elegans) in a very simple vase with deadheaded Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), 'May Night' Salvias (S. sylvestris), a small stem of 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum'
Petunias (P. hybrid), a little sprig of purple Angelonia (A. hybrid), and more Drumstick Alliums. Some of these flowers had flopped over due to gardener mishaps and the effects of the elements.

stargazer 3

Finally, I recently rescued the 'Stargazer' Lilies (Lilium orientalis) before the rabbits could eat them. I clipped off the tops of two very tall stems of Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) and added Hydrangea foliage for more green. The Hydrangeas were a little droopy, but later recovered.

stargazer 2

'Stargazer' is so dreamy and has a very long vase life. Plus, the scent is incredible!

stargazer 1

Summertime is a great opportunity to use deadheaded blooms and dribs and drabs of plant material in floral arrangements. Even if you're pressed for time, if you keep it simple, it won't be overwhelming, and it's better than throwing all the lovelies in the compost pile--that can wait until they're spent.

zinnias 1

Check out the "In a Vase on Monday" meme over at Rambling in the Garden for smiles and floral arranging inspiration. Thanks to Cathy for hosting!

July 15, 2018

Bright Blooms of July

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

The fiery colors of summer and their complements on the opposite side of the color wheel take center stage in July. On this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, Butterflyweed is waning (though still vibrant), while other blooms in the sunny cutting garden/potager are peaking. Here are the highlights:

Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) (so pretty in all it's forms)

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Lantana (L. camara)

Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)

alliums and mistflower
Drumstick Allium (A. sphaerocephalon) layered with Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) (which will be covered with blue flowers in late summer into fall, after the alliums have faded)

state fair zinnia
'State Fair Mix' Zinnia (Z. elegans)

zowie zinnia
'Zowie! Yellow Flame' Zinnia (Z. elegans)

'May Night' Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris)

Torch Tithonia (T.  rotundifolia) (now blooming, but I really like the buds, too)

swamp milkweed
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

sensation mix cosmos
'Sensation Mix' Cosmos (C. bipinnatus) (again, the buds are as fun as the flowers)

blue vervain
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Tomatoes and flowers (thank you, pollinators)

The bees, spiders, butterflies, and other garden visitors are welcome here, and the flowers bring them in! What's blooming in your garden?

monarch on butterflyweed

I'm linking this post to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens. Head on over to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.