August 14, 2012

GBBD: Late summer beauties

What a weird summer we've had. I'd say I'm glad it's almost fall, but I feel like we missed out on our usual mild, pleasant weather. I spent the bulk of June and July indoors at my air-conditioned job and in my air-conditioned home.

Oh well, now that the weather has cooled to more temperate levels and we've had some rain, lots of plants that struggled during the drought are perking up, and some are really thriving.

Lycoris squamigera

The Lycoris plants emerged a couple of weeks agoabout two to three weeks ahead of schedule. I usually associate them with the end of summer, so that was a weird discovery.

Hydrangea macrophylla

The Hydrangeas had to be babied all summer. I forgot to clip off the blooms when they were pink, but it's kind of fun to watch them transform from pink to green to multicolored hues in the fall.

Rudbeckia hirta

I think this is the state fair-prize year for Black-Eyed Susans. They keep blooming and blooming, and they seem healthier and perkier than in other years.

Lablab purpureus

My experiment with Hyacinth Bean Vines has been less than stellar. They barely grew during the drought even though I watered them several times a week. I thought about fertilizing them, but that didn't make sense in the extreme heat either. But, long story short, they're growing faster now and they're even blooming! I didn't capture the first blooms, but this bud is about to break. Yay!

Echinacea purpurea

Purple Coneflowers are fading, but they're still beautiful in a fragile kind of way. I'll leave the cones in place to provide seed for the birds.

Zinnia elegans

Zinnias are blooming and reblooming after deadheading. They'll continue to produce until the first frost. I love their tight buds almost as much as the full blooms.

Cosmos bipinnatus

Swoon...what can I say about these flowers? I grow increasingly enamored with Cosmos as the years pass. They're reliable, drought-tolerant, prolific, and stunning!

Salvia superba

Another reliable plant, Salvia attracts pollinators and provides season-long color with frequent deadheading.

Fuchsia magellanica

The Fuchsias seem to enjoy the heat this summerof course, frequent waterings are critical to keep them going.

Alcea rosea

There's something about the petals of the double Hollyhocks that makes me happy. They convey a feminine, joyful, warm mood. The plants don't look as pretty from far away right now, though, because they're quickly fading. Sigh.

And in the spirit of Wordless Wednesday, here's a collage of colorful Coleusone of my favorite potting plants:



I'm linking in to Bloom Day at Carol's May Dreams Gardens and Foliage Follow-Up at Pam's Digging blogs. Check out all the amazing entries.

And I'm starting to think about my "Lessons Learned" for summer 2012. I hope you'll join me in the meme at the end of the month.

42 comments:

  1. Your garden looks like it is recovering nicely! Isn't it amazing how some plants can bounce back after such conditions?!

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    1. Yes, the rain made all the difference. We're still down about 5 inches for the year, and because everything was stressed in the heat all the plants wilt on hot days. But things are definitely looking better. Thanks.

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  2. Beth so much blooming and so beautiful. I abandoned trying to grow cosmos, zinnia and the like due to all the watering we already had to do for the newly planted trees and bushes.

    My coneflowers faded fast so I hope to see more with the new rainfall. Birds were eating the heads when they were in flower so I have cut many back...Birds have been eating everything this year early....hmmmm.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not sure the annuals would look so good if I hadn't watered them. I tried to stay ahead of the drought with my new plantings, so they were more established when the worst of it hit. Still everything wilted until the rain came. Hose water just isn't the same. Regarding the birds...yes, I'm thinking it's a sign.

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  3. Your blooms are so beautiful, but i think the photos are more beautiful than the flowers, haha! But your coleus varieties are what i love most.

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    1. Thank you--that is very kind. The flowers are pretty when you don't look at all the brown parts. ;-) I absolutely love Coleus plants, and I always have some in my summer planters because they thrive so well in shade, and there are so many varieties and colors!

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  4. Beth, we have many of the same blooms, except for the fuschia, which I managed to kill very quickly:) I'm in total agreement on the cosmos. I didn't have any in my garden until a couple of years ago; now I can't imagine my garden without these carefree and beautiful flowers.

    Good to see your hyacinth bean is finally taking off. Mine is rapidly growing into the monster it was last year again, and I haven't bothered to water it at all. I bet yours will surprise you with how quickly it grows over the next couple of weeks.

    Amazing how the rain has revived us all--Happy Bloom Day!

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    1. Happy Bloom Day, Rose! Thanks for the encouragement about the Hyacinth Bean Vine. I think I planted the seeds too late, and then the drought hit... Next year, I'll plant it earlier, along with more Cosmos. :)

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  5. I agree with you about zinnias and cosmos, I think they are my favorite annuals.

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    1. Yes, Jason, they're both reliable, beautiful, and fantastic cut flowers!

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  6. I love salvia. I enjoy having blooms in the spring and in the fall. I'm not always so good about deadheading mine.

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    1. Salvia is a plant I take for granted. Sometimes I let them go for a while, but after deadheading they come back strong...until the first freeze.

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  7. SO much beauty despite the harsh summer temperatures. Beautiful salvia, but for me the rudbekia steals the show!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Yes, the Rudbeckia has been spectacular this year. It's a little invasive, but I can't help but appreciate its vigor and beauty.

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  8. It's so nice to see your garden recovering from the heat and drought. I bet your hyacinth bean takes off now that it is cooling off. Mine really perked up when we got that rain in July. Happy bloom day ;)

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    1. Thanks, Cat! I hope you're right about the Hyacinth Bean Vine. I can't wait to see more of its pretty, purple flowers.

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  9. I hope you get some more rain soon. We could really use a few inches as well. Still, it's been better than last summer in Texas!

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    1. Thanks, Pam. We just got a soaker this morning--1.22 inches. Yay! I hope you get more, too.

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  10. Luscious blooms. They do look fresh and vibrant for August. My lycoris has not shown her pretty face yet this summer. Soon, I hope.

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    1. Thanks! It's not the best pic of Lycoris. But oh well. I was happy to see that they survived the drought, but they bloomed way too early!

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  11. Every gardening blog I read, I add more must have plants to my list, lol.

    Thanks!

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Sure thing, Jen. I know--especially this time of year. I'm always looking for plants with late-summer interest--particularly those that thrive in shade.

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  12. It's too cold to grow Lycoris here so I envy yours!

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    1. Wow, I'm surprised. But now after a little research, I see that zone 5 is the northern limit. But I know you have plants that perform better even north of here. I'm having a bit of trouble with Delphiniums. Maybe it's climate change?

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  13. The Rudbeckia really is a trooper. This dry summer tested many plants and Rudbeckia always appears in the winner circle. This year it was almost a foot shorter that in previous years, but filled out like always. You have many pretty closeup shots of your blooms, my favorite, the zinnia. It is pretty in bud.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. Yes, Zinnias in all their stages are show-stoppers. :) My Rudbeckias are about the same height as always, but fuller and healthier this year. I think the drought halted the bugs, but since I watered them they performed well. They sure are vibrant and cheery!

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  14. Your late summer beauties are all very gorgeous. So are the photos.

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    1. Thanks, Autumn Belle. I'm appreciating this time of year more the older I get. I used to dread autumn, but I'm looking forward to it this year!

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  15. Liz, very nice portraits from your garden, I had a rudbeckia but the first heat wave was too much. So lucky your zinnias rebloom!

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    1. Thanks, Lula. Yep, the Zinnias just keep coming. Some years they get powdery mildew, but none yet this year... Rudbeckias are performing better this year than any other I can remember.

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  16. Such loveliness...Does your R hirta reseed? I have marvelous luck with other Rudbeckias , but this one alludes me!

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    1. Thanks, Gail! I believe the Rudbeckia does reseed. I think the variety is 'Indian Summer' or 'Becky,' although I'm not sure because I can't see the original tag because the plants are so full right now. I'll let you know if I find it. They bake along the bright, west side of the house--even in winter. The light-colored house reflects the sun, so that soil stays warmer year-round. And I leave the seed heads on all winter for the birds.

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  17. I planted 10 naked lady lilies last fall after seeing yours. But the catalog I bought mine from listed them as amaryllis, not lycoris. Mine haven't come up yet. I'm so glad you've had cooperative plants this year, considering your drought. Everything looks great!! LOVE the pix of your hollyhock. :o)

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    1. Apparently they're in the Amaryllis family: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoris_(plant). Thanks, TS! It's so weird: Every time we go a couple of days without rain, many of the plants droop. They need about a week of constant, soaking rain, I think. (What am I wishing for? Am I crazy?)

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  18. Summer is just the greatest!
    I do love blooms, and yours are looking most excellent!
    My garden needs fuchsias;-]
    Alice aka Bay Area Tendrils

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    1. Thank you, Alice! I LOVE Fuchsias, and so do the Hummingbirds! The temps are mighty pleasant these days here in Wisconsin, although we could still use more rain (never thought I'd wish for that).

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  19. Beautiful blooms...if I could only have one annual flower in my garden, it would be Cosmos :-)

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    1. Thank you, Scott. Yeah, I'm starting to feel that way about the Cosmos, too. Although I'd miss the Zinnias, and the Snapdragons, and the Impatiens, and the ...

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  20. I enjoyed seeing your blooms and foliage. My two surprise lilies have not come up, but I've seen some others in town, so maybe mine did not survive summer. For some reason, cosmos are inconsistent here. Some years, they've looked good, but other times, they'll get very tall, with just a few blooms.

    You put up some awesome photos of Italy. I won't be leaving the country in the near future, and probably not at all, as we won't have the funds. I travel through the computer.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. My Lycoris Lilies weren't as plentiful as last year, but I think we got rain just in time to encourage the blooms. Hopefully they'll come back in full force next summer. I've had the same issue with Cosmos, but after I severely deadhead them, they come back in full force. I understand about the trip. Traveling virtually is pretty nice, too--less expensive and fewer hassles. Still, if your plans change...

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  21. Such beautiful selections with an equal measure of fine photography. You make Zinnia elegans look so elegant.

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    1. Awww, so kind of you Patrick! Zinnias are amazing! I miss them during the long winter.

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