July 14, 2013
About this time every summer I pull back a little on my gardening obsession. Notice I said "a little." My garden is very informal, and far from perfect! Some would call it untidy (I prefer "cottage style.")
At the beginning of spring, I always have high expectations for upgrades and improvements. When July hits, half the growing season is over, it's hot, the mosquitoes are biting, and the lake is calling.
At this time of year, frankly, I get a little lazy. Instead of replacing the dying plant, I start to accept that hole in the garden plan, or I realize that another plant will grow larger to fill in the empty spot.
Still, the garden is certainly healthy and there are plenty of blooms to share.
Here's what's blooming in my small west-facing sunny potager:
The Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon) are ending their fireworks. They offered a lot of great structure to a floral arrangement the other day.
Cucumbers (Cucumis 'Slicing') are setting more fruit. It's getting a little hot for them now, but I hope a few will make it through and get large enough for me to pick and eat.
Cosmos (C. bipinnatus) are lovely again, as always. This particular flower is showing signs of earwig or Japanese beetle damage, but there are plenty of buds and other blooms brightening up the garden.
Purple is a popular color right now, with the Liatris (L. spicata) beginning their peak of impressive display.
The Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus 'Rocket Mix') are tall and healthy this year. I need to pinch off a few more blooms to encourage more growth. This tall hybrid produces excellent, spiky flowers for floral arrangements--mid-summer through fall.
The Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are a little wimpy this year. I'm not sure why. I think it might be earwigs, and since I set out beer traps the other day, I've been catching a lot of them.
Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are just about ready to bloom. I love the criss-cross pattern of the petals before they open.
Many people have commented on how the native plants performed better than other plants during the drought. I agree, to some extent, but there's no doubt this year's abundant rain has produced a bumper crop of Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)! They are sturdy, healthy, and gorgeous! I'm fascinated with the plants as they display blooms in various stages of opening and coloring.
Then, in the shade and dappled shade we have:
Hanging baskets planted with a mix of variegated Sweet Potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) and Fuchsia (F. 'Marinka'). I love this combination--both the blooms and the foliage.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is performing the best among the Milkweeds I planted. A. tuberosa bloomed, but is struggling. And A. purpurascens is taking its own slow time to get established. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many Monarchs here, anyway. (I have, however, seen plenty of them on various hikes this summer.)
One of my favorite summer plants--Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa)--is putting on a spectacular show this summer. Several new shoots appeared at the back of the perennial bed.
I know it's common, but I have a thing for Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina). I enjoy watching it bud, bloom, and change color from spring through fall and early winter. It's definitely a four-season beauty.
The Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot Lavendar') is showing a second blush of blooms. They got a little floppy, though, so I had to add a wire support.
Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Eximia) just keeps blooming--long after its showy cousin Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) has faded.
And then there are the Lilies of all types that grow in shade, dappled shade, and sun, but always reach for any light they can find:
The common Ditch Lilies (Hemerocalis fulva) that many disparage, but I find delightful in patches of sunlight in my shady garden.
Various Asiatic Lily Hybrids (Lilium spp.) that reach over the garden fence to brag about their beauty.
And, of course, the Water Lily (Nymphaea 'Clyde Ikins'), in dappled sunlight that captures the shadows and flickers of light from morning until late afternoon. I can't stop looking at it.
I'm linking in with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol over at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of every month. Head on over there to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.