July 14, 2013

GBBD: sun, shade, and everything in between

daylilies

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:

allium

The Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon) are ending their fireworks. They offered a lot of great structure to a floral arrangement the other day.

cucumber

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

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.

liatris

Purple is a popular color right now, with the Liatris (L. spicata) beginning their peak of impressive display.

snapdragon

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.

marigold

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.

rudbeckia

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are just about ready to bloom. I love the criss-cross pattern of the petals before they open.

purpleconegroup

purplecone1

purplecone2

purplecone3

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:

swtpotato

fuchsia

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.

milkweed

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.)

bugbane

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.

sumac

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.

foxglove

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.

bleedingheart

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:

daylilysun

The common Ditch Lilies (Hemerocalis fulva) that many disparage, but I find delightful in patches of sunlight in my shady garden.

lily1

lily2

Various Asiatic Lily Hybrids (Lilium spp.) that reach over the garden fence to brag about their beauty.

waterlily

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.

48 comments:

  1. Lovely to see all the blooms in your garden. I love Hemerocallis fulva too, but I've just been blogging about digging some of mine out, as they are a bit thuggish. It's interesting the different combinations of flowers that appear at the same time in different climates. I would never have foxgloves and Liliums blooming at the same time - the foxgloves are long over before the lilies start. That Bugbane is amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Lyn. I can see how the H. fulva could be a thug under the right conditions. They seem to be OK here, planted in the shade and with our hard winters. I think it might be an unusual year for my new Foxglove--since I planted it as an established plant. I also planted some seeds around it and I hope some of this year's seeds will bring more blooms--either next summer or the summer after.

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  2. Lots of pretties in your garden this month, but that shot of the water lily is stunning!! Suitable for framing I'd say :-) Will be heading up to your neck of the woods next month for a break from the heat. Enjoy the rest of the summer; I know it goes so fast.

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    1. Thank you, Toni! No matter how many times I photograph that Lily, I just can't seem to do it justice. So I really appreciate your kind comment. I'll keep practicing. I hope August cooperates for you. Sometimes it can be pretty hot up here, too, in the late summer. But you probably know that. ;-) Will you be in the Madison area? If so, I'd love to meet you!

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  3. Happy GBBD Beth. The water lily shot really says lazy days of summer.

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    1. Happy Bloom Day to you, too, Donna! I didn't expect to be so inspired by the Lily. I think I might have to get a camera memory card just for it. ;-)

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  4. Once rose season I am happy to let up, too. The rest of the garden is definitely "cottage." Fortunately the daylilies don't require much. I want you to know though, that I am trying to do some weeding. The weeds love this weather. I am envious of your lilies. The deer ate many of mine just as they were about to bloom.

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    1. I love Roses, but I don't have many. That's probably best because of the deep shade here. And I know they take a lot of work (or can). So true that the weeds love this weather! I need to remember to get out and weed in the morning before the heat of the day. We don't have many deer here, but occasionally a tall rabbit reaches over the garden fence for a nibble. :( I did plant Onions around my Lilies, which seems to help!

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  5. Agree with Lyn that the Bugbane photo is breathtaking. Unfortunately, I understand that it is not a big fan of drought or hot weather, so I doubt it would thrive down here in TN...

    Many of your other photos (Staghorn Sumac, etc.) are wonderful too!

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    1. Thank you, Aaron. It's so funny that you should say that, because it's hard to photograph the Bugbane--they're so tall, yet narrow, so the camera doesn't like to focus in on them. Placing the Oak tree behind a spike made it a little easier. Regarding drought and heat--that's probably true, but they made it through just fine after our severe drought and heat last summer. It would probably do best in shade or deep shade, though.

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  6. My swamp milkweed is also very happy this year, but I don't think the butterflyweed is struggling. The bugbane is great, what a dramatic plant.

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    1. This is the first year for Butterfly Weed in my garden--maybe it takes a while to establish? I hope it comes back next year, because I love the bright colors! I found the perfect spot for the Swamp Milkweed--it's a lot sunnier than I thought. The Bugbane is really dramatic at this time of year.

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  7. You have found so many beautiful flowers to feature even with a few holes in the garden. I love the foxgloves but they are tricky to grow in my climate.

    Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. I had trouble growing Foxgloves until I bought an established plant to start with. Hopefully, it will re-seed for future years.

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  8. Oh, your water lily is just gorgeous!! I so want one! Loved your Dicentra eximia, that’s a new one to me, I have formosa and spectabilis myself. The Bugbane was new to me too, impressive! Have a great week, happy GBBD!

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    1. It's striking as the sunlight sparkles on it and on the reflection in the water. The photos can only go so far to show that. ;-) D. eximia is native to the eastern U.S. and D. formosa to the west. It's very difficult to tell the difference, but I think mine is D. eximia. Happy GBBD!

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  9. I can identify with the "ebb" that occurs in the midst of a flow . . . come mid summer. Then i see your flowers in bloom and I feel the zing of the flow once again . . . Gorgeous photos!

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    1. Thanks, Lynne! I would feel the same way, except the heat and humidity (and the mosquitoes) have sapped a bit of my enthusiasm. The weekend is looking a little milder, though--probably similar to your weather?

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    1. Thank you, Kris! I appreciate that because it was hot and I was sweaty and getting devoured by mosquitoes. ;-)

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  11. Your blooms are beautiful. We slow down here in July... it's just too hot. Thankful for cool evenings and mornings to walk about and dead head.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. Yes, I agree about the heat. Lately, our evenings and mornings haven't even been cool. But it looks like we'll have a break from the heat on the weekend! Yay!

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  12. Not only do we have so many similar plants, Beth, but we also share a similar summer attitude toward the garden:) I still have bags of mulch I intend to spread, but when the weatherman says it's going to be in the 90's today, I can't get very ambitious. One plant I don't have is Bugbane--I love those tall spires! And all your lilies are beautiful, regardless of their pedigree.

    Regarding your comment on my coneflowers, I should have been clearer that the coneflowers have done really well here this year, other than in the one spot near the road where we had standing water. I transplanted some seedlings there in the spring, but then I noticed more coming up than I thought, so perhaps they're just late this year. You can't beat coneflowers for all-around stamina! The one plant I did lose to the water, though, was my largest butterfly weed. Apparently, their roots can rot if they're in standing water too long.

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    1. Ah, that explains it about the Coneflowers! I figured you must have a spectacular collection. And it makes sense about the standing water, since we've had so much rain this year. Lately, though, it has been dry again, so I'm starting to have to water. (Shades of last summer--but not even close to the severity!) I saw a monarch land on the Bugbane today--it was lovely, but I couldn't grab my camera in time. :(

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  13. how I envy all the colors in your garden! Here it is now diffcult to cope with summer sun and temperatures. i love the water-liiy, looks really beautiful and inviting!

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    1. Thanks! We're just heating up here, so some of the perennials are fading. But the annuals and veggies are shooting up--so I'm satisfied. :)

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  14. Lovely garden. I agree, informal allows you the freedom to pace your energies.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, personally, I don't have the stamina or the budget for a perfect garden. But I do appreciate them!

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  15. Such beautiful photos. I think the height of summer is a great time to take a small break from garden chores (and the dead of winter, too)! I just love that photo of the black-eyed susan with the criss-crossed petals. I'm surprised to see the bleeding heart still blooming. I think of it as an early spring bloom! Love the swamp milkweed and the staghorn sumac, too, but I've always thought water lilies were one of nature's most beautiful blooms. Yours looks just perfect - I can understand why you're so enamored of it.

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    1. Thanks, Holley. We just hit a dry heat wave, so the Dicentra is fading now, too. I just watered it today, but I think the blooms are done for the season. :( The Black-Eyed Susans and Coneflowers are going strong! It's hot, but it's July afterall. :)

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  16. The pollinators must be very happy in your garden! We are having a record rainfall for this summer and it has made the insects very abundant! Your blooms are fabulous! I didn't see any monarchs this year so far but my milkweed is growing well so hopefully we will see some monarchs on the fall migration here.

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    1. Yes, the pollinators are going crazy. Bees and flies of all sorts, and tons of dragonflies and damselflies this year--probably because of all the moisture, the pond, and the mosquitoes. Did I say I love dragonflies? ;-) I just saw another monarch the other day, so that's a good sign.

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    1. It's a really unique plant. And I saw a monarch land on it yesterday!

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  18. Asclepias tuberosa want dry, well drained soil in full sun but will tolerate a few hours of very bright shade in the late afternoon or early morning. Asc. incarnata want to be very moist. Even though the tuberosa's are tap rooted, if you dig deeply, they are easy to transplant. I like messy casual gardens like yours, which I think is beautiful. They feel more real.

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    1. My A. tuberosa has shade in the morning, but bright sun in the afternoon. It's a well-drained spot at the top of a hill. But if it doesn't survive this summer, I will give up on it because that's the only truly sunny spot I have in this garden. :( The A. incarnata must like its spot--in dappled sun/shade most of the afternoon, and it's in deeply moist soil. Thanks for your kind comments.

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  19. You have such a nice variety of flowers. I especially like the lilies, and only wish they did better in my garden. But I keep trying. I also love fuchsia but the ones on the coast are being attacked by the fuchsia mite. It's sad because I love their bright colors.

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    1. Thank you, Dorothy. I've had issues with the Asiatic Lilies (rabbits). But several years ago, I started planting Onions around them, and that seems to keep the critters away. I totally neglect the Daylilies, and they just keep coming back strong.

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  20. Rhus Typhina looks like an interesting plant with a beautiful flower, so many lovely flowers in your garden.

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    1. It's common throughout the U.S., and found along roadsides everywhere. But I think we often take it for granted. It's actually a lovely shrub and the red drupes can be used in holiday floral arrangements.

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  21. I will have to use the term cottage style whenever my garden is messy. I am confused by your comment about Echinaceae purpurea. It is native to much of the US. Is it just not native where you are? It loves hot weather.

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    1. Oh, gosh, I can see I should have phrased that part differently about the Echinacea. Yes, indeed, it is native here and throughout the U.S. My point was that it, and many other native plants (as well as some non-native plants) struggled during last year's drought here in the Midwest. But this year, when we've had excessive moisture, my Echinacea is performing extremely well. In other words, it survived last year, but it's thriving this year. Sorry for the confusion. ;-)

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  22. Bugbane (Cimicifuga racemosa) looks beautiful. I have never seen that plant before and it looks great against the bark of the tree. My marigolds have exploded. Actually, everything seems to be growing like mad. I think it is all the rain we've had.

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    1. The Bugbane certainly catches the eye's attention--towering over other perennials this time of year. I actually posted about it as a "plant of the month" two summers ago at this link: http://bit.ly/12yDSvJ. Most of my Marigolds in pots are growing well, too. The ones growing directly in the ground are struggling, but I can tell now that the earwigs are to blame--also thanks to the excessive rain.

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  23. Reading your post, I had to go out and check the blooms on my own Sumac. I have to admit I had never paid much attention to them. They do look different from yours, no doubt because they are not as advanced (I am in zone 5). They are tighter and pink. Thank you for pointing out how they change.

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    1. Hi Alain: I'm in zone 5, too, but maybe just slightly different. I'm glad you found the view of the Sumac helpful and that you enjoyed viewing them more closely. They are excellent cut for flower arrangements, too.

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  24. I am so late getting around to blogs this week...I adore all your blooms and your style is so close to mine...I agree it is hard to want to garden in the heat with the skeeters...we are getting a bit of a break so I hope to get out more....my milkweed is doing well and the swamp milkweed is now blooming...others are done blooming but guess what just glided into the garden...a monarch...it was here a long time and circled the milkweed and spent lots of time on the swamp and common...it loved all the echinacea too

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    1. Thanks, Donna. Now I have to apologize--I fell behind in my responses. Trying to fit in a few posts before the end of the month. The heat broke for us, and I'm assuming that is happening for you, too? Every time I see a monarch, it seems like a gift this year. My Swamp Milkweed is blooming, too. It's really pretty, and I'm seeing evidence of chewing. :)

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