July 15, 2015
For this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up, I decided to change things up. Instead of focusing on all the bright colors in my tiny "sunny" garden (I'll do that next month), I thought I'd share a few plants blooming and brightening the shade this month.
Starting with the Asiatic Lilies in the first photo above: Believe it or not, they only receive a small bit of direct sun in the afternoon. That may not the best textbook advice, but it seems to work in a little pocket of light on the northwest corner of the house.
Sedum kamtschaticum grows in several places here and there, and thrives in dappled shade. Its tiny, bright yellow flowers bloom in early to mid-summer. The flowers and foliage make great groundcover companions with blue Juniper.
Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum) keeps right on blooming. And when it's not blooming, the foliage is attractive on its own.
I'm pleased with the potted plants--a complementary contrasting combination of Oxalis triangularis 'Charmed Wine,' Double Impatiens 'Fiesta,' Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Wizard Golden,' and Alternanthera ficoidea 'Red Thread.'
In the back, edging the pond, I combined variegated English Ivy (Hedera helix) with various Coleus varieties, a Spike plant (Cordyline indivisa), and more Alternanthera.
Bugbane (Actea racemosa) grows to its maximum height (at least seven feet, when in bloom) in my shady garden. It hangs around the big, old Oak trees and the Ostrich Ferns, which give it support and framework. I like the Maple-shaped foliage, too.
Who can deny the beauty and usefulness of pendulous Fuchsias? Top photo is 'Dollar Princess,' which I'm growing as an annual "shrub," until we decide which native shrubs to plant in its place. Bottom photo is my favorite Fuchsia: 'Marenka.' The hummingbirds love this plant.
And, of course, the Hostas. We have several varieties, and the total count of actual Hosta plants must be more than 100. I take them for granted.
I also take for granted their delicate flowers. They seem to be especially popular with hummingbirds, bees, and sphinx moths. Hosta flower spikes are great for cut flower arrangements.
Some plants this year seem delayed in their blooming. I'm thinking various factors weighed into this, including earlier tree foliage in May and cooler-than-normal temperatures in June.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) was in full bloom by early July last year. This year, in mid-July, it's still budding.
Ligularia stenocephala ('The Rocket') spikes up through the green with its bright yellow blooms, just beginning to open. Its leaves remind me of a Dr. Seuss-style heart.
I'm a big fan of chartreuse foliage. Anise Hyssop 'Golden Jubilee' (Agastache foeniculum) shines among its more modest neighbors. The light, lavendar-blue buds and flowers contrast pleasantly with the foliage.
And then there's my favorite climber: Hyacinth Bean vine (Lablab purpureus). The purple flowers are just about to make an appearance. But its foliage captures the eye at any time.
What's blooming and brightening your garden this month? To compare notes with gardeners around the world, check out Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam's Foliage Follow-Up.