July 14, 2016

When Life Gives You Sunshine...

zowie2

My garden is shady. Most of the time I try to celebrate it, enjoy the plants that thrive in shade, and appreciate the benefits of a sheltered habitat. But I also love the sun, and I have a few tiny patches of brightness where sun-loving plants reign. In July, especially, they put on a colorful show.

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and I'm focusing on my little cutting garden/potager. It's mostly a flower garden, because the only edibles growing there now are tomatoes, onions, lettuces, and a few herbs. But let's take a look at the bright July flowers:

salvia

If you deadhead Salvias, like 'May Night' (Salvia x sylvestris), they'll reward you with repeat blooms throughout the summer. This is the second round for me this growing season.

butterflyweed

I'm thrilled that each year this patch of Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) expands further--this on a plant that struggled to establish itself the first couple of years. Various pollinators nectar on Butterflyweed and it's a host plant for Monarchs. Beyond this, it's such a stunning bloomer.

drumstick allium

The Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon) are leaning and fading, but they enjoyed their time in the sun.

susan

As the Drumsticks fade, the Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) begin to unfurl. And their entrance always welcomes a party of pollinators to the garden.

pentas

In this little, sunny cutting garden, I grow a combination of perennials and annuals--all chosen for their pollinator value. Last year, I tried Pentas (P. lanceolata) as annuals for the first time and this year I chose a bright pink variety, 'Graffiti Violet.'

state fair

One of my favorite annuals, Zinnia (Z. elegans), attracts pollinators and produces excellent cut flowers with a long vase life. 'State Fair Mix' is a fabulous choice because of its size and beauty--five-inch blooms on three-foot stems, in a range of colors.

state fair 2

Every day now, more Zinnia blooms unfurl. And when deadheaded and maintained, they'll continue blooming into October.

zowie1

I grew my Zinnias from seed this year, and on the advice of fellow garden blogger, Rose, at Prairie Rose's Garden, I tried 'Zowie! Yellow Flame.' The name says it all! This cultivar (also shown at the beginning of this post) will be another great source for cut flowers.

liatris

Blazing Star Liatris (L. spicata) spikes are great for colorful structural elements in floral arrangements.

lantana

I'm still analyzing my preferences among the Lantana (L. camara) cultivars. This year, my garden includes 'Flame,' 'Citrus,' and 'Bandana Red.'

cosmos

Another great cut flower and pollinator favorite is Cosmos (C. bipinnatus). I grew these from seed this year, too, and I chose 'Sensation Mix.'

angelonia and marigolds

At the corner of the cutting garden, a pot of Marigolds (Tagetes spp.), Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), and Angelonia (A. augustifolia 'Angelface Blue') welcomes hummingbirds and other garden friends.

bumble cone

And the queen of the cutting garden has to be Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). This native stalwart sets the color theme, supports pollinators of all types, provides great cut flowers, and blooms in profusion for weeks on end. It thrives in wet years, during drought, and everything in between. Unfortunately, it's also a favorite of Japanese Beetles.

beetle cone

I'm trying to make peace with these beautiful insects. I'm not succeeding, but thankfully their destructive phase is short.

What's blooming in your garden this July? Head on over to May Dreams Gardens to read about flowers in gardens around the world.

51 comments:

  1. Your gardens are bursting in color for July and I so enjoyed my visit. Happy Bloom Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lee. I'm glad you enjoyed the color. The shady part of the garden is more subdued, but I enjoy getting out in the bright, sunny part of the garden, too. :)

      Delete
  2. I have seen only a few Japanese beetles so far this year, fortunately they have done minimal damage. Like you I am fond of Butterflyweed and Zinnias, and I'm glad you like the Pentas. There is also a variety of Lantana called 'Marmalade' that you might like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, thanks for the tip on 'Marmalade.' I took a look, and yes I like it. The Japanese Beetles seem to be at peak now, and much of the foliage and some of the blooms have damage now. The foliage doesn't matter so much, but I don't like to see damage to the flowers.

      Delete
  3. Beautiful! So colorful, I love it so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Endah: I'm glad you enjoyed it. These bright colors are great memories to remember when it gets cold around here. I love summer!

      Delete
  4. Such lovely flowers, nice to see the insects making the most of them...
    Amanda xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda: Yes, the bees, butterflies, flies, and other insects are enjoying the blooms. :)

      Delete
  5. Lovely blooms! You might not have a lot of sun, but it seems you're making the most of what you do have! Gorgeous photography, too!

    Please come visit me at www.harmonyhillshomeandgarden.com, would love to see you there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenny! I'll visit your blog. I've been away for about a week and just now getting back to blogging.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful blooms. I love zinnias as do the bees and butterflies. Happy GBBD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. One year I decided to skip Zinnias and I regretted it. They're such stalwarts of summer and they're great cut flowers!

      Delete
  7. Beth what a marvelous celebration your garden is having in June. We grow so many of the same plants, but I am not surprised by that...Happy Bloom Day.

    Oh and yes those beetles are shredding my echinacea too but they seem to have a shabby chic look to them so I like it .....or accept it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna: I'm just getting back to comments and blogging after the Fling. Yes, the garden is pretty colorful in July. It's great fun to watch the pollinators in the sunny garden. Darn beetles are quite destructive this year!

      Delete
  8. Lovely photos of your pretty flowers . . .
    Japanese Beatles really cause me the crazies. . .
    Having said that . . .
    They are kind of pretty looking . . . If you can get past the CRAZY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynne. I agree: They're beautiful beetles! If only they didn't cause so much damage!

      Delete
  9. You packed a lot into your patch of sunshine. How about a shot of the whole thing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ricki: It's a special little patch of sun. But it's difficult to photograph because it's at the top of a hill, and it hides my utility box and air conditioning unit. I did a post about it last year that showed a little more of the area. And this color swatch gives a hint at what it looks like: http://bit.ly/29OwbMO.

      Delete
  10. So glad I planted May Night last year. Yours are lovely. I so e joy looking at what others are growing. My purple coneflowers never flourish, so I enjoy your pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Denise. Yes, the Salvia has been a consistent, reliable plant(s) in my garden since I added it many years ago. And it's a lovely companion to the bright oranges, yellows and tropical colors of, the other plants in that garden. Purple Coneflower is also reliable here and always attracts butterflies.

      Delete
  11. Your garden is lovely!Drumstick allium has really caught my eye this season.....it's beautiful!
    Pardon my deletion....I recently shut down my old blog because of a virus and all the comment pages want to sign me in with my dead blog! Happy GBBD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sally! Darn viruses. I hope you'll get it all under control. Please let me know the address of your new blog. I enjoy the Drumstick Alliums every year. The only difficult thing is that it's hard to weed out the grass that tends to grow among the thin Allium stems. I recently added Blue Mistflower there, which is filling in and crowding out the grass. :)

      Delete
  12. You take the most stunning close-up photos, Beth! I love the way you capture the flowers, both in bud and in bloom.

    I have some bright orange cosmos blooming, and some zinnias (I think a cherry?) showing some buds. I planted butterfly weed this spring, but it doesn't look like it's going to bloom this year --hopefully next!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cassi. I find the buds as fascinating (if not more so) than the blooms. Your garden sounds lovely. It took about two years for the Butterflyweed to really set in, but now it's really thriving. I think it takes a while for the taproot to get anchored. I haven't seen any Monarch caterpillars on it, however, while the Swamp Milkweed has fed numerous caterpillars. Apparently, A. incarnata is the favored host. But the Butterflyweed sure is pretty.

      Delete
  13. Beautiful colors, especially the salvia! (my bias, I love blues and salvias were a big part of my botany initiation in Calif.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Hollis. I do enjoy the Salvia very much, and so do the bees -- bumbles and honeybees! It's really a stunning, deep blue/purple, and the scent is pleasant, too.

      Delete
  14. Hi,
    You do such a great job capturing the beauty.
    I do have a question, when you cut your flowers for fresh cut flowers, do you just place them in water or do you make a solution for them?

    As far as bugs...earwigs are in my garden. They do so much damage. It can get very frustrating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carla. I rarely use a solution. I try to use lukewarm water and cut the flowers in the morning when they're under less stress. And, ah yes ... I have earwigs, too ... and slugs. Beer traps help with earwigs and slugs.

      Delete
  15. It certainly is very colourful there in your garden Beth. I am trying Cosmos for the first time this year and do agree that they are loved by the pollinators. I wish Echinacae would thrive here - it's been a costly lesson for me to learn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, very bright in the sunny garden, while the rest of the garden is cool and mostly green and pastel. It's difficult to pick a favorite flower overall, but you can't beat Cosmos for their simplicity, gracefulness, reliability, and vase life! The Echinacea is at home here. It prefers sun, but it's also doing pretty well in partial shade.

      Delete
  16. Lovely! Those of us with predominantly shady gardens can certainly appreciate those bright blooms that prosper in our bits of sun. I love your 'Zowie! Yellow Flame.' I always plant a few zinnias. This one is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb. Yes, one year I decided not to plant Zinnias, and I certainly regretted it. 'State Fair Mix' has always performed well for me, and now 'Zowie!' is doing well, too. They are very bright, but they cheer me up whenever I look at them.

      Delete
  17. Lovely post, Beth! Of course I'd fall for the annuals since I'm an annual nut. Zowie Yellow Flame is a wonderful zinnia, though I didn't plant any this year. I love the combination of annuals and perennials.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen: All I can say is "wow" you certainly have an amazing collection of annuals! I plant most of the annuals for the butterflies and the bees. And also for cut flowers for church. I was pleasantly surprised with the success of growing the Zinnias and Cosmos from seed this year. I didn't have the same luck with Snapdragons, so I won't try that again.

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. That little sunny garden shines in the summer and early fall. On a late July/early August day, it's amazing to watch how many pollinators visit in such a small area.

      Delete
  19. Such a lovely collection of July flowers, Beth - I bet the pollinators in your garden are happy! I am trying Echinacae for probably the fifth time, this time in my new, sunny garden - but no more luck than in the previous one. I don't think Echinacae is suitable for Britain.
    Hope you are having good gardening weather!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Helene. I think the Echinacea does prefer the long, sunny summer days. The garden in this post is fun to watch evolve from planting in May through the first frost. The perennials anchor it, but it's fun to try new annuals each season. :)

      Delete
  20. Great photos as usual, Beth!

    Since most of my garden is sunny, I guess it's not surprising I have some of the same photos you highlighted in your post.

    Purple coneflower is a real winner here, although I've found that (despite what it says in the catalogues) it actually grows better in partial shade. Maybe in better soil it would be able to get its roots deep enough to endure our 90+ weather for months on end, but here it will survive in full sun (I think) but tend to look pretty awful by August -- at least in hot and dry years like the ones we've had lately.

    As you know, zinnia and cosmos are two of my favorites too.

    I'm loving the rose milkweed and (I believe) a common milkweed (A. syriaca) that has showed up unbidden next to my mailbox.

    I'd love to try A. tuberosa, but sometimes it's out of stock at my preferred mail-order nurseries and I'm also worried about whether it would survive my clay soil. I've heard it loves good drainage. But I do have a hill, so...

    Have you tried collecting and scattering the A. tuberosa seeds to see if you could get volunteers? I did that for A. incarnata last winter and now I have a mini forest of rose milkweed plants, some of which are already blooming in their first year~!

    PS - I'm not usually a huge fan of Rudbeckia, partly because I rarely see many pollinators on the Rudbeckias I've tried growing, but I've heard R. hirta is a winner in that regard? Seems like you've hinted as much in your post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Aaron! I'm a tad jealous of your sunny garden ... except on these extremely hot days in mid-July through August. Now, I'm appreciating a bit of shade. ;)

      Regarding the Milkweed seeds, yes, I tried two methods this year--starting both A. incarnata and A. tuberosa from both seed indoors and transplanting, and seed directly into the soil outside. I've had better luck with A. incarnata planted in pots first, but A. tuberosa directly into the soil. Of course, each location will be different. They are both wonderful garden plants in addition to being Monarch host plants.

      Re: Rudbeckia hirta -- I let mine go to seed where it sits, which means it comes back year after year. Goldenrod Soldier Beetles love it, and they usually show up about now and stay through early fall. Also, the birds like the Rudbeckia and Echinacea seedheads in winter. :)

      Delete
  21. Looks wonderful! I'm catching up with your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lula. I've had a crazy, busy summer and now things are settling down a little. So, I'm catching up, too. :)

      Delete
  22. Oh Beth they are all so beautiful because you take awesome shots. We have zinnia too, but that first one is so lovely for me. I realized i don't often come to your blog anymore because of the FB posts, then i also realized and saddened that i again missed the GBBD this month. If not i again have a lot to post. I hope not to forget next month.

    You and people in countries like yours welcome the sun so much, here we almost get it everyday except when there's a storm. And we hope to have at least clouds that will cover it, or a bit overcast! haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. And, yes, we do appreciate our sunny summer days after our long winters. :) Actually, many of our winter days are sunny, too, but simply too cold! I can see how you would appreciate a few clouds after having bright, hot sun for days on end. Right now, we are at the hottest time of the year, with heat indices of 105F/40C. But we will cool down to 86F/30C next week. I don't mind it, if I have a pool and/or air conditioning. ;-)

      Delete
  23. You and I are soul sisters, or "soul gardeners," Beth:) We share so many of the same flowers. You know I love the coneflowers and totally agree about what pollinator magnets they are. I do have quite a few Japanese beetles right now, but I've never noticed them bothering the coneflowers. Maybe the few roses and the hibiscus I have are enough for them. My 'Zowie's' are just beginning to bloom, though they're not as tall as past years. All your colorful blooms are a feast for the eyes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, indeed, Rose. :) Interesting about the Japanese Beetles. This year, I'm finding them on the Coneflowers more than on any other plant. Weird. With that said, I don't have Roses in that part of the garden, and I don't have any Hibiscus (although, I've thought about adding them). I planted the 'Zowies' in a row in front of the 'State Fair' Zinnias, which are a bit taller. They make great companions and will provide wonderful cut flowers when I'm on flower duty at church in a couple weeks. Thanks, again, for recommending 'Zowie!'

      Delete
  24. Such lovely blooms -- love the coneflower and bee (second from bottom). Hope your garden came through last night's storms okay. We lost a tree in our front yard, and somehow managed not to lose electricity though buildings on opposite side of the street did.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love all your sunshine flowers, such gorgeous colours. I know Japanese beetles are a terrible pest over there, ( we don't have them,) but they are beautiful in their irridescent jackets.

    ReplyDelete
  26. My mid July garden had quite a bit of bloom. Thank you for asking. It is nice you have lots of shade as it has been brutally hot, even in WI. It is great you have a cutting garden, the bees have to be enjoying it. I too just let the Japanese Beetles be to a point. They don't do excessive damage since I removed the roses. I am sure you garden is beautiful at this time of year, you have showed some pretty blooms. I am not sure my comments get through on your blog, forgive me if this a repeat.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your garden is very bloomy, Beth. Much more so than my little space. By the way, I learned last year that Pentas were first introduced as a blooming houseplant. So save a little bit to brighten your home over the winter (minus any hitchhikers, of course).

    ReplyDelete
  28. that milkweed is a gorgeous luminous tangerine

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by!

(Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)