July 14, 2016
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:
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.
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.
The Drumstick Alliums (A. sphaerocephalon) are leaning and fading, but they enjoyed their time in the sun.
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.
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.'
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.
Every day now, more Zinnia blooms unfurl. And when deadheaded and maintained, they'll continue blooming into October.
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.
Blazing Star Liatris (L. spicata) spikes are great for colorful structural elements in floral arrangements.
I'm still analyzing my preferences among the Lantana (L. camara) cultivars. This year, my garden includes 'Flame,' 'Citrus,' and 'Bandana Red.'
Another great cut flower and pollinator favorite is Cosmos (C. bipinnatus). I grew these from seed this year, too, and I chose 'Sensation Mix.'
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.
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.
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.