I’m excited to say that I have some new blooms this week to share for Bloomin’ Tuesday. It’s been so hot here with weeks of drought until this past weekend when the heavens finally opened up and gave us a little rain. Of course we could use more, but I’m not complaining. There is a possibility for some more this week. Let’s hope so at least. Ok, on with the show…
(From upper L-R across & down: Zinna profusion series, Hydrangea 'White Swan', Eucomis or Pineapple Lily, Echinops 'Ritro', Belamcanda 'Hello Yellow', Lobelia 'Vedraiensis', Zinnia profusion series and Eucomis or Pineapple Lily)
Last summer I sent my Mom a packet of seeds for this single flowered Zinnia and this past fall she shared some seed with me. I planted the seeds in a pot as a under planting for my Vitex Tree seedling along with some Alyssum. Here’s the first bloom starting to unfurl as well as a more mature bloom. I love how the color fades a bit to almost a pinkish tone as it ages. Last week I showed you the first bud starting to unfurl of this paniculata Hydrangea ‘White Swan’. This week I thought I would share it opened up a bit more. So pretty, don’t you think? Hope to trim this shrub into a tree form like my ‘Limelight’ in a couple more seasons. I had to get a couple more shots of this Eucomis or Pineapple Lily to share with you. One shows you how much the bud stalk has filled out and the second shot shows a closeup of one of the first little blooms open. Soon this stalk will be covered in these white flowers. It really does resemble a pineapple don’t you think? A few weeks ago I posted the Echinops but I loved this shot with the bee doing his pollen dance. Lobelia is a shade lover, so it happily resides under the canopy of my Pecan Tree where it gets filtered light only. Unfortunately it’s also a moisture lover so I’ve been having to hand water it twice weekly. The Hummingbirds adore these purple blooms. My favorite summer flowering perennial is the Belamcanda or Blackberry Lily. These yellow blooms grow in groups above Iris like foliage. Mostly you will see the Orange with spots in gardens, so the other common name is Leopards Lily. I prefer this solid yellow variety myself. In the fall if you leave the seed heads on the plant they will mature and split open revealing shiny black seeds, hence the name. Last year forgetting this I deadheaded it, oops! To see more of what’s blooming in other gardens all over the country or to join in on the fun this week please visit our gracious host Jean @ Ms Greenthumb.
(upper L-R across & down: 'Pina Colada Series', 'Smooth Beardstongue', 'Pikes Peak' and 'Gray Beardtongue'
All four of the Penstemon in my garden were added in the past two years. ‘Pina Colada’ & ‘Pike’s Peak’ were picked up at my local Walmart garden center on clearance last fall. The other two were found at the Native Plant Sales. ‘Smooth Beardstongue’ (white) was my first plant and I immediately fell in love with it. And who wouldn’t be crazy about the hummingbirds & butterflies it attracts to the garden. The three little purple streaks inside the face of the bloom are so sweet. The basil leaves are evergreen and it produces masses of flowers on stems about 2-3 ft tall every summer. It will push out a few sporatic blooms later on in the season if deadheaded after the first flush. My second purchase was the ‘Gray Beardstongue’ which didn’t do much the first season so I moved it to a shadier location where it is currently blooming its’ heart out. The lavender blue flowers really brighten up the Woodland Garden Bed. It’s basil rosette of leaves are also evergreen. ‘Pikes Peak’ bloomed sporatically last fall after planting and I left the foliage standing over the winter only trimming back the dead & brown stuff this spring. It prefers a sunnier location than the native varieties. The deeper purple buds are a great addition to the New Garden Bed which is shades of purple and yellows. ‘Pina Colada’ is a puny little specimen that might need a new location to make it happy. It dies back completely to the ground pushing up new growth in April. Sorry for the blurryness, this shade of pink proved difficult to capture on camera. No matter the time of the day, plus it’s very small so I was literally on my stomach trying to take this shot.
This morning I spotted a nice surprise in the Shed Garden. I’m pretty sure this little volunteer is one of my favorites Verbena bonariensis. It’s also known as Brazillian Verbena, Stick Verbena, Upright Verbena and Purpletop Vervain. Ever since the original plant popped up due to the wind or some generous bird I’ve wanted more of this perennial. The ones I’ve purposely planted have never done as well as the happy accidents though. This pretty wildlife attractor is native to tropical South America. Here’s some more interesting facts:
- Perennial in zones 7-11 (grow as an annual elsewhere)
- Self seeds readily (invasive in some climates)
- Full Sun to Partial Shade w/regular moisture
- Attracts Goldfinches, Butterflies, Bees & Hummingbirds
- Used in some Countries as a Veterinary Abortifacient
- Grows up to 4′ tall and 3′ wide
- Purple blooms from mid summer to mid fall
- Flowers are good for drying/preserving
- Drought tolerant or xeriscaping
- Propogate from seeds and cuttings
- Pinch first shoots in spring to encourage branching
- Susceptible to powdery mildew in humid areas
- Looks best planted in masses
- No serious insect problems
Yesterday while browsing some of the big box stores for available bulb selections, I came across this brilliant red Lobelia aptly named ‘Fan Scarlet’. For some reason I’ve never grown any Lobelias in my garden. This fall I corrected this slight by adding a purple blooming cultivar named ‘Vedraiensis’ which hasn’t flowered yet and now this red variety. ‘Vedraiensis’ prefers a more shady location in the garden. However ‘Fan Scarlet’ can be grown in an area that receives 6 or more direct hours of sunlight daily. These showy spikes of red blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This asset alone was a big selling point for me. I did notice all the hummingbirds that some of you attracted this year with your red & orange tubular blooms. Therefore I decided I needed more red tubular shaped blossoms in the garden next season. I planted ‘Fan Scarlet’ in the border bed combined with Stella d’Ora Daylillies and purple Liatris. There is also some Peacock Orchids that bloom later than the other two. It should be a stunning combination next summer if all three happen to bloom at the same time. Here are the basic facts on my new addition:
Plant in Full Sun-Part Sun bed
Grows at a fast rate from 18″ in width to 30″ in height
Can be grown in sandy, clay or normal soil
Will tolerate average, moist or wet soils
Blooms Mid summer – Mid Fall
Great in a border or container planting
Has a compact bushy habit
Harmful if eaten
Foliage turns bronze in the fall
Hardy in zones 5-9 (with protection in zone 5)
They say patience is a virtue. To be honest it was never one of my greatest strengths. I’ve learned to be more patient via gardening. For example, I got a late start planting seeds for my Blackeyed Susan vine and just noticed buds had formed a day or so ago. Last night I was happy to see the first bud had opened. What a happy little bloom! I have never grown this annual vine in my garden so it was nice to try something new to me. Several of my blogging buddies out there suggested this as a good option to grow on my “TV Antenna” turned trellis in the new garden this season. I was sure I may have waited too long to plant the seeds, but obviously not because it’s starting to bloom and has almost completely covered the entire structure. On another note, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that I moved my Butterfly Weed into a new location because it wasn’t doing well. Actually it didn’t help that Spaz stepped on it several times in her attempts to catch squirrels. Anyhow, I moved it and it is adjusting fine to its’ new home. In fact, on my inspection of the garden last evening not only did I notice the Blackeyed Susan bloom, but another surprise. Look at this little guy who was happily munching away on my Butterfly Weed. Is this a Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar? It looks like it to me, which means my Milkweed had eggs on it after all and they are hatching. After inspecting it again I saw a few caterpillars on it as well. There is so much activity on that plant, it is like a miniature universe. The Aphids seem to be in less abundance on the Milkweed and I noticed a few on the Butterfly weed too. Anyhow, it looks like I have a couple other plants that should be blooming soon so I have more new things to anticipate. This Canna was a pass-a-long plant from a neighbor. I traded her some of my burgundy Cannas in exchange for this green variety name unknown. This bud has been forming for several days now and there is a brief glimpse of the flower color showing right above the stem. Does that look like a hint of yellow peeking through to you? Maybe the flower on this one will be something worth keeping. The burgundy Cannas have these nothing special red blooms that I cut off. I prefer the foliage on them to the flowers. Some of the less hardy Cannas do have really pretty flowers though. Once it opens I promise to post a picture of it. Maybe it will be open for next Bloomin’ Tuesday. Another plant that should be blooming really soon is my new addition Lantana ‘Miss Huff ‘, she has several new flower buds. Sorry this picture wasn’t more clear. They have a orange outer color with a deep pink in the center. This should be a great addition to my new garden bed. I have planted a lot of butterfly & hummingbird attracting plants in this area of the garden. ‘Miss Huff ‘ is a favorite source of nectar for both of these species. Just when you think the end of summer is here there is all this new stuff to anticipate for the fall and next season in the garden.