Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Flowers

The garden is full of blooms and foliage this fall, and I am so behind on posting updates! Maybe I will get caught up over the winter... Here are some current highlights:

Chrysanthemum 'Mary Stoker'

I love how the bright red fall foliage of geranium wlassovianum sets off the yellow flowers of hardy Chrysanthemum 'Mary Stoker'. This is the first year for the chrysanthemum so it's still small. I'm hoping it lives up to its reputation and proves to be hardy and perennial here.

Anemone 'Alice'

My Japanese anemone has also started blooming. It's also in its first year and still small. I love all anemones -  'Alice' is a cultivar with large double pink flowers.

Anemone 'Alice' with Sedum

I have it planted near a sedum, whose bronzey-pink flowers harmonize nicely.

Sedum with calamintha and nepeta

Here is another sedum, this time with calamint and catmint. The calamint blooms non-stop from mid-summer to frost, and is an absolute favorite of the bees.

Amsonia hubrichtii, geranium sanguineum 'Shepherd's Warning', Calamintha

I liked it so much I planted another one, this time near an amsonia and some geraniums.

Lavender, kalimeris pinnatifida 'Hortensis', echium

Another flower-power workhorse is this kalimeris, or Japanese false aster. This year the rabbits decided to eat the nearby roses instead of the kalimeris, so it has actually been able to grow and bloom. It also blooms profusely for virtually the entire summer. I love this little combo of kalimeris, lavender and echium (which has so far produced nothing but strappy leaves). Here is another shot of the kalimeris close-up - isn't it cute?

Kalimeris pinnatifida 'Hortensis'

Peony, sage, rosa 'Eglantyne', and perovskia (Russian sage)

In this view of the rose garden you can see the soft purple of the Russian sage in the background. This is another dependable long-bloomer. Roses are not so generous in the fall, but a few repeat bloomers still add some precious highlights to this area. Soon they will all go to sleep.

Rosa 'Eglantyne' with common sage

Monday, July 15, 2013

July Blooms

July is probably my least favorite month of the gardening season. The heat of July is such a drag, I really lose all desire to go outside. Also, most of my favorite flowers bloom in April, May, or June, with a few August/fall bloomers thrown in for good measure. When it comes time to decide whether to put a peony or a coneflower in a particular spot, the peony wins for me every time. But, I've been making a concerted effort combat the July desert effect in my garden.

Caryopteris, Euphorbia 'First Blush', and Lamb's Ears
It's a "between" time in my garden right now. The roses and clematis are in the lull following their first flush of bloom, Asiatic lilies are on their way out and Orientals are not quite on their way in. At this time I enjoy foliage and subtle flowers in my garden, like the combo in this corner of my peony bed. The flowers of Lamb's Ears and sedum album (in the background) are not standouts, but they create nice points of interest during this quiet time.

Achillea 'Saucy Seduction'
A few perennials are putting on a bright show. The color of achillea blooms really pops, and I also love the ferny foliage.

Stokesia 'Purple Parasols'

Perhaps my favorite July bloomer, Stokesia, is looking fine right now. Those giant purple orbs make me forgive its somewhat floppy habit and dull foliage.

Kalimeris incisa 'Blue Star'

This kalimeris (Japanese False Aster) is also growing on me, with its simple charm and easy care. It's like an aster, but needs no division, doesn't get mildew, and blooms from July til frost. The flowers are a very pale steel blue, although they look washed out in sunlight and in my photograph.


I've planted a few annuals here and there to liven things up for the summer. These orange nasturtiums make a cheery contrast with the chartreuse foliage of Tanacetum vulgare 'Isla Gold' in my orchard area. A newly planted blue agastache behind has yet to bloom.

Pentas near Siberian Iris, Lemon Thyme, and Damask Rose

I popped some red pentas in throughout the patio bed, to live up the area that earlier was lush with iris, campanula, and rose blossoms. Hummingbirds seem to love pentas so I make sure to get some every year.

Marigold 'Zenith Red' with Physocarpus 'Coppertina'

My favorite area of the garden right now is the back hedge. The orange marigolds are blooming strong, and the 2-year old shrubs are starting to fill in a bit. Also, I have finally painted the fence back here! This is what it used to look like:

Back hedge before fence painting
And here it is now! I think it's a big improvement.

Back hedge with newly painted fence

The hypericum (St. John's Wort) 'Ames' to the left of the arborvitae has now begun to bloom. It is still small, but recovering pretty well from last year's rabbit attacks (which prompted the ugly chicken wire you can see in the photos). It has pretty, blue-green foliage reminiscent of willow, and bright lemon yellow flowers.

Hypericum kalmianum 'Ames'

One last long view of the back hedge:

Hypericum 'Ames', Thuja 'Smaragd', Heuchera 'Miracle'
Head on over to May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to see how other people battle the July doldrums!

Friday, July 12, 2013

LA Hybrid Lilies

LA Hybrid lilies are crosses between Longiflorum and Asiatic lilies. They are sometimes called "scented Asiatics," although they are not necessarily scented and are not pure Asiatics. I loved mine so much I added a few new ones last year. They are my favorite type of lily so far! (Caveat: I have yet to try the much lauded Orienpets.) LA Hybrids have abundant upfacing flowers which provide intense blocks of solid color in the garden, just like Asiatics, but they are much larger, and the blooms are more substantive and long-lasting. They bloom for 3-4 weeks in my garden, longer than any other lily. I currently have 3 varieties:

LA lily 'Golden Tycoon'

'Golden Tycoon' is a tall, generous bloomer with fat petals in a cheery lemon yellow. The color just glows - I get more comments on this plant from passersby than anything else I grow. They have absolutely no fragrance that I can detect.

LA lily 'Golden Tycoon'

I've had this one for a few years and it's starting to multiply. This year some of the babies are blooming at half-height, for an odd stair-step effect. I suppose I will need to spread out these bulbs for next year.

Peony bed enlivened with LA lilies

My 'Golden Tycoons' are planted in my peony bed, where they take center stage after peony season is over. Here you can see them blooming with a hint of purple Geranium wlassovianum at their feet. There are also Oriental Lilies in this area which will bloom in August, after the LA hybrids are done.

LA hybrid lily 'Red Alert'

Following on the success of 'Golden Tycoon', I added 'Red Alert' last year. Now this is one "Scented Asiatic" that is really scented! The sweet fragrance of this lily perfumes the entire garden in the evenings. I also love that delicious dark red color. I hope it will be happy and multiply, because I would love to have more of these babies!

LA lily 'Red Alert' near juniper and rose

'Red Alert' is planted in my new Rose Garden, where it adds a deep tone among the purples, grays, and pinks there.

LA hybrid lily 'Swansea'

Also new to my garden is this melon-colored LA Hybrid lily called 'Swansea'. I'm quite pleased with its glowing color which burns soft but bright across a distance. This one has only a light fragrance, detectable if you stick your nose in the flower.

Clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' (Blue Angel), rhubarb, and LA lily 'Swansea'

'Swansea' is planted along the side hedge of my yard, flanked by rhubarb and near a pale blue clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' (Blue Angel). The blue/peach combo is a bit more jarring than I had hoped - the lily is much brighter toned than the muted clematis. I'm not sure it works too well together. The rhubarb is awesome for hiding the bare legs of both clematis and lilies though (as well as for pies!).

LA hybrid lily 'Swansea'

One more good thing about LA lilies - the rabbits leave them alone! The toothy rascals love to chew down my Asiatic and Oriental lilies, but seem to find LA hybrids less than delectable. Perhaps because of their extra thick, tough stems. Are they more rabbit-proof in you garden too?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Roses Part 2

The garden is full of flowers and I am very behind in posting about it! For starters, here is the second batch of roses that I promised:

Eglantyne is a David Austin rose with massive, pale pink blooms packed to bursting with petals. It has a light fruity fragrance, not terribly strong, but pleasant. I suppose it must have some rosa alba in its parentage, as the flowers, foliage, and fragrance are all reminiscent of an alba - except with humongous flowers and rebloom!

Austin rose 'Eglantyne'
I really like the habit of this rose so far. It is tall and willowy, with very attractive foliage. The flowers are held in small clusters. Sometimes they are so heavy they droop a bit, but mostly flower carriage is good. This is my small first-year bush. I plan to spiral it around an obelisk when it gets bigger next year. The only downside has been that it appears to be a favorite of the rabbits, who have cleaned off almost all of the lower foliage. (The rabbits also find my true alba roses particularly delectable, another reason I think this may be descended from them.)

Austin rose 'Eglantyne'
'Winchester Cathedral' is my second Austin rose. It is a white sport of the popular 'Mary Rose'. It has just begun blooming but so far I find it very elegant. The buds are pink and the medium-sized flowers have an old-fashioned cup shape. Fragrance is there, but not terribly remarkable.

Austin rose 'Winchester Cathedral'
I have it planted near a dwarf spruce and some heuchera ('Pinot Gris'). I like the way the red undersides of the heuchera echo the reddish coloring of the rose buds:

Austin rose 'Winchester Cathedral' with Heuchera 'Pinot Gris'
 My last Austin rose, 'Sophy's Rose', is planted near Lady's Mantle and Geranium 'Nimbus', another combination I find pleasing. The perennials and roses in my rose garden are still rather quite small as it is their first year. Hopefully next year everything will fill in more.

Austin rose 'Sophy's Rose' with Geranium 'Nimbus' and Alchemilla mollis

I have planted a climbing rose called 'Rosarium Uetersen' near my front entry. It has not begun to climb yet but did offer some blooms as a sample of things to come. I have visually separated this rose from the others, since the bright coral pink of this one does not play well with others.

Rose 'Rosarium Uetersen'
I love the color, despite how odd it is. The blooms are held in abundant clusters, and the coral fades to a softer shade with time.The foliage is glossy and supposedly disease-resistant (we'll see!). There is only a bare hint of lemony fragrance.

Rose 'Rosarium Uetersen'
Two more roses have yet to bloom this year, and are just now forming buds. The timing is probably skewed since it is their first year in the ground for me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Roses Part 1

We've had a week of heavy downpours and flooding here - over 14 inches of rain in a five day period, at a time when the ground was already saturated with previous rains. Amazingly, the garden is mostly intact and many plants, although battered, are blooming bravely on. Here is part one of my roses for this year.

The first to come into bloom was my damask rose 'Ispahan':

Rosa damascena 'Ispahan'
You can see that there is some insect damage to the leaves. That has been a major problem on my damask and alba roses this year. I'm not sure what else to do except hand-pick the little green larvae which are apparently causing the problem.

Rosa damascena 'Ispahan'
The blooms are initially bright pink, fading to a softer shade over time. The have a bit of a shaggy, informal shape. The perfume is strong and sweet. Damask rose petals are used for making attar of roses because of their strong perfume.

Here is a shot of the whole bush. This is only the second year for this rose in my garden so it is still quite small. Eventually it should become a large 6'x6' shrub.

Damask rose with Campanula 'Freya' and lemon thyme
Next up is a pink alba rose, 'Felicite Parmentier'. It is a gentle pink color with exquisitely formed quartered blooms. This rose has not enjoyed the wet conditions this year and some of the petals and buds have been a bit gummy from the wet. It is blooming profusely though, and the fragrance of this rose is probably my favorite of all. It is sweet but not heavy - almost citrusy.

Rosa alba 'Felicite Parmentier'
Now for something a bit brighter: 'Sophy's Rose' is a David Austin English rose which should (unlike the above two old garden roses) rebloom throughout the summer.

Austin rose 'Sophy's Rose'
The color of this one is unusual. It starts out a deep reddish-purplish pink, then fades to dark fuchsia. This is a smaller plant with not overly large blooms (unlike some Austins which seem out of scale to me). The fragrance is medium strength but extremely pleasing - a classic "tea rose" scent.

Austin rose 'Sophy's Rose'
I have three of these planted in my new rose garden with lady's mantle and blue geraniums. This is their first year and so far they are small but doing well. This edge of the rose garden is a bit shadier than I had thought - I am hoping they will get enough sun to flourish.

New plantings of 'Sophy's Rose', Geranium 'Nimbus', and Lady's Mantle
More roses to come next week!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Herbaceous Peonies

My herbaceous peonies are blooming now. This is their second year and they are still small, but starting to fill out a bit.

Peony 'Myrtle Gentry'
'Myrtle Gentry' is a soft pink with creamy white interior petals. The fragrance is intense and sweet. This one is my most floriferous so far.

Peony 'Paul M. Wild'
'Paul M. Wild' is my favorite for color. It's a deep raspberry red that does not fade. Not as fragrant as Myrtle though.

Peony 'Vivid Rose'
 Here is 'Vivid Rose', also a big fat double and a wonderfully vibrant shade of mid-pink. It is one of the latest-blooming peonies, about a week later than the above two.

Here is my peony bed last week, before 'Vivid Rose' joined in:

Peonies, Dwarf pine, and penstemon
And here the dark pink one has joined the show:

Peonies 'Vivid Rose' and 'Myrtle Gentry'

The flowers are enormous and heavy. The flowers are nearly on the ground and it hasn't even rained!
I obviously need to figure out a better support system for next year. How do you support your peonies?

Peony flopping
Peonies 'Vivid Rose' and 'Myrtle Gentry'

Friday, June 14, 2013

June Blooms

Things are still behind schedule this year. My old garden roses have buds that are just beginning to open. Normally they would be blooming by early June. You'll have to check back next week to see some roses!

Rosa damascena 'Ispahan' - bud

My mid/late-season herbaceous peonies are also just beginning to open. The late one has not even begun yet. Again, about two weeks behind.

Peony 'Paul M. Wild' with penstemon

Peony 'Myrtle Gentry'

My blue penstemon is looking great right now. The color is really electric.

Penstemon 'Riding Hood Blue'

This is the first year of bloom for my yellow foxgloves. I started them from seed last year. Supposedly this type will be perennial... I sure hope so because I love it!

Digitalis grandiflora (Yellow Foxglove)

Astrantia is also just getting started, not at its peak yet.

Astrantia 'Roma'

Thymes are blooming here and there, like this one at the foot of some rocks.

Thyme and Sedum 'Angelina'

Some things have been blooming for a while. This polemonium, for example, has been going for several weeks now.

Polemonium caeruleum  (Jacob's Ladder) 'Blue Pearl'

And the Lady's Mantle.

Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle)

Several geraniums, including 'Johnson's Blue' and 'Biokovo'.

Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'
Geranium 'Biokovo'

A new crop of blue tradescantia flowers opens each morning, and the foliage still looks fresh at this point in the summer.

Tradescantia 'Blue Stone'

Corydalis lutea is an all-summer blooming machine.

Corydalis lutea

The plant that takes the prize for longest-blooming in my garden is this lamium. It was one of the first to begin and will continue to bloom until frost.

Lamium 'Orchid Frost'

Bleeding hearts are past their prime, but a few blooms still dangle from the huge mass of foliage, complementing the nearby sprays of pink heuchera.

Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Hearts) with ferns, heuchera, polygonatum

Finally, the Lamb's Ears I winter-sowed last year are starting to bloom. The flowers are not attractive, but the plant makes nice edger in this hot driveway border.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ears)
Check out Carol at May Dreams Gardens for more of what's blooming across the world today: June 2013 Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.
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