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.

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