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!


  1. I understand the reluctance to spend time in the garden as temperatures climb. My own garden is badly in need of a clean-up as the spring bloomers wither and sag but I haven't yet managed the energy to get out there. I salute you on taking care of your back fence - it looks great! Happy GBBD!

  2. Rebecca, nice new fence! I love your back hedge now. I see you have the Physocarpus ' and tuja as well. I think they do more color and shape to the a garden.
    Have a nice week!

  3. Pentas are one of my summer favorites, in every color. Happy Bloom Day.

  4. It was nice to visit your garden, you did a good painting job on your fence. I love your Stokesias, so beautiful!

  5. I'm not a fan of July heat, either; my garden is fending for itself right now. The annuals really add a pop of color to your garden, but I think all the contrasting foliage is a great way to feel cool right now. The fence looks great! Happy Bloom Day!

  6. You have quite a few blooms for the month of July...I enjoyed the visit. Happy GBBD!

  7. July and August are tough on gardens and gardeners, but your garden is looking lovely. What would we do without those tough perennials to carry us through these times? And, of course, it always helps to have some colorful zinnias around - certainly one of my all-time favorites.

  8. It's so funny, for the first few years I had the opposite problem...I had all late summer/fall bloomers, but spring was so I've had to really focus on planting for spring!

  9. I feel the same way about July but you do still have plenty of colour in your garden. My Stokesia isn't flowering yet - it's one of my favourites too.

  10. July is definitely a tough time to garden. The high temperatures and relentless humidity here mean that any gardening involves sweating profusely. The fence area looks hugely improved and I especially like the Stokesia 'Purple Parasols'. The flowers seem to make up for the dull and floppy foliage.

  11. It doesn't look like a between time to me - you have lots of blooms! Penstemons, lavender and herbs all do well for me in summer, but I don't like the heat either...

  12. Your fence looks nice! It is going to fill so quickly with foliage in the next few years. I like the Stokesia too! I wonder if it would help the flopping if you pruned it by half at the end of May? That is a favorite technique I use for my summer perennials. Great post!

  13. I agree that July is a drag with its extreme heat and humidity, and unfortunately my garden peaks when it is too hot to enjoy! Your garden is lovely! P. x

  14. August and September are the hottest in San Diego and I generally lose interest in doing much work in the garden!


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