If only I didn't love the scent and waxy blossoms of lilies, the money I spend on stakes could go toward a more comfortable retirement.
If color through the season weren't important to me, I wouldn't be buying Dial or Irish Spring to cut up and hang from posts throughout the yard in an attempt to deter deer.
But if I were mowing, I wouldn't hear the chirping and buzzing or smell the surprising wisps of scent a garden with lots of different plants provides.
Every year around this time I have to talk myself down from a Roundup frenzy. It's my own fault. I've managed to wrestle a season's worth of neglect into three hours of guilt, back pain and a carpal tunnel flare-up.
Stand by. I'm going back out there--without the Roundup.
|Impatiens Fusion Glow Yellow from Ball Horticultural|
And then there is Thunbergia 'Blushing Susie', a black-eyed Susan vine of a different color. I've grown Thunbergia in its original pale yellow in hanging pots from the get-go, simply planting half a dozen seeds in mid-May right in the pot. They did spectacularly in an east exposure.
Since I first witnessed the Blushing Susies, I'd planned to plant them but didn't get around to it until this year - and I planted them late, so they've just begun to flower.
|Thunbergia 'Blushing Susie'|
Whatever their cultivar name, I'll be planting these colorful Thunbergia next year, a little earlier so I can enjoy them through the summer.
- Plant seeds of Mirabilis longiflora a month earlier. I planted the seed, which I'd purchased from Select Seeds, in late June/early July and they're just now starting to bloom.
- Plant Celosia Flamingo Feather in the ground instead of in pots. They're just too big and crowded out the other plants I'd mixed them with.
- Avoid planting Zinnia 'Gumdrop Candy', a supposedly crested variety, which, while attractively-colored, looks nothing like the photos on Select Seeds' site.
- Given Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' a second shearing. It grew so tall, and looked great during the first dry weeks, but went down like a fast-acting cop in a tv show gunfight after the first heavy rainfall.
- Gotten rid of Panicum 'Heavy Metal', a beautiful plant that doesn't get enough sun where it's planted and is now leaning over all adjacent plants.
- Reinforced deer prentive options. Who knew the little darlings would continue to visit my garden throughout the entire summer.
|Quince - Chaenomeles speciosa 'Double Take Orange Storm'|
|Abelia 'Bronze Anniversary'|
|Hydrangea 'Blue Bunny'|
|Hosta 'Rhino Hide'|
|Hosta 'Designer Genes'|
|Hosta 'Mighty Mouse'|
Have fun with making combinations and inspecting foliage plants for their interesting forms, shapes, and colors.
|Tricyrtis hirta Miryazaki hybrid|
|Ok, so this one's red. I'm just sayin'...|
Roses are regrouping, an iris is reblooming, and a couple of surprise blossoms are gracing the garden. Iris ‘Immortality’ is beautiful in June, but stunning in September. It’s been a consistent rebloomer in at least two out of three years. Its stems are slightly shorter the second time around, but the flowers are just as large and fragrant. The single rose, ‘Pink Home Run’ from Proven Winners Color Choice starts out nearly red and fades slightly to a wonderful medium pink.
It’s been a long circuitous route toward the first bloom on my Oyama magnolia – Magnolia sieboldii. I’ve had it for at least six years, starting it out in a sunny position and moving it twice because of its hatred for heat and penchant for dropping leaves with the onset of mid-summer temps. So it’s been in the woods for a few years, becoming leggy and gangly. Yesterday I spotted something white at the tip of one of its branches. In order to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I cut it and photographed it in a vase. I don’t know when it started to open but it’s a little brown around the edges. Was it worth it? Maybe. I’ll do a bit of pruning and feeding next spring and give it supplemental water during drought—things I hadn’t bothered with in the last couple of years.
Primula in September? Primula vialii, or orchid primrose, has a look all its own, with a thick reddish “drumstick” accented by pale blue florets at its base.
I planted three of these primroses last fall and they bloomed a bit in spring. What's surprising about it blooming now in the midst of a dry spell is just that--this species is reported to do best in a very moist situation--even in a bog! That's what's so cool about gardening--it's always full of surprises.
|Calibrachoa 'Cherry Star' from Proven Winners|
|Calibrachoa 'Grape Punch' cools the air with its color.|
|Petunia 'Easy Wave Violet' shows its luminescent power.|
Succulents have been happy this summer. I've got several pots on my patio that are almost getting too plump for their own good. Plants of this type turn a little flaccid when they need water. But you can let them get that way without a worry in the offseason. But with so much heat, they don't mind a heavy hand with the watering can.
|A dish full of succulents|