Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Perennials Abound

Lots was happening in May, June, and early July in the garden in terms of summer perennials of all sorts.

We have two honeysuckle vines here. The one shown above is called Dropmore Scarlet. It's a beauty and sometimes attracts hummingbirds.

The Buddleia or Butterfly Bush is a wonderful plant. They don't really start to grow until the summer is already underway, but then the blooms come on and are great and last well into the autumn. In the spring, the woody stems need to be cut back to about eight inches. We have this dark lovely one called Black Knight and a white one and a rose-red one and a dwarf blue one.
This is Incrediball ... and it is amazing. It's a hydrangea of the so-called snowball type, but I wouldn't want to face an icy snowball of this size, believe me! It has bloomed all summer long with huge flowers galore. Even the heatwave at the end of July didn't stop the blooming (maybe the flowers were slightly smaller then). The blossoms age to a pale green. Very charming.

The Asiatic lilies are a nice bunch. They are much easier to grow than species lilies and are short, three feet or so, compared to the tall trumpet lilies that need staking. They aren't fragrant for the most part (thus the horticulturalists are working on hybrids between them and the Easter lily), but they are upward facing, quite hardy, and come in a wide range of lovely colors. It's a big bulb and it needs to be planted deep, but they will return year after year.

Although it doesn't look especially small here, this is a mini-rose in the raised scree bed. The minis are what is called "own root" roses, that have not been grafted. As a result, they survive the winters much better than hybrid teas for example. The good drainage in the scree beds has also probably helped them survive heat and wetness.
This big beautiful pink hydrangea in Invincibelle Spirit. It's in the same bed with Incrediball and they make a great pair!

Here's a tall trumpet lily leaning over the east fence. The pollen is very orange, so when you smell their sweet scent, try to keep your nose clean.
I think I started these from seed originally and they have reseeded and show up here and there in this bed ever since. They are rose campion, Lychnis coronaria, and their intense color is not exaggerated at all in the photo. They light up the garden. The foliage is a dusky whitish grey and somewhat hairy. They get a little leggy and reseed, but I wouldn't be without them.
Penny Mac, a long-flowering and very reliable hydrangea of the "mophead" sort. It's short and very well behaved.
The orange-red here is an Achillea. The white is cupid's dart, and the foliage is from the German iris that has finished blooming.
Garden phlox are a mainstay in summer. The paniculata kind are usually pretty tall, but this cutie is a dwarf only about a foot high. But what color!
The black and blue salvia from Brazil isn't reliably hardy, although my friend Frank has one near a shed that lives over each year. Hummingbirds love them, and the blue and black combination is so striking. So I plant one each year like an annual, hoping it will live over.
Tradescantia or spider lilies aren't really lilies at all, but they are charming. They tolerate a fair amount of shade, heat, and drought and are quite undemanding. We have a dark blue one as well as the one shown above and one with chartreuse foliage.

The red bee balm, Monarda Jacob Cline, was stupendous this year. It has spread all along the area on the north on the outside of the east cyclone fence. It bloomed a long time and stayed very very red the whole time. It's actually in the mint family, so has square stems.
 Here's another Achillea, sometimes called yarrow. This is so bright and cheerful and blooms a long time. Achilleas are very tolerant of drought and heat, thank goodness.
 The Geum don't have very big flowers, but the color is intense and the foliage is attractive as well.
 I can't praise the double Knockout rose enough! I love it!
 This lacecap hydrangea is called Blue Billow, but it isn't very blue this year. The color depends on the soil chemistry and the weather.
 The oakleaf hydrangea has turned out to be a wonderful and very easy shrub. It had tons of blooms this year and they lasted a long time.
 Moving in closer to show the cone shape of the trusses.
 And a big close up. As they age, the flowers take on pink hues and finally, in the fall, a rusty reddish color. Beautiful!
One of the few David Austin English roses that has survived and enjoyed the wet cool spring this year. These are crosses of the hybrid tea roses and old venerable shrub roses.

Next time: the perennials movie stars of July, the daylilies.

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