Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer Blooms

I've been reflecting on my summer projects - successes & failures & thought I would just focus on how beautiful the flowers were - the ones that survived the dry weather & the grazing deer. It wasn't as bad a summer season as I tend to tell myself...

I have fallen back in love with marigolds & while they are still blooming, the cool weather & rain have made most of the blooms a bit soggy. Hopefully it will dry out for another couple of weeks.

The feverfew in the front flower bed were gargantuan in July, hiding most of the other plants, so after I enjoyed the scent & the sight, I cut them back hard, knowing that by mid-August they would start to bloom again.

I have a flower bed on the north-back side of the house that received handfuls of miscellaneous seeds over the last couple of years. This year I was pleased to see Sweet Williams in bloom. I have saved the seeds to distribute to other beds where I can enjoy them better.

I have 4 different coloured astilbes that all bloom at slightly different times. Due to the dry conditions this summer, the white astilbe was the only one which actually flowered & the scent was quite powerful for such a small clump. I hope the other plants recover to bloom next year as I missed their added colours.

This spring I did a big plant rescue from a bed that drowned last winter & most of the plants were daylilies & Asiatic/Oriental lilies. To my surprise, I found I had purple daylilies in that bed! They are now relocated to 2 new beds & will hopefully survive this coming winter - we shall see if the soil stays in place (the new beds are sloped...)

I absolutely love the blue lace-cap hydrangea! I have 3 plants, grown from cuttings from a neighbour & last year, one bloomed pink - which I think was due to the soil in the pot it was living in. It has recovered, seems to enjoy it's new home & rewarded me with the proper blue blooms.

I received a 'free' packette of red flax seeds a few years ago & they somehow landed in one of my veggie beds. This year, they've magically appeared in the bed beside & are such a wonderful colour. I would like to try to save the seeds or find a source for more seeds & throw them into my wild flower bed.

Now this flax was actually called 'Golden flax', but that must relate to the seeds, which I've yet to harvest. They keep flowering! This patch of pretty blue flowers is so delicate & airy - the deer don't bother to munch on them either.

This is another hydrangea but in white & shaped more like an upside-down ice cream cone. It suffered a bit this spring because it was crowded with 8 foot foxgloves, but since I cleared out the foxglove, the hydrangea has recovered.

Another surprise daylily is this spider lily. It might not like the flower box I have it in right now, but will have to do for another year while I'm working on the landscaping projects. I like the combination of the red & yellow - 2 of my main flower colour choices (although pink seems to be more predominate at certain times...)

Yup - love the electric blue hydrangea!

My mom sent me poppy seeds about 6 years ago & each year they bloom, it is a surprise as to what colour, shape & height they will be. This I don't mind - the constant evolution of the shape of the gardens...

These are poppies & blue bachelor's buttons on the edge of my blue flax bed.

Ahh, finally some yellow - well, more creamy, but daylilies are so much fun!

Pearly everlasting is a great wild flower that does well as a dried plant too. They pop up in random spots & last in the garden til Christmas.

Another spirea variety I'm growing, given to me as a housewarming gift. At the time I planted them (found 2 plants in the pot when I went to put it in the ground) I didn't know what they were, so I'm glad the spots I chose are appropriate for this shrub.

Wild heather - wild in that I find it growing out in the lawn & rescue it. The ones I generally have (pink, purple & white) are the 'winter' (well, autumn) blooming ones & it's so nice to have a bit of colour in the yard (umm, flower beds) during the winter.

Gladiolas - such an old-fashioned type of plant. Don't see too many people growing them these days. I'm playing around with lifting the corms in the fall in some beds & leaving them for the winter in others. I'm getting 50-50 blooms with either way, but will probably pull them every other year regardless, just to check the corms out for health & to change up the flower beds.

A rescued Oriental lily - am so glad to see it recovered from the wet winter.

This is my 'purple herb bed' - one of the very first flower beds I put on the new property. I do very little with it other than weeding & a cover of fresh mulch each spring. The Oriental lilies do very well, as do the herbs (chives, lavender, rosemary, thyme, sage, lovage & others). The scent of the lilies is quite powerful - can smell them all around the property on a sunny day.

Now, here is a tender subject - ajuga (bungleweed). It's a great ground cover & is really invasive. I've seen it take over flower beds in as little as 2 years & I've heard aclamades about using it instead of grass on the lawn, especially for those who have a hard time with growing/keeping grass. I've got it in my front deck flower bed strictly for the purpose of holding the soil in place. I'm keeping my eye on it & should it start to take over, I'm quite willing & happy to rip it all out, but the flowers are quite showy & earn the plant a bit of forgiveness.

One of my favourite flowering plants is the calendula (pot marigold). My mom sent me seeds & I fell in love. If grown in just the right spot & dead-headed continually, they will bloom for me year-round. Imagine bright flowers up on the deck in the cold, sunny days of January!! They come in such a variety of shades of orange & yellow & with a few different shapes/number of petals. Again, a plant that is never the same twice if you save the seeds. Lots of fun.

Towards the end of August, the Helenium (sneezeweed) started to bloom. I need to make a note to put a cage over them in the spring when they start to grow as they fall over when the winds & rains come at this time of year. The stakes & string I use to keep them upright just don't add much to flower display.

Yes, Goldenrod is a weed, but I love this plant & have purposely moved it around to add structure & fall colour. It's also an important food source for the insects in the autumn (especially the bees that are still around).

Well, this is a rather long post & doesn't cover all the blooming plants in the gardens this year, but I'm impressed with how plants will grow & survive with minimal care, water & pampering. I just don't have time for all that come July & August, so Mother Nature is continually teaching me what I can & cannot do. Thanks for a great summer!

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