Articles for the Month of June 2014

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2014

Arisaema candidissimum

Arisaema candidissimum

Well, it’s late but I thought it would still be worthwhile for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day to catch up on some of the interesting flowers still appearing.  We’ve had a wonderfully extended spring.  There is been regular and prodigious rainfall with no really serious heat waves.  The peas and lettuce have yielded wonderfully.

Banner year for salad crops

Banner year for salad crops

And the flowers have responded similarly.  There are roses and lilies all about the yard with some very special Iris making their impact as well.

Iris 'Stella Irene' (Spuria) fall

Iris ‘Stella Irene’ (Spuria) fall

There rainfall has been also good for the the pitcher plant which is a long way from the bog that it would like to live in.

Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea)

I noticed that the Ninebark has an almost flower -like seed head.

Ninebark seedheads

Ninebark seedheads

and the Tritelia are making a nice little stand in the garden after several years.

Triteleia laxa 'Queen Fabiola'

Triteleia laxa ‘Queen Fabiola’

A very unusual Lysimachia is in the shade garden by the garage.

Lysimachia paridiformis var. stenophylla

Lysimachia paridiformis var. stenophylla

This was obtained from Far Reaches and looks to be a winner.  Even if it never flowered the foliages itself would be interesting.  But now the clustered yellow flowers are starting to appear as well.

In the large trough we have a very small potentilla relative that has complex little yellow flowers.

Dasiphora fruticosa 'Mount Townsend'

Dasiphora fruticosa ‘Mount Townsend’

And nearby, in the Alpine bed, is a wonderful Edraianthus.

Edrianthus tennuifolius

Edrianthus tennuifolius

So, what is growing in your garden…


Spuria – Iris in Excelsis

Iris 'Stella Irene' (Spuria)

Iris ‘Stella Irene’ (Spuria)

Although it’s hard to pick favorites in the Iris family, the Spuria Iris are certainly near the top of my list.  The flowers are exquisite, the foliage fits well in the garden, and they are slowly multiplying each year.  In excelsis translates to the highest degree and the Spurias are literally the highest Iris.  I took a tape measure to Shelford Giant this week and it is over 5 feet tall.

5 foot high Spuria Iris in back bed

5 foot high Spuria Iris in back bed

Iris 'Shelford Giant' (Spuria)

Iris ‘Shelford Giant’ (Spuria)

We missed the Spuria last year because we were traveling.  It’s only about a week for the bloom period but it follows the bearded Iris by a couple of weeks so they are very welcome for that reason as well.

Iris 'Highline Coral' (Spuria)

Iris ‘Highline Coral’ (Spuria)

Iris 'Hocka Hoona' (Spuria)

Iris ‘Hocka Hoona’ (Spuria)

If you haven’t grown Spuria, you should give them a try…

Assessing the Damages

Dactylorhiza fuchsii 'Bressingham Bonus'

Dactylorhiza fuchsii ‘Bressingham Bonus’

This past winter was probably not the coldest winter on record here in Maryland but it was definitely one of the coldest in recent memory.  In addition it featured drastic swings in temperature that have to have been difficult on plants.  Since I tend to push the climate zone with planting (nothing ventured, nothing gained), it would be natural to expect some casualties from the winter.  And there were.  On the other hand there were plants that exceeded my expectations.  So with every survivor that returns to the garden by putting up a shoot or flowering as normal, I take note and give them a little badge of honor as a veteran in my record book.  That includes the little European Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsia) that came into flower this week.  The gladiolus, which I normally dig in the fall, spent the winter underground and have come back without much difficulty.  Cypella coelestis has emerged from hiding and the Roscoea have emerged again with their delightful tubes.

Roscoea purpurea 'Spice Island'

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

I was delighted today to find that the Arisaemas, which (with the exception of one plant) had been total no-shows in the garden, all decided to pop-up on the same day.  I  guess the interoffice growth memo was received on the Arisaema network today.

However, as I said, there were losses.  Here is a list of the fallen.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

All the Rosemarys bit the dust.



The Loropetalum, with its delightful hot pink flowers, was always living on the edge here in Maryland.  I’ve already put in a replacement.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird'

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

One of the two Euphorbia martinii hybrids died completely and the other was cut down to the ground.  The completely herbaceous Euphorbias all did fine.

Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'

Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress’

The lovely new Mahonia that we had planted last fall died completely.  It is on the edge of its zonal range, but it also didn’t have much time to get established before winter.

Crocosmia 'Walcroy'

Crocosmia ‘Walcroy’

This lovely Crocosmia completely disappeared from the front garden, although the ‘Lucifer’ cultivar is still going strong by the back gate.

So I think that was it.  Really not so bad all things considered.  I had fears that things like the 20 foot high Crepe Myrtle would get knocked back to the ground (which happened once before when it was very young).  But such was not the case.  A few branches lost but that’s all quite tolerable.

Now we will get back to enjoying what is showing up day by day.  The Peonies are almost done.  Two of the herbaceous types were spectacular.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Krinkled White'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Krinkled White’

Paeonia lactiflora 'Scarlet Ohara'

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Scarlet Ohara’

Both came from visits to Plant Delights in North Carolina.  I can’t wait to see what Tony Avent, who is the heart and soul of the company, has for me next year…