Articles for the Month of July 2012

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2012


Well it’s full-blown summer now for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and there is no difficulty in finding flowers in bloom.  I shared our wealth of lilies a few days ago so I think it’s only fair to look at some of the other flowers that are strutting their stuff right now.

As is our custom we have a couple of rows of annual flowers just for picking in the garden, including zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, nasturtium, and sunflowers as well as a bunch of gladiolus that carried over from year to year.

Annual Picking bed

The Cosmos and Zinnias are both so easy to grow from direct seeding in the garden and they provide so many pretty colors for arrangements.


The sunflowers provide a similarly long period of bloom and pickable flowers for the inside.

Sunflower ‘Ring of Fire’

Sunflower ‘Infrared mix’

Sunflower ‘Autumn Beauty mix’

Sunflower ‘Valentine’

The sunflowers also have tremendous interest for the birds and bees.  If you let them go to seed they become a magnet for goldfinches and indigo buntings.  And the zinnias and cosmos are frequented by butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  The hummingbirds can also be seen hovering near the gladiolus.  Two of my favorite glads are ‘Margaret Rose’ and ‘Jester’ which are mirror reversed colors.

Gladiolus ‘Margaret Rose’ detail

Gladiolus ‘Jester’ detail

The glads can be found all around the house right now.

Glads and sunflower

Other annual flowers that are brightening the garden right now are the Cleome and Celosia.


Blue-winged wasp on Celosia

This is the Celosia ‘Flamingo Feather’ and it seems to have a particular appeal for a wide variety of insects.  For some reason it is twice as tall (at least 3 feet) as the nominally same plant that I grew last year.  It has totally outgrown its spot on the edge of the front garden (notice it behind the black-eyed susans).

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) in the Front bed

Now it would not fair to the garden if I didn’t share some perennials too.  The Joe-Pye weed is getting taller every day.

Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum) in bud

Don’t you wonder what they called this beauty before Joe Pye started dispensing it as a medicine?

The crocosmia are starting to fill in behind the lilies.  The biggest patch that we have is ‘Lucifer’ with as brilliant a red as you are going to find.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

I suppose if you wanted to increase your Crocosmia, you could dig these in the fall and spread out the little corms, but even just left alone they seem to be multiplying just fine.  The only difficulty is keeping them upright as they have predilection for flopping.

In the front garden we’ve planted another Crocosmia, ‘Walcroy’, which has a brilliant orange/yellow color.

Crocosmia ‘Walcroy’

Think of the Crocosmia as miniature glads that are very hardy and productive.  I am enjoying them more every year.

Let me finish this posting with a brilliant red daylily.  I don’t know the variety, but I do know that year after year it continues to display the kind of red that most daylilies lust after and don’t achieve.

Red Daylily

I’m sure this came from the kids in Boston, the source of many good things…

I also want to encourage readers to visit May Dreams Gardens to see what other bloggers are growing and to follow Carol’s pilgrimage to Elizabeth Lawrence’s house in North Carolina.  Since in a very real sense that is the source of Garden Blogger’s Bloom Days, it’s worth reading about her quest for the root of it all.



Consider the lily…

Oriental-Trumpet hybrid lily ‘Scheherezade’

Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post today laments that the lily, once the symbol and triumph of the summer garden seems to have been passed by.  Somehow he never once mentions that the lily is a favorite deer snack and that could have something to do with its decline.  In the northeast they have a plague of lily beetles that have disastrous consequences for lilies.  And viruses can wipe out whole plantings.  But here in Frederick, behind our deer fence, the lilies have been prospering this summer.

All the positives that Higgins mentions are observable in our garden.  The lilies are long-lasting plantings, increasing every year, with stunning flowers and fragrances that stop you in your tracks when you are walking through the garden.  The Asiatics start the parade in May and the various actors are still marching by in July as the Orientals bring the show to a climax.  Right now Scheherezade, one of the Oriental/Trumpet hybrids, is climbing all over the garden gate in an embrace with the Joe Pye Weed (ignoring class distinctions).

Scherezhade climbing the garden gate

Nearby the Russian emigre, Anastasia, ignoring all sense of decorum, has climbed into the flowering cherry tree where it flaunts its charms for all to see.

Anastasia lilies in abundance

These were easily 9 feet tall.  Of course a flower like this deserves a closer look so that you can begin to anticipate the fragrance.

Oriental-Trumpet hybrid lily ‘Anastasia’

For a long time my favorite oriental lily has been ‘Casablanca’.

Lilium oriental ‘Casablanca’

It has been deservedly praised and over planted.  And yet I like it still.  It’s white purity is still arresting for the short time the pollen stays off of the white petals.

Casablanca Lily detail

Other favorites that are blooming right now are pictured below.

Oriental lily ‘Stargazer’

Oriental Lily ‘Time Out’

Oriental Lily ‘Marco Polo’

The last is a lovely lily planted in an utterly inappropriate shady location.  It grows up on long stems that inevitably flop so we have to cut the flowers and bring them inside — not the worst thing that could happen…

Then there are also the lily-like things that are flowering now as well.  We planted Canna Lilies for the first time in years and we’re enjoying the unusual color of ‘Creamsicle’, a bit different than the normal Cannas.

Canna lily ‘Creamsicle’

I noticed this morning that the first Toad lily of the year is in bloom.

Tricyrtis formosana (Toad lily) ‘Autumn glow’

This is a lovely plant with golden marginated leaves that I brought back from one of my visits to Plant Delights.

And then lastly let me share the back side of the Gloriosa lily.  It has a wonderful progression of the first opening of the flower to a final spreading of it’s petals which are lovely from both sides.

Gloriosa lily top down view