Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy Solstice!

I'm always a bit conflicted at the summer solstice. We've arrived at the longest days of the year, which for gardeners carries its own delight. To be able to be out in the garden till 8 pm if one chooses is a pleasure. On the other hand, soon the days will start inexorably to grow shorter. Sigh. In the spirit of embracing the moment, here are more photos from my early summer garden. I keep thinking 'Well, spring is over so the garden will be slowing down any day now' but each week I do my walk through I find buckets of new things going on. This week's delights included discovering that almost overnight my orange masdevallia has a half dozen flowers about to open. Yea! My second year ampelopsis (Porcelain berry vine) is much happier this year and is filled with tiny white flowers, offering the promise of exquisite blue berries in the late summer. My cheerful Canary Creeper nasturtium is now bursting with bright yellow flowers and to its right, the Mandevilla laxa is blooming away, its large white flowers offering an intoxicating fragrance. I discovered that one of my new additions, Filipendula ulmaria 'Aureum,' not only has sprays of delicate white flowers but they're also fragrant. The bees are going crazy as usual in my Helenium patch, the showy Cuphea Vienco is back better than ever and the vigorous Passiflora 'Blue-eyed Susan' is filling up with flower buds. It's currently my favorite passion flower vine -- that vivid blue! -- though the simple P. citrina is as lovely as ever this year.
Here are the photos. Enjoy!

Petunia 'Phantom.' Apart from the beauty of the flower, this plant has bittersweet memories for me. We had a cat named Phantom at Grand Lake Ace nursery where I work who was the sweetest, friendliest, most laid back cat ever.  

Clematis integrifolia. Love this vivid blue color and the bell-shaped flowers. I used to think it finicky but in year two it has settled in nicely.

Amorphophallus kiusianus. I love the patterning that many aroid stalks possess. This one is especially pretty.

Ampelopsis. Here's a photo of the previously mentioned porcelain berry vine. Though not in perfect focus, it still shows off the lovely variegation and cute clusters of tiny flowers.

Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba.' When I finally heard that the fruit (seed capsules) this fuchsia produces were edible I kept waiting for mine to 'ripen,' not realizing that in the alba variety, the fruit stays this off-white color. Someone wrote that the fruit sort of tastes like kiwi and I agree.

Fuchsia Autumnale. Though prone to fuchsia mite, this guy puts out beautifully colored foliage every spring.

Thalictrum rochebrunianum. This shot, of the flowers reaching out for the sun, makes them look a bit like a flock of tiny birds, hovering over the walkway.

Mandevilla laxa. I kept trying to take a shot of this plant but the flowers are so blindingly white that it kept throwing off the camera's attempt to balance the colors and they came out dull or dark. This shot is far from perfect but it does show off the pristine white color. Plus there's that heavenly scent.

Sarracenia species. This shot was meant to show off the intricate veining in this American pitcher plant. It's not an ideal shot but is sort of interesting nonetheless.

Gladiolas. This glad was supposed to be a deep purple and, umm, that's NOT a deep purple. Not purple at all. What, the photo on a bulb's packaging isn't accurate? I'm shocked I tell you, shocked!

Sedum 'Jelly Beans.' I'm loving my little jelly beans sedum, with its uber shiny foliage.

Speaking of the camera not always being to handle a great disparity in color between the foreground item and the background (on the Auto setting that is), check out this Scabiosa ochroleuca. This was a sunny morning, shooting the flower against a wooden fence. Wow, so not what I was expecting. Then again, wow, the flower looks like it just paid a thousand bucks for a great "head shot," to help it land a starring role in the next big movie.

I thought that my plant of the year, the exquisite Lupinus pilosus, was done blooming but here it is putting out more flowers. It looks swell beside the gold scyphanthus. Nothing like blue & gold.

My exuberant Helenium 'Mardi Gras' is in full bloom and swarming with nectar seeking bees.

Cuphea Vienco. This deciduous cuphea has returned looking better than ever. Such a striking color, set off by two silver-leaved plants nearby.

Lotus 'Flashbulb.' The easiest plant to recommend for a hanging basket or to cascade over a low wall, this colorful plant can also be used as a ground cover. Like little dancing flames over a green sea.

Where the glads were pictured as purple but were really hot pink, this Salpiglossis is called Kew Blue but is in reality a vivid velvety purple. Mon dieu!

Here's my yellow Alyogyne (A. hakeafolia) again, showing off two unopened flowers. It's much happier now that it's in the ground.

Speaking of bees, they seem to love my Eryngium planum. This little guy was so engrossed in collecting nectar that he gave me time to focus.I see all manner of bees in my garden, not just the common honey bees.

My median strip that houses the Alyogyne. It's meant to feature golds and reds, accomplished with the inclusion of the day lilies, a yellow flowering magnolia (M. Butterflies), yellow flowering bidens and the rock rose relative Halimium lasianthum.

Speaking of unintended but beautiful surprises, this shot of my Lilium regale came out with the petals looking positively creamy. Very lovely!

Salvia patens. Nothing beats this species for the richest of blue colors and it helps that the flowers are quite large for a salvia. I wasn't sure mine would return from going deciduous but it's back and offering its royal blue delights.

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