Those observations aside, here are a few photos taken today. It may just be my garden but, compared to previous years, there seem to be many more plants that have flowered later than usual, even while many others bloomed early.
Clematis viorna. When we think of clematis, we tend to picture the single, large-flowered types. The lovely C. viorna, a tubular type, reminds us of the many forms clematis takes. In fact, there are nine altogether. I've become a fan, with seven varieties and counting.
Another shot of my variegated Porcelain berry vine. It's just so pretty I can't help capturing on film its many moods.
Salpiglossis 'Royal Red.' Easy to see why these dramatic flowers are called Painted Tongue. For a bright splash of color nothing beats salpiglossis.
Lupinus pilosus seedpod. Sometimes beauty can be found in unusual places. Here the unusually large seedpods of this blue flowering lupine are coated with lovely white hairs.
Agastache Red Fortune. The fab colors and heavenly scent of this hyssop bring good fortune indeed to the lucky gardener.
Echinacea 'Hot Papaya.' I swear, these flowers just keep changing color. This flower started off orangey-red, with pink lower petals but now it's a blazing deep red. For those of us used to pink or white single-form coneflowers, this showoff takes some getting used to!
Trachymene coerulea. This blue lace flower has attracted the attention of the nefarious cucumber beetle. But his green body and black spots just jumped off the flower's subtle lavender colors.
Pilosella aurantiacum. Formerly known as Hieracium, this hawkweed gets its common name from the Greek word 'hierax' meaning hawk. If it looks like an orange dandelion you're not far off. Both belong to the Asteraceae family. You can also see its resemblance to the blue chicory flower. Hawkweed is a tough ground cover with bright green leaves, spreading by underground stolons.
Dahlia 'Seattle.' Though not perfectly in focus, this shot gives a different perspective, showing the still tightly held flower bud, with just a few outer petals having opened.
Neomarica caerulea. Quite possibly the loveliest of all Iris family members, this Central & South American genus has a sly trick up its sleeve. Long, weighted flowering stems tend to fall over, laying on the ground. If so, they often root on the spot, leading to one of this plant's common names -- Walking Iris. The flowers often only last a day but maybe that's Mother Nature's way of having us appreciate the ephemeral nature of beauty.
Here's a different vantage point of the neomarica, bringing to the fore the curving, upper petals.
Mimulus 'Jelly Bean Orange.' If that sounds like a funny name (okay, it is), there's more varieties in the Jelly Bean series. Hard to beat this sunny, exuberant color. So many mimulus, so little time ...
Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie.' One of the most popular crocosmias, my patch has just now burst into bloom. When the earth ends, there will be cockroaches, ravens and ... crocosmias.
Alpinia 'Zerumbet.' This Southeast member of the ginger family is grown mostly for its lovely variegated foliage, each leaf a little different than the others. It does flower of course, with sweet, shell-shaped fragrant flowers, leading to one of its common names (Shell ginger).
Chamaecyparis 'Nana Lutea.' Part of my dwarf conifer bed, this lovely dwarf false cypress has a fascinating way of displaying twisted panels of foliage.
Sedum Jelly Beans. Well, I guess it's a jelly bean kind of day. I love this sedum for its ultra-shiny beaded foliage. I freed it from a too shady spot (and pot) and it's rewarded me with its most vibrant color to date.
Aloe striata. Better known as Coral aloe (for its coral flowers), the species name owes to the subtle striations on each leaf. My favorite aloe (for now), I can't wait to put it in the ground and let it get full sized.
Origanum 'Pilgrim.' Not sure where this variety got its name, but I encourage everyone to investigate the wonderful world of ornamental oreganos. Some are familiar with O. 'Kent Beauty,' but there are many others to seek out.
Rabbit's Foot fern. It's not often that one is photographing ferns in summer, with so much color to choose from, but consider this a bit of soothing green amongst all the vibrant flowers. Plus, this unique fern has the most interesting creeping surface rhizomes. Coated with white hairs, they look for all the world like tarantula legs!
Finally, a new Asclepius I got from Barb Siegel, called A. 'Apollo Orange.' Very exciting, especially since I like orange. Now I just need to find a place for it ...