Sunday, July 9, 2017

After the fireworks

There is nothing quite like returning from a vacation, having not seen the garden for a week, to renew one's appreciation of the beauty of gardens. That was doubly true for me, having cleaned up the garden in preparation for my yearly garden party only a week before going on vacation. So though there are fewer changes and surprises in July than in March still I had some very pleasant new developments to enjoy. Most notable was the opening of my glorious Lilium 'Fujian' flowers. Huge and glorious, they are a sight to behold. This is lily season and that being my favorite common bulb I have many varieties in my collector's garden.
So here are some recent photos, including two of my favorite lilies. Enjoy!


This mystery bulb is I think a yellow tiger lily I dug out of another bed. Other than that I'm not sure which specific one it is but I'm glad I saved it!


Amaranthus 'Hopi Red Dye.' There are many wonderful amaranths but this one features rich burgundy leaves. All species/varieties have the prominent seedheads, a big feature on this easy to grow annual.


Tiger lily. I think this may be the double form but in any case I took this photo to show the prominent hairs that surround the flower buds and leaves. Tiger lilies also have very sturdy stems, which are often a dark color, even black.


Lotus jacobaeus. Otherwise known as Black lotus for its nearly black flowers. This nearly year-round bloomer's flowers are actually a deep burgundy but from a distance appear black. A sturdy and tenacious plant, it will spread out and colonize an area. Tough and beautiful!


There's simply nothing whiter in the world of flowers than Mandevilla laxa flowers. Silky white might be a good description. Intensely fragrant and a prolific bloomer once established, it should be planted where one and all can enjoy its sweet evening fragrance. 


I like the light-dappled look of my Thunbergia 'Arizona Red' here. I love recommending Thunbergias because they're easy to grow, bloom prolifically, can be pruned back hard if that's your choice and aren't fussy, as long as they get some sun.


It's no secret that hummers love Agastache (the common name Hummingbird mint gives it away) but bees like them too. Here a bee visits my Agastache Tutti Fruiti.' 


I've begun to collect Callunas, just adding a third one (C. 'Bradford' on the right here). I have but three though I'm now keeping my eyes open for others. These heathers aren't mean at all (obscure 1988 movie reference) but pretty and tough. As you can see, the newly acquired Bradford is in bloom while the 'Winter Chocolate' next to it is simply showing off its glorious foliage.


Though perhaps not the best photo, here's my low and spreading Plectranthus 'Troy's Gold' surrounding a self-seeded Begonia sutherlandii. Off to the left is a Dianella Yellow Stripe. 


My Salvia discolor is in bloom now but I couldn't quite capture its beauty so I reached back into my archives for a shot that does show off the flower's unique beauty. 


Here are two shots of the glorious Lilium 'Fujian.' It's quickly become the most beautiful lily I've ever grown and that's saying something. Just a glorious burgundy and huge. Flowers are 6" long and even in their first year from bulbs I got three flowers on each stalk.



Epilobium canum. CA fuchsias as they're called don't need much encouragement to bloom prolifically. Here my specimen has spread out and poked its 'head' through the walkway railing. A must-stop destination for hummers (and bees as it turns out).


Although this 'yellow' tiger lily looks a lot like the first photo it's actually a Lilium leitchtlinii. Love the spotting, the colors and the recurved petals. 


Every garden should have an 'Energizer bunny' plant and mine is my Evolvulus. We sell them as annuals at work but mine is in year four and not slowing down. Love the blue flowers on this ground morning glory relative, which blooms from May through October.


Speaking of blue and morning glories, there's simply no prettier blue than the flowers on Ipomoea 'Heavenly Blue.' Plus they're the largest flowers (other than Ipomoea 'Moonflower') of any morning glory. 


Here's my latest dwarf conifer pot. There's one each from the Chamaecyparis, Pinus and Cryptomeria genera. Small now but check back in three years.


Nicotiana grandiflora. This 6' tall flowering tobacco is the most fragrant of the lot, especially as early evening rolls around. The flowers start out a pale green then age to pure white.

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