Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Variety of Summer

It may just be me but as someone who orders plants for our nursery I'm aware that in spring gardeners are filling their gardens with spring color. Whether that's annuals or perennials, we tend to purchase larger quantities of a smaller selection of plants. Come summer, however, the spring annuals are done and mostly pulled from our beds and certain growers turn to a more eclectic range of plants to tempt gardeners with. Spring is spring and is always exciting. To veteran gardeners though summer and fall can be an equally exciting time, as interesting perennials begin showing up in our local nurseries. For those of us that have a great variety of plants in our gardens and are always on the lookout for something new and wondrous, summer is the best season.
On that note, here is a sampling of the diversity in my garden.

Neomarica caerulea. My walking iris has been especially prolific this year. This genus is surprisingly hardy and long-lived and it produces one of the most striking flowers you'll ever grow.

Lilium philippinense followed by Lilium regale below. As you can see, these two lilies are very similar. As its name implies, L. philippinense is native to the Philippines. Both trumpet lilies are sweetly fragrant and attract hummers.

Dietes bicolor. This charming iris relative produces butter yellow flowers with dark burgundy 'eyes.' For some reason, I find these simple flowers particularly enchanting.

Who doesn't love Cannas? Here is an orange blooming variety with striped reddish  leaves. They're sun lovers of course but this variety, planted originally by my neighbor but now spread with my blessing onto my property is prospering with only a few hours of later afternoon sun.

Cotyledon orbiculata var. orbiculata. Whew, that's a mouthful! That's a Aloe striata in the background but the foreground flowers belong to what Annie's calls the Pig's Ear plant. It also features red-limned silver leaves that spread out like a very slow incoming tide.

Cuphea schumannii. Fat cigar flowers are bright orange with green tips and the bright green leaves are a bit stiffer and glossier than most Cuphea species.

Though just a simple 'tub' of Calibrachoas, I liked the old world look of this planter.

Is there a richer blackish-burgundy in the plant world that Aeonium Swartkop? So striking!

Although it's growing a bit more wildly than in previous years, my Begonia Illumination Yellow is still stunning in its display of color. 

Although not in the sun to show off a bit more of its golden tones, my Aralia cordata 'Sun King' is very happy indeed and is taking over this newly created raised bed. I had questions as to how sturdy it would be but that question has been more than answered. 

Though they are tiny and only really seen when you look at this photo full size, my Dianella 'Yellow Stripe's tiny blue flowers are quite charming. They will soon produce sparkling blue berries.

Extravagant is the only way to describe the flowers of Ipomoea 'Sunrise Serenade.' It's a rare double form of an annual morning glory and one I grow every year.

Crassula alba v. parvisepala. The main feature of this succulent is its red-spotted leaves but as with many crassulas, it blooms prolifically. You can pick out the heads of soon-to-be vivid red flowers forming here.

There's nothing quite like Begonias for exquisite color. Proof positive is my B. Nonstop Deep Salmon. So rich, so vibrant.

A new project completed yesterday, this hanging basket is still at the beginning of its life. That's a Sphaeralcea coccinea inside and since it's a spiller, the idea is that it will be the perfect hanging basket addition.

I'd previously posted a photo of my vigorous Gloriosa lily's unique foliage but here's the main reason people fall in love with this bulb. Wavy red petals are bordered in yellow and are folded upward in a kind of open basket formation. Fabulous!

Here's a further along shot of my Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' flower spike. Pineapple lilies are easy to grow, are drought tolerant once established and are reliable bulbs, returning each year. The rows of waxy flowers make it one of the more interesting flowers in my garden.

Every year I fret that my Tecoma 'Bells of Fire' won't bloom and each year it does. It's just that my T. x smithii starts blooming in early April, while my Bells waits until mid-July. As you can see, it's well named, offering up tubular reddish-orange flowers.

Limonium. Statice may be a common plant but that doesn't mean it isn't pretty. There's a bit more blue in this variety, which since it was just planted from a 4" pot, is still pretty small.

Nandina 'Fire Alarm.' Yes, that really is the name of this Heavenly Bamboo variety. Here you can see some evidence of the reddish-pink foliage. It's still in its gallon pot, awaiting a permanent in the ground.

Sometimes it's the flowers and sometimes it's the foliage. It's the latter that's the star with this Pelargonium 'Frank Headley.' Cool and calm as a shady spot on a summer porch.

Here's my 'Shady Lane' in its latest incarnation. It's an example of how with a little planning and care, one can plant a walkway pretty densely and have it work.

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