Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Bloom Days of Summer

For many gardeners, this time of year isn't the 'dog days of summer' but rather the Bloom Days of Summer. A lot of our hard work is paying off in the wealth of summer blooming plants. Don't forget to help your favorite summer bloomers with a bit of Bloom fertilizer. Whether that's a granular 0-10-10 or the Maxsea Bloom (3-20-20), your flowers will appreciate the extra boost. My logic is this: you invested money in the buying of the plant and soil; you've cared for it tirelessly as it's progressed and now finally when it begins to flower you don't want to give it that extra little boost. It's like going to a buffet and having just the one course. And don't be stingy with the water during the bloom season. Don't over-water your plants of course but nothing causes flowers to not reach their full glory and wither prematurely more than going dry.
Okay, here is wherefore I speak, this week's bounty from my garden.

Here's a fantastic picture of ... my kitchen sink? No, of course it's the pretty flower cluster on my indoor variegated Hoya. It's the first one that's bloomed for me so a big event!

Rhipsalis species. I just love this genus, with its highly segmented branching and spilling nature, as if it were some cellular life form from a far off galaxy.

Tricyrtis species. Toad lilies are easy to grow - some would say too easy as they multiply faster than you can say Trump has a new press secretary - but those tiny flowers are just so charming!

This photo was an experiment, trying to get in very close to catch the burst of color at the center of my Begonia 'Illumination Yellow' flower. It didn't entirely work but I still like the effect I got.

Speaking of Begonias, here's a new Angelwing type called Fannie Moser. As you can see, it features very dark leaves and the signature spotting of Angelwing types. Lovely!

Mina lobata.This morning glory cousin offers the charm of small tubular flowers that start out dark red, then progress to lighter red, orange, yellow and finally white. I was joking with a friend about its common name (Exotic Love Vine) - "I wonder if there's a plant called 'Suburban Love Vine'?"

For sheer flower power there's not much that can beat Heleniums. Here's my H. 'Mardi Gras' in full bloom. The nectar-rich flowers are a magnet for bees.

Lilium Flore Plena. This double form tiger lily is one of my faves. It has four things going for it - the color orange; dramatic spotting; recurved petals and an abundance of flowers every year. This year this one stalk produced 15 flowers!

Lilium Sumatra. Not sure what happened with this new addition. Sumatra is supposed to be a deep red color. Oh well, this Oriental lily is still pretty and the fragrance is heavenly.

Speaking of deep red, how about the color on this Mimulus Dark Red? I'm up to a dozen different Mimulus in my garden now.

This new Calibrachoa Grape Cartwheel is somehow very charming and that name is one of the oddest (and funniest) I have yet to come across.

My Bouvardia ternifolia is back from the dead. Okay, not dead, but it wasn't looking great so I pruned it back hard this winter and crossed my fingers. It has responded with clusters of brilliant crimson flowers (they look a bit orange here but are truly scarlet).

While not in bloom, my newly planted Chamelaucium 'Bridal Pearl' is still looking fine. It will eventually fill out to 5'H x 4'W.

This is why we grow lilies. My Scheherazade has opened its first flower and wow, SO beautiful!

On the opposite spectrum, here's my Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Van Pelt's Blue. The sun makes it seem a bit more on the gray side but it's a rich, steely blue. Now a full six feet, it will likely top out at 10-12'. It's located in my Japanese garden, which is comprised mostly of dwarf conifers.

Speaking of lovely shrubs, I think I need to have a talk with the growers whose labels identify this Adenanthos sericeus (Wooly bush) as getting to 6-8.' Mine is now 15-18.' I just did a deep watering in this bed and that has meant some lush new growth on my specimen. Such a vibrant green!

From the macro to the micro, here's my tiny Anchusa capensis. Cutting it back after its initial flowering has yielded a second bloom season. Such a rich blue.

Though it's newly planted from a one gallon container and thus small, the idea is for my Euonymus fortunei Emerald Gaiety to spread out and be a lower transition from the taller Physocarpus on one side to the even larger Marmalade bush on the other.

Evolvulus. There is simply no prettier blue than this charming perennial. It's now in year four, making a strong case for it being a sturdy perennial.

Ampelopsis. The variegated leaf form of this Porcelain Berry vine is filling up with flowers. Though they are tiny, there's something that makes them a magnet for bees. White flowers eventually lead to vivid blue and purple berries.

Campanula primulifolia. One of the upright, sun-loving Campanulas, this guy commands my attention by producing sturdy spikes covered in star-shaped lavender flowers.

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