Early July 2014

I have tried to grow Bachelor’s Buttons every few years without success, but this year things improved. A single plant surviving from an entire package of seeds shows yes, one can get results. If I were to water and tend them properly perhaps two next year? The sumptuous blue color is what I find appealing.

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’  (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’ (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Unlike my experience with seeds, some perennials are terribly assertive and settle in without invitation, crowding out anything in the vicinity. On the left of the back staircase leading to the garden is a large section of Shasta Daisies that spread seemingly overnight from a small container purchased years ago. Some years I am simply delighted with anything that manages to limp along through our dry, hot and humid summers, but this year I find myself thinking these have to go someday.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

When the garden was just getting started I ordered a blue tall garden phlox, but a pink one is what was shipped.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

In the years before the fence was installed, deer would eat the flowers of this Phlox paniculata just as soon as they opened. It was maddening. Actually the fence is not tall enough to keep deer out if they decide they want a taste, so it still makes me nervous to have these phlox blooming; however, this is another plant that dug in its heels years ago and would not leave even when I tried pulling it all up.

It has made a comeback in several spots and so far the deer are dining elsewhere.  I have planned numerous other garden phlox such as ‘David’ but they are very short-lived, so it is a mystery why this one is so attached to the garden.  I am not positive of its name but think it is ‘Robert Poore’ perhaps, a mildew-resistant and heat tolerant phlox.

Looking toward the northern border - Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Looking toward the northern border – Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Behind the phlox is poorly sited butterfly bush that I pruned back hard in late winter. It turns out this is a dwarf so it does not get a chance to make much impact at the back of the border. It has not bloomed well in several years, but has more room this year to reach the sun after a couple of neighboring spartan junipers had to be removed. Its name is Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis Blue Butterfly Bush).

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

One plant that has done well without taking over is Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes.’ It is right on schedule to brighten the southern corner of the house during July with its golden yellow flowers with green centers. Pollinators love this plant.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

This time of year the garden has lost its cohesiveness, but a few things keep determinedly plugging along. The garden very much needs rain.

16 thoughts on “Early July 2014

  1. Cathy

    All are lovely Susie, but I know how you feel about some plants that settle in and feel at home while the others simply struggle or disappear! I hope those deer stay away this year so you can enjoy the phlox flowers. They are so pretty, but don’t do well here…. maybe I just need to find the right sort!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      For many years I introduced plants to the garden thinking I was being very systematic about it. I would check the sun/soil requirements and sometimes the height, but I did not know to check how far and wide they would spread or how difficult they were to dig up. (Wish I could recommend a phlox variety that would work for you Cathy, but I’m not sure.)

      Reply
  2. Christina

    Sorry you didn’t get your promised rain, Susie. Did you sow the Centaurea in situ or in seed trays, I sowed some both ways for the cuttings garden and although the mix I’ve grown aren’t wonderful the ones sown directly into the ground have done much better. I like your Phlox.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I sowed the seeds in the ground along with some zinnias (which are beginning to bloom). Honestly I didn’t take care of them. One of our only heavy rains came the day after I planted them so I think some seeds were lost, then we had weeks of 90-100F. weather without rain. I just got busy and couldn’t get back to pay attention to them. Thanks for the info about your experience. Next year I’ll try again because I really love the color.

      Reply
  3. Pauline

    Your cornflower is such a lovely blue, I hope you get more flowers next year! I too appreciate flowers that make themselves at home with me, then I search out their cousins to see if they like it too. I’d rather have happy plants that put their roots down and intend to stay, than fussy plants that are struggling.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’ll have to be a better gardener next year Pauline and really make an effort with the seeds. The cornflower’s blue color is so lovely I wish I’d given them more attention.

      Reply
  4. bittster

    Funny how easy it is to have too much of a good thing! All my Shasta daisies died last winter (surprised me !). But I was also getting tired of them. I think sometimes I just get bored with a plant that does a little too well 🙂
    I once managed to grow bachelor buttons as biennials, scattered the seed in the fall, several sprouted, and then they put on a great show the following spring! They succeeded in a way that my spring sown ones never did!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Too bad about your Shastas–it’s still nice to have a few. Mine are not growing among other plants that help make them interesting, but hey, they are withstanding our impossibly hot, dry summer so I’ll cut them some slack today. Thanks for the tip about bachelor buttons. By fall I’ve usually turned my attention away from the garden–then each spring I kick myself for not getting things started in the fall. Maybe I’ll give it try though this year.

      Reply
  5. P&B

    You are lucky to have one Bachelor’s Buttons growing. I have never had any luck with them. I agree, that the phlox is hard to get rid of but if you don’t let it set seeds that will help curb spreading. I have to dig some of them out too, it’s getting too crowded.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Well thanks for sharing your Bachelor’s Button experience. So have you given up on them or do you see it as a challenge to keep trying? I’m going to give it another try. Another plant I can never keep is Flax. It has a lovely blue flower but disappears quickly in my garden.

      Reply
  6. Donna@GardensEyeView

    I love the blue of your bachelor button…and shasta daisies are blooming here with phlox…the deer do jump my fence for all the goodies including the phlox so I have to continually spray them…those devils.

    Reply

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