The Borders In Early Morning Light

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Our house faces due east and the garden sits in back. Early sunlight slips in through the side yards, the narrow openings between our house and the those of our neighbors. It soon pours in along the back fence that marks the western border of the garden. From there it slowly tracks eastward up toward the house until by noon the entire garden is flooded in harsh summer light.

Being in the garden as the early light enters is my favorite way to experience it. Admittedly a bit unruly in appearance, this summer the southern border (north-facing) has filled out with a myriad of blooms. Two days ago I discovered the first spider lily had popped up among an ambitious patch of black-eyed Susans. I have loved these flowers since childhood and although these particular ones are more pinkish than red, I’m delighted to see them again.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Looking behind this shrubby Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ the spider lily is visible emerging out of the yellow black-eyed Susans.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Zinnias, once easy for me to grow, have struggled in past years but a few finally are making their presence know. Pollinators flock to them, including lately the swallowtail butterflies.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Cactus Zinnia

Zinnia

Airy drifts of sky blue salvia serve as generous way stations for bees, butterflies and other insects.

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Bees are fond of this darker Black and Blue saliva and hummingbirds have a regular daily route through this border. The smaller honey bees have been absent the past few weeks and mostly I see the large carpenter bees.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

The tiny flowers of orange coneflowers have just begun to open. These came from the local North Carolina Botanical Garden years ago. They are fairly insignificant but do return faithfully.

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

A small patch of coral bells are in flower. The leaves always look shabby by this time of year. This is Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’.

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

Moving around to the southwestern edge of the garden, the Peacock Orchids are beginning to flower. After one day the dark maroon center has turned brown. I don’t think they will last long. Beside it the oakleaf hydrangea ‘Lil Ruby’ has been disappointing this year.

Peacock Orchid (Gladiolus acidanthera)

I usually plant gladiolas in a grouping, but this year I interspersed corms throughout the borders, where they have added some interesting color and textural contrast. In the western border facing the back of the house, this one is Gladiolus ‘Performer’.

Gladiolus ‘Performer’ (Large Flowering)

Gladiolus ‘Performer’ (Large Flowering)

Gladiolus ‘Performer’ (Large Flowering)

More dahlias didn’t make it than did but I am happy with all the buds and blooms on Dahlia ‘Noordwijks Glorie’.

Dahlia ‘Noordwijks Glorie’

After trimming back some of the echinacea some new flowers have formed.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Lastly a foxglove opened this week. Only the second of five to flower I had not expected to see any more. It’s a tiny little thing but gardens do have a way of offering up sweet surprises.

Foxglove ‘Dalmatian Peach’

28 thoughts on “The Borders In Early Morning Light

  1. Kris P

    Your garden is looking good, Susie, especially for midsummer! I love the Lycoris. I planted some bulbs but few made an appearance and those that did seem to have steadily disappeared. I’m glad to hear that the Zinnias are coming through for you – do you think your episodes with drought are the problem? Despite their reputation for handing heat, I’ve found that Zinnias need a surprising amount of water.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Kris. First the rabbits helped themselves to the zinnias. Now some insect is eating them. I agree they need more water than one would think and I’ve been (surprisingly) giving them extra. The Lycoris took several years to finally bloom here. I added some new ones in a different spot that is less crowded–more red also which I like.

      Reply
  2. Pauline

    Love all the colour in your garden, mine is just becoming more brown! You have so many flowers for all the pollinators to enjoy, no wonder they all flock to your garden!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Pauline. This section of the garden needs less water but I admit I have been trying to water some this summer. It’s something I usually avoid on principle. When we have had a little rain, it seems twice as effective as my efforts. The garden responds dramatically.

      Reply
  3. hb

    Nothing better than early morning in the garden! The best of the day comes first.

    Your border looks lovely and has some of my favorite plants–one thing rabbits seem to shun (at least in my garden) are the Salvias. The blues complement the Zinnias beautifully.

    Reply
  4. Cathy

    What lovely big clumps of plants you have, Susie – I have tried to reduce the variety of plants in my borders, but it’s hard!! Your zinnias look wonderful!

    Reply

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