An August Sunday Album

My grandmother’s mossy front yard held a magical surprise and each summer I was delighted by the appearance of her spider lilies. Finally in 2015 I added some to my own garden and today was the magical day they burst forth into bloom.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Usually there are plentiful zinnias to use indoors butI have left them outside for now, the few zinnias from a second sowing. Finally they are in bloom, six or seven weeks later than normal due to the rabbit “crisis”.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Nearby, asclepias has rebloomed.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

There are other small pleasures.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Unknown dahlia

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Lantana will continue well into October. On any given day it is a popular gathering place for butterflies and skippers. Today there were six Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, yesterday swallowtails and a couple of monarchs.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The oakleaf hydrangea leaves point toward autumn, as do changes in light and pulsating sounds of cicadas, but mostly there is just a knowing deep inside, an inner sense that fall is near.  Every time I stepped outside this past week I felt it.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Garden Observations

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

It has been too hot for me to want to garden but occasionally I step outside with the camera to survey the visitors.

Early this morning I spotted a skipper flying erratically among Verbena bonariensis flowers along the front drive.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

In the main garden in the back yard a large bush of common lantana draws many insects, as does the nearby Blue Sky salvia, both growing in the southern border. In the western border along the back fence a butterfly bush offers enticement.

Unlike last week when they merely passed through, several eastern tiger swallowtails spent the day.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

In addition to the swallowtail, this morning in quick succession I enjoyed seeing some favorites return.  There was a male monarch in good condition bouncing back and forth between the lantana and salvia.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

While photographing the monarch a Common Buckeye appeared, first one this year for me.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Can you spot where it fled to escape my persistent camera?

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

I left the common buckeye alone once the first Hummingbird Clearwing of the season suddenly came into view. It has an easily recognizable profile.

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

The Hummingbird Clearwing didn’t stay still but it stayed around long enough for me to take portraits.

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Within just a few minutes I was cheered to see such interesting creatures. Hope the garden is feeding your soul this August.

 

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

I chose a surprise late-blooming gladiolus as the focal point for today’s flowers. I find the reddish-orange waxy petals deliciously compelling.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

With the gladiolus always in the forefront, or a time the design drifted from my original plan for a spare Ikebana look.  Here is the initial work—the first stage.  I liked this but it left exposed a lot of floral oasis.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

To conceal the mechanics I began adding other flowers. Eventually the design looked totally different and off-balance in composition and weight of materials.  I also thought the gaura stems began to look cluttered, detracting from the flowers.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

Surrounded by dahlias, clematis, buddleia, salvia and lantana, the gladiolus maintained its presence but looked out of place. The shape of the gladiolus was awkward and heavy in relation to everything else, yet it was beautiful in and of itself.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

Cutting the sword into smaller and smaller pieces I finally worked my way back to a design that speaks to the essence of the starring flower. Switching vases made a big difference. In my hand portions of the gladiolus seemed perfect but were still heavy.  Almost satisfied with this stage the jutting piece to the right created too much tension.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Impression

At the expense of the design’s height, when I trimmed the wayward section and repositioned the stems, the overall result was more harmonious.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

Against the black glaze the gladiolus essence is on full display.

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

Materials
Flowers
Gladiolus
Foliage
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

In A Vase On Monday – Orange Deconstruction

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week.

Sunday Morning Musings

Dahlia sp.

Brief though it was I just experienced my first earthquake.   I noticed, wondered, then forgot all about it until I saw some news reports that confirmed a magnitude 5.1 earthquake was reported in Sparta, North Carolina, and felt across the Triangle at around 8 a.m. According to the U. S. Geological Survey database the this is the second strongest earthquake to occur in NC since 1900. The strongest was a 5.2 magnitude earthquake near Skyland, NC in February 1916.

The earthquake bookends a week that began with approaching Hurricane Isaias.  Here in central North Carolina we were spared any problems. We had some rain, mostly on Monday, the day before the hurricane made landfall on the coast. By Tuesday afternoon with the weather cleared, the only affected area in my garden was the Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower). Its stems were bent horizontal and its yellow petals had been stripped, leaving exposed the green cone heads.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

We continued to have brief thunderstorms through the week. On Wednesday morning the flowers which struggle so much during the hot days looked much refreshed. Cerinthe, for example, is much wilted by day’s end but gives no sign of the stress after nourishment from the rain overnight.

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Rabbits are still driving me crazy but from a second planting of zinnias I finally had one flower open yesterday from a second sowing.

Zinnia (first of 2020)

There is a 15 by 3-foot strip along the fence that was supposed to host the zinnias. Can you see the rabbit sitting in the very spot the seedlings were nibbled to oblivion? I think this is a descendent of the original culprit. I don’t know how many generations there are in one summer but I found two the day I took this picture and one was really tiny.

Run, Rabbit, Run

There is not much satisfaction in chasing the rabbit. It only goes a short distance and waits. He did at last “high tail it” to the other side of the garden!

Run, Rabbit, Run

There were a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in the garden, lingering longer this week than last among the butterfly bush, verbena bonariensis and lantana. This one on purple coneflower seems to illustrate “life ain’t been no bowl of cherries.” I once was given that title as a prompt for a writing assignment. The expression is stuck in my head lately after recently receiving a surprise in the mail—a packet of themes returned to me by my ninth grade English teacher. Though the “bowl of cherries” paper was not among them, still that phrase crops up every once in a while, as it did when I spotted the poor swallowtail.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Here is the dark form. They both are female.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

I’ve seen a lot of Fiery and Ocola skippers this summer and finally spotted one that looks a bit different.  I think it is [ 8-9-2020 update: Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)  Lerema accius (Clouded Skipper).]

Lerema accius (Clouded Skipper)

A duskywing raced among verbena bonariensis flower heads (I couldn’t get a decent photo). Tentatively I have identified it as Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae).

Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)

This Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) perched on the favorite bamboo stake near dahlias, steering clear of me as much as it could until it finally allowed a few shots.

Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

Nearby on the fence sat a strange insect, rather large and ominous.   iNaturalist is very helpful in identifying most of the visitors that show up in the garden. This is Red-footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes), a species of robber flies.

Red-footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes)

I saw four social media posts this week featuring a new introduction, Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’. All reports indicate this lavender pink phlox is truly a butterfly magnet. I looked it up and found also in its favor is its excellent resistance to powdery mildew.  I would like a color other than pink but maybe I will give this one a try. I have failed multiple times to establish garden phlox in colors other than pink P. ‘Robert Poore’.  Never have white-flowered P. ‘David’ or ‘White Flame’ nor the dark magenta purple P. ‘Nicky’ made it through one season in my garden.

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

We watched an interesting movie this week called The Gardener, which is a lovely tribute to Frank Cabot’s vision and passion in creating a twenty-acre English style private garden in Canada. Cabot founded the nonprofit The Garden Conservancy.

Gardens bring surprises. A single rose bloomed unexpectedly this week on Virgie’s passalong.

Virgie’s Rose

Most of the flowerheads on Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea) turned completely brown during July’s searing heat and no rain. It would be nice to see it one year covered in flowers turning red.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hummingbirds are becoming even more plentiful lately. They used to make morning rounds to sip from salvias and now show up more frequently throughout the day. This redbud branch is a favorite perch. Sometimes when I am in the garden I forget to look up. Do you know that feeling when you finally do glance skyward?

Hummingbird

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

I experimented with a variety of designs on Saturday morning but in the end I was most happy with a reworking of last week’s vase, which had featured dahlias. Mid-week to refreshen the vase I had replaced most of the dahlias.  For this week I kept the same container but actually only the foliage, Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and a few dahlia leaves are original from last week. The dahlias really seemed tired after all and so were replaced completely with white and gold shining discs in the form of Shasta daisies and black-eyed Susans along with flat-topped umbels of miniature suns in the form of tansy.

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

The low-profile glazed ceramic vase works well this week, but if I had taken more time I would have switched the flowers into a basket for an even more summery look.

In A Vase On Monday – Summer Glow

Materials
Flowers
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Leucanthemum superbum ‘Alaska’ (Shasta Daisy)
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Foliage
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Dahlia leaves
Vase
Pottery bowls, with Lomey plastic dish inserts, eco-friendly floral foam

Here are a few of my other experiments using reddish orange Dahlia ‘David Howard’ with coral bells and a nice specimen of Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’.

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week.

Far Edge of July

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Reaching the end of July is unsettling—summer, slipping by.

The summer garden has had its disappointments. Hot and dry weather and grazing rabbits have left their mark. This week, at least, a couple of thunderstorms offered some relief from record-setting heat (Hurricane Isaias likely will add rain as well. I hope everyone along the U.S. East Coast will stay safe).  Despite the shortcomings of this season there are always discoveries in the garden to brighten one’s day.

This is my first time growing cerinthe. One plant began flowering this week.  After admiring it in others’ Monday vases, I decide to try it.  From a packet of seeds, I ended up with just half a dozen plants, which actually I had expected to have purple flowers and foliage. Rabbits nibbled away for a while but lately have left them alone.

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

This is the sole surviving plant from a packet of alyssum. Bad bunnies!

Alyssum

The garden has a lot of dragonflies. I have tentatively identified this as Bar-winged Skimmer.

Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena)

This young, tiny anole found cover quickly when I tried for a better photo.

Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) on Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Cleome flower heads seem to float above the meditation circle.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Dahlia ‘David Howard’ has proved to be my most reliable dahlia. It has great form and color.

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia sp.

I spotted Easter Tiger Swallowtails multiple times this week but they did not linger long. This one was tempted by the saliva.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Coneflowers continue to brighten the garden. This one volunteered in the meditation circle.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

With a name like August Beauty one might hope this gardenia will rebloom soon. This week three fresh flowers appeared.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

I do not remember planting this gladiolus but was happy to have the companionship.

Gladiolus

I have not seen many Horace’s Duskywings this year. I believe this one is my second—dining on a spent verbena bonariensis.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Crepe myrtles are the prettiest in years in my neighborhood. Blooms are mostly out of reach.

Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle)

Ocolas are plentiful around the lantana. This one is particularly worn.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) on Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Rabbits nibbled away as the rudbeckia emerged. The plants finally pushed upwards and bloomed under protection of a rabbit spray made from concentrated botanical oils, a gift from a neighbor.

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

At one time I planned a red border, but never followed through after drought set in that year. I like this red salvia up close but it is not very showy from afar. Hummingbirds do find it but seem to prefer the Black and Blue salvia.

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

This Silver-spotted Skipper found a sweet delicacy, Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea).

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

I didn’t have a notion this week about what shape my vase would take this week but flower choices were limited. On Saturday morning I cut all the dahlias I could and placed them in water for conditioning. Stems were shorter than I wanted despite having cut back the plants a couple times this year. That afternoon just as I was preparing to make a vase for today, I found an email from a friend in the neighborhood. She had left us a still-warm peach cobbler to find by the front door—a soon-devoured, delicious peach cobbler I might add. Finding inspiration in the handmade ceramic dish in which she had baked our treat, I chose another dish of similar size and put together a pair of small tabletop designs. I was happy to be able to return her dish with a few flowers from my garden.

Using Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ as outline foliage and a few dahlia leaves as concealers I added the freshest dahlias to the first arrangement, along with a bouncy Buddleja and a sprig of tansy. The effect was a little spare but cheerful.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ worked nicely with the color of my friend’s dish so they all went into her arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

I also included the few  white Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ I had been able to cut. Bugs seem especially attracted to these and not many are vase-worthy.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

Both vases were quickly assembled, little-fussing or second-guessing. This is the second vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

A view from the right corner:

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

This design has a slightly more oval than round shape. This was owing to the fact I had a couple of longer-stemmed ‘David Howard’ to use.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlia Duo

Materials
Flowers
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Dahlia sp.
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Foliage
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Dahlia leaves
Vase
Pottery bowls, with Lomey plastic dish inserts, eco-friendly floral foam

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week.

More Garden Visitors

As an addendum to my Wordless Wednesday post, here are a few more visitors to my garden this week. The first I believe is female—Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. She hurried off before I could get a good photo.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

There are a fair number of dragonflies this year. This particular bamboo stick is a favorite perch for them.

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

I had just started wondering why I hadn’t seen sulphurs this year when this one briefly appeared this week.  It’s the only one I’ve spotted though.

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

The most unattractive of the week’s visitors is this circada. It is actually near the bottom in the photo above as well.

Cicada

Not a great bird photo but I can usually not get close enough for more than a blur.

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Hummingbirds have been numerous this summer. This one is female and less colorful than males.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Wordless Wednesday – Garden Benefits

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Junonia coenia (common buckeye)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

 

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

Today I had in mind a particular style for my vase: asymmetrical, loosely arranged, strongly textured yet airy, whimsical and light. Though not completely true to my vision, it does fairly dance. For its vibrancy and color I am happy with how this one turned out.

I don’t use a lot of yellow but in the garden strong yellows of rudbeckia and tansy have come alive in the past several weeks. Tansy with its rich textural characteristics ended up being a good material to define the shape and tone of the design. I used rudbeckia to continue the color while changing the texture. While cutting the tansy, heart-shaped leaves from a young redbud seedling caught my attention as well. These items, along with everlasting sweet pea seed pods, were the starting point for the vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

Next I added stems of verbena, achillea and salvias and then finished with dahlias and phlox.

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

Because the weather has been so hot many of the flowers are not pristine, but I cut as many as I could find, using the imperfect ones as well. The vase may not last long but it was fun to create.

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

Materials
Flowers
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet Bronze’ (Snapdragon)
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Dahlia sp.
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Verbena bonariensis
Foliage
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
Dahlia leaves
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Vase
Crystal pedestal dish

The flowers were styled with floral foam in a plastic 6-inch Lomey dish that sits inside the low crystal pedestal vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Texture And Whimsy

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week.

July Juncture

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Summer has turned the corner in my garden and plants are tired, weary and thirsty. July has been hot and mostly dry. Although we have had a few thunderstorms often dark clouds pass overhead to find a different target than our neighborhood . I have watered selectively, but sometimes even include the coneflowers because they are doing so well this year.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In particular when watering by hand I’m trying to encourage the dahlias as well as my two tomato plants which were planted very late. (I tasted the first two grape tomatoes this week. The German Johnson shows little interest in producing more than just the two still-green specimens that formed early.) The dahlias are not doing as well as last year but a few nice ones show up. It’s so hot they don’t last long.

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

I am still trying to outwit the rabbits to protect a third sowing of zinnias. Spraying frequently seems to help some but is not a good long-term solution. My neighbor is scouting for rabbit fencing but supplies are out. It seems it will be costly anyway and fairly unattractive. If you have found a good solution to keeping rabbits at bay, we welcome your advice. She and I have white vinyl picket fencing (as dictated by our homeowner’s association) and is open at the bottom. She had installed chicken wire along the base but the rabbits are still slipping inside. One thing left unbothered by rabbits has been this crinum lily. The plant has had three tall shoots so far. Individual blooms are delicate.

Crinum × powellii (Swamp Lily)

This week on Instagram I joined Amy @newgatenarcissi for another #gardenmonthlycollage on for July 2020. There are so any images to choose from for July, but for the collage I found several for which I had made some Waterlogue counterparts.
Left to right: Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)
Canna With Echinacea (Purple coneflower)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
Bombus (Bumble bee) on Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ hummingbirds seem to adore, but unfortunately mine is producing few flowers. (A tip I recently heard on an old Gardeners World episode is the salvia may just be too “happy” and it needs to be moved to where it will be stressed and has to work harder.)  I love to hear a hummingbird’s wings as they nectar close by. Other birds we are seeing now are American goldfinches, eastern towhees, nuthatches, cardinals, house finches, chickadees and lots of little brown sparrows, all which frequent the feeder. Mourning doves stop by and lumber around the meditation circle.

Yesterday I saw a new-to-me white moth which I have identified tentatively as White Palpita Moth (Diaphania costata). It flew frequently as I tried to photograph it and it always landed under a leaf, making it challenging to get a clear image.

White Palpita Moth (Diaphania costata) underside

White Palpita Moth (Diaphania costata)

Cleome has taken over the meditation circle again this summer but it is hard to mind.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome and rudbeckia provide the most color to my garden right now. Both attract lots of bees.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Finally coming into full bloom this month, Lantana draws many pollinators, such as this little skipper.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

But where are the butterflies this year? Very few have passed by that I have seen. This one seems to have had a hard life.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

That is a look at July so far. 95° F.  Be safe.

In A Vase On Monday – Dinnerplate Serving In Pink

In A Vase On Monday – Dinnerplate Serving In Pink

My maligned dahlia

Update. July 14, 2020

Note:  I am red-faced as I make this confession. After fussing below about this dahlia not looking like Cafe Au Lait, I think I simply forgot that I planted another variety alongside the replaced dahlias.  I’ll have to check back to see if I can find a label for it.  Meanwhile the “imposter” has opened into a lovely form (semi-cactus?) with a white center.  I actually love it. Apologies for my confusion.


Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase using cuttings from our gardens. After what seems like a month without rain passing us by, we finally had a fierce, full-blown thunderstorm Friday night. Temporarily refreshed, the garden must brace for extreme heat this week.

I am not a huge fan of pink but with fewer flower choices today I decided to showcase a couple of dinnerplate dahlias in an Ikebana vase. 

Last year I ordered 9 Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ tubers.  I was disappointed when they bloomed. Not all but most seemed imposters—so unlike the photos of the soft coffee cream blush ones I have admired. The company where I purchased them suggested I might have been sent D. ‘Labyrinth’ by mistake and offered a refund or replacements this spring. I chose to receive replacements.

Now dahlias that overwintered from last year along with some replacements planted this spring are in bloom.

The replacements so far look even more distantly related, although I’ve heard from some of you there can be a range of color variation in the flowers of ‘Cafe Au Lait’ and also there are pink ones such as Café au Lait Rosé  and Café au Lait Royal.   

This is from the new tubers. Since the photograph was taken this flower has begun opening to a somewhat paler center. I am curious to see how the other replacements turn out.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ (replacements planted this spring)

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ (replacements planted this spring)

Ironically this one is from last year. Still not the iconic look I seek, but beautiful and definitely less pinky. It is about 6 inches in diameter. I will keep feeding.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ (planted last year)

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ (planted last year)

A small hydrangea cluster, pale pink in color, became the third element in today’s design. Would I prefer it be blue, yes, but I haven’t taken on the task of adjusting the soil pH.  The hydrangea is perfect for today’s study in pink.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Hydrangea macrophylla
Foliage
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace. Be well.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

In 2014 I began joining Cathy at Rambling In The Garden to create a weekly vase.  This exercise, called In A Vase On Monday, challenges garden bloggers to create and share cut flower arrangements each Monday using materials from our gardens. Sometimes my designs are simple, others are more formal, but collectively the vases highlight what is in bloom in the garden during the year. The larger story is told by checking out Cathy’s post each Monday and connecting to beautiful vases shared by gardeners from around the world.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

This week I knew I wanted a light and airy foliage to help define the shape of my vase.  Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ is healthier than usual, perhaps buoyed by early spring rains.  We are dry here now with high temperatures above 90F, so I do not know what is keeping the baptisia happy now, but it was an easy choice for today’s vase,

The heat is harsh and many flowers look worse for the wear. The Shasta daisies are in full bloom now and the fresh white blooms seemed too perfect not to use.

I think this is ‘Alaska’.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

I planned that dahlias would be the focal flowers but I could have stopped with just the baptisia and daisies in place and been satisfied.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ only had one ragged flower today, but several nice seed heads.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

Lantana is just coming into flower this week. I selected several stems for some orange accents.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)
Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)
Foliage
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)
Vase
Vintage 4 Ceramic Urn

I like the swirly movement as seen from overhead.

In A Vase On Monday – Daisy Fresh

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases each week. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this first Monday in July. Peace.

In A Vase On Monday – June Coda

In A Vase On Monday – June Coda

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share cut flowers from our gardens.

Days of generous rains are gone, but we did get a thunderstorm Sunday evening. Heat and humidity are settled in for summer.  Fireflies are out. The month of June has flown quickly past but not before ushering in a host of summer blooms.

In A Vase On Monday – June Coda

With gladioli nearly finished, dahlias and phlox pick up the pace.

Phlox, Dahlia, Gladiolus

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ and Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

Materials
Flowers
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Gladiolus, unknown white
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)
Foliage
Vase
Black-glazed ceramic square

Two grocery-store moth orchids, each purchased several years ago, began reblooming in late February. One finished last week and I decided to go ahead and cut the other’s flower stalk for today’s vase. Its color details are picked up by other materials in the vase.

In A Vase On Monday – June Coda

Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)

Today’s flowers were inserted into a large florist’s pin set in a plastic black tray, and tucked into a deep, square black saucer.  I had trouble with the composition and rearranged for more than an hour. After many iterations I ran out of time. I had planned a spare Ikebana-style design, but was too wedded to using as many of the collected flowers as possible. Lesson learned.

In A Vase On Monday – June Coda

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace.

National Pollinator Week

In case you haven’t noticed it’s National Pollinator Week. Butterflies seem scarce this year in my garden so it was nice to spot a lovely male swallowtail enjoying echinacea in the side garden.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Wordless Wednesday – Deep Color In Late June

Virgie’s Rose

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

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

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville, NC

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville, NC

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville, NC

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville, NC

Hemerocallis (Daylily) from Mercers’ in Fayetteville, NC

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Bumblebee (Bombas) on Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

Today’s flowers include the only one of 15 Lily Asiatic ‘Royal Sunset’ the rabbits did not eat last week. The salvaged lily stem had 3 buds, 2 of which opened. Petals are a bit tired now but by bringing them inside early at least I got to see the color—it is a bit of sunset. In fact all the colors in today’s vase would be right at home in a sunset.

Lily Asiatic ‘Royal Sunset’

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

Gladiolus

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Gladiolus ‘Espresso’ (dark red) and unknown white
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Lily Asiatic ‘Royal Sunset’
Foliage
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Dahlia leaves
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Vase
Crystal pedestal dish

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

The flowers were styled into a plastic 6-inch Lomey dish. Afterwards I tried several vases before settling on the low crystal pedestal. Below is the vase from last week’s ‘Espresso’ gladioli. I didn’t want to use it again so soon, but it does show how the vase affects the final design. The large vase fits it well but I had in mind a lower design.

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

In A Vase On Monday – Summertime Sunset

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace and be well.

Summer Solstice

June Solstice (Summer Solstice) in Chapel Hill, NC – Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 5:43 pm. In terms of daylight, this day is 4 hours, 53 minutes longer than on December Solstice.

We had a torrential downpour this afternoon but the sun came out in time to celebrate summer solstice. Long summer days ahead, but already creeping toward darkness.

Shasta daisies are beginning to wake up.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower) is having a good year and attracting lots of visitors.

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Other echinacea are thriving this year too. Although they are drought-resistant, coneflowers seem to appreciate a good drink of rain water regularly as much as the next plant.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Their flowers take on a variety of forms. I like the drooping ones and this one with the petals tucked in like a turban.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

This salvia anchors a calm area of the garden, not minding the tansy’s encroachment.

Tansy and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Starting out white, Oakleaf hydrangea is working to earn its name, Lil’ Ruby.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

This artemisia is a favorite hiding place of several generations of rabbits terrorizing the garden this year. I was going to show pictures of all their damage but the list is too long and discouraging. I’m especially disappointed they’ve eaten the zinnias, which had been off to a great start, sprouting in 2 days. A neighbor gave me some spray but it’s not stopped the rabbits completely from tasting.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

I am not sure what prompted me this evening to look up Russian Sage, but I’m glad I did. It turns out to be the plant formerly known as Perovskia atriplicifolia.
Now its name is Salvia yangii.

Salvia yangii (Russian Sage)

Salvia yangii (Russian Sage)

The overwintered dahlias have been eager to flower. Some others planted this spring are slow to get going but I expect they will catch up.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

This week on Instagram I joined Amy @newgatenarcissi with a monthly collage of the garden. Here’s June.  Maybe you would like to join in also. #gardencollagemonthly

June 2020 #gardencollagemonthly

Wishing you a happy summer!

Wordless Wednesday – Making The Rounds

Bumble Bee (Bombus griseocollis) identified through iNaturalist.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

Planted in 2018 Gladiolus ‘Espresso’ is tucked away at the edge of my garden in what I thought would be a much sunnier spot than it turned out to be.

Grown specifically for cutting these flowers have exceeded my expectations. My photographs scarcely convey the color complexity of the flowers. Espresso, chocolate, wine in bud, the open blooms remind me of the translucence of alizarin crimson oil paint. Petals are silken.

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

Gladioli spikes can be arranged (trimmed, cut apart, and cajoled), but these are, to use our host Cathy’s phrase, plopped into a drinking glass within the cavernous interior of the container.

Materials
Flowers
Gladiolus ‘Espresso’
Foliage
Vase
Ceramic pot, unknown N.C. artist

The vase itself is richly glazed. Usually its red accent is the darkest red around, but today the gladiolas predominate.

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

Here are a couple of images filtered through the Waterlogue app.

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

In A Vase On Monday – Expressly Espresso

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Peace to you.

Sunday Album – Early Morning Light

Early Morning LIght – Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’; Dahlia, Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

A little over three months ago I would have risen early on Sunday morning and prepared to teach a gentle yoga class, which I always concluded with a guided meditation. Some classes are resuming this week but on a limited schedule and with a much different format. I feel it will be a long time before I am back in that world, although I am optimistic it will happen.

I spent this early morning photographing the garden in the midst of calm and solitude. Quiet but for birds running through their morning routine. Even bees were asleep.  There is a clarity the garden invites, a stillness not still. Presence, knowing, awareness. The garden makes it possible.

Our house faces east and hides the morning sun from the back garden. Light slips in first from either side softly tapping the back fence and working its way into the western border.

Western Border – Dahlias

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’ and Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Here is one of the sleeping bees.

Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ and D. ‘Labyrinth’; Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’

Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’

Dahlia ‘Labyrinth’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Southern Border – Sweet Pea and Daylily

Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Western Border – Oakleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hope your Sunday has been full of light