Tag Archives: bees

Early June In The Garden

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Having missed an end of May report, I am compelled to record some of the special garden joys of early June.

Recently Annette wondered about the white flower she was expecting on her Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’. I assured her these plants do have white flowers and promised to follow through with a planned post to show how these penstemon are looking in my own garden.

I planted Husker Red penstemon in the meditation circle as an evergreen choice for a section of the “wall.” It has thrived, reseeding freely, enabling me to establish new plantings throughout the borders and to pass along specimens to friends.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Other penstemon planted in the labyrinth at the same time have not fared as well. One of my favorite colors, this purple one is called Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’. Of a dozen or so plants only this one remains in the meditation circle, but last summer I was able to transplant a piece into the northern border.

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ was added last year and has done great this spring.

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Bees love these penstemons. They also have been enjoying tradescantia, foxgloves, Verbena bonariensis, echinacea and recently blooming Blue Sky salvia.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Digitalis Foxlight 'Ruby Glow' PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove)

Digitalis Foxlight ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) with Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) with Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Bees really love Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). It will soon need cutting back but I hate to when the bees are so enamored of it.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I like Echinacea in early summer. The flowers are fresh and take on so many forms before finally opening their petals. In the background at right is the meditation circle with Husker Red penstemon blooming. I also planted Angelonia in white and purple for color throughout the summer.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Here are more echinacea with explosions of pink flowers from Red Rocks Penstemon in the distance.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

A pass-along dahlia overwintered successfully and began blooming this week. (Thank you Libby!)

Dahlia sp.

The dwarf oak leaf hydrangea has finally put on its first big floral display after taking several years to get established.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

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

My favorite pass-along old-fashioned rose had a few new flowers this week. Unfortunately I spotted a Japanese beetle on one. Those haven’t been a problem in several years.

Old-fashioned Rose

Old-fashioned Rose

Three of five August Beauty gardenias survived near the northwest gate, where they were planted to provide a screen for the air conditioning units. It has taken them much longer than expected to grow but with the heavy rainfall this spring they finally look healthy and are blooming.

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

And finally to close I leave you with some favorite photographs of a second purple gladiolus that opened this week. The sunlight coming in from behind made the centers of the flowers glow like fire.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Early July Notebook

It has been another week without rain and several more 95°F days have pushed some plants over the brink, including a Phlox paniculata ‘David’ I bought in May. ‘David’ is a sophisticated white phlox that grew well in my former garden and I have been trying for years to establish it here. Seeing its sad state spurred me to water the entire garden thoroughly Thursday evening, but the effort was too late to save that new phlox I think.

Meanwhile pinkish things are blooming and thriving.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Purchased the end of April, this stubby foxglove may have been mislabeled as Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose.’ It is supposed to be 35-47 inches (90-120 cm) but while attractive, it is more like 12 inches tall. ‘Camelot Rose’ flowers in its first and second year. This one is finally blooming many weeks later than another variety in the same border. Maybe it will achieve its true height in the second year.

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’  (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’ (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’  (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’ (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is attracting lots of bees. I have begun deadheading some of it, but the best bee photos always seem to be those where the flower has faded. At least one flower looks fresh.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ is looking better than it has in years. Although I cut it back, it is still flopping but at least this summer it is blooming.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

When I could not find my preferred blue Angelonia this spring to use as the meditation labyrinth’s walls, I ended up using some lavender and some darker shades of pink on one side of the circle. I think Angelonia angustifolia ‘Archangel Dark Rose’ is on the left below and ‘Raspberry’ is on the right.

Angelonia angustifolia ‘Archangel Dark Rose’ and A. ‘Raspberry’

Most of the outer wall of the meditation circle is actually planted in white, specifically Angelonia ’Serena White.’ Hot temperatures arrived in late spring before the young plants had time to get established, but with judicious water they have filled in nicely and finally are acclimated after many weeks.

Angelonia ’Serena White’ and Various Thymes in Meditation Circle

Angelonia ’Serena White’ and Various Thymes in Meditation Circle

Many thymes are planted in the circle. The center is largely covered in Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz.’

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme) in Meditation Circle

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) in Meditation Circle

Not everything in the garden is pink. This morning I was thrilled to see this Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily) in flower. I had wanted to add Blackberry Lily to the garden for years and finally came across one in April at my favorite garden center. Then, when I was cutting back iris leaves a few weeks ago, I trimmed its foliage back accidentally. I assumed I had lost the chance of seeing it bloom this year, so spotting this orange color today was a nice surprise.

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Speaking of iris leaves, this little skipper was perfectly content to sit on one in the early morning sun today.

Skipper On Iris Leaf

Skipper On Iris Leaf

Bees were everywhere this morning. This Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ was knocked down by wind a couple of weeks ago and I propped it back up as best I could. The bees do not seem to mind that the huge stalks are still leaning.

Bee On Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Bee On Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Blue Sky salvia has its own admirers.

Bee On Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Next to the back steps the first dark red flower has opened on a passalong dahlia from Libby at An Eye For Detail. Last year was the first time I really took an interest in growing dahlias. The one planted late last summer overwintered but has yet to bloom. This spring I bought tubers of several red and purple dahlias and I hope they will carry the garden through the summer and into fall.

Dahlia sp.

Dahlia sp.

Last Day of May

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Early this morning Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Canna waited in the shade as the sun slowly moved to warm these sun-loving perennials.

Echinacea purpurea is native to Eastern USA and bees find it attractive. Later American Goldfinches will enjoy its seeds.

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

While it still can this bee should enjoy the Tradescantia (Spiderwort) that abounds in the garden. This week I am making some progress in cutting it back, but am finding it difficult work to remove it by the roots.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Although afternoon temperatures reached 92 degrees, the garden this morning was pleasant and mostly shaded, perfect for welcoming visitors to view the flowers. So when a neighbor and her friend walked by while I was taking pictures in the front side garden, I eagerly asked them to come to the back to see my garden.

This year, more than in any other year, I have felt comfortable with the state of the garden overall and am happy when I can share this place. It is not perfect, of course, but some key garden renovation projects during the last year have made the garden much more cohesive and have given it personality. The meditation circle is one such project and today my neighbor’s friend walked the meditation path, experiencing  a labyrinth for her first time. It was a nice morning in the garden.