June Solstice 2018. Northern Hemisphere. 6:07 AM Thursday, June 21.
(Images from June 16-18, 2018)
Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.
As this is going to be a very busy week with little time for flowers or the computer, I planned ahead with a simple vase of zinnias prepared on Saturday.
I have grown zinnias for many years, but they are stronger and more beautiful this summer than I ever remember. The same types of zinnias were used last week, but instead of a spare grouping of Ikebana vases, today’s is a hefty vessel embracing a fierce burst of floral colors.
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’ (Burpee, popular cutting variety, 24” H)
Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’ (Burpee, colorful huge 6’ Blooms, 24” H)
Zinnia elegans ’Cactus Flower Blend’ (Botanical Interests, 4-6” wide, 2-3’H. Heirloom Twist and shout. Double and semi-double)
Brown and blue glazed ceramic vase
There is no real front to this type of bouquet but here is a look at the opposite side.
There are plenty of pinks but having so many yellow and orange flowers this year makes for more eclectic combinations. Here is a close-up peek at this white flower tinged with green.
Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to create an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden. That anything can bloom in such hot, humid conditions invites pause and contemplation. Nature surprises again and again.
It is a treat today to share a new botanical themed vase, a gift from my sisters. The ceramic vase is three-sided with a green, embossed exterior that is highly textured.
The interior is colorfully patterned and decorative. Top edges are adorned with berries and tendrils.
Working with such a complex vase was a bit challenging. First I imagined it filled with hydrangeas, but mine are well past their prime. Next I envisioned using lots of foliage and that is what I decided to try. My pass-along dahlia is five feet tall and full of buds but very few flowers. The leaves are healthy and attractive so I cut several stems to use a a starting point for the arrangement. I also chose one stem of Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow.’
Next flowering stems of heuchera and sprigs of multi-hued lantana were added help define the design.
I liked the vase at this stage and could have stopped here, but with many other cut flowers left, I wanted to continue working on the arrangement, forgetting to take any more photographs as the design was progressing.
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Fresh Look Mix Celosia (citrus colors)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’
These are some of the colorful summer flowers growing in the garden that fill today’s vase.
I need up having to remove some of the foliage to give room to the flowers. A view from above:
At our house this week we will be enjoying the colorful summer bounty of the garden.
Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.
Summer arrived officially on Monday, and right on schedule the season was underscored by higher humidity and temperatures this week. The late June garden is full of flowers. Cicadas vibrate their song, hummingbirds sip at the offerings of Monarda and Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red,’ fireflies pulse their glowing presence in early evening. Sitting on the front porch we often observe Carolina anoles (Anolis carolinensis) scuttling about. They exhibit a range of color from brown to green and occasionally we see males with extended red throat fans searching for mates.
Day lilies have added bright color and interest to the eastern border, much happier than in recent years.
Last year Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers,’ a dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea, quickly faded to brown under the severe heat and drought. Now with sufficient rain, after three years it at last has fulfilled its promise of colorful summer flowers. These started out crisply white and have taken on a blushing red aspect.
Phlox paniculate and Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) have made a welcome return to the western border.
This phlox, possibly Robert Poore’s, is especially attractive this year. In last year’s drought it scarcely bloomed at all.
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) once again has self-seeded. It has a fascinating flower structure.
Two hybrid echinaceas add spark to the summer garden, ‘White Swan’ and ‘Big Sky Sundown.’
Hybrid echinaceas are nice and pollinators love them, but the unnamed ones make a larger impact in my garden. Echinacea is reputed to be drought tolerant but adequate rain brings superior performance. It has spread itself in satisfying ways and runs throughout the northern border.
More echinacea is planted against the back of the house which has western exposure and so receives the hot afternoon sun. This view is from slightly behind the border at the corner near the north end gate, looking toward the meditation circle. In this area echinacea plays a supporting role Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm).
Beebalm actually makes up the larger portion of this area. Bees love monarda, as do hummingbirds.
Shasta daisies line a border against the house between the back garage steps and steps leading to the screened porch. (That’s the red monarda peeking through the railing from the opposite side of the house.)
Looking very fresh this daisy grows at the far end of the same border, in front of the hydrangeas.
Dahlias both bright red and rich deep mahogany or wine red have returned from last year and I look forward to using them in indoor arrangements.
Breakfasting this morning on the screened porch overlooking the garden we watched as a baker’s dozen American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) sat feasting on Verbena bonariensis in a small island at the southwest corner. I have tried many times to photograph bird visitors but my camera produces dismal results at this distance. Still you may be able to spot the males clothed in brilliant yellow and the equally lovely females wearing more subdued greenish garb.
Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day (GBFD)
For the first time in a long while I missed sharing Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day on the 22nd with Christina and others, so thought I would include in a few images to illustrate how the foliage is holding up. This time last year even rigorous daily watering, which generally I am loathe to do, could not keep things green. This year feels totally different though. Because of plenty of spring rains and some recent heavy thunderstorms, the June garden feels lush and green.
For some unexplained reason the Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) barely tried to flower this year. Perhaps the poor weather last year kept it from properly forming buds last fall for spring display. Its foliage however looks nice. Often by now the leaves are drying and turning brown but this year it remains happy. To its left Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry) has grown immensely in the past couple of years and is forming flowers.
Also ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress adds evergreen structure to this corner that forms the northwest boundary of the garden.
I have kept the flowers of Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ for the time being but went ahead and removed those of Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ several weeks ago.
This passalong dusty miller makes a nice complement to the ‘Ascot Rainbow’ forming a nice ground cover as it threads itself along the western border. Columbine which was cut back after blooming has freshly regenerated leaves.
Somewhat resembling the passalong Dusty Miller seen above, the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) seen below behaves much differently, forming a well-behaved mound of silvery foliage. Something I often show for GBFD, it is at its best this year.
Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD each month.
I will leave you with two more images I am out of time to describe. I am off to get ready to celebrate 39 years of marriage with my sweet husband this evening. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
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.
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 x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ was added last year and has done great this spring.
Bees love these penstemons. They also have been enjoying tradescantia, foxgloves, Verbena bonariensis, echinacea and recently blooming Blue Sky salvia.
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.
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.
Here are more echinacea with explosions of pink flowers from Red Rocks Penstemon in the distance.
A pass-along dahlia overwintered successfully and began blooming this week. (Thank you Libby!)
The dwarf oak leaf hydrangea has finally put on its first big floral display after taking several years to get established.
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.
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.
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.
Multiple heavy storms this week have my friends complaining, “Enough water!” but by some fluke of nature, promising dark clouds bypassed my neighborhood day after day, time and again. So this afternoon when a nice steady rain started up, I welcomed it readily.
One benefit of the need to be out watering yesterday morning was the enjoyment of seeing bees and hummingbirds sipping from the flowers. I also spotted a beautiful butterfly atop Echinacea purpurea, so came back out later with my camera. I welcome corrections because my identification skills are woefully undeveloped and potentially unreliable, but according to me, this one is Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).
Common Buckeyes are found all over the United States, except in the Northwest. And supposedly here in the south where I live, they are well, rather true to their name, common; however, I do not see them commonly, so one picture was not enough.
When the butterfly is fresh its eye spots have a lavender tint.
Here the butterfly is sharing politely with a bee. There is a little sliver missing from its upper left wing.
Eventually the butterfly drifted toward the ground to light upon Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox).
Its ventral wing coloring is lighter in spring and summer, helping to camouflage itself. In fall and winter the color darkens to a rosier hue.
Another insect that caught my attention yesterday was the Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). It is also is found abundantly in this area of North Carolina. For the longest time I tried to discern shades of coloring and markings (chevrons, smudges, spots?) to identify if this is male or female. Still not sure, but I am guessing female.
The club-shaped ends of the antennae are black on the outside and orange on the inside.
I will close with a look at one flower I am especially enjoying this week. It is a striking shade of my favorite garden color—blue. The black calyces and stems add contrast and drama.