Tag Archives: summer garden

Sharing The Garden

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

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 Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

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.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Here the butterfly is sharing politely with a bee. There is a little sliver missing from its upper left wing.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Eventually the butterfly drifted toward the ground to light upon Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox).

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

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.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

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.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) On Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) On Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) On Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) On Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

The club-shaped ends of the antennae are black on the outside and orange on the inside.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

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.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Post 550—Flowers And Insects

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

It is just a number, but having arrived here, I like the idea of marking my 550th post.

Most days this week I have enjoyed the garden by getting up early, between 5:00-6:00 a.m., to take pictures, water certain plants and spend some time in quiet reflection before the neighborhood starts bustling. A red Daylily started flowering a week ago, this yellow one opened today.

Wednesday I noticed a colorful creature spiraling an Allium Atropurpureum. Perhaps someone will be able to help me identify it.

Allium Atropurpureum

Allium Atropurpureum

Scattered all around the garden, Echinacea purpurea has been reliable in the heat. Some planting of echinacea received no extra water during this drought, but I watered this section fairly regularly since I was watering nearby. Even drought-tolerant plants such as this one respond positively to some attention.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Along Back of Northern Border

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Along Back of Northern Border

Bees are becoming active at this early time of day, but frequently during my walks I have come upon them asleep on Echinacea and once, on Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Another bee pair was lazily hanging out on the spire of a Liatris spicata. This one is the only liatris that has kept its dignity during the recent heat wave.

Liatris spicata

Liatris spicata

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) came into its own this week. Along with Cleome it helped to fill in some gaps along the fence in the western border, attracting more bees at the same time.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Bee on Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Bee on Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

A recent addition to the garden, Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia) is taking its time getting adjusted to its new home. Eventually it should make a nice large clump and overwinter, I hope. There are  a couple of new flowers each morning, gone later in the day—the bunny or some other phenomenon? I have not seen the rabbits in 4 or 5 days nor have I come upon an abandoned little blue velvet jacket.

Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia)

Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia)

Under the screened porch a long border was overtaken years ago by Shasta Daisies. When they first come into bloom they are fresh and inviting.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Always too quick for my camera on a few mornings there was a single hummingbird sipping among the Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm). The blooms are drying out so one time the tiny bird caught a a long red petal in its long beak instead of finding nectar—I could almost see it trying to spit it out.

Last night a huge storm passed us right by and hovered instead over the town of Chapel Hill. Several friends reported hail damage. Tonight a smaller storm carried some light rain our way for 45 minutes. The bird baths were filled only half-way, but the water should help refresh the garden. Have a great weekend.

Summer And Summer Phlox

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm—Summer Solstice ( June Solstice) is today.  The temperature currently is 89 °F (31.7 °C) at 11:00 am, quickly heading toward a high of 99 °F (37 °C).

June 2015 (source: weather underground.com)

June 2015 (source: weatherunderground.com)

The weather continues to be quite a distraction and hindrance to gardening, yet somehow certain plants persevere even when the gardener falls behind. Summer phlox began blooming this week in the western border.

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Happy Summer!

A Garden Review of 2014: Summer

Cathy at Words and Herbs began a project last week to review her 2014 garden in three segments: Spring, Summer, and Late Summer/Autumn—one each week running up to Christmas—and she encouraged others to join in. This is part two of my 2014 review, a look back at Summer.

June

In Early June the sight of a gardenia flower opening was especially appreciated. There were very few blooms this year as the bushes had been severely damaged by last winter’s cold.

A Passalong Gardenia jasminoides

A Passalong Gardenia jasminoides- June 5, 2014

Several small evergreen trees in the mixed border hedge had to be removed, leaving some broad gaps in the overall structure (that still need to be filled), but many parts of the garden were doing well. The iris flowers were being replaced by those of nepeta, echinacea and monarda.

Facing West, Overlooking the Northern Border and Meditation Circle

Facing West, Overlooking the Northern Border and Meditation Circle

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

There were several refreshing rains. For the next few days there were a lot of flowers opening. Monitoring them made early morning garden walks delightful. On June 11 Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ added its beautiful salmon hue to the Northern Border.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower) in northern border

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower) in northern border

On June 12, I noticed the first daylily had opened in the Southern Border—a full week earlier than last year. By this time of the summer American Goldfinches could be seen gathering around stalks of Verbena bonariensis, while bees were feasting on lavender and on Monarda didyma and Tradescantia, both native plants. I was happy to see the rich color of Drumstick allium return to the landscape.

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Allium sphaerocephalon (Dumstick allium) [ I had misidentified as Allium Atropurpureum]

Allium sphaerocephalon (Dumstick allium) [ I had misidentified as Allium Atropurpureum]

Feeling very ambitious, I suppose, on June 19 I took a complete inventory of the plantings in my narrow side garden along the Southern Path.

Southern Side Path

Southern Side Path

July

By this month I was pretty much done gardening for the summer and wrote a long excuse about it the third week in July. But thank goodness during this time I continued to photograph the garden, to search out flowers for Monday vases and to write occasional posts. I can see this is where having a better structural foundation for the garden would help carry it through the summer. As it was, long views were not always pleasing during July, but up close there definitely were a few hotspots of color.

In early July, I had some limited success with bachelor buttons grown from seed. I love that blue color. What I most enjoy is to have flowers that return reliably each year such as Shasta Daisy, tall garden phlox and Buddleja.

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

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

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Also in the first days of the July I was happy to see a few gladioli flowers. I had planted a new collection of colors (purple, lime green and white), but none of them bloomed well at all. This rich blue one was planted when the garden was first created, and is one of the last remaining gladioli bulbs from that time.

Gladiolus Among Echinacea

Gladiolus Among Echinacea July 2, 2014

Much later in July I welcomed the first Lantana flowers. This plant had died back hard during the cold winter and it took longer than usual to bloom. Once open it was covered in flowers until the first freeze. Similarly, Thyme covered the center of the meditation circle with blooms all summer.

Lantana camara (Common lantana) July 20, 2014

Lantana camara (Common lantana) July 20, 2014

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ did well in a patio container and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ burst outwhenever the rains tempered the heat, such as on July 23. Several patches of zinnia made a colorful impact.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

August

Up to this point, while nearby areas were getting lots of precipitation this summer, we mostly just saw the clouds. More consistent and beneficial rains finally returned to this area in early August. Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) responded immediately but neither put on much of a show.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) August 6, 2014

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) August 6, 2014

Storms drenched the garden in midAugust, a welcome relief.

The garden after a storm August 12, 2014

The garden after a storm August 12, 2014

A quick mid-month bloom study showed how the plants appreciated the rain, including the White Swan Echinacea and a new dahlia. My passalong perennial sweet pea enjoyed a comeback that lasted until the first freeze.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Dahlia

Dahlia

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

Later in August Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ began flowering. This is valuable plant for long-lasting effect.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

 

For August Garden Bloggers Foliage Day the new-to-the-garden-this-year Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ continued to prove its worth.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this 2014 garden review. It was good to look back and remember overall the summer garden was greener and stronger this summer than usual.

May 31, 2014 marked my 13th year in this garden. I feel fortunate to be able to tend this small, peaceful space, but honestly I rarely spend much time working in the summer garden. Nevertheless, during these hot months the garden had some very nice moments and by summer’s end, I discovered I was rejuvenated and more eager to partner with it once again. Taking a break was worth it.

Flora at Duke Gardens

Visiting Duke Gardens last weekend I was struck by the complexity of foliage, but anyone who knows me would not be surprised that I was also enjoying the flowers.

The rose garden was punctuated with beautiful Oriental Lilies.

Oriental Lily

Oriental Lily

Next a cheerful group of summery yellow composites was enhanced by bring planted with Pineapple Lily at the beginning of the Perennial Allée.

Eucomis comosa 'Sparkling Burgundy' (Pineapple Lily)

Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (Pineapple Lily)

Eucomis comosa 'Sparkling Burgundy' (Pineapple Lily)

Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (Pineapple Lily)

Once inside the Terrace Gardens the view was vivid, yet serene. The dark foliage and red blooms of the Canna nicely offset the cool, sedate greens vying with multicolored flowers.

View at Duke Gardens

View at Duke Gardens

Taking the steps and rising above the canna I found the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’ to be quite winsome.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer' - Black-Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Indian Summer’ – Black-Eyed Susan

Richly hued annuals accented the Terrace Gardens where each level is organized with thoughtful  and exciting plant combinations. The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ were especially vibrant, so I studied what other materials were used in this area.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’

In addition to Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’ the garden beds on this level featured:
Solenostemon scutellariodes ‘Pineapple’ – Pineapple Coleus
Solenostemon scutellariodes ‘Dipt in Wine’ – Dipt in Wine Coleus
Gomphrena ‘Qis Red’ – Globe Amaranth
Lantana Bandito Orange Sunrise – Lantana
Mecardonia ‘Magic Carpet Yellow’ – Baby Jump-Up
Manihot esculenta ‘Variegata’ – Variegated tapioca was also listed on the plant marker for this grouping but I could not recognize it.

Solenostemon scutellariodes 'Dipt in Wine' - Dipt in Wine Coleus, Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset'

Solenostemon scutellariodes ‘Dipt in Wine’ – Dipt in Wine Coleus, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’

I like the effect achieved by mixing the Rudbeckia with the red Globe Amaranth and the dark wine coleus. The colors relate to the higher level as well.

Solenostemon scutellariodes 'Dipt in Wine' - Dipt in Wine Coleus, Gomphrena 'Qis Red' - Globe Amaranth, Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset'

Solenostemon scutellariodes ‘Dipt in Wine’ – Dipt in Wine Coleus, Gomphrena ‘Qis Red’ – Globe Amaranth, Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cherokee Sunset’

The bright citrus yellow of Pineapple Coleus is a strong and attractive choice in this collection. I do not plant many annuals but would enjoy this color in my garden. I have a much larger Lantana with similar coloring that could use a good companion.

'Pineapple' - Pineapple Coleus, Lantana Bandito Orange Sunrise - Lantana

‘Pineapple’ – Pineapple Coleus, Lantana Bandito Orange Sunrise – Lantana

Late Evening Garden

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

When finally I had a chance to walk through the garden yesterday the sun was well on its way down. A small circle of flowers in the front yard drew me out for a closer look. While there is a lot of pink Echinacea throughout the garden putting on a fine display this summer, this ‘White Swan’ adds a touch of sophistication.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Planted with the White Swan is Liatris. It did fine last year but turned brown right away this season, perhaps not happy with the excessive moisture. Another Liatris in the main part of the garden fared a little better and last evening drew a late diner to its flowers.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

Cleome is coming into its own now. In the Southern Path it has taken hold among the stepping stones and needs to be relocated. This patch is growing against the house near the northern gate.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

The Latana has filled out now with its multicolored clusters. This non-native attracts butterflies, but is invasive in some places.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Early Morning Garden After The Rain

Early Morning Garden

Early Morning Garden

Thunderstorms prevailed overnight. At dawn, rain rinsed the everything one more time for good measure, then left quickly. From an upstairs window the early morning garden stood strong, having withstood the winds and driving rain and looking calmly fresh and serene.

The bare spot in the northern border on the right is where I have been digging up Irises in order to remove Spiderwort. There is more work to do on that project all along to the back fence.

Early Morning Garden After Rain4