trumpet vine – campsis

25 Jul

besusanetal 006besusanetal 004Trumpet vines once again have covered the pergola, although the blooms don’t seem to be as plentiful this year — bad news for the hummingbirds who love this plant.

Trumpets are gorgeous flowers, but take care.  They tend to send up seedlings everywhere and are very difficult to dislodge.  Also, they must not be grown close to a house, where the vines can penetrate siding and shingles.

black eyed susan – rudbeckia

25 Jul

besusanetal 002This cheerful variety of cone flower is just coming into bloom.  Like its many-colored cousins, it’s a great cut flower as well as a good way to attract butterflies and other critters to the garden.

cone flower – echinacea

14 Jul

IMG_4101For me, the real beauty of cone flowers is that they attract pretty little gold finches who like to sit on the flowers and eat the seeds.  They’re very skittish, though, and I have not yet been successful capturing any on film.

take a break

12 Jul

One of the mistakes I made when I first started gardening a dozen or so years ago was that, although I could picture the garden as I wanted it to become, I tended to see only the work that would be needed to get it there.  By the second or third year, I realized that what was supposed to be a hobby had turned into a chore.  One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is to enjoy the garden as it is.  There’s always more work to do, but I no longer look at the garden and see only the weeds that need pulling or the shrubs that need trimming.  I’ve become a firm believer in having somewhere to sit and enjoy the garden and, since my garden is set up with lots of structures and winding paths — making it impossible to see the whole garden from one spot — I have lots of resting areas.  Click on any picture and let the arrows take you to the places in the garden I like to sit and enjoy the view.

daisy – chrysanthemum

12 Jul


IMG_4297Some people are surprised to learn that daisies belong to the chrysanthemum family, bred to bloom during the Summer rather than the Fall.  Daisies are long-lasting cut flowers (as long as the water is changed regularly and no leaves are allowed below the water’s surface).  Try putting a daisy in a clear container in a window that gets at least morning sun and you might find that after a week or two it starts to grow roots.  Like many plants with “hairy” stems, daisies can be propagated in water or moist soil — I usually dip the stems in rooting hormone when I start them in soil.

garden phlox

12 Jul

phlox 002A nice, old-fashioned garden plant, these phlox were moved from a bed in front where they really didn’t fit in to one of the beds in back.  They seem to like it here.  In front, they grew to a height of about 2′.  In this bed they’re already more than 5′ tall — and to think I worried they’d get lost among all the other flowers in this bed.

double rose of sharon – althea

12 Jul

Last month I showed you some of the single-petalled Rose of Sharon bushes as they came into bloom.  Now the doubles are blooming as well.  Perhaps not as exotic looking as the singles, the doubles are more well behaved — no seed pods sending up volunteers all over the garden.rose of sharon 004

I think I also mentioned that some of the purple and white singles had cross pollinated, producing a sort of salmon/pink flower.  Those have begun opening as well.rose of sharon 010All the Rose of Sharon bushes are loaded with buds and there should be continuous flowers right up to frost.


12 Jul

A few days ago I posted some of the many great photos grandson Jacob took while I was out of town.  He also got some great shots of the hostas coming into bloom (some of these are mine but most are Jake’s).  I’ve never cared much for hosta flowers, growing them mostly for their leaves, but seeing Jake’s pictures has given me a whole new appreciation of these little blooms.  I’m posting them as a gallery so you can click on any one and use the arrows to navigate through the entire set if you like.

plume poppy – macleaya

11 Jul

Plume poppies are large (6′ or more tall) perennials with beautifully lobed leaves that are grey/green on top and nearly white underneath.   The flowers don’t so much have petals as numerous stamens (see detail below).  As the flowers drop, they leave airy looking seed pods that are a little more brownish than the flowers but that stay on until Fall.plume poppy 013  (Click on either picture to get a closer look.)

plume poppy

plume poppy

purple heart – setcresea purpurea

10 Jul

For whatever reason, purple heart was the most searched post in last year’s blog, so here it is again.  This is a tender perennial, or in this zone an annual, that spends the winter in the sunroom.  The plant gets pretty leggy over the winter, so I lop it back to about 6″ each Spring and it comes right back.  It blooms most of the time, even in Winter — though those blooms are sporadic.   New plants can be started easily by snipping off a section of stem, removing the lower leaves, and potting the bottom few inches in moist soil.