I got home last night at Midnight after a seven-day journey first to Boise, Idaho for a visit with Mary Ann Newcomer and then to Portland, Oregon, for Garden Bloggers Fling. I am weary. I almost posted one tomato blossom for this July Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Almost.
There’s something about coming back from garden tours that always makes me full of dismay about my own plot of Earth. My house isn’t grand. It’s a log cabin. My garden wasn’t designed by a famous designer. It’s a collector’s garden designed my me, and I’m no Beatrix Farrand. I try to use all the tips and techniques I’ve learned like repetition of form, focal points and symmetry, but mostly, I garden for the plants. I bought four new plants when we visited Joy Creek Nursery,mCaryopteris clandonensis ‘Worster Gold’, Achillea ‘Summerwine’, Aster n-a. ‘Septemberrubin’ and Filipendula rubra c.v. ‘Venusta.’ How could I not? They are now cooling their heels in my kitchen sink waiting for a spot in the garden. I’ll need to dig something else out first.
It is lily season. They make up for a lot of bad in the garden because they bring the visitor’s eye upward. I did noticed mine only grow five feet, not ten, like those in Oregon. In Oregon, it must be all of the water and a long growing season. We have the long season, but not much water and too much sun some years. Still, I’m very happy with ‘Scheherazade’ (Orienpet) and ‘Casablanca’ (Oriental Hyb.).
I am not as happy with ‘Black Beauty’ (Oriental Hyb.), below, because it’s just not performing as well. It looks great in photos though. The gladiolus are finished, and they look God-Awful from grasshopper chews and such. I think I’ll remove most of them from the borders. I mean it. I know I used to write some lovely prose to ‘Atomic‘, but he no longer deserves my love let alone all of the other top-heavy ones I have to stake. Still, ‘Atomic’ is such a great red.
We’ve had some rain this year. No drought busters, but enough to keep the garden happy with supplemental watering. With rain comes weeds. Tour gardens are in top condition. Vacation gardens are not. Gardeners and their volunteers weed, deadhead and mulch to make everything tour ready. Back home, your garden has had no attention in the least, and so the weedy grasses are taking over. Some petunias are dying in the containers where the water didn’t get to them. It’s a million little things that sap one’s energy.
Although gardens won’t weed themselves, we can still take a day to enjoy just the blooms and try not to worry about all of the work that must be done. On to the flowers….
Not only is it lily season, it’s also hibiscus time in the garden. I have several, but two make my heart swoon, ‘Moy Grande’ and ‘Cranberry Crush’, and they couldn’t be more different. ‘Moy Grande’ is five feet tall and five feet wide while ‘Cranberry Crush’ is a diminutive three to four feet. ‘Moy Grande’ is bright, screamin’ pink while ‘Cranberry Crush’ is red.
The blooms of ‘Moy Grande’ are huge and open while ‘Cranberry Crush’ has petals that overlap more. CC is planted here in dappled sun so it doesn’t open until later in the morning. I think I bought both of these cultivars at Bustani Plant Farm, but you can also find them at Plant Delights Nursery, and they ship. One more thing, I planted three plants of ‘Cranberry Crush.’ One died the first year. Lucky for me, the other two have grown together as one larger specimen. I only mention it here because things sometimes just die. Who knows why? Don’t let a little death in the garden worry you.
Since ‘Cranberry Crush’, also called Summerific ‘Cranberry Crush’ is a Proven Winners selection, you may be able to find it at the box stores. I would look now as the box stores like to sell plants in bloom. You can probably also find it at your local nursery. While shopping, also pick up some crapemyrtles for your garden if you live in the South, but before you grab the container and go, use your phone to make sure your crapemyrtle won’t get too big for the spot you place it. That way, you won’t need to whack it off every year later.
Here, in spite of the weeds, daylily season blooms on. We’re on rebloom for a lot of the mid-season cultivars, and the lates are just putting on. Remind me in the fall to add more late-blooming daylilies to the garden because they add so much to the overall bloom in July.
Although a lot is blooming, July is not my favorite season. It is another in-between season like mid-May here. Early summer perennials have quit blooming for the year, and later bloomers haven’t taken up the mantle yet. Some plants are crowding others. Time to cut back and make the best of what’s blooming now. Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’ is one of the great summer bloomers along with ‘Pink Preference’ salvia. They always look great from the middle of summer all the way to frost. ‘Pink Preference’ is just getting starting. Hot days will bring out even more color. Behind these hard-working perennials is ‘Pink Velour’ crapemyrtle just getting started.
I have finally successfully grown pineapple lily. Below is ‘Oakhurst’ which is supposed to be the darkest purple. I don’t know if it is, but it is darker than ‘Sparkling Burgundy.’ I think I need an empty pot to place behind it to show it off. All those small leaves make it disappear. One of my biggest design lessons in Portland was the use of large empty pots as focal points and other design elements.
If you went garden touring on vacation, and you’re feeling insecure about your own space right now, just stop. Your garden is yours alone. No one else can create a garden exactly like yours. Don’t let the critic in your head overwhelm you. Gardening is much like writing, painting, photography, or any of the arts. There is always the critic within who wants to make your life a living hell. Don’t let him.
You’re also tired after vacation, and there’s a million things to do. Give yourself at least one day to get back into the swing of things. Take care of yourself. The weeds will be there when you get outside, but for today, try to see the flowers instead.
Thanks to Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.