Entries in summer blooms (4)

Sunday
Aug062017

Summertime: Good Things in the Garden

I don't like summer in Alabama. There, I have broken my rule about not complaining; it is not the first time and won't be the last, though I usually emphasize the positive. However, the humidity, as much as the high heat, takes the joy of gardening from me.

But summer has its wonderful moments. The other night Lou called me outside.

"Look at that!"

My eyes followed his pointing finger, and I gazed into the darkness toward the woods on the other side of the drive. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of twinkling lights amongst the trees: fireflies, or lightning bugs as I have always called them.This public domain photo (not mine!) is a great image of fireflies in the woods.I have not seen such numbers in many years. When I was a child we always looked forward to catching the little critters each summer, putting them in glass jars to watch their blinking lights. Sadly, for whatever reasons their population lessened over the years. But this year they are back. It looked like Christmas lights, sparkling in the woods.

Other delights wait in the garden for me when I venture out in early morning or late afternoon. Green predominates, but the flowers of summer catch my attention:Vinca and pentas grow in a planter in front of the house. They don't mind the hot sun, but I must keep them watered.

1st row:Crape myrtle; Joe Pye weed; Late blooming native azalea. 2nd row: Monarda; Butterfly bush 'Tutti fruitti'; Encore azalea 'Autumn embers.' 3rd row: 'Tropicana' canna lily; Lantana; Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight.'

After a recent rain I took these images of the 'Tropicana' canna lily that grows in front of the house:

This hardy plant flaunts its hot summer colors and tropical heritage.

Snowflake hydrangea blooms linger for months in the woodland garden:

A pop of blue is always welcome in my garden! This little bottle tree has tiny cobalt bottles:

Here are some images from shady areas of the garden:Clockwise from top left: Heucherella; Old bench on the edge of the fern glade; Boston fern that grows in a large urn in the center of the arbor garden; Japanese felt fern (Pyrrosia lingua).

And finally, a couple of views from the August woodland garden:

Positive thoughts of wonderful moments and blessings to you all!   Deb

 

Sunday
Aug232015

Two Salvias For Continuous Color

I tend to have a deep green summer. Except for tropicals, which are grown as annuals here, not many flowers tolerate the high heat and humidity of my summer climate. However, back in April I planted two different types of salvias, and they have both bloomed non-stop with little help from me. I have other types of salvias, but none have the almost continuous bloom I have seen from these. And the great news is that they should both continue blooming till frost. I am also pleased that they are attractive to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. They look great in the border, and they also do well in containers.

First, is Salvia splendens 'Saucy Red.' It features scarlet red blooms on a compact plant from April to November. The heart shaped, evergreen foliage has a neat habit, and the flower spikes are self-cleaning.There is no need to dead-head, though dead-heading will promote new growth. The seeds are sterile. The plant can reach up to 2-3 feet tall x 2-3 feet wide. It is not fussy about soil type, and it needs a moderate amount of water. If grown in a pot, it requires well-draining soil. It should be planted in full sun to part shade. Although Salvia splendens is usually considered a tender perennial at best, this one is said to have a maximum cold tolerance of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (- 18 centigrade).

Another salvia that has been a highlight in my garden this year is Salvia 'Amistad.' Everyone who sees it remarks about its beauty. Thought to have Salvia guarantica and possibly Salvia mexicana parentage, its exact origins are unknown.Originally from Mexico, the name means "friendship." It has amazing velvet purple blooms from spring till frost.It likes full sun and well-drained garden soil. It has deciduous foliage, and I have seen reports of winter temperature tolerance from around 10 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -8 centigrade). If I have a severe winter, I may not see it come back next spring, but even if not, it has earned its keep in my garden this year. A semi-shrub, it can reach 3-4 feet tall x 3 feet wide. Prune when new growth begins in spring. If desired, prune again in mid-season to control growth.

Both salvias should be fertilized with a slow release fertilizer in spring and then mulched.