Monday, July 15, 2013

July Bloom Day: A Transition Period

Mid-July represents a transition period in my garden.  The flowers that arrived with a bang in May and June are beginning to wane as the temperatures soar.   While those temperatures have reached the mid-90s on some days, we've yet to have the sustained periods of miserably high temperatures that typically characterize summer in this area of Southern California but I'm fairly certain we're headed in that direction.

The Agapanthus blooms that have dominated both my front and back gardens since their arrival in May (which I wrote about here), generally look shabby now.  I can still find fresh blooms here and there, like this one:

But the vast majority look like this:

I'm going to have to dedicate a few hours this week to cutting back the fading flower stalks.  Last week I finally got around to cutting back the Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa) and I've been cutting back daylily (Hemerocallis) spikes for weeks as each variety, in turn, ended its spring run.

The Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are still going strong with regular deadheading; however, the taller varieties, have begun to flop over, as they're inclined to do.

July marked the flowering of the mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin).  As mentioned in an earlier post, this is a mixed blessing.  The tree is currently covered in blooms.

One branch laden with fuzzy pink blooms

View of the backyard tree peaking over the roof, photographed from the front yard

But, in addition to all the flowers on the tree, there is a huge quantity of litter on the ground, on the patio, on the patio furniture, in the nearby fountain, and covering every plant in the general vicinity.

Lawn below the mimosa tree less than a day after a major clean-up

On a more positive note, the plants just beginning their summer bloom cycle include the following:

Abelia x grandiflora (no ID on variety)

Achillea millefolium

Angelonia 'Angelmist Dark Pink'

Aster novae-angliae 'Skyscraper'

Convolvulus  sabatius

Coreopsis 'Big Bang Redshift'

Coreopsis 'Tahitian Sunset'

Echinacea hybrid 'Sombrero Hot Coral'

Tanacetum parthenium (with dried mimosa bloom)

Geranium 'Rozanne'

Asiatic lily (no ID), received as a gift with an early spring bulb purchase, surrounded by Cuphea 'Starfire Pink'

Leonotis leonurus, performing well for the 1st time this year after a hard pruning last year

Lisianthus 'Echo Pink'
Pentas lanceolata 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom', a recent purchase

Russelia equisetiformis 'Flamingo Park'

Tibouchina urvilleana

Trachelium caeruleum 'Devotion Purple'

In addition to these recent bloomers, some of the spring/summer stalwarts of my garden are still going strong.

2 new bloom spikes on this Acanthus mollis - maybe it prefers its full sun exposure to the shady condition it grew in before removal of a nearby tree

Achillea 'Moonshine' and Geranium 'Brookside', both returning after a late spring trim

Echinacea 'Pow Wow White'

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Sun'

Gaura lindheimeri 'Snow Fountain', Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy', and Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink'

Geranium 'Tiny Monster'

Gomphrena 'Las Vegas Mix' with a Nemesia returning for a 2nd year (and a couple of dried-up mimosa blooms)

Osteospermum '3D Silver' still going (decorated with more mimosa blossoms)

Pansies in July in Southern California!

I'm joining the gardeners who link up on the 15th of each month to share what's blooming in their gardens.  This monthly event is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  You can connect to other bloom posts by going to her site.  Thanks for visiting mine!


  1. Kris, I feel the same way about July. It's a hard month here in SoCal since the gardens have been up and running 4-5 months already, and we know the long, hot fall is ahead. But you've got a lot of interest still in yours and have picked some great plants to see you through summer. Happy BD!

    1. Even when we lived 15 miles further northwest where it was a good 10 degrees cooler, my gardening energy waned in July and August before perking up again in early fall. The down-right hot temps we face here tends is confining my gardening to early mornings and evenings but, as there's still so much I want to do with my "new" garden, I haven't been able to shut down activity altogether. I'm trying to spend more time planning and less time planting though! Thanks for visiting, Denise. Your garden blog is one of my main stops when I'm looking for ideas.

  2. Gorgeous blooms...I hope they hold out a bit longer in the approaching heat. After seeing your post, I realize again that I need to grow Gomphrena!

    1. I didn't discover Gomphrena until we moved to our current location and I acquired a lot of sunny garden space. It certainly handles the hot weather and tolerates some drought so I see more Gomphrena in my future too. Thanks for visiting, Scott!

  3. What lovely photos! I haven't seen any Agapanthus up my way, but it's so pretty! I'll have to look it up and see how far north it can go.

    1. I think there are some deciduous varieties that can be grown in western Oregon, Linnae, but I don't know if Agapanthus can handle the cold in Oregon. Maybe you could try it as a pot plant inside in the winter if you have a sunny space to put it?

  4. Maybe I should be happy that my Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' doesn't bloom. After all, I only bought it for the stunning foliage.

    I guess it doesn't matter where you are, the heat of July takes a toll on the garden (and the gardener). Lots of color still for you though.

    Happy GBBD Kris!

    1. 'Summer Chocolate' is certainly handsome and clearly popular but I admit that I shudder a little every time someone mentions it. Ours is well over 30' tall and wide, though - if it was smaller, it would probably be easier to manage.

      I hope you had a good GBBD, Sue. When are we going to see pictures of all those pots you were planting up?

  5. Oh, I SO have Leonotis envy! So cool... And your garden looks beautiful as always!