Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bloom Day - August 2017

We've been enjoying unusually pleasant weather for the past week.  The marine layer is back in position each morning, which keeps the afternoon temperatures down.  However, it is mid-summer, normally the lowest point in the gardening year here.  Although there are flowers scattered here and there throughout the garden, the heaviest concentration of floral color right now can be found in the cutting garden.  I gave up vegetables for flower seeds and bulbs this year and I'm very happy with the result.

It's not a large space but it's supporting a bevy of bees and butterflies


Dahlias, sunflowers and zinnias dominate the 3 raised planters, although there are also some flowering herbs, most notably 'African Blue' Oncimum, a noID Origanum, and Salvia elegans.

Dahlia 'Hakuyou' is a dinner-plate type.  This its first bloom.

Dahlia 'Loverboy', a semi-cactus type, is in competition with 'Terracotta' as the most vigorous thus far

Actually, Dahlia 'Little Robert', a pom-pom type, is a strong performer too but its smaller flowers make less of a splash

Dahlia 'Terracotta', another semi-cactus variety, has been over-taking 'Loverboy' in flower-power in the past 2 weeks

Meanwhile, Dahlia 'Punkin Spice', classified an an informal decorative type, is only now producing its first bloom.  Just 2 other dahlias grown from tubers, 'Fairway Spur' and 'Otto's Thrill', both dinner-plate varieties, have yet to show themselves, although both have finally produced buds.

The sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) surprised me by seemingly blooming all at once.  This one grew from a 'Flash Blend' seed mix.

I think this one is Helianthus annuus 'Lemon Queen' but I can't say I kept my seeds straight

I also mixed up my Zinnia seed mixes so I'm not even going to try to name these


In the back garden, Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' produced its largest flush of bloom yet in late July.  The blooms were already fading in early August when I took this photo, but I couldn't resist sharing it.  If there's a pattern to this Callistemon's bloom cycles, I haven't discovered it.

The flowers were already turning a buff color here but they were profuse and attracted both bees and butterflies.  Growers describe the flower color as pink but it reads as more of a rosy peach to me.


Other plants providing healthy flushes of flowers include the following:

While the pink variety of Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) isn't as vigorous this year as last year, the blue variety seems to be hanging on longer into the season than it has in prior years

Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun' continues to out-perform every other Gaillardia in my garden

Since adding 6 Alternanthera 'Little Ruby' to the narrow partial shade bed beside the house, I've been watering the area more to help those foliage plants establish good roots and that extra water has given the dark burgundy ivy geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) a major boost 

Pelargonium peltatum and Pandorea jasminoides continue to merge congenially over the arbor separating the cutting garden from the dry garden

Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum' is off to a good start for the season that extends from late summer through winter

Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' is finally putting on a good show


As usual, certain ever-blooming plants continue to pump out new flowers, even if the volume has dipped in response to summer's toasty temperatures and bone dry conditions.

Clockwise from the left: Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream', G. 'Superb', G. 'Ned Kelly', Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink', and Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'


A couple of plants provided surprises on a small scale too.

A lone surprise lily (Amaryllis belladonna), also known as naked lady because it blooms well after its foliage has died back, appeared.  In 2015, Tammy Schmitt of Casa Mariposa sent me 2 dozen bulbs she rescued from an inhospitable spot in her garden.  Foliage emerged following our winter rains but thus far this is the only flower to make an appearance.  I have my fingers crossed that others will follow.

This is a recent purchase, Lotus jacobaeus.  It produced blooms much sooner than I'd expected.  They look like tiny black butterflies. 


I'll end this post with a few collages of flowers deserving honorable mentions.

From left to right: Anagallis monellii, blooming again after a severe haircut; Catananche caerulea, which has bloomed for 2 months now;Tibouchina urvilleana; and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'

From the left: Bauhinia x blakeana, still with more flowers than leaves; Pentas 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom, back from near death; and an unexpected bloom on my noID purplish-pink rose

Clockwise from the upper left: Mandevilla 'Sun Parasol Apricot' with Abelia 'Kaleidoscope' beneath; Coreopsis 'Big Bang Redshift' with the best flush of bloom in years; Lantana camara 'Irene' also returning after a trim; one of few remaining Leucanthemum x superbum; noID Phalaeonopsis, which keeps producing new bloom spikes; and self-seeded Tanacetum parthenium


For more Bloom Day reports, visit our host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

30 comments:

  1. Hi Kris, yesterday's vases are just beautiful, your sunflowers are adorable. But I've equally enjoyed the stroll through your lovely garden as it's always nice to get 'the bigger picture'. You've created such diversity and all the plants sit very happily together. Your view is not bad either! Lots of newbies too which I shall google now. All the best, Annette from Annette's Garden

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    1. Thanks for taking a virtual stroll through my garden, Annette!

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  2. Just gorgeous! You give me so many ideas for the future :)

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    1. I'm glad to be of service, Holly. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Hello Kris! your garden looks splendid! I see the pictures and wish I was there to see all the treasures it has! Your display of zinnias and dahlias is stunning, I hope to get some of them next month!

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    1. I always have to remind myself that you're operating on a seasonal schedule opposite to ours, MDN. I hope your dahlias and zinnias bring as much satisfaction as mine have this year.

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  4. Your IAVOM posts have prompted me to not only convert my vegetable beds to cutting beds, but also to order a 'Loverboy' tuber to plant in the spring. I'm very tempted now to see if I can find 'Terra Cotta' too. As usual, you have a gorgeous rundown of flowers for Bloom Day.

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    1. 'Terracotta' is a subtle beauty, while 'Loverboy' is in your face, Alison. But both are worth growing. I'm anxious to see if 'Fairway Spur' lives up to the photos on Floret Farm's site - given the time it's kept me waiting for a bloom, it'd better!

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  5. Your cutting garden is a smashing success -- and so is that 'Cane's Hybrid, which looks incredible outlined against the hedge.

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    1. I'd seen photos of 'Cane's Hybrid's' floral display but somehow was still surprised to see it in all its glory!

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  6. Oh I'm glad to read that your afternoon temperatures are being pegged down Kris. Fabulous dahlias,zinnias and sunflowers. What is the splash of orangey foliage in the terracotta pot in front of the raised bed?

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    1. It really feels like fall is starting here at the moment, although I'm fairly certain summer's not done with us, Anna. The orange-colored plant in front of the middle raised bed is Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire', a very tough, drought tolerant succulent. Left to its own devices, the plant can get 8 or more feet tall but, stuck in a pot, this one is (mostly) under control.

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  7. Oh my goodness, so much gorgeous color and texture in your garden. Beautiful!

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  8. well as usual you have a boatload of blooms ! I am planning for Dahlias next year I miss them. We are having cool temps here too-I think our poor pals up in the PNW are getting the crappy August weather that we usually have.

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    1. I'm almost afraid I'll jinx us by saying it, but it's been a relatively mild summer thus far. At present, it feels more like early fall but I imagine higher temperatures will be paying a return visit all too soon.

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  9. So many flowers, all wonderful. Your Dahlias look great. All despite August weather. Happy GBBD!

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    1. So far, I've been very pleased with the dahlias. I suspect 'Otto's Thrill' may turn out to be a bit of a disappointment but those tubers were unusually small so perhaps I'll have to give them another year to bulk up.

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  10. Wow, so much floral loveliness! I'm quite jealous of all the space you have for a cutting garden. Oh and that Callistemon...wow!

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    1. I get more joy out of that cutting garden than I got out of my veg-growing efforts, Loree. And I count that Callistemon among my best purchases.

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  11. Hard to pick a favorite among all the beauties, but I have always been a big fan of Cherry Brandy, and that black Lotus looks really intriguing... The Callistemon is fantastic! I couldn't help comparing it to my spindly green one, which is bravely getting by on some afternoon sun. I still love it, though, and am not ready to part from it yet.

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    1. 'Cherry Brandy' is the only Rudbeckia I've had any real luck with but then I've always grown it in the front garden so maybe the luck derives from that particular placement. Yes, you should definitely give your Callistemon some time - I'd love to add a green-flowered variety to my garden but I've yet to get my hands on one either locally or by mail order.

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  12. Your cut flower beds are a success Kris. You often say you don't have many blooms but you have far more than I do! I can see by the light that is is still hot; I'm glad you are at least getting some relief from the high temperatures with your morning mist.

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    1. Because I don't often have large swaths of blooms, the volume of floral material appears light to me but you're right that the pockets of flowers I capture during my Bloom Day inventory tells a different story. The cutting garden has made a major difference in the output of summer flowers and I owe the inspiration for its creation to you, Christina.

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  13. Your garden is so spectacular, Kris. Hard to believe it used to be mostly lawn.

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    1. The lawn seems but a distant memory, Barbara!

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  14. Dahlias and zinnias are the delight of late summer - yours look very happy indeed. That new lotus is eye-catching, too -great description of black butterflies!

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    1. I'd admired that Lotus for some time but had the impression (garnered from where I couldn't tell you) that is was hard to grow. So far, though, it seems very happy in a large pot. (Of course, the last occupant of that pot, Phylica pubescens, also looked great for awhile...)

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  15. That callistemon is wonderful! I hope you get to see more naked ladies in your garden this year (snicker). If not this year, I bet they'll show up next year. Our weather cooled after several weeks in the high 80s and 90s and those awful 100+ temps. It feels so much better.

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    1. I'm surprised I haven't seen more of the naked ladies this year. The foliage showed up on schedule following our rainy season, although, as I recall, we got some heat in spring and it burned out quickly. Still, one stalk out of 2 dozen bulbs seems a very poor turn-out.

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