Thursday, June 28, 2018

June's Top 10 Blooms

Chloris at The Blooming Garden hosts a monthly recap of the top 10 blooms selected by gardeners each month.  I'm joining this month with my own list.  While my Bloom Day posts are free-for-alls that cram together virtually everything I find in flower, the top 10 exercise requires more thought and, better perhaps for readers of my blog, much less to digest.  The exercise of distilling my list down to 10 plants was surprisingly difficult, at least at this time of year.  What is the basis for selecting such favorites?  Do I apply that rationale consistently?  Should I rule out plants that bloom all or most of the year to focus only on plants that peak during the month in question?  Am I over-thinking this?  The answer to the last question is "probably."

I often over-analyze things; however, in this case, I found that the blooms that are the most profuse in my garden generally rose to the top of my list, followed by flashy plants that put on a limited show.  Then, once I ruled out plants that I'd previously listed as favorites this year, plants that are new and haven't yet proven their value, and plants that are only just starting their bloom cycle, I was able to settle on my top 10.

Agapanthus was an easy choice.  It's blooming en masse this month.

The plants and their flowers are often dismissed as common here because you see them everywhere but that's because they're tough, attractive in and out of bloom, and fairly drought resistant

These 2 large masses consisting of multiple clumps of Agapanthus are located in my front garden.  There are similar masses in other areas of the front and back gardens.

All my Agapanthus came with the garden, although I've dug up, divided and moved some clumps over the course of our time here.  This group sits under the mimosa tree in the back garden.


Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lily) is also blooming in spots throughout my garden.

This is a plant I introduced in this garden.  I purchased 3 plants by mail order from Annie's Annuals & Perennials our first year here and I've divided them several times already.  I've spread them throughout the garden.  They bloom best when given morning sun and afternoon shade.


Another profuse bloomer is Crassula pubescens ssp radicans.

This Crassula with its tiny yellow flowers is another one I've spread throughout my garden but the flowers show up best against the larger agaves in this area


My choice of Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' surprised me a bit but, after doing little or nothing last year, it's come into its own this summer.

It looks best when backlit.  Between the Cuphea and the Grevillea 'Superb' (right) the hummingbirds are in heaven here.


Gazanias Gaillardias are one of the flowers with an exceptionally long bloom period in my garden, although unlike some of my Grevilleas they don't actually bloom all year.  However, 'Arizona Sun' is at its best this time of year.

I've used 'Arizona Sun' in a number of areas as it nicely echoes the reds, oranges and yellows in many of my beds

This clump is in the front garden.  Even though this photo was taken at dusk, 'Arizona Sun' still shines.


Gaura lindheimeri also has a long bloom period.  In addition, its delicate bloom stalks blow in the wind, adding movement in the garden.

Gaura is admittedly a rampant self-seeder but, if you're watchful, you can pull up the seedlings easily when they're small


Perhaps you noticed the flowers of Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' in the photo of the Gaura above.  That photo was taken in the late afternoon after a day of intense sun and the flowers look more washed out that they appeared earlier in the day.

'Spanish Harlem' was one of the first daylilies I introduced to this garden.  It's flowered well this year despite our pitifully low winter rainfall.  It also hasn't had the rust issues I've noticed in prior years.

No one can claim that this bloom looks washed out!


Leucanthemum x superbum (aka Shasta Daisies) are common in gardens all across the country but I love the ruffled form that grows in my garden.  A friend gifted me with 6 plants in 4-inch pots following my mother's death in 2013.  They come back more strongly every year.

If the plants came with a tag identifying the cultivar, I've no record of it.  This mass of blooms is in my back garden.

And this is one of several in my front garden


My next choice, Polygala, almost didn't make the cut for this list because it doesn't photograph well, or, more accurately, I never managed to capture it well.  Still, I notice it every time I walk through both the front and back gardens so it deserves a place on the list.

This is a smaller variety, Polygala fruticosa 'Petite Butterfly'.  It's self-seeded a bit in my front garden.

This taller variety is Polygala myrtifolia 'Mariposa'.  The flowers are identical to those of 'Petite Butterfly'.  Only the plant's mature size seems to be different.  These in the back garden get more sun and the foliage tends to yellow a bit.


My last selection, Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman', also didn't show up especially well in its photos but its flowers are a bright blue so I'll forgive it just about anything.

This Salvia has been in the ground just 2 years and it's still well shy of its projected mature size


That's my top 10 list of blooms.  What's on yours?  To see others, visit Chloris at The Blooming Garden.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

27 comments:

  1. With all so many blooms in your garden this time of year, the task of choosing just ten would be a difficult one but you've risen to the occasion well! Thanks for including the link to Annie's. I've been meaning to order Renga Lilies ever since you used it in a vase a year or two ago so today, gift card in hand, I did it! Hope they're happy here as I have a lot of deep shade for them.

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    1. The Renga Lilies need a little sun to bloom well, Peter, although they're pretty tolerant of a wide range of conditions. The ones that do best in my garden get morning sun and full shade in the afternoon.

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  2. Thank you for joining in with your top ten blooms Kris. I was intrigued to see which ones you would choose with so many beauties in your garden. Your agapanthus are gorgeous, they will definitely be on my list for July. Have you tried growing them from seed? They are very easy and you get some lovely surprises.I love your Renga lily, I am still looking for it here. Super Shasta daisies and what an unusual salvia. All fabulous of course.

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    1. I haven't tried growing Agapanthus from seed. I've more than enough already and the bulbs divide easily enough to move about as needed. The only place I've ever found the Renga Lily is Annie's Annuals & Perennials in Northern California. They sell by mail order but I won't bet on whether they ship to the UK. The plants are native to New Zealand so, if you have a source for plants from that area of the world, that would be the one to check.

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  3. Oh those Agapanthus are so gorgeous. I've tried them here but not much luck. I have a question for you (or anybody): do you cut back the Guara mid-season? Mine get so leggy and i'm now testing cutting back half of a few of them to see if it helps! Mine certainly don't stay upright, as yours seem to do, but just start producing fewer and fewer flowers as the stems get longer and longer. Anyone know?

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    1. I did cut my Gaura back by half mid-season last year. This year, all I've done is trim back some of the spent stems on a piecemeal basis.

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  4. Great list, I can see why you picked agapanthus as your first - so beautiful! My Cuphea that I overwintered withered when I planted it in the garden, but it is slowly recovering. A new rooted cutting will probably overtake it, it is so vigorous. I think you meant gaillardia, but typed gazania for the 'Arizona Sun,' which look wonderful. I love your frilly Shasta daisies!

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    1. Well, I really just took the list in alphabetical order but, had I arranged it in order of impact in the garden, the Agapanthus would have been listed first anyway. I DID mean Gaillardia! Thanks for the heads-up, Eliza!

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  5. Kris, you whittled the list down to great selections. Would love one day to state agapanthus were growing and blooming en masse in my garden, but it doesn't do well here. 'Spanish Harlem' is a lovely lily.

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    1. 'Spanish Harlem' is responsible for making me fall in love with daylilies. I just wish they were happier here!

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  6. I had a quick stop at Annie's last week and, seeing a bench full of Renga lilies, immediately thought of you, Love the planting with gaillardia, Bright Star yucca, leucadendron with golden coleonema and yarrow in the background and a little blue from the agapanthus.

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  7. My Gaura doesn't look nearly that good. I like your whole top 10 though - so many flowers!

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    1. I really am a "flower floozy," Renee.

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  8. That Shasta is probably 'Marconi' .Spanish Harlem sure looks splendid. Since I removed the damnable Liquidambar this spring a couple of my daylilys don't seem to be impressed with the extra sun.I may have to do some shuffling in fall.

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    1. I've also seen the frilly Shasta Daisy labeled 'Crazy Daisy' in catalogs. I wish it'd show up more often in local garden centers.

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  9. I’ve always love agapanthus for its undemanding hardiness, so think it was an excellent choice. I like the Gaillardia as well. I’ve only just discovered them, but you have a wonderful selection over there that we are never likely to see. Your garden is so well planted to deal with the adverse conditions you have to deal with.

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    1. Gaillardias seem to have gained the attention of US plant breeders, Jane. New ones have been appearing at regular intervals. My other favorite is Gaillardia aristata 'Gallo Peach' but I haven't seen it recently.

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  10. I have a similar colored daylily. I don't know what the name of it is. It is such a rich deep color that even the sun can't bleach it out. I love the dark color. That blue salvia is one I have never seen or heard about. It is huge...and beautiful.

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    1. There are a LOT of daylilies out there that look the same to me, Lisa, but I guess each breeder has the right to assign his/her creation a name. Salvia clevelandii is a California native but this cultivar, 'Winnifred Gilman', is an especially bright blue.

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  11. Gaillardias are wonderfully effortless and very xeric. I've been discovering some new varieties over the past years. They add a wonderful pop of heat to the garden among lavender and fleabane. I love those curly shasta daisies! I'll be one the lookout for those next spring. Your garden is magical!

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    1. Bluestone Perennials sells a few of the double-petaled Shasta Daisies (all listed under the old classification as Chrysanthemums). The one labeled 'Fluffy' appears to be the closest to mine but there's also one called 'Sante' and another called 'LaSpider'.

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  12. I love your Spanish Harlem but share your problem. I put mine in a place where they get too much afternoon sun and zap-their color is lost. I need to move them to a more shaded place. One lives and learns-sometimes.

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    1. I think the timing of the daylily's bloom cycle makes a difference here. Blooms during cooler periods seem to hold their color better. Earlier this month, when the marine layer was holding on until mid-to-late afternoon, the color held but of late the sun's been shining by noon. We're still cooler than normal for late June but we're slowly warming up!

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  13. Hmm. For some reason posted a reply instead of a comment. Sorry.

    Trying again:
    I planted that Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' here this year--one more plant to lure Hummers. Judging by the size of yours, I need to give mine more room.

    Hydrangeas had a good June here, as did Dahlias, Fuchsias, Metrosideros excelsa, Roses, Pentas, Hemerocallis, and so forth.

    A more seasonal June than the past couple of Junes, not so hot. It's been lovely. There's no need for summer to last six months, is there?

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    1. No, there isn't! I'm praying the "June gloom" will be followed by "No Sky July"! A little sun in the afternoon is sufficient if the morning marine layer continues to hold the heat down.

      Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' grew very little during its first year in the ground. It didn't bulk up until this year but, as it may not be readily apparent from my photo, I should point out that there are 3 plants in that spot.

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