Thursday, July 15, 2021

Bloom Day - July 2021

Despite the horrible heat many areas of California and the western US are facing (not to speak of the large number of wildfires already burning), my area along the coast has enjoyed a relatively mild summer thus far.  We're still facing serious drought conditions and, like most of California, we've been asked to reduce our water consumption by 15%.  Even though the 2015 water conservation limits were lifted in 2016, I've continued to try to work within those original guidelines and I'm not sure how I can eke out another 15% reduction at this point.  My deliberations on that quandary continue but the subject of today's post is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day so let's focus on that for the time being.

I'll start with what I consider my star blooms this month.

I've long believed that I can't grow lilies here but, last fall, I acted on a whim and purchased 6 lily bulbs.  The first variety, Oreinpet lily 'Pretty Woman', produced 5 blooms on 3 plants.  The scented flowers are larger than my hand.  Three more 'Purple Prince' lilies didn't quite make the Bloom Day cutoff but they're getting ready to bloom too.

My 4 strawberry trees (Arbutus 'Marina') are literally dripping with tiny coral flowers this month

Daucus carota 'Dara', grown from seed, is flowering like there's no tomorrow

The Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) seem to be off to a slow start but at least I finally have flowers in a variety of colors

I thought my daylily season was mostly over when Hemerocallis 'Spanish Harlem' finished up in late June but I've had a few other varieties throw out blooms this month.  Left to right are: 'Apollodorus', 'For Pete's Sake', and 'Persian Market'.

Lavandula angustifolia exploded like the Independence Day fireworks this month

The flowers of Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' aren't easy to photograph but they're particularly abundant this year

My favorite shaggy daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum, took off this month, seemingly blooming all at once

The interesting flowers of this small shrub, Melaleuca thymifolia, deserve more attention than they usually get near the rear of the backyard border

Next up are a few blooms that came as a surprise.

I didn't expect any Hippeastrum blooms this late in the year.  Appropriately perhaps, this variety is called 'Zombie'.  The large bloom is held up by a 3-inch stem.

I sowed seeds of Nigella damascena 'Albion Green Pod' months after I'd sown my Nigella papillosa seeds and, when cilantro came up instead of the Nigella, I assumed I wasn't going to see any flowers from 'Albion Green Pod'.  This delicate flower made its first appearance shortly after I pulled the cilantro.

The flowers of the shrub Rotheca myricoides (syn. Clerodendrum ugandense) must be viewed in closeup to explain its common name of blue butterfly bush (not to be confused with anything in the Buddleia genus)

Every garden has its reliable workhorses and here are some of mine.

Cuphea hybrids 'Starfire Pink' and 'Vermillionaire' bloom year round but the floral display is heaviest during the summer months

With the exception of 'Scarlet Sprite' (lower left), these Grevilleas also bloom year-round.  Clockwise from the upper left are: Grevillea 'Superb' (first 2 photos), 'Ned Kelly', 'Peaches & Cream', and 'Scarlet Sprite'.

Salvia canariensis var candidissima doesn't bloom year round but the colorful calyces that hold the lavender-pink blooms extend the show it provides

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) regularly gets stepped on and it still blooms each year

I also have a host of plants that are coming to the end of their bloom season after putting on a good show in late spring/early summer.

I've already cut down 2-3 dozen spent bloom stalks of Agapanthus.  The rest are getting straggly and most will probably go by the end of the month.  

Like most of the Agapanthus, Hemerocallis 'Sammy Russell' is one of the few perennials that came with the garden.  Those in the back garden are almost done and I expect those in the front will follow within the next couple of weeks.

I've belatedly started to deadhead Monarda 'Peter's Purple' in the hope of getting another flush of flowers

Osteospermum generally goes into hiding during the summer months but this mix of '4D Silver' and 'Violet Ice' has hung on longer than expected

The bright blue flowers of Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' are fading fast

There are a handful of recent additions to my garden I'd like to share too.

I wish I'd bought 2 more of this Agastache 'Sunset Orange' for this bed

This bedding Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun' is the first and only dahlia blooming in my garden at the moment.  This one arrived as a mail order plant, while all the rest were planted as tubers.

I was delighted to stumble upon this California native Solanum xanti in a local garden center 2 weeks ago.  I've grown it before and was very pleased with it.

Venidium fastuosum 'Orange Prince' (syn. Arctotis fastuosa) is my latest plant crush.  I purchased 3 plants by mail order in early June and wish I had more.

This is my latest attempt to grow dwarf Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'.  The rabbits mowed down 2 plants in the front garden but thus far have left the 3 in the back garden alone.

I'll close as I usually do with color collages capturing the best of the rest of what's in bloom this month.

Top row: Fuchsia 'Deep Purple', buds of Globularia x indubia, and Hebe 'Grace Kelly'
Middle row: Plectranthus neochilus, Polygala fruticosa, and Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Deep Blue'
Bottom row: noID Scaevola, Trachelium caerulea, and Trichostema 'Midnight Magic'

Top row: Cistus skanbergii, C. 'Sunset', and Fuchsia 'Miss California'
Middle row: Hebe 'Wiri Blush', Lantana camara 'Irene', and Rosa 'Pink Meidiland'
bottom row: Nemesia 'Banana Swirl', noID Pelargonium, and Scabiosa columbaria 'Flutter Rose Pink'

Top row: Abelia grandiflora 'Edward Goucher', Angelonia 'Archangel White', and Cosmos bipinnatus
Middle row: noID gauva, Magnolia grandiflora, and Myrtus communis 'Compacta'
Bottow row: noID Phalaenopsis, Phyla nodiflora, and
Tanacetum parthenium 'Aureum'

Top row: noID Anigozanthos, Lantana 'Lucky Yellow', and Zinnia 'Profusion'
Middle row: Cotyledon orbiculata and Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights'
Bottom row: Leonotis leonurus and Epilobium californica

Top row: Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer', Gaillardia 'Arizona Sun', and Lobelia laxiflora
Middle row: Cosmos bipinnatus and Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy'
Bottom row: Pelargonium peltatum and P. sidoides

Congratulations, you made it to the end of my very long July Bloom Day post!  To catch up with what's blooming elsewhere in the country and the world, check in with Carol at May Dream Gardens.


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


40 comments:

  1. This bloom's day snuck up on me; a wonderful surprise to see the abundance of flowers in your garden first thing in the morning!
    It may be difficult to photograph but the flowers of Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' but you managed a great photo of it, partially thanks to those glorious coppery leafs. The flower of Nigella damascena 'Albion Green Pod' is a beauty and so is the "noID gauva" bloom.
    I surprise myself today for liking all those white flowers so much, I usually go for color.

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    1. I love color too but, in the face of summer's heat, I think white flowers provide a compelling sense of freshness. I planted the 2 Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' for that beautiful foliage, having no idea what the flowers would look like. It took a few years to produce any flowers but this may be the best flush yet, despite our pathetic rainfall.

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  2. Hurray for your success with the lilies! When it comes to trying things out that push the limits in the garden, I'm a huge fan & I've had really great success growing things that I technically shouldn't be able to. And the flowers on the Melaleuca thymifolia are fascinating!

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    1. I push the limits of my climate quite often, Margaret, just seldom with any actual success! The Melaleuca flowers make me think of a complicated crochet project (not that I've ever crocheted anything), or perhaps one of those dish scrubbers made using plastic netting. I only wish they were easier to use as cut flowers ;)

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  3. As usual there is so much to drool over in your garden and so many unusual plants that I know I can't grow here though I'd love to try. How you do it with such a limited amount of water I can't imagine. Well done with lilies, they are gorgeous.

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    1. The first 'Purple Prince' lily bloomed this morning, just missing out on inclusion in the Bloom Day post. I don't know how I'm going to limit my water usage further than I already have. I may let the whole back slope go, with the exception of the lemon tree and the bay hedge. I probably should stop buying new plants that have to be babied with extra water until they get established but that seems even a bleaker prospect than abandoning the back slope.

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    2. I can't imagine you giving up buying plants, I can recognise a fellow addict when I see one. I have been suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms not being able to get to nurseries through this pandemic. I had a few trips when covid numbers were low, but not enough to feed my insatiable appetite for new plants. And now it will be out of the question for the forseeable future here on Plague Island.
      But your lack of water is an ongoing, terrible problem and I always marvel how you manage to produce such an abundance of glorious blooms.

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    3. Are mail order plants a viable option? I know it's not the same experience but mail order plants have been helpful to me here. I'm preparing to hit the bulb catalogs soon ;)

      I hope the UK is able to turn things around. I was startled to hear that the US issued a travel advisory yesterday suggesting the Americans avoid trips to the UK for now. Of course, the anti-vaxers here can't be convinced either. It's a sad commentary that people have decided they can't trust medical science (or climate science), yet they somehow can trust the cars they drive, the chemical they use to clean their homes, etc.

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    4. I don't really need any more plants. It's the hunt I love and coming across something new and unusual.
      Very good advice to avoid the UK right now.

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    5. I should follow your practice and do a lot more propagating! It doesn't seem that the US is in particularly good shape with respect to Covid spread either...

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  4. Those color collages are excellent. Your lavenders are fabulous.

    So far we've lucked out in avoiding extreme heat--long may it continue!

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    1. The last post by the climate scientist who posts monthly on weatherwest.com suggests our luck along the coast may hold awhile longer yet. Fingers crossed!

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  5. Wow, you have so many flowers in bloom, they’re lovely. I want to try growing daisies next year and that shaggy one is going on my list!

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    1. I've had that shaggy Leucanthemum x superbum for years but it was sold without a cultivar name and I've yet to find it again in local garden centers; however, I've seen one called 'Crazy Daisy' in catalogs that could be it. Good luck with your search!

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  6. Kris, you always the most beautiful specimens in your garden, and I always learn about new plants I have never heard of. Just so lovely.

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    1. My climate and yours are very different, Angie. I can grow many of the plants native to areas of the world with Mediterranean climates like mine but I can't keep many of the plants commonly grown throughout the US alive ;)

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  7. Wow ! Kris beautiful blooms . Melaluca flowers are something very unique pretty blooms, Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  8. Oh gosh, I can't imagine an extended drought like that. We had a bad one earlier this summer, but it only lasted about a month. We had a terrible drought in 2012 that lasted through most of the summer, and that year many of our tender perennials simply went dormant for the season...and most returned the following year. Anyway...I don't know where to start with your amazing blooms and plants! Wow! Your garden should be on a public tour. Gorgeous...year round!

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    1. Many experts believe that we're in the midst of a megadrought that could last decades, Beth. Other climate experts say we're likely to have extended periods of drought, punctuated by periodic deluges leading to flooding. It's not a pretty picture, whomever we listen to. I suspect my garden will transition as climate change continues.

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  9. So many lovely blooms! I can't imagine how much time it must take to photograph, ID and compile these bloom day posts. So glad you do, as they are a monthly highlight for me. :)

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    1. I don't put together these posts all at once anymore, Eliza. I take photos over a period of a week or so and sort through them a couple days before Bloom Day to identify any gaps. Throwing many of the photographs into collages also makes things simpler ;)

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  10. Love all the reds and oranges combined with blues and purples. You have an amazing selection of blooms despite the drought.

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    1. I have to credit it to irrigation, Jason. Without it, I hate to imagine what my garden would look like.

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  11. I've been thinking so much about water since you posted this; also in CA I let my whole garden go unwatered last year to see how it held up, but resumed watering again this year (1"/mo.). As much as I believe everyone needs to do their part, I also think that your adherence to recommended previous cuts that were rolled back should count as participating in these. I would really like to see more pressure put on new development and gross wasters :P.

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    1. Me too! Especially those "estates" that flagrantly disregarded the prior guidelines. In 2015, it was reported that one Bel Air resident used 11.8 million gallons in a 12-month period. I've mostly let my back slope go this year and it looks like it. We have a graywater system that feeds water discharged by our washing machine down there, which helps, and we try to keep the lemon tree alive as well as the bay hedge that separates us from our neighbor on one side but the rest is looking sad.

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  12. Beautiful blooms all around! It hardly seems fair to ask someone whose water consumption has stayed low, to go even lower.

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    1. Remember how freaked out I was when we discovered we had what turned out to be a pinhole leak earlier this year? We got it fixed immediately upon discovery. Yet LA regularly has major breaks in water pipes resulting in thousands of gallons of water lost without, as far as I'm aware of, any requirement for city/county water service companies to get their act together to test and repair existing public pipes.

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  13. Your garden is still looking lovely. Love the photo of the Lisianthus especilly the bottom right photo showing the stamens spiralling outwards.

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    1. Thanks Elaine. What you see in the blue Lisianthus are actually filaments from the Mexican feather grass (Stipa/Nasella tenuissima) next to it. I didn't see them until I reviewed the photograph but I let it be as I liked the visual effect too. That grass sticks to everything - you should see my clothes and garden gloves after I've combed out the seed heads. It's no wonder it can be invasive here.

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  14. Kris your posts give me brain freeze .. in a good way ! LOL
    I am overwhelmed by so many gorgeous blooms .. and those lilies ? Do you have any problems with lily beetles ? .. it must be all the sun and heat that drive your plants to bloom like they are on steroids ? I had never heard of "strawberry trees" before. I love the colour and shape of the split trunk .. "Dara" is still one that I yearn to grow but will never have the right site with full sun for it. Even with all our rain my lavender is doing well which surprises me. That hippeastrum bloom is amazing, I had to look it up to see the difference between it and amaryllis .. I had no idea amaryllis was from S. Africa (on the other hand I probably forgot)and hippeastrum is from central America. It seems there is always a geography lesson tucked in with a plant question. Two for one education snippits ? LOL
    I'm sorry about the water consumption problems .. I hope Autumn rains will help the water table out.

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    1. I've never seen lily beetles, CGJ, but then lilies aren't as common here so perhaps the beetles just haven't found us yet. I expect we have a much longer gardening season than you do. In fact, we can garden year-round and we've never had a freeze of any duration since I've lived here. The shortage of rainfall and irrigation restrictions represent the key limits on what we can grow - and of course anything that needs a period of winter chill is nearly impossible to grow here. There's talk that we're in the midst of a mega-drought now that could last decades but I'm still hoping those experts are wrong...

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  15. Just gorgeous as usual. I do like the lavender and had not seen dwarf Verbena bonariensis so that was new to me.

    It seems like you've already cut back on water. Our water bills have neighborhood comparisons so we can see how we're doing.

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    1. I wasn't previously successful with the tall Verbena but I thought the dwarf might be worth a try, Shirley. Other than the bunny problem with the plants out front, these have fared better thus far. I don't remember any neighborhood comparisons of water usage, at least any based on similar lot size, but I do know that at least one neighbor previously logged bills more than twice the size of ours.

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  16. So much color! I love the Solanum xanti.

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    1. The Solanum xanti is a California native. I grew it once before and liked it then. I can't remember what happened to it - it may not be long-lived.

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  17. What a lovely garden overflowing with beautiful flowers.

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