July 27, 2022

A Very Red July


The Northwest corner has featured bold red lilies and roses this month.  Vigorous tetraploid 'Red Velvet' Asiatic lilies continue to multiply by the year.  Upward-facing 'Forza Red' Orienpet lilies are still going strong in their second summer.  Not all lilies survive in my crowded perennial beds (I'm thinking of you, wimpy Oriental lilies), so I'm very pleased to see these types returning well.

The 'Florentina' climbing roses have been spectacular this year.  I have them tied up to teepees from Gardener's Supply, which has been working well.  I keep recommending this rose to my gardener friends.  The charming old-fasioned blooms last forever on the plant or in the vase.  The only drawbacks are the lack of scent and the tendency of the deeply colored petals to get brown with sunburn on the tops.  They'd do better with afternoon shade, I guess, but I have no plans to move them.  

The second flush from 'Caradonna' salvia adds some violet spikes to the color scheme, and a few 'Purple Prince' lilies (also vigorous Orienpet hybrids) add a deep pink.  The 'Royal Purple' smoke bush is finally leafed out and filling its space.  It certainly took its time waking up this spring, as did the 'Berry Awesome' hardy hibiscus that will bloom next month.

Last year all my dahlias were blooming by this time, but our chilly, wet spring really slowed down their growth.  Not that I'm complaining - with much of the Western United States in severe drought, I'm very happy that our water supply is plentiful this year.  Even though I waited to plant my dahlia tubers until the end of May, some of them rotted in the ground during our rainy June weather.  The ones that survived have sprouted and some have even formed buds, so I'm being patient.

The back side of the NW corner currently features 'Blue Sapphire' sea holly, 'Summer Beauty' alliums, 'Visions in Red' astilbe, drumstick alliums, a few lingering spikes of 'Caradonna' salvia, and more of the 'Red Velvet' lilies.  

In the background you can see the 'Incrediball Blush' hydrangea I transplanted here this spring.  I think eventually it will be happy with the part-day sun, but so far it wilts unless I water it daily.  These hydrangea flowers last for ages on the plant, remaining attractive even as they age to green.  So I'm willing to keep nursing it along until it gets established.  

January 20, 2022

August 2021 Big Blooms

Somehow I never posted these photos from August last year, so I'll happily do it now in the middle of winter.  After years of trying new perennials and moving things around, I finally had plenty of late summer color in this area.

The photo above includes 'LeVern Friemann' lilies, 'Big Blue' salvia, 'Penhill Dark Monarch' dahlias, 'Seniors Hope' dahlias, 'Berry Awesome' hibiscus, plus Russian sage, 'Royal Purple' smokebush and 'Jeana' tall phlox at the back of the bed.

The 'Penhill Dark Monarch' flowers were huge and saturated with deep pink color.  The tall plants needed better staking so they didn't lean forward as much, but they produced quite a few flowers as they flopped all over the other plants.

'Seniors Hope' was another new dahlia for me, and I was really impressed with its prolific blooming, dark leaves and long, strong stems that were great in the garden or for cutting.  Its complex blend of burgundy and cream with gold and silver dusting looked great with the 'Berry Awesome' hardy hibiscus.

'Seniors Hope' also looked nice with the 'Big Blue' salvia and 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush in this shot.  I grew 'Big Blue' from seed, and it earned the name with a larger stature than other S. farinacea hybrids.

Here is a closeup of the 'Seniors Hope' blooms, with an aged flower on the left and a newer bloom opening on the right.  Once the center stamens were visible, the bees loved to visit.  

Here's another shot of 'Seniors Hope' and one of my three 'Berry Awesome' hardy hibiscus plants.  My hibiscus plants weren't fully mature yet, but last summer they produced showy flowers for several weeks.  Each bloom lasted for just a couple of days, but there were many buds on each stem.  The leaves on this cultivar were tinged with mauve and maroon, so the plant was showy even before the blooming started.  I highly recommend it.

The dark centers of the hibiscus echoed the color of the 'LeVern Friemann' lilies and the 'Florentina' climbing roses growing on teepee supports.  Towering mauve 'Jeana' phlox was a very long blooming backdrop for this bed, and the lavender spikes of Russian sage made a nice contrast during its shorter bloomtime.  The maroon leaves of the 'Royal Purple' smokebush at the center of the bed provided interest even when fewer flowers were in bloom.

I'll finish with a last picture featuring the 'Berry Awesome' hibiscus, with 'Millennium' allium blooming at back left.  'Millennium' has been another strong performer with a long bloom time for several years.  The pollinators love it.  Last year I planted three baby 'Lavender Bubbles' allium in this bed, and I'm looking forward to watching them mature and add darker color during a later bloom time than 'Millennium.' 

November 17, 2021

Midsummer Wedding Flowers


In August I arranged flowers for a wedding reception.  I used purchased roses and garland, but the rest of the flowers came from my garden.  My dahlias were going strong and provided most of the color.  The photo above includes 'Cafe au Lait,' 'White Onesta,' 'Labyrinth' and 'Linda's Baby' dahlias.

In the small centerpieces I included roses, 'Labyrinth' dahlias, 'Ruffled Swan' anemones, 'Little Lime' hydrangeas, 'Dalmation Peach' foxgloves, peach hypericum berries, 'White Glitter' sea holly, 'Autumn Bride' heuchera, parsley seed heads, scented pelargonium leaves, mint stems and honeysuckle.

This vase for the guest sign-in table used most of the flowers listed above plus some 'Little Quick Fire' hydrangeas.  I was delighted with the dainty white anemone flowers.  I have 'White Swan,' 'Dreaming Swan,' and 'Ruffled Swan' anemones in my garden, and they are all vigorous bloomers from midsummer to frost.  'Ruffled Swan' flowers are the most substantial and my favorite for arranging.

I grew four 'Labyrinth' dahlia plants this year, and they were highly productive.  No wonder this dahlia is so popular with flower arrangers.  The twisting petals combine peach and rose shades so they blend well with many color schemes.

Here's another shot of the centerpieces en masse.  I ordered the glass cylinder vases in bulk from Amazon.

I made two of these large arrangements with a giant 'Penhill Watermelon' dahlia as the focal point of each.  

Here are the large arrangements next to the disassembled arch.  For the arch I used a garland of honeysuckle, salal and bear grass that was ordered from Costco.com, plus more flowers from my garden.  I had never created a floral arch before, so it was fun to stretch my skills.  I have no plans to become a professional wedding florist, but it has been enjoyable to help a friend or two with reception flowers each summer.