Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day Lilies and Companions at High Tide


The end of June is a high tide in the flower gardens of these latitudes.

For us the crest is a combination of the native orange day lilies, red bee balm (monarda), the new low to the ground day Stella d’Oro lilies, the still-blooming yellow primrose, roses, and remainder of the month-of-June portfolio still blossoming by the time this peak of solar energy arrives.

After a heat-spell week last week, followed by a rainy spell brought on the by thundershowers that cooled the heave wave but kept dosing us with rainy episodes for three days, today is a rare sunny, mild, dry day. The ground full of water and the air full of sun.

So, changes at this point in the summer from last year this time.

The old-fashioned roses transplanted into the back garden have the deepest red of any roses I have ever grown. The bush stays small and the flowers get darker.

More fence-line shrubs and various plants are breaking the fence line at the back of the garden, the bamboo fence dividing our little secret garden world and the rest of the world.

The butterfly bush which I cut back more radically last year, trying to get it thicker and less leggy, responded enthusiastically, growing wider and making deep purple flowers. And despite the trimming, its leading edges have shot up tall.

Almost all the bushes to one side of the butterfly bush have gone over the top as well, including the Rose of Sharon, and the “Winterthur” viburnum, which gives little white flowers making it resemble a privet hedge in summer and a deep blue berry fruit in winter along with its reddish leaves in fall. Three conical evergreens bushes are close to going over the top as well.

The Euonymus fortunei, a variegated cultivar called “emerald and gold,” has plastered itself up the bamboo and incurred into the neighbor’s side of the fence as well.

A bicolored tall phlox is growing taller, putting its neighbors in the shade. You have to peer around it to see some of the day lily blossoms.

The Threadleaf Coreopsis has spread wide, a fat mistress putting on weight to look even more imposing, opening its halo of yellow flowers.

The purple pentstemon we planted last year (either “beardtongue” or “purple passion”: the plant inspires lurid names for its cultivars) combines dark purple leaves and and light violet flowers from tall stalks dominating its area for a couple of weeks.

And a new batch of red bee balm in a new setting, rubbing shoulders with the lily stalks and pink guara. Let’s hope the bright red signal of the new batch calls in some hummingbirds, like the old ones used to.