The lupines, lilacs, peonies, and rhododendrons may be a fragrant memory but the 31 beds that comprise our gardens are alive with color.
The heat wave seems to have abated, at least temporarily. The temperature is a sunny 75 with a pleasant breeze. Welcome to my garden for a Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day July tour. I have so many things to show you! Let me grab my basket and snips and lets go cut a bouquet, shall we?
The blueberries are ripening, the shade perennials have come into their own, and the hostas are blooming. Throughout our gardens, clematis, roses, daylilies, lavender, and coneflowers are blooming with abandon.
Several years ago we spotted a tall green urn that we absolutely loved. We had it drilled and fitted with a pipe that extends up from the center of the bottom, level with the top.
Three or four years later, we saw similar urns at the flower show in Boston and decided the spies must have been checking out our yard! The urn sits in a shady area and we positioned a bench close by in another shady alcove.
Here are some of the hostas and other shade perennials that fill the beds in the front.
|In the photograph on the left, you can see a honeysuckle blossom - our vine is still blooming!|
I've decided that this is the Year of the Daylily. I don't recall ever seeing as many bloom stalks on the lilies as we have this year. Some newer ones that we planted at the end of last year have pleasantly surprised us with luscious blooms and ruffed petals. Not all of them are in bloom - many are keeping us waiting for them to burst open - but here is a sampling the ones that stood straight and proud for the camera this week.
|Sage and lavender blooms against a backdrop of daylilies.|
We generally have clematis blooming for much of the summer. Here are some of the ones that are currently in bloom.
|This gorgeous clematis has been blooming for over a month already .|
|This usually sun-loving variety is thriving in deep shade on a trellis behind the bench in our "Zen" garden. The blossoms are much smaller than those of it's sister which is blooming in bright sun, but just as sweet.|
The deck overlooking the back gardens has become one of our favorite places to spend time. We have built a true kitchen garden - a blend of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, trees, and shrubs, all in pots or raised beds.
With a curtain-draped canopy, what had been a drab and unappealing wasted space has turned into a true oasis and a wonderful space for entertaining,
|Left: Lilacs grow on the deck in pots filled with annuals Right: Tomatoes and basil with lettuce and marigolds|
|The upper level is lined with 2 foot wide raised beds filled with cosmos, zinnias, pansies, hollyhocks, and herbs. Large pots of lilacs are set right into the raised beds.|
|Left: A tree hydrangea with buds that will soon be open Right: Pots of trees and shrubs are topped with annuals for additional color|
|Vegetables and dahlias share space with basil. The peas are ready to harvest.|
|We ordered a Meyer Lemon. We think they sent a lime. Either way, the blooms are gorgeous and fragrant. (Left) Pansies and snap dragons grow around the base of a potted hydrangea tree. (Right)|
|A riot of zinnias and pansies provide color while we wait for the hollyhocks in the background to grow tall and flower. (Top); Lemon tree and lilac shrub. (Bottom)|
In the back yard, we have a formal garden, herb garden, grape arbor, woodland and butterfly gardens, a flowering shrub and tree grove, and smaller cottage beds scattered among the larger beds.
This is actually a blessing. As the glorious spring blooms have passed and we are settling squarely into mid-summer, the water garden is taking center stage.
|Iris louisiana "Black Gamecock"|
|Purple water iris|
|The heart shaped leaves and white flowers pf Houttuynia cordata which makes a great companion for both the marsh marigold and iris in the pots in our garden.|
|Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris started blooming a week ago - also a late bloomer this year.|
We saw our first water lily blossoms last week.
|Nymphaea "Barbara Dobbins"|
|The cattail reeds are blooming this year for the first time as well.|
The water mint has grown so enthusiastically, like its counterpart in the herb garden, it threatened to overtake everything else in the pond.
We've had to cut it back aggressively but it is a wonderful water cover that competes with algae and provides shelter for the fish.
The herb garden has been a bountiful source of fresh herbs and a fragrant and colorful haven for the bees who visit here regularly.
|Climbing roses and clematis cover the fence behind the herbs.|
|Texas tarragon, hyssop, parsley, basil and oregano provide color, fragrance and flavor.|
|The right end of the herb garden is waist high with spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm. Keeping all three under control is a challenge. The mailbox holds garden tools and gloves for quick jobs.|
|A bouquet garnis of oregano, several thymes and several sages.|
|The petite white lemon balm blossoms against the dark purple of Clematis jackmanii|
In the formal garden, perennial and rose beds are hedged with Munstead lavender, a hardy, fragrant, and tasty shrub lavender that is especially well-suited to our micro-climate.
|Lavender hedges are stunning. Best of all, after we prune later this month, they will send up fresh flower spikes and bloom again before fall.|
The perennial beds are our big surprise this summer. Gophers and rabbits had decimated the yarrow and coneflowers and we worked for two years to bring them back. Our efforts have been rewarded with the most amazing color and prolific blooms.
|Next to clustered purple bellflower Campanula glomerata, the lavender creates a vision in purple.|
|The left perennial bed, separated from rose beds on either side by a lavender lined cobbled walk.|
|A rainbow of coneflowers|
|Astilbe in the left perennial bed|
|The gorgeous astilbe spikes in the left perennial bed bloom bright white, maroon, and pale mauve.|
|Spirea bumalda "Anthony Waterer" has taken over a corner of the right perennial bed.|
|Never fond of yellow yarrow, the white, rose, maroon, and red varieties are featured prominently in our summer perennial gardens.|
|Montauk daisies form a backdrop to the daylilies in the right perennial bed.|
|We won't tell this ligularia that it is blooming and thriving in full sun!|
The roses are another pleasant surprise. After a wet spring and a slow start complicated by blackspot, a fair amount of TLC, trichoderma spray, hard pruning, and a top dressing of compost and manure have given us mountains of color in the roses in not just the formal rose beds but everywhere.
|One of four rose beds in the formal garden|
With nearly 200 roses blooming throughout the garden, deadheading is a daily labor of love. But the results are well worth our effort.
When we left on vacation at the beginning of the month, the grape arbor had been straggly and tiny clusters of grapes were just beginning to form. When we returned a week later, the vines and grapes had exploded under the hot daytime sun and cool nights, a recipe for sweet grapes in the fall.
In the tree grove our mystery magnolia is blooming, although a couple of weeks later than it usually does. Purchased as an unmarked tree on clearance at the end of the season several years ago, we were startled the first year it bloomed. We believe it is a Southern Magnolia but unsure of which variety. It has creamy blossoms that give way to large seed pods. This year, the tree is covered with blossoms that are fully open and almost as large as my hand.
Wrapping up this month's garden tour is the butterfly garden, where things are really starting to pop. Between the hydrangea and the butterfly bushes, which seem to have grown up overnight, I can hardly wait for the butterflies. Later in the season our garden will be a stopping point for flocks of monarchs as they migrate south for the winter.
|Buddleia "Black Night" began blooming this week.|
|Buddleia, hydrangea, and drift roses... bright colors that attract both butterflies and hummingbirds.|
Thanks so much for joining me this month. Usually at this point in the dog days of summer, the color is beginning to flag and the weeds are beginning to look attractive. This year, the gardens have continued to give us profuse, brilliant blooms and I have been enjoying myself, making bouquets for every nook and cranny.
Be sure to check out the other amazing gardens that participate in May Dreams' Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!