Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spectacular Summer Color - The July 15,2011 GBBD

Welcome to the July edition of the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day postings, where gardeners record and report what is blooming in their gardens every month on the 15th of the month.

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?

In addition to a blueberry garden which we call Blueberry Hill, we have a rose island as well as sun and full and partial shade gardens in the front of the house.

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.

It attaches to a pump at the base and sits on a grating over a reservoir of water covered by pebbles. Water cascades over the lip of the urn and runs down into the pebbles giving the illusion that the urn is spilling water over its sides from an unseen source.

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. 

Our water garden is lush this summer. Except for the yellow iris, which actually bloomed early, much of the blooming plants are as much as 3-4 weeks behind schedule.

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.
Deep purple buds open to dark lavender blossoms.
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!


  1. Gorgeous! You seem to have flowers everywhere... It must be a lot of work to take care of so many flower beds - but there is so much beauty all around you, it must be worth it.

  2. How absolutely wonderful... your gardens are fantastic. Isn't the Betty Corning clematis wonderful? Unfortunately, mine has greatly outgrown it's home and will have to be moved next spring. I was warned about this by a friend when I originally planted it! You two are true gardeners and an inspiration to garden bloggers everywhere! Sincerely, Larry
    p.s. I love your water feature in your garden album!!

  3. What a beautiful garden! I cannot imagine how you manage such a big one so beautifully.

    Btw, your caption has been selected and being posted today. Sorry I took so long to post it as I have been busy with visitors the last 2 weeks.

  4. First, you have a stunning garden. And second, I agree, this is the year of the daylily. Mine are blooming like crazy too. Last year it was the year of the hydrangea.

  5. Your garden is just a pure delight.You make such good use of lavender. Summer has abandoned us here in Aberdeen, hope it returns soon.

  6. It's all beautiful - and I love your urn fountain!

  7. What a beautiful yard you must have. I would love to see all of the plants and flowers. I really liked looking at the photo's, and hope to see more. Please send some of that cooler weather down here to Houston,TX.

  8. Thank you for visiting my site Cathy and Steve...our gardens are suffering with a serious water deficiency... I'm a bit concerned as we are at four weeks without rain and it's really taking a toll with 90+ degrees. Every storm has broken apart just as it reached us this month and I'm having to try and keep things going with hoses, but it's gotten impossible to keep up. At least the daylilies hold their own with their fleshy roots. Thanks for the fave on Blotanical! I also am very impressed with your gardens... they are absolutely beautiful! Larry

  9. Your garden in July is truly spectacular!

  10. what can I say? Your garden is so rich with different varieties of beauty. I am so moved I want a steaming cup of real, non herbal tea!

  11. What a full and lovely garden! It is nice to see the astilbe again....mine are done for the season. I love your urn water feature ...stunning!

  12. Masha, we DO have flowers everywhere! Yes, it IS a lot of work but it’s definitely worth it. The best part is that my husband loves to garden and it’s something we enjoy doing together – and that is really what makes it worthwhile for me.

    Larry, that Betty Corning clematis is so gorgeous, and it’s been blooming for over a month now. It was blooming for last month’s GBBD! This spring someone who was “helping” us cut it all the way to the ground and it came back so enthusiastically – I am thrilled with it. I just made my second set of cuttings. (The first were forgotten while we were on vacation… lost them.) But so far, it seems to take well to cuttings too. Also, thank you and you’re welcome too – Steve and I do love to work in the garden together.

    One, thank you so much! We manage it by working at it diligently… we are out there pretty much every day for a couple of hours before Steve goes to work. Weeding becomes an addiction. We can’t even go out and look at the roses and photograph the beds without picking a weed LOL. BTW, I checked your blog – the captions are a hoot!

    Greenapplesgarden, thanks so much…. But I have to say, our hydrangeas are much more prolific than they were last year… but I think it’s because we had a drought and a water ban. That affected a lot of things.

    Alistair, I want YOUR weather right about now LOL. We have had temperatures and humidity both consistently in the 90’s. It leaves me feeling like a limp dishrag. But thank you so much! And yes, we do love our lavender.

    Ginny, the urn is so divine – we love it too!

    Paula Jo, thanks so much. Our cool weather stuck around for two days and it’s back in the 90’s again and due to get even hotter – near or over 100 by the end of the week. I am dreading it. The humidity is intense too.

    Dona, thank you for dropping by! I know you are really busy…. Have a great week!

    Catmint, if it weren’t so hot, I’d join you LOL. I’ll have the “real” tea, but make mine iced tea! Thanks so much!

  13. Thank you, Sagebutterfly! yes, that urn is something. It's almost 5 feet tall, by the way. It's the neatest thing and perfect for that area.

  14. Wow you have a big garden, and it looks like you have a complete enumeration here in the post, haha! They look so healthy, both the blooms and the foliage plants. If only i am nearer i feel like asking some from your garden. Those are lots of man-hours you are putting there!

  15. Wow, your garden never fails to delight me. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into your garden and for sharing it with us.

  16. What a beautiful garden, thanks for sharing it with us. All your plants look so happy and healthy and your urn is divine ! Gardens show how much effort is put into them, yours tells everyone that you love being out there, in amongst the plants, its beautiful.

  17. Your many gardens are gorgeous. Loved the daisies and astilbe which I used to grow. Thanks for a great tour.

  18. Paradise - a garden to bring joy to the soul! I can't help but be envious of your 75 degree weather. We might get temps that low at night, if we are lucky!

    Interestingly, I was recently admiring a fountain just like yours at a local nursery. You should have put a patent on that design! Yours looks perfect in its setting.

  19. Cathy and Steve you have an amazing and beautiful garden, it must smell divine as well as looking so beautiful with so many perfumed plants like lavender and roses, though you can keep the 90 + degrees I don't do hot, thanks for sharing such a wonderful bouquet, Frances

  20. Beautifully! I wish my yard was as well landscaped. Unfortunately, I need to work on my knowledge of flowers - flower power if you will. I've spoken the language of vegetables for waaay too long.

  21. Andrea, if I had shown everything in bloom in the gardens, you’d all have fallen asleep reading LOL. We do have quite the variety. Well more than a thousand perennials, shrubs, trees, and vegetable plants and almost 200 roses. And yes, it takes a LOT of man and woman hours to keep it going. It’s our main pastime. ;)

    GirlSprout, thank YOU for dropping by

    Pauline, we love the urn too. And yes, we do love being out there (except days like today where it’s been deep into the 90’s.

    L. Ambler, you’re welcome, and thank you too! That astilbe is one of my favorites and it makes a stunning cut flower too.

    Deb, I wish we HAD patented it and marketed it LOL. The 75 degree weather was last week. This week it’s been in the 90’s during the day but dropping much lower at night, thank goodness. You’re right though, it does bring joy to the soul!

    Frances (Island Threads), because we are so close to it and in it all the time, we don’t always notice the fragrance. But if we leave to go shopping or for a quick errand and come back, it’s amazing. My favorites are the sand cherry, Zephirine Drouhin rose, some of the other roses, and the lavender.

    Thomas, you could help us out with the vegetables, which I am not doing a good job at all with, especially the tomatoes. We can trade some hints! (We’re practically neighbors!)

  22. Wow, you must do nothing but work on your garden and the results are spectacular. I guess your magnolia's flowers are too big to be M. virginiana. How fragrant are the flowers? Sweetbay is fragrant from a distance, Southern is fragrant close up.

  23. beautiful...that first photo is especially stunning...and I'm sooooo jealous of your cattails...I've always wanted some!


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