Approaching High Summer: GBBD, July 2011
July is high summer in Maine, but the arrival of high summer in the garden varies from one year to the next. Last year, when spring and summer came early in Maine, I noted on July 15th that the garden had that slightly blowsy feel of being past its peak. This year, weeks of rain in May and unseasonably cool temperatures in June have delayed the bloom times of most plants, with the result that the high summer height of blooms has not yet arrived. I would describe the garden today as approaching high summer, but not yet there.
One indicator of high summer in my garden is the bloom of daylilies. There is a moment in July when almost all my daylilies are blooming simultaneously, with the early daylilies opening their last flowers and the late ones opening their first flowers. Last year, that moment fell during the second week in July, and I counted more than 30 different varieties of Hemerocallis blooming, including 6 different varieties in the deck border and 9 in the blue and yellow border. This year, only three early daylilies are in bloom in the blue and yellow border (although two others look like they will open their first flowers in the next day or two), and none are blooming yet in the deck border or in the fence border.
But let me take you through today’s blooms one garden area at a time:
The best show of daylilies in my garden right now is along the front of the property, where this display of yellow, orange, and red greets visitors coming up the dirt road.
|Across the driveway from the circular bed, the clumps of old-fashioned tawny daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) and Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’ that are being encouraged to naturalize at the edge of the woods grow bigger each year.|
Although there are no daylilies blooming yet in the deck border, various cultivars of Astilbe are putting on quite a show. I love the way the plumes of Astilbe thumbergii ‘Ostrich Plume’ nod over the retaining wall, with the white plumes of Aruncus dioicus (goatsbeard) floating above them, as you approach the back garden from the driveway. ‘Ostrich Plume’ is at its peak now, as are the delicate flowers of Astilbe x ‘Betsy Cuperus’. The early Astilbe varieties, A. x ‘Cattleya’ A. x ‘Bridal Veil’ and A. biternata (the only native North American astilbe) are fading, and the tall spires of A. thumbergii ‘Morheim’s Glory’ and A. chinensis taquetti are just beginning to bloom. Among the supporting players in the deck border are a few remaining blooms of Spirea x ‘Magic Carpet,’ masses of pink flowers on several varieties of Geranium endressii and Geranium x oxonianum, the flowers of Tradescantia ‘Pink Chablis,’ and two varieties of Astrantia major.
Across the walkway in the blue and yellow border, a strong yellow presence is being provided by three different daylily varieties blooming at the center of the border and Coreopsis ‘Golden Showers’ and Heliopsis helianthoides blooming at the east end of the bed. There are also blue and violet accents in the flowers of Tradescantia ‘Zwannenburg Blue,’ Linum perenne, Campanula persicifolia ‘LaBelle.’ and Geranium hybrids ‘Nimbus’ and ‘Brookside.’
Pink flowers hold the stage in the fence border. Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ is covering the fence with her mauve blooms, while her new companion, Clematis viticella ‘Ababella’ is mostly hiding her flowers behind the tall plants growing along the fence. Two varieties of Geranium endressii at the center of the bed are covered with pink flowers, and one of them is cozying up to the blue and white flowers of Tradescantia ‘Osprey’. At the end of the border, the tall Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is just opening the first of its lemon yellow flowers.
High summer isn’t quite here yet, but it is approaching quickly. Come back in about a week to see the full show!
Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is in bloom this month in gardens around the world.