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A Sunny Garden: GBBD, July 2015

July 18, 2015

sunny happy returnsI am very late with my bloom day post this month (the consequence of a busy week), but I certainly don’t want to skip the best month of the season in my garden. So here’s my report on the state of my garden this month – better late than never.

This is a time of  transition in the garden, from the early summer blooms of June to the peak summer blooms of  late July.  This is also a color transition,  from the blues and pastels of June to the sunny yellows of high summer.

Pastels can still be found in the mid-July garden, particularly in the deck border, which becomes the central attraction during this transition period. There the airy white plumes of goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) float over the pinks, white, and lavender display of astilbe, astrantia, tradescantia, spirea ‘Magic Carpet’ and Geranium x oxonianum. deck border July pastels

deck border pastels

The raised bed that separates the clothesline area from the serenity garden is also planted in pastels. Here the plants of Geranium x oxonianum are spreading and flowering so exuberantly that the more delicate flowers of Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ are just about swamped. raised bed july

exuberant geranium blue ice july
fence border pastels There are also pastels in the fence border, where tradescantia blooms with hardy geraniums, and clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ flowers on the fence.
On the other side of this border, however, the transition to high summer has begun with the first flowers of the tall rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne.’ herbstsonne first flowers

B&Y yellowsIt is in the blue and yellow border that the yellows of high summer are coming on strong. There, Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’ and Heliopsis helianthoides are fully in bloom, as are five different varieties of yellow daylilies. There are a few contrasting blues in the flowers of Linum perenne and Tradescantia ‘Zwannenburg Blue;’ but blues will increase in the next week or so as blue varieties of delphinium, Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise,’ and blue balloon flowers all begin to flower.

july yellows & blues

holding area july colorThe holding area, where plants are waiting for new homes in the front garden, is a riot of strong colors in July. There are several more varieties of daylilies blooming here, along with lilies, coreopsis, heliopsis, astilbe and tradescantia. I’m not a confident enough gardener to intentionally mix all these different colors, but I’m enjoying the effect.

holding area colors

vevety red daylilyMore coreopsis and more daylilies are blooming on the back slope. In addition to the early reblooming daylily, ‘Happy Returns’ (in the image at the top of this post), I have a deep velvety red daylily, passed along from a friend many years ago, blooming by the back door. There I have also let a number of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) plants grow, and they are currently blooming.  Even if they don’t attract any monarch butterflies (mine serve as host plants for milkweed tussock moths, instead), their heavenly scent makes them more than welcome.

milkweed flowers milkweed flower

We have been having a heavenly summer in Maine, with lots of sunshine and temperatures that are warm without being too hot. As the state tourist slogan would have it, “the way life should be.” Having the sunny colors of some of my favorite flowers coming into bloom makes this time of year blissful. As of mid-July, about 25% of the daylily varieties I grow are in bloom, so there is a lot of bliss still to come.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month (give or take a few days for some of us!) by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Check out her blog to see what’s blooming this month in gardens around the world.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2015 7:52 pm

    Your garden is so beautiful! I love the look of the deck border bed: the frothy look of all those pastels is so airy and cooling (the Goatsbeard probably adds significantly to the froth appearance). I haven’t seen that ‘Claret’ Astrantia before. It’s wonderful! And the lilies are wonderful. If you’re enjoying the effect of the mixture of colors in the temporary garden, then why not let them stay that way when you transplant them? You can always change them if you stop liking the look.
    Sounds like you are indeed having the perfect summer–some of us are parched and roasting and others, hmmm, I was going to say they were getting drenched, but I just checked a U.S. weather map and . . . not so much. Enjoy your summer!

    • July 20, 2015 7:53 pm

      Emily, I feel as though Maine is in the Goldilocks zone this summer — neither too warm nor too cool, neither too wet nor too dry. Even better, some of our soaking rains have occurred overnight — sort of like Camelot. 🙂
      The deck border has a frothy look for most of June and July. First is the frothy look of masses of Geranium ‘Biokovo’ blooms, which always remind me of a froth of whipped cream on strawberry shortcake. Then, just as they are done, the goatsbeard and astilbes bloom. The goatsbeard is just about done and the pink daylilies are starting to open, giving this flower bed a more solid feel.

  2. liisave permalink
    July 18, 2015 8:52 pm

    Gorgeous blooms, Jean! I love that white astrantia with hints of pink. Hope you are doing well, and enjoying a wonderful summer!!

    • July 20, 2015 7:54 pm

      Liisa, I hope you’re getting the same great weather in Vermont that we have been getting in Maine. It’s a great summer to be a gardener, or a northern New Englander, or both!

  3. July 19, 2015 4:19 am

    Jean, things are looking very nice in your gardens! Don’t you love this time of year? I was thinking that it’s the time of year we can sit back and enjoy our gardens. The work is done, until fall of course, and there’s nothing much to do except dead head. I hope ou are finding time to stop and smell the roses, too. And you are correct, it would have been a shame to miss this post just because it was after the fifteenth.

    You have many beautiful day lilies.

    • July 20, 2015 7:57 pm

      Diane, I admit to being a bit of a collector of daylillies. I grow about 40 different varieties — which is a drop in the bucket when you consider that there are about 60,000 named cultivars!
      Alas, I don’t get to just sit back and enjoy the garden this year (or next, or the one after that probably). I am just in the beginning stages of developing a new front garden. I’ve spent June and July laying down hardscape and will spend August and September preparing and planting new flower beds.
      BTW, I love your new photography blog!

  4. Nell Jean permalink
    July 19, 2015 8:43 am

    Your summer garden looks so, so cool with all those pastels.

    • July 20, 2015 7:59 pm

      Nell Jean, As July marches on, the weather is getting hotter (although probably not by your standards; we consider 85F temperature with a dew point of 65 almost unbearably hot and humid 😐 ) and those pastels are gradually getting replaced by hotter colors and stronger contrasts.

  5. debsgarden permalink
    July 19, 2015 5:19 pm

    I love all your pastel blooms; your garden is as a summer garden should be, at least in my idealized vision, certainly not my reality! I also love your velvety red day lily!

    • July 20, 2015 8:02 pm

      Deb, While I enjoy the pastels, by this point in the garden season, I’m happy to see the warmer colors and stronger contrasts. While I love that red daylily, it is not colorfast and I can’t ever seem to deadhead it without ending up with red stains on my clothes 😐 .

  6. July 19, 2015 6:15 pm

    Your garden looks splendid, Jean! I’m glad you didn’t let Bloom Day go by without singing its praises. I LOVE those Astrantia, which like peonies are plants I covet. While your daylilies are coming into full blooms, mine are mostly gone, but I did find a flower we have in common in our July gardens: Linium.

    • July 20, 2015 8:05 pm

      Kris, I didn’t realize that Astrantia are cool climate plants. I first encountered them at Sissinghurst, where I took a photo of both the flower and the sign identifying it (so that I wouldn’t forget by the time I got home). I did think Linum was a cool-weather plant, so I’m amazed to learn that it is one we have in common. They are very short-lived in my garden, so that I have to replace the plants every few years, but their blue flowers last for many weeks. They will soon stop blooming in my garden as the weather gets hotter.

  7. July 20, 2015 5:03 pm

    Europe locked in a brutal heat wave – your summer looks just right.

    • July 20, 2015 8:00 pm

      Diana, We really have been enjoying a “just right” summer. Love your new photo!

  8. July 20, 2015 10:04 pm

    Wonderful blooms. Glad to see you have common milkweed – I love the scent. Also love the blue of that Linum.

    • July 21, 2015 10:35 pm

      Jason, I’ve never had the milkweed bloom as profusely in the past as they have this year. They’re growing on both sides of the back door, so every entry and exit is a sweetly scented experience.

  9. July 22, 2015 5:16 pm

    Hello Jean, the airy plants and pastel shades are giving your garden a loose and relaxing quality, like I could sit in a deck chair and watch the borders all day – if I could give myself the time!

    • July 26, 2015 9:18 pm

      Sunil, I am strongly committed to making the time to just sit in a deck chair and look at the garden — especially at this time of year 🙂

  10. July 26, 2015 11:06 am

    Jean your garden is showing its love for the gardener being in residence now…I especially love the deck garden with its pastels…stunning array of flowers.

    • July 26, 2015 9:22 pm

      Donna, We are right at the point where the focus is shifting from the deck border across the walkway to the blue and yellow border. The early astilbes and goatsbeard are done blooming and the spirea is slowing down, but there are still lots of blooms on late astilbes and on the pink daylilies that are just hitting their stride. Meanwhile, the blue and yellow border is living up to its name with strong blues of delphinium and platycodon with 9 different varieties of yellow daylilies along with yellow coreopsis and heliopsis. I love this time of year in the garden.

  11. July 26, 2015 8:58 pm

    Always wanted to ask you if you like to cut flowers and arranging them. My dream would be to have a gardener like you for a neighbor who would give me cut flowers. I have a whole cabinet full for vases and love having flowers inside. I buy them often.

    • July 26, 2015 9:23 pm

      Jean, I do love to cut flowers for the house — although I’m not very good at arranging them. No matter. I have a small bucket I use to gather flowers and then I get out bunches of vases and make arrangements for each room.

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