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Gathering Energy: GBBD, July 2019

July 16, 2019

daylily budsIn mid-July, my Maine garden is in transition. The big flush of early summer blooms – Siberian irises, peonies, Amsonia, Baptisia, and the first flush of rose blooms – have faded, but the big high-summer show of blooms has not quite begun. It is as though the plants are gathering their energy, and all the buds about to burst into bloom are the evidence of that energy.

The daylily bloom that is the highlight of my garden in high summer has been slow to get started this year; most plants are about a week behind last year’s bloom times. But the same cool, wet spring that has delayed daylily flowering seems to have produced an abundance of buds. A few varieties have already begun to bloom, and others look as though they will bloom very soon.

buds about to open1 buds about to open2

While I’m waiting for the daylily show to begin in earnest, there are plenty of other blooms to enjoy.


This is the time of year when the flowers of Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet,’ goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) and astilbe spill over the retaining wall in the back garden. retaining wall spillover
entrance garden spirea In the entrance garden by the front door, the flowers of Spirea ‘Magic Carpet’ are fading, to be replaced by the hot pink flowers of Spirea bumalda ‘Neon Flash.’

front slope planting 2019On the front slope, which was planted in September, the plants still look miles apart. This was designed as a hot-color planting. Right now, it is dominated by the yellows of three species of coreopsis (C. verticillata, C. grandiflora, and C. lanceolata) and false sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides), with hot contrasts being provided by the red flowers of beebalm (Monarda didyma) ‘Jacob Cline,’ the eye-popping magenta of poppy mallows (Callirhoe involucrata), and the first blooms of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Front slope plants July 2019

Asclepias tuberosa buds Oranges will soon be joining this mix as orange daylilies and the flowers of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) open.

There are some cool spots in my garden at this time of year.

The Blues Border beside the front door features cool blue shades of Tradescantia virginiana (spiderwort). blues border tradescantia
lavender walk 2019 Blue spikes of Lavandula augustifolia ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead Strain’ are blooming along the Lavender Walk.
And a few beautiful spires of delphinium ‘Cobalt Dreams’ are gracing the back of the Blue and Yellow Border Cobalt Dreams

As July continues, these cool blues will yield to the vibrant colors of daylilies. I leave you with the advance guard of the daylily parade, the five varieties that were blooming when I took photos yesterday. (By this morning, four more varieties had joined these, and I expect a few more each day for the next week or two.)

early season dayliliesGarden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see the dizzying variety of flowers blooming at this time of year.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Joyce Boos permalink
    July 16, 2019 9:34 pm

    Jean, I am so impressed by the energy that you have given to your garden. Very cleverly arranged. Thank you for allowing me to visit.

    • July 21, 2019 7:05 pm

      Joyce, It’s always a treat to share my garden with another gardening enthusiast. I’m delighted that you could visit.

  2. July 16, 2019 11:49 pm

    Your plants may be more subdued this Bloom Day but they’re still putting on quite a show, Jean. Your garden has a graceful quality about it I wish I could create in my own. The Spireas are particularly lovely.

    • July 21, 2019 7:09 pm

      Kris, The first time I saw spireas in bloom, at a garden tour, I was smitten. As the daylilies and the hot color plantings come into their own at this time of year, graceful is giving way to flamboyant. 🙂

  3. July 17, 2019 1:54 am

    Hi Jean, now that i see a delphinium i am so thrilled. I made a cross-stitch of delphinium and hope i can see it in person, but in my few travels to cold countries i still haven’t seen it. Hehe. Your garden is teeming with lots of plants still.

    • July 21, 2019 7:12 pm

      Andrea, You’d have to time your travels just right to catch delphinium in bloom. England would probably be the best place to see them. In my garden, they barely hang on. (I’m hoping that when I cut back some trees in the fall to let more light into that part of the garden, they may become happier.) Last week, when I visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, they had a lush display of delphiniums in bloom.

  4. July 17, 2019 12:20 pm

    Beautiful lilies,happy blooms day.

  5. July 18, 2019 10:22 pm

    Just got the first bloom off of my poppy mallows! Can’t wait for more. Your slope looks like it will come together nicely.

    • July 21, 2019 7:15 pm

      Jason, I just added the poppy mallows to my garden last year (where they promptly got eaten by the resident woodchuck), so this is the first year to really enjoy them. Some plants are more upright, while others sprawl across the ground, intermingling dramatically with the flowers of Coreopsis lanceolata which also tend to sprawl.

  6. Ellen permalink
    July 19, 2019 7:04 am

    Always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you.

  7. July 22, 2019 12:21 am

    Is that spiderwort almost white? You know, I have seen it only twice. When it appeared at the farm, I was instructed to kill it immediately before it naturalized. No one knows what it was doing here or how it got here. It was a nice rich blue. The other was more purplish if I remember correctly.

    • July 22, 2019 3:56 pm

      Tony, There is a white variety of spiderwort that is a listed invasive in some parts of California. Mine are all varieties of Tradescantia virginiana, which is native to most of the eastern half of the U.S. I can see why you were advised to pull it out, though. It has a reputation as a garden thug because it self-sows readily and tends to out-compete other plants for space. I’m willing to live with their aggressive tendencies and pull them out where I don’t want them because they are very pretty plants that are quite happy to grow in my dry, sandy soil. The variety in the photo is ‘Osprey,’ which has white petals brushed with blue and blue stamens. I have another similar plant which is brushed with hot pink and has pink stamens. Both of these are very vigorous plants and mostly come true from seed, which means that seedlings in these colors pop up in various parts of the garden. I also have some purple ones, a blue variety, an all-white one, and a lovely mauve seedling that appeared last year.

      • July 23, 2019 9:42 am

        For most aggressive plants, I am aggreeable to leave them where they behave, and only pull those that appear where I do not want them. However, I make exceptions for those that are not established here yet, even if they are already in the region, but not in my particular part of the region. For example, I always dig pampas grass, just because it only rarely shows up in here. At home, I always pulled Acacia dealbata. It is not in my neighborhood yet, but happened to show up at my house.

  8. August 10, 2019 5:34 pm

    I look forward to your Asclepias next time – I do like those flowers.

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