The Seasonal Page:

JULY 1998 ... Floral Fireworks!



The above photo was taken a couple of seasons ago near the compost pile. It was a serendipity composition of volunteers and native grasses and I just loved how it looked.

Things are really taking off in the back yard (where most of our summer color is) during the month of July. It is glorious and then August is usually the month of grooming, cutting back and hanging on until things perk up again in September. There are still a few things in bloom, but the garden gets rather tired looking in August and on most years the lawn is more brown than green. I just don't want to put the stress on our hand dug well in order to keep the flowers AND the grass going! The years of 1997 and '98 have been wetter than usual in the summer so maybe it won't be so parched this season. A green lawn in August around here is a real novelty! Even though people like to think it rains all the time in Western Washington's usually droughty in the summer. There might be gray clouds and overcast, but the measurable rainfall is pretty low. Well...let's enjoy July instead of lamenting August ahead of time!

[East Side of Oak Bed]

You're probably going to get sick of this bed, but that's where a lot is happening right now. This is the east side of the Oak Bed and it is brimming with daylilies and catmint, among others. You'll see closeups of these daylilies further down on the page.


[Melianthus major with Crocosmia 'Lucifer']

At the lower flank of the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' in the oak bed is a Melianthus major. It has a wonderful soft color and texture and the leaves, when crushed, smell like peanut butter (or maybe raw peanuts is more like it). It's a borderline plant in our Zone 8 climate, but so far it comes back each year. If we were in California, it would get bigger and actually send up flowering stalks, but the foliage is really the thing anyway.


[West Side of Oak Bed]

These two shots are of the South side of the Oak Bed and if we could glue them together where the tree trunk is, the composition would be right. Pictured above are more daylilies, volunteer Rose Campion, Monkshood and Goatsbeard (which has since been cut back after fading).


[Oak Bed Group with Euphorbia martinii]

To the right of the oak tree trunk is Crocosmia 'Lucifer,' Euphorbia martinii (turning a really pretty pinkish color this season), dianthus, Chocolate Cosmos, and Sedum 'Autumn Joy' before flowering has occurred.


[Monkshood with Daylily 'Kwanso']

I wish this whole picture had been in better focus, but the colors were so sparkling, I included it anyway. The daylily in the foreground is an old double orange named 'Kwanso Flore Plena.' While grooming large potted daylilies at the nursery a few years ago, I took home a proliferation off an unlabeled plant (the stems would have been thrown away, so I had no guilt over this). I was really surprised when it finally grew and bloomed and this is what I'd gotten. It's very recognizable and has been around for years. I love it near the blue of the Monkshood (Aconitum napellus) but would prefer the variety if its leaves were a darker green. It probably looks better with some shade like it has in this bed.

[West Deck Bed in July '98]


This is a long shot of the bed west of the deck. It has lots of Mediterranean plants and at this point you can see the lavender, blue oat grass, Euphorbia 'Chameleon,' Cistus, Leycesteria formosa and Purple Smoke Bush. There's also some bronze fennel in there, but it's hard to make out in this view. The blurry lilies in the lower foreground are growing from the white bed. They are Regal Lilies (Lilium regale).



I know that somewhere in the older photos I have a better shot of this plant. It's a closer view of the Purple Smoke Bush/Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple.' I'd never have thought the deer would eat this, but they often will wade into this bed and eat off the flowers ( smoke?). It's really irritating, as deer tend to be! This plant looks better when you prune it harshly every year or two to keep it bushy. I'm sure there are happier specimens than mine, but it is still fairly young and has not been babied.



[Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple']


[Lily 'Black Dragon']


There was a great deal on the Lily 'Black Dragon' clone at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 1997 so I sprang for a bulb. I just love how it looks from the back with backlighting. I don't know how well it will multiply for me here, but it's located right near the steps that come off the deck so it gets appreciated when in bloom. The smell is wonderful as long as you don't bring too many inside the house.



This cute little daylily with peachy pink overtones is called 'Tracy Hall' and it was purchased from Wild's of Missouri. The bluish plant in the background is Blue Oat Grass (Helictrotrichon) of my favorite ornamental grasses! This grows in the above bed.



[Daylily 'Tracy Hall']

I am racked with guilt every time someone gushes over the garden and how wonderful it is...etc. so I took photos of the ugly out-of-control spot again for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, it almost looks like a prairie garden here and not as bad as it looks from the back when you see the weeded spots and then this next to them!

[West Perennial Grassy Mess!]


This is taken from the far end of our deck toward the back side of the house. You can see clumps of lavender and especially the Buddleia 'Lochinch' which is in full bloom next to the arbor. There's a path through this mess and someday I hope it will be beautiful again. There's more grass than perennials at this stage. It's a tedious job to get those grass runners out, especially when everything is up and you are working around blooming plants, it's hot out, etc. I just couldn't get enough done in the spring to complete this.



A closer shot taken from the "path" of the above bed. You can make out some lavender and artemisias through the grass and that spike in the back belongs to a Lythrum that I thought had croaked.



[Lavender and Weeds!]


[Buddleia 'Lochinch']


Here's a close shot of lots of spikes on the Buddleia 'Lochinch.' It sure is a favorite with the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. This plant has beautiful foliage that is more silvery than the usual fare and is a prolific bloomer. The color of the flowers is a soft lilac-lavender.



Taken last season, this photo of the Lilium regale with hosta flowers always reminded me of a flock of geese in flight (straining their necks and trumpeting at the same time). I should really stake them, but never seem to get around to it in time!



[Regal Lilies and Hosta Flowers]



[White Lacecap Hydrangea, etc.]

Close to the Regal Lilies is a birch tree and near it is tucked one of the two hydrangeas that I own. The soil here isn't the greatest for them and this one grows and blooms but will never reach its most exalted state. I think it was called "White Wave" and is a lacecap. The glossy foliage and pink flowers to the right are Escallonia 'Apple Blossom.'


I don't know the name of this little mini rose, but it's one my mother gave to me rather than toss it out. She was getting ready to move and didn't want to fuss around with a pot bound houseplant that was done blooming. I'm amazed at how nicely it has shaped up. Not sure if it will come through the winter well in a planter, but even if we lose it, it will have provided a lot of color for the cost. The shape of the flowers is beautiful! The smaller flowers next to it are from the creeping thyme which shares its space.


[Mini Rose in Deck Planter]

[Grouping in Driveway Bed]


More Crocosmia 'Lucifer' near the driveway! In front is a Feverfew with small white daisy flowers (volunteer) and the daylily to the left is 'Luxury Lace' ... another one of Edna Spalding's beautiful "babies." It has a soft blending color and nice form. I'll bet it would be beautiful next to a veronica in a soft shade of blue.



Here's a closer view of daylily 'Luxury Lace.' Notice that the throats have a contrasting color with a bit of yellow.




[Daylily 'Luxury Lace']


[Daylily 'American Folklife']

This was actually taken last year on the deck side of the house, but I also have daylily 'American Folklife' in the bed above near 'Luxury Lace.' It is a pretty thing but I got so frustrated waiting for the first blooms after buying it that I was about to dig it up! The catalog photo from Wild's had a stronger color, but I think our Northwest summers don't provide enough sun and heat to fully develop the color on many daylily hybrids. It can be frustrating when you anticipate seeing in your yard what you saw in the catalog and it doesn't deliver. Also...many hybrids need warm nights to open and color well and during June our nights are often still on the cool side. In July, however, they usually look great! Those little blue spikes to the left belong to Veronica incana and the greenish buds are from Sedum 'Autumn Joy.'


Sorry...another picture of ANOTHER clump of Crocosmia 'Lucifer' around the corner from the one shown just above. That tree trunk in the rear left is the first of the row of flowering cherries along the driveway. The fading soft yellow flowers to the right are from a Thalictrum flavum which is drooping all over its neighbors in this bed.


[Crocosmia in Driveway Bed]

[Stachys densiflora]




Close to the feet of the Dierama near the edge of the lawn is this cute little clump of Stachys densiflora. It is very compact and has shiny serrated leaves. If I didn't cut these spikes back after flowering, I'd probably have babies everywhere. As it is, there are a few volunteers which are welcomed. I should spread them out to make a bigger impact. The foliage behind is from the Sisyrinchium striatum.



I was very pleased to find a couple of fragments of Diascia fetcaniensis in the rose frontal when I weeded the first half of it (the other half still isn't done!). The first season it was planted from a 4" pot it made a wonderful clump that bloomed for weeks! This nice bunch is what developed from a tiny sprig that was reset in April. The color in this photo isn't exactly like the real's slightly more muted and rose toned. It's a hard color to describe (and even harder to adjust for in Photoshop), but one of the more reliable and prolific of the Diascias.



[Diascia fetcaniensis]


[Borage Blossoms]

Isn't this a soft effect in the garden? The leaves are huge and hairy, but Borage flowers have the most sprightly of blue colors and the fuzzy buds add a softness to the whole effect that is gorgeous. They will eventually get ratty looking and can be pulled out. There will be plenty of seedlings next year. I recently took a photo of a clump of this with daylily 'Hyperion' in the background. They are smashing together and I hope the picture turns out so that I can put it in later.


[Liatris with Salvia and Baby's Breath]

Another photo from last summer. This year there is only one flower on this particular clump of Liatris. Hopefully after weeding, mulching and providing some manure and alfalfa, these will be more glorious next season. The baby's breath is my favorite short variety - Gypsophila 'Compacta Plena' and the lavender and white flowers belong to Salvia hians. This is in the back bed near the path that goes to the arbor. come some MORE daylilies! Sorry...but this is their month to be the spotlight of the garden.

[Daylilies 'Archangel' and 'Prester John']


Taken last season...the gold double is 'Prester John' and the HUGE soft peach/pink is 'Archangel.' I had gotten it for my mom years ago and between her location and the deer, she never got to see it bloom. She gave it back to me before moving out of the house where it had been planted. I was appalled at the size of the flowers. So far this year, nothing is showing yet. There's a ton of catmint over this spot and I hope it hasn't covered the poor baby up too much!



These flowers have been rather large this year, but H. 'Double Ethel' has forgotten to be DOUBLE! I'm not sure what happened, but last season there were some inner petals that added fullness. No's still quite pretty.



[Daylily 'Double Ethel' without doubling!]


[Daylily 'Frans Hals']


This has been around since the mid fifties and is still popular. The colors are striking and it is often packaged with those perennials variety packs you can get at hardware warehouses or Costco. The variety name is 'Frans Hals' (saw it somewhere else as 'Frans Hal'). It really looks nice with some blue nearby.



Hemerocallis 'King's Grant' sprawling over a sea of Brodiaea. The color of this daylily is more accurate in the photo below which shows two blooms.



[Daylily 'King's Grant' with Brodeaia]


[Knautia macedonica]


The small claret colored scabious flowers are a Knautia macedonica which has since been dug up and pitched out. I finally decided it clashed just a bit too much for this spot and since it is such a prolific seeder, I didn't mind tossing it.



[Daylily 'Magic Wand' Etc.]

Isn't this bright and cheery? Most of the flowers here belong to a tetraploid variety named 'Magic Wand.' It was purchased from Wild's quite a few years ago. The only thing I hate about it is how the flowers look the next day...yuck! They really detract from the appearance of the clump and need to be deadheaded. The old varieties with the more spidery form are not like that and even with the old blooms can look pretty in the garden...something to consider if you don't like wading into your flowerbeds regularly to deadhead.

[Daylily 'Gala Bells']


There are better closeups of this flower in the photo albums and if I stumble across one, I'll replace this. It's a bit more gold in person. The variety is named 'Gala Bells.' It grows in the alley bed near the Lonicera 'Baggesen's Gold' and Phygelius aequalis 'Moonraker.'



I call this a HYPER 'Hyperion.' It has twice as many petals and sepals as a normal 'Hyperion' flower. Pretty wild, huh?



[A Hyper Daylily 'Hyperion' Flower]


[Daylily 'Mary Todd']


This tetraploid variety is extremely popular for its color and prolific bloom. 'Mary Todd' has won some awards. I find it to be a bit harsh where it is, but it would probably fit in great in the oak bed with the other oranges and reds. Some blue nearby would be nice, but I don't have that at present.



The tubular orangey/russet flowers you see are Phygelius capensis 'Winchester Fanfare.' I bought a couple of 4" pots when I worked at the nursery and it's taken them a few seasons (especially considering the neglect in this bed) to get big enough to start looking like a bush. The hummingbirds love it! Most of the daylilies growing near it were grown from open pollinated seed harvested from a friend's garden. The blue colored branches to the left are Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Boulevard.'


[Phygelius 'Winchester Fanfare,' Etc.]

For more of July...go to Page 2.

This page last updated on July 23, 1998.