Middle of summer. Need more flowers, I think

Went on a lovely trip this spring for three weeks with Sandy (pics at her website) instead of planting things like tender annuals. Now I’m noticing it.

Things to plant next spring that I’m missing this year:

  • salpiglossis
  • 4o’clock flowers

Both are annuals. I love the colors in salpiglossis, and love the fresh lemony scent of 4 o’clocks.Ah well, next year.This year, there’s still weeding to be done, plants to smell, and flowers to take pictures of. Today I went in into the gardens and did all three. I just wish my lavender would bloom!I missed lavender season in Provence (just a bit too early) and would like mine to flower.In the front garden, we have roses, Japanese anemones, and phlox in bloom.This is one of the smaller roses, a “patio rose” variety called ‘Flame’.The anemones are interesting: some have four petals, some have five. I have a plant of double blossoms, but that opens later in the season.Both of the Japanese anemones I have are purple. I’ve seen some stunning white ones lately, and would like to add one to the back garden for late-autumn color. I might have to restrain it, though: I gather they can really run amok in the right circumstances.In the back yard, the shade garden is doing well. Lots of ferns, the foxglove is blooming (sorry, out of camera range), the bleeding heart is blooming again, and the toad lily has flower buds. This is one section of the back garden, against the north side of a fence: also under a huge cottonwood tree and a few maple weed trees, so it’s getting pretty shady here.Close-up of the bleeding heart. I love the leaves: they remind me of a William Morris design.One thing I’ve been trying to put into place from the courses I’m taking is the need for similarity and variety… so I’ve got similarities of color range this year (from whites through to purplish pinks) and I’ve got contrasts in leaf shape and color. I still need to work on it some more, although things are starting to get interesting. I added a golden elderberry bush, which is still showing lovely pale leaves in the middle of the summer.It contrasts well with the sand cherry (deep burgundy leaves, and trained as a standard) and in years to come, the two berry trees (did I tell you I also got a Saskatoon berry shrub?) should grow in height to provide some needed vertical movement.Among the other lovelies in the back yard this year are Echinacea purpurea (oh, how I love those bristly cones!)I have a white echinacea — I think. I hope it survived the winter. I see that I have one plant that looks a lot like the Echinacea purpurea, but it has tight little flower buds: maybe it’s just a slow bloomer.Also in flower in the back yard is a centaurea I bought last year… pure white (I think it’s centaurea montana alba).I’ve grown batchelor’s buttons in the past (too long and leggy); also centaurea moschata (truly, my favorite… alas, also leggy, but what a wonderful smell!)This one is compact and stays close to the ground… the eye just “happens” upon it when travelling from one plant to the next.Another favorite in my back garden is Heuchera ‘Marmalade’ — it’s very pink and pale orange in the spring time, and seems to come out of winter with just a little bit of frost damage, like it continues to live underneath the ice — the leaves provide wonderful color in those weeks before any bulbs are pushing their way up. By midsummer, the color mutes, but (if I recall correctly) gets vivid again in the fall. A wonderful plant for a shady area!Also providing attraction is the seed heads of a Jackmanii clematis: they turn into tightly twirled tassels as the summer progresses. Right now, they’re about half-way tied up and will get woolier looking as time goes on.That’s about all the news from these small gardens today.Grow green!

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