Bluebeard and early summer blooms


The yellow leaves of ‘Worcester Gold’ bluebeard (Caryopteris clandonensis Worcester Gold’, below) fade in summer’s heat, though they remain brightly colored in late June. Despite the inevitable heat of July, the contrast between the foliage and early blue flowers will remain delightful.Improved versions of ‘Worcester Gold’ have been introduced, but I’ve not been overly impressed that ‘Sunshine Blue’ or others are significantly better. The color of the coarse leafed caryopteris ‘Hint of Gold’ holds up better through the summer, it flowers several weeks later, and probably any gardener will be satisfied to have one or more of each. I’ve planted single plants, but have been impressed with mass plantings of green or yellow leafed caryopteris. 

Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria ‘Tangerine Tango’, above) are best know as fillers in cut flower arrangements, but cold hardy varieties flower for extended periods in full sun. I’ve experienced poor results in part sun and more shade, with no flowers and weak growth, though even in sun its stems are floppy. I was surprised a few years ago that deer pushed through furniture on a slate patio to nibble a few flowering stems that were not treated with a repellent, but otherwise the lilies are sturdy and dependable bloomers.

The variegated blooms of ‘Pistachio’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pistachio’, above) are unquestionably out of the ordinary in a world of blue flowered mophead hydrangeas. Probably, I’ve located ‘Pistachio’ in a less than ideal exposure, so it grows more slowly and flowers more sparsely than other mopheads. 

As with too many plants in this garden, I do not recall the variety of this splendid pink deciduous azalea. It flowers several weeks after other azaleas have faded, and is more fragrant than yellow, orange, and red azaleas that bloom earlier. The tall clump of azaleas has grown together so that one shrub is indistinguishable from the other, but this does not adversely effect flowering.

A white flowered coneflower (Echinacea) has grown vigorously since it was moved from beneath a taller shrub into a sunnier spot. Before, it was a bit disappointing, but the problem was where I planted it, not the plant. Certainly, this happens frequently, with one plant or another taking the blame rather than the gardener who planted it. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the cultivar, which is not unusual for me. Another white, ‘Coconut Lime’ (below) is planted beneath a low branched shrub beside the koi pond, and miraculously it survives and flowers dependably. But, this is a different and more typical coneflower bloom. Maybe ‘White Swan’, though that doesn’t ring a bell. I really should keep better records.

There are handfuls of daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’, above) in the garden, all very standard varieties, and not ones that I take great pride in collecting. All are long blooming types, which was the intention for fillers at the edges of planting areas. I am occasionally tempted to plant ones with tall flowering stalks, but the mood passes quickly.

The tall growing Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, above) attracts more bees than butterflies, though the abundant local population of swallowtails are frequent visitors. A year ago, aphids covered seedpods that followed flowering, and though I suspected the milkweeds would survive the invasion, I was uncertain. I won’t be surprised when aphids arrive this year, or when beetles follow to feed on them. Certainly, this is evidence that natives are no more or less susceptible to injury from pests than non-natives. Bugs must eat.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    The azalea looks like a pink variety of the native white swamp azalea, Rhododendron viscosum. The white coneflower, maybe PowWow white?

    1. Dave says:

      I think you have correctly identified both. I googled around a bit afterwards and I came up with the same. Thanks

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