Feels like midsummer

I returned from two weeks of plant shopping inspired and ready to plant. Within days a redbud was planted to replace a failing hydrangea, and a section of lawn bordering the forest was cut out, then widened to accommodate a wall of granite boulders backfilled with excavation and added soil. Then the heat hit, and I slowed down, just as the garden did the same.

While my inspired effort has subsided, on hold waiting for cooler temperatures, the exuberance of the garden has slowed only slightly.

I am pleased that several of the summer flowering Downy rattlesnake plantain (Goodyear pubescens, above and below) native orchids are flowering. A dozen planted a year ago are growing nicely, but most are small and probably a year away from bloom. The plantain is not particularly showy, but I’ve taken a liking to native orchids that can be a bit persnickety. While many plants tolerate a range of conditions, the orchids are more particular.

Several pineapple lilies (Eucomis) were looking splendid with erect flower stalks (below), until the past couple hot days when they collapsed in the heat. Flowers will continue to open while the stalk leans on its neighbors, but it will not regain its rigidity.

In any case, the pineapple lilies are a success, rescued at the last moment as an Oakleaf hydrangea overwhelmed a once vigorous clump. The clump was dug and divided, with parts planted into sunnier spots where they grow robustly, but with variable moisture that is the likely culprit causing the flowers’ collapse.

Again, I’m reminded that the tall, gangly, somewhat yellow leafed ‘Canyon Creek’ abelia is favored over ones with more colorful foliage and more compact growth. Mannerly growth is not a necessity in this garden, and clusters of flowers of ‘Canyon Creek’ stand out rather than its foliage. I suppose a gardener could prune this abelia into shape, but I favor its wildness.

The first flowers of toad lilies (Tricyrtis, below) arrived late in July, with most varieties flowering September into October. While every flower is appreciated in midsummer, I look forward to the late season and milder temperatures.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lucy says:

    I see English ivy behind the Goodyera. Do you have much ivy and what do you do to keep it under control?

    1. Dave says:

      Long ago I planted a variety of variegated ivies that creep along in the background, but rarely need any care. Occasionally, I must prune one that climbs into a Japanese maple, but variegated varieties are much less vigorous than the standard ivies. If I was starting new I wouldn’t plant ivy again, but these are not a problem.

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