Belles of the Midsummer Ball

Happy late summer. I’ve been busy caring for and watering lots which is a feeble excuse for not updating the garden’s progress. So, here goes…

These are plants that I actually look forward to each and every summer. First, the crocosmia…

Crocosmia "Lucifer"

Crocosmia “Lucifer”

My son picked this plant for me one mother’s day. Perfectly named for him during his early teen years (Lucifer), wasn’t quite sure what to expect as it was early in the season and the plant had not yet bloomed. But when it did, I fell in love.

This plant is so exotic and tropical looking, but it is perennial in this zone (zone 7ish). Hummingbirds LOVE this plant and so I’ve moved it several times to allow for them to visit and suckle from a vantage point we can watch without interference.  The plants are quite stately and do not require staking. Even after the blooms fade, the seed pods are architecturally interesting and stay strong from weeks afterward. Before the end of August, I will cut them back at the soil level, just to give other bloomers more space.

Since its introduction to the quadrant, I’ve added more (more is more, in this case!) by purchasing the bulb packets in early spring from HD. Must be careful though, because these cheaper packets aren’t always labeled with the specific color. Some of these packets have less red, orange-ish colors. KP’s Canon has difficulty with these intense colors, unlike my as-yet-to-materialize-Nikon-7100. But I took one of those shots and posterized it, and this view enables you to see crocosmia’s beautiful structure:

crocosmia "posterized"

crocosmia “posterized”

Absolutely, 100% in love with the Casa Blanca lilies…

Lilium "Casa Blanca"

Lilium “Casa Blanca” nearly ready to burst open

…and I didn’t know until this post that this species is part of the oriental lilies, like “Stargazer”. I always assumed it was part of the Hemerocallis family – a style of lily I always thought I preferred.

Lilium "Casa Blanca" in full bloom

Lilium “Casa Blanca” in full bloom

These show girls bloom every year in the last couple weeks of July, serenading quadrant parties with their fragrant wafts of perfume. Some find the fragrance cloying, but then again they’re not in the quadrant!

As you may have noted, these blooms become top-heavy very quickly and have to be staked. Here’s another shot in combination with plain ole fancy-red dahlia’s and the caladium:

IMG_2179

Mid-summer is also a time when holes start appearing in the garden, hence the red dahlia. Behind it, I’ve since planted a deep purple “dinner plate” dahlia, which I’ll show you when it starts taking off.

Among other combo’s I’m enjoying this summer are the black-eyed Susans, with the sedum as pictured here:

Rudbeckia fulgida "Goldsturm" with sedum

Rudbeckia fulgida “Goldsturm” with sedum

This was moved to the quadrant, in accordance with LTEG 1 as noted here. Yes, I do take my garden planning very seriously 🙂 The rudbeckia is doing really well in the quadrant and the haphazardly placement among the slowly maturing sedum is making me happy.  BTW, this also satisfies LTEG 2, too, in that these two plants are coming into maturity just as the Alaskan poppy is dying out. It did leave space next to the roses, and so I’ve filled that in with a *NEW* (yes, NEW plant!) species – an annual vinca. Here’s a close-up of this hot coral color:

Catharanthus roseus "cora red"

Catharanthus roseus “cora red”

Absolutely love the little white eye in the center. Too bad these are annuals; must remember to adopt early next summer. To completely fill up the space, I also added some cosmos “Sonata Carmine.” They’re looking a bit ragged from the mid-summer on-sale bin, but hopefully they’ll perk up and add some color towards the end of the season.

What I’ve learned? Loving the hot colors: can’t have enough reds, oranges and magentas. Also, time to credit two sources: 1-a great online plant finder for the Latin names, and 2-KP for taking the photos.

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