How could I forget to point out that daylilies, a classic Midwestern summer stalwart, have held up well under this summer's tough growing conditions. Mine performed just about as usual and I saw them blooming in gardens all over the area. Just in time for (I hope!) cooler fall weather comes a daylily sale from the fabulous Klehm's Song Sparrow Farm and Nursery. Check out their large selection — and enjoy 15% off on all daylilies.
Be sure to sign up for e-mail updates about sales and new introductions — which is how I heard about this sale. Klehm plants are not cheap but they are worth every penny. And they are a third-generation daylily and peony breeder so they really know their plants!
(Disclosure: I am not getting any remuneration for this post; I am just a long-time fan of Klehm's nursery and plants).
Photo: Hemerocallis 'Shy Boy' from Klehm's on-line catalog.
We added water lilies to our pond the first summer after we created it — 1998 — and they've been doing beautifully ever since. This year's early Spring and hot, sunny weather have give us a bumper crop of both lilies and leaves. We've always dreamed of growing lotus as well. But it wasn't until I discovered a dwarf version that we decided to give one a try.
We ordered 'Baby Doll' from Lilypons and added it to the pond in early May. It's been slowly putting out leaves which have floated on the surface of the pond. But suddenly the leaves are getting bigger and standing up the way you so often see them doing. Now we're just waiting to see if we actually get any flowers. Stay tuned for updates.
The next four images are Lilium henryi or Henry's lily. According to Old House Gardens (where I bought this lily), it is a wild Chinese lily and takes sun to light shade.
These are reaching for more sun but still fully blooming. I kind of like the curving stems so I may leave them where they are.
I planted these lilies in memory of my late father-in-law whose name was Henry. He's also represented in the spring garden with Iris ensata 'Henry's White."
I've looked at my plant I.D. cards and assorted garden journal entries from 2008, which is when I received these beautiful red speckled lilies from Brent & Becky as trial plants. At the time, I marked them in B&B's catalog so I would remember the name. But the catalog, along with the name, is long gone.
The coloration is reminiscent of the famed 'Stargazer' lily, but the flowers are more recurved than the typical Oriental lily. Any guesses?
Our relentlessly hot sunny weather has made the bright center of our garden — the pond and its water plants — shine. White, yellow and the interloping pink lilies are all at their peak. The flowers are all fairly similiar; it's the leaves that are more distinctive. The white lilies have very large leaves while the yellow ones have wonderfully mottled leaves on both the tops and undersides. And Mark's new telephoto lens finally let us see what these beautiful flowers look like on the inside. Since they bloom in the middle of the pond we have always viewed them — and snapped pix — from too far away to get a good look at the interiors. The same with the inside of the screaming yellow Nuphar. The heat and lack of rain has also made the pond water cloudy, which happily makes it more reflective!
Hot sunny weather, followed by a little rain and the acquisition of new camera lenses sent Mark on a walking tour of our garden. Here's the long driveway border (about 60' long x 10' wide / 18.3m x 3.05m). Originally I called it the "Hendrix border" because my idea was to create a purple haze. There are still a number of plants from that plan like dark red 'Claude Shride' martagon lilies, red barberries, the 'Forest Pansy' redbud and dark Heucheras and Heucherellas. But the addition of a Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'Gold Rush') shifted the balance toward ochre, yellow and chartreuse. This spring we finally took out our 'Royal Purple' smoke bush to give the redwood the room it needs.
Epimedium rubrum (above) is filling in nicely along the front of the border along with a broad-leaved yellow sedge (Carex siderosta 'Lemon Zest'). This is the area with the Claude Shride martagons, also Heucherella 'Sweet Tea" and two ferns: Athyrium hybrida 'Ghost' and Dryopteris felix-mas 'Linearis Polydactyla'.
The large ceramic pot holds a dwarf waterlily. The bare space behind it is the home of the former smokebush. We will replace it with a 'Green Mountain' boxwood that is currently in a planter on the deck.
This sloping stone path is the wheelbarrow route to the back garden. You can also see some of the peeled trunks from the Arbor Vitae that Mark removed 14 years ago when we began the garden. We are still using them in a number of projects, including as a support for a red clematis that is visible (the support, not the clematis) in the 4th image.
Over the last half dozen years our city has installed traffic islands and circles on residential streets all over town. They're an attempt to slow down traffic on side streets that were not meant for the number of cars trying to take a shortcut to avoid the volume on nearby main roads. In most cases, residents plant and maintain these little oases of greenery.
The traffic island in front of our house is one of the few on our street that is in full sun. So I've filled it with everything that doesn't get enough light in our big garden. Most things — like the catmint and dwarf daylilies — are doing so well that they have to be continually divided. Here's a July snapshot of what's happening out in the street. The actual planting area is 6' x 6' (1.82m x 1.82m) of surprisingly good soil. The big lilies are from Brent and Becky's Bulbs and the geraniums and coleus are from Kopke's Greenhouse. And yes, the pansies and poppies have made it to July courtesy of all the cool days we had in June.
My large stand of Martagon lilies in the back garden are all the variety 'Mrs. R. O. Backhouse'. In only a few years half a dozen bulbs have exploded, while the Martagons in the driveway border — the deep red 'Claude Shride' — have expanded much more slowly. The difference may be the quality of the soil, amount of sun (or lack thereof) or the degree of rainfall that reaches the different groups. I've never quite been able to determine the reason for the difference in their growth habits. Even though there's not many of them, the lacquered red of the petals of 'Claude Shride' make up in drama what they lack in volume.
If you've been trying to grow tomatoes our cool weather has offered little help, but it has been ideal for the Martagon lilies. They've been blooming in massive stands in the Sacred Grove for almost a week. All of these pictures show "Mrs. R. O. Backhouse," with masses of soft peachy pink flowers atop tall stems. I'll take a mass of Martagons dancing in the breeze over those giant Oriental lilies any day!