Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: June 15, 2015

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. The garden is in a period of transition, so there are not large numbers of plants in bloom. We are being challenged to respond to the extremely hot weather to keep things perky. The thermometer on my screened porch read 100 degrees at 4 pm today, and that’s in the shade! I know we are not alone, but it is quite hot for this part of North Carolina.

One of the major changes in my garden each year takes place when the chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) blooms. I have three of them and find their blue flowers a delight to the eyes and a magnet for bumble bees. Today, standing under one of them, I heard a low droning sound; it was the hum of hundreds of bumble bees enjoying the sweet vitex nectar. In years past I have been able to deadhead them, and they produce another complete bloom in September-October. They are getting too tall now for me to chance a fall off the ladder (my Arranger is getting rather strict about that), so the repeat bloom will be there but much less.

The one on the left is ‘Shoal Creek,’ and on the right is an heirloom vitex I grew from a cutting of a plant handed down in my family. While it looks like the color is different, in fact the two are visually the same; it only the sun angle that has contributed to a different impression.

‘Maggie Daley’ astilbe lends a pleasing shade of pink under one of the chaste trees. A few Montauk daisies have bloomed just as I was about to trim back the plants about half so they will be more robust in the fall when they are supposed to bloom. I get a few of these each year. I’m glad to see them, but wish they had waited until fall. ‘General Sikorski’ clematis has almost finished for the spring. I have trimmed it down about half, and I expect it to put out new growth and rebloom in several months. Hostas are putting up flowering spikes and starting their show. If I can keep the deer away from them, we should have a good year. This Hosta ‘Elegans’ has large, dark crinkled foliage and lovely white flowers.

We have filled many of our annual pots with various cultivars of lantana, which does quite nicely for us. Here are two of our favorites, ‘Bandana Rose’ and ‘Samantha,’ which also provides a note of variegation in its foliage.

Our hydrangeas are coming in; these three are all in the ‘Endless Summer’ “family.” This is a group of Hydrangea macrophylla hybrids that bloom on both old and new wood. It means they still bloom even if hit by a late spring frost that would normally kill macrophylla buds, and they continue to bloom up until autumn frost. My Arranger sprinkles a soil acidifier to encourage them to “bloom blue.” ‘Blushing Bride’ doesn’t respond to the added chemical but remains white and then fades to a pink blush. I am hand watering them daily to keep them hydrated.

Among other plants in bloom this day are dwarf gardenias, two pots of annual gold marigolds, the annual vine Mandevilla, and one of my favorite annuals for pots, Mecardonia ‘Golddust.’

Please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, the originator of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day to see what she and so many others are sharing from the gardens today.


About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in Stallings, NC with his wife, in close proximity to six of his eight grandchildren.
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17 Responses to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: June 15, 2015

  1. Everything is lovely , especially your Hosta. Lantana is so reliable for blooms all summer long . People in our area tend to copies their Vitex, which looks so harsh until they grow out and come into bloom. Good for the arranger for keeping you off of the ladder !


  2. Julie says:

    Thats hot John! The hum of bumblebees is one of my favourite sounds, for your dip time, you still have lots in flower.


  3. Cathy says:

    What a treat to see your Vitex, John – and interesting about the pruning for a second flush. All looking lush and lovely (especially the hydrangeas!) in spite of your heat. Keep cool!


  4. Cathy says:

    I discovered Mecardonia last summer, John. And I love it in my summer containers with Lantana too. I have never seen a chaste tree – what a show of colour. Like giant salvia! Lovely.


  5. Christina says:

    Hi John, I’m in NC and yesterday I saw a Vitex for the very first time, not knowing what it was. Today I saw it again when I was with Susie (PBM garden) and she said you had several. The ones we saw were covered with bees today, I would love to grow this plant.


    • johnvic8 says:

      So glad to know you are nearby and welcome to North Carolina. I wish you could come by Charlotte. I think you can get same idea of how much I appreciate vitex in the garden. And all those bees.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christina says:

        We actually stayed the night in Charlotte one our way down to Athens, but we were short on time, I think we will have to come back and spend some time in this beautiful and interesting State. I’ve seen more Vitex on the road today, I would love to be able to grow this in my garden.


        • johnvic8 says:

          I’m disappointed that you didn’t have time to see us. It would certainly have been a pleasure for us. It has been one of the joys of blogging to “meet” people all over the world who share this love of gardening. I do hope you will return some day.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Christina says:

          We hope so too, we know we have missed many great things to see on this trip, but it is always great to have a reason to return.


  6. pbmgarden says:

    Those hydrangeas are so lovely. I do like your Vitex. I’ll have to look for Mecardonia–nice.


  7. That Vitex is just absolutely beautiful. Wish I could grow it!


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