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.