Herbaria (July 6, 2012)

As you can see from the photo, this week’s garden was dominated by the invasion of the pom-pom flowers. The other major development is the heat. It is absolutely blazing out right now. In fact was already so hot by noon (when I took this photo) that I had to switch out one of my original choices because it started wilting seconds after picking it. I couldn’t keep it happy in the box long enough to take a decent photo!

From Left to Right:

Top Row: 1. Clematis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ I’ve been nervous about all of my clematis, but for some reason I was particularly worried about killing this one. Now, over a year later, I’d say that it is actually the happiest of the lot. Its growth is vigorous and there are several blooms on the go and new buds popping up. I love the dark blooms and the dark red stems. My favorite so far! 2. Elephant Garlic Flower (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) This allium, which is not a true garlic, derives its name from the massive garlic-like bulb that it produces. But you can see from the flower that it is more closely related to the leek (box #8). I am really proud to have overwintered the two that I planted last fall. They don’t always survive our winters and I have often planted these in the very early spring as a way to circumvent that problem. 3. Calibrachoa ‘Lemon Slice’ It’s pretty widely known by now that I am not a petunia fan. God knows I’ve really and truly tried, and while I have made a few recent concessions, I just can’t get excited about them. Wavy gravy, yadda yadda, whatever… I just don’t care. However, I do enjoy its smaller, cuter cousin… sparingly. The last variety that filled me with glee was a solid, double yellow flower called ‘Double Lemon’ that I happened upon years ago in a garden center and have not been able to source since. Like many other garden writers I am sent boxes of annual flowers each spring as testers. I don’t choose these plants and they are often about 95% miss when it comes to my sensibilities and interests. So imagine my surprise when I opened up a box from Proven Winners and discovered this stripy little bloom. I’ve got it in its own pot next to my back door where I can catch a glance every time I pop out into the garden.

Middle Row: 4. Mystery Allium I really want to say that this is a Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), but I don’t have the confidence to say so with certainty. I had nodding onion seed and I believe that I may have thrown them into that part of the garden. The blooms were turned downward when they first opened, but it is the fact that they have since turned upward that has me stumped. I’m calling this a mystery until I can be sure. 5. Japanese Mountain Lily I planted this pretty lily last spring. It did come up in the first year and was average sized by all accounts. It came on with a vengeance this year — the individual flowers are at least double the size they were last spring and the stalk puts them nearly on par with the height of our small pear tree! It has got to be down to the duck manure that I have used to amend the soil these last two years. I put a lot of it back there for the roses. It is also blooming approximately 10-14 earlier than it did last year, but I’d say that is down to the climate. 6. Double Hollyhock ‘Peaches ‘n Dreams’ I’ve already said everything I have to say about this one over here. Pretty, but demanding.

Bottom Row: 7. Pansy I believe that this is one of the pansies that I grew from seed; however, I had so many different types in the garden this spring that I have simply lost track. I included it in this week’s Herbaria because it is one of the few that remains healthy and happy this far into a blazing hot summer. 8. Leek (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) This is a leek that I started from seed very early last spring. When I was big enough I planted it outdoors and while I eventually harvested its brethren to eat, I left this one to carry on with the hopes of producing a bloom. And now here it is. Impressive. Next year I will triple my crop and set a bunch within the garden for ornamentation. 9. Bee Balm (Monarda) I put this plant in last year, but in all honesty I can’t recall if it is the one I started from seed or the one that I received in a plant trial. I’ve wracked my brain but can’t recall which of the two I kept. Regardless, I love the dark color and the fact that one small seedling has gone on within a single year to take on such an impressive and imposing form. I’ve never had so much of this edible flower to experiment with! The best part is that there are no signs of powdery mildew yet. Still, I’m not holding my breath. Yes, I have good draining soil and have worked hard to remove excess leaf litter and provide good air circulation. However, this summer has been unbearably hot so far and keeping the garden hydrated has been a chore. I predict that some susceptible plants will suffer as a result of the stress that causes and that this will be one of them.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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5 thoughts on “Herbaria (July 6, 2012)

  1. I live in a small town on the westside of Indianapolis, IN and it is 6pm and a record breaking 105 degrees (our 5th consecutive day with temps over 100) and what little rain the state is getting keeps missing our little town! I gave up on my lawn weeks ago but refuse to stop watering my flower beds and 30 raised vegetable beds. I have blossom end rot on my tomatoes and I believe my bell peppers are starting to sun scorch. I purchased some pretty perennial daylilies last weekend (Hemerocallis) at 75% off but am afraid to plant them in my flower garden due to the excessive heat. I believe other states are experiencing record breaking heat and would like to hear how other gardeners are coping and being a new gardener would appreciate any advice on the above mentioned problems. I just recently found “You Grow Girl” and immediately added it to My Favorites!

  2. re: petunias…

    I have a profound and highly nostaglic need to grow a planter or patch of the old skool red and white star petunias…a childhood memory of summer vacations. Every Trans Canada Highway motel with an outdoor swimming pool had this type of petunia in the 70s, sometimes in beds surrounded by white painted rocks, or in black or painted tires. This year my star petunias are in a nice gun metal gray square resin planter – classy and kitschy at the same time. Most people like them and smile, and they make me happy. The scent of petunias is pure summer.

    Purple petunias have the most perfect, clear, violet colour – but i don’t have any this year.

    One year I grew the palest blue-white petunias – each evening in the moonlight there would be giant hummingbird-like sphinx moths sipping their nectar – magic.

    The new black, magenta/chatreuse, and sprawly wave varieties not so much.

    nice to see what’s in bloom in your garden…thnx!


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