Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up August 2017: Late Summer Blooms!

August 2017 Garden
Welcome to my garden and to another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up for the month of August. It's time once again to come along with me to see what is blooming in my Long Island garden! 
Dried Allium Seed Head
The month of August has brought a combination of warm days in the 90's, followed by rain showers and cooler days in the 80's. Overall, it has been a relatively comfortable summer season for both the garden and its visitors. With a cool start to the summer season, I have noticed that some of the later blooms have have been a bit delayed, but only by a couple of weeks. Some of the newer additions over the past couple of years have brought even more blooms to the late summer garden, complementing the more mature plantings.
Back Patio Garden
As we start our stroll, the patio garden is alive with blooms of Platycodon (Balloon Flower) and Echinacea. There are subtle signs of summer ending and autumn on the way as hosta finish their blooms and ornamental fountain grasses start to form their feathery plumes.
Balloon Flower (left) and Echinacea Pow Wow 'WIld Berry' (right)
The variety of Balloon flower seen here is Platycodon grandiflorus' komachi'. The blooms on this cultivar remain as puffy "balloons" and do not open like other varieties you may be familiar with. The recent addition of Echinacea 'Wild Berry' behind the Balloon Flowers makes for a great color combination during the late summer months.
Platycodon  grandiflorus' komachi' Balloon Flower
Here are the large blooms of the Balloon Flower close up as we pass along the walkway area towards the patio.
This beautiful potted Mandevilla was given to me by a dear friend. I  have never had one before and am enjoying its lovely blooms that just keep on giving.
Mandevilla Close Up
Here are the blooms close up!
Dwarf Butterfly Bush and Bumble Bee Visitor
The garden is full of pollinators during the month of August, as this Bumble Bee enjoys some nectar.

Back Raised Garden Bed Long View with Dwarf Butterfly Bush (center) and Roses (right)
Dwarf Butterfly Bush, Buddleia Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' is in full bloom for August, and will continue throughout September with its fragrant purple flowers. 
Dwarf Butterfly Bush with Painted Lady Butterfly
As you can see, the shrub attracts many pollinators such as this 'Painted Lady' butterfly, that has been hovering around the shrub for days.
Hemerocallis 'Pardon Me' (Daylily)
Hemerocallis 'Pardon Me' has been blooming for a few weeks now in the western garden. I just rejuvenated my 'Stella D' Oro' Daylilies, so they should be re-blooming into September and October.
Dwarf Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar' (Dwarf Black Eyed Susan)
I added these Rudbeckia to the northwestern border garden last summer. They started blooming back in July and will continue for quite sometime into mid-fall. Because they are a dwarf variety, they stay at a compact height of just 12-24 inches. Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar' is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and prefers full sun.
Echinacea 'Pow Wow' Wild Berry
Looking for some bright late summer blooms? Here is a new improved variety of Echinacea named for its darker non-fading berry-pink blooms (as the name implies). Plants stay compact at a height of just 12-24 inches tall, prefer full sun, and are hardy in zones 4-9. 
Garden Boy and Gal
A garden needs some whimsy and this adorable pair have resided here for many years. I get a smile each time I pass them by.
Hydrangea Tardivia August
Around to the front northern side of the property, Hydrangea 'Tardivia' displays its blooms and this tree form never disappoints! Voluminous pure white semi-fragrant blooms start in late July and last throughout August and sometimes into September.
Colocasia (Giant Elephant Ear)
New to the patio area is Colocasia or Giant Elephant Ear. I bought the bulb while picking out some plants for a job at the nursery and thought it might be fun to try. The plant keeps producing giant three foot long leaves that look like they are from prehistoric time. The plant that now stands at a height of about six feet tall and is starting to look like "Audry 2" from Little Shop of Horrors, and I love it!
Morning Glory
In the same planter is purple Potato Vine and Morning Glory trailing over the edge. The Morning Glory Vine just presented its first delightful bloom, right in time for Bloom Day!
Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise'August
Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise' is a new addition that replaced some aging Heuchera back in early June. It bloomed profusely for about a month, and after some deadheading, it is re-blooming for the month of August. It's delicate light pink blooms are also fragrant!
Crape Myrtle Sioux
For more late summer blooms, Lagerstromeia (Crape Myrtle) Sioux is starting to display its beautiful deep pink blossoms. This tree has been a member of the back raised garden bed for over 20 years and continues to amaze me every time it blooms. Let's get up close and personal with its large fragrant blooms!
Lamp post Garden
Yellow Coreopsis 'Zagreb' and bluish-purple Nepeta 'Walkers Low' continue to bloom throughout the summer and into fall, as Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' displays its variety of differently colored blooms all on the same plant in late summer. White the Coreopsis and Nepeta stay at a height of approximately 18-24 inches 'Cheyenne Spirit' grows a bit higher and  reaches approximately 2-3 feet.
Lillium Stargazer
Here is Stargazer Lily. It is located in the back pool garden and although it is just about done with its bloom, it is worth sharing. The blooms are short lived from the end of July through the first week in August, but are worth the wait, and their fragrance is amazing.
Pool Garden
Here is a long view of the pool gardens with a mixture of weeping and dwarf evergreens, perennials and grasses. Dried Allium 'Globemaster' seed heads (photo far right) remain as a reminder of the earlier summer months gone by.
Double Knock Out Rose Pink
In the back garden bed Double Knock Out Roses continue to amaze with their beautiful double fragrant blooms, that will continue through to the first frost. 
Double Knock Out Rose Red 'Radrazz'
'Radrazz' is the original member of the Double Knock Out Roses and was the first variety of Knock Outs that I introduced into my gardens. Did I mention how much I adore their blooms?
Sedum spirium 'Dragon's Blood' (Dragon's Blood Stonecrop)
Last, but not least is the late summer blooming Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'. Green leaves with red margins become brilliant red in cooler temperatures, with vibrant deep pink blooms in August that last for months. This ground cover variety of Sedum grows to approximately four to six inches in height and is hardy in USDA zones 3-9.
August 2017 Garden
I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Wednesday Around the World.


Landscape Design Combinations

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

Monday, August 7, 2017

This Month's Color in the Garden August: The History and Meaning of Sunflowers

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus) 
Welcome to This Month's Color in the Garden! Primary colors, or the most natural of colors that exist on their own (such as yellow, red, and blue) are the focus for the month of August. Since have always had an admiration for sunflowers, I decided to look into their history and meaning. I am sharing a post I wrote about a year ago that I hope you will enjoy. 

The bright yellow, and sometimes red, sunflower has always had a remarkable resemblance to our sun, leading early Indian settlers to accept the flower as the "life-giving" force of the Great Spirit. Since a sunflower follows the rays of the sun, it was first looked upon as a symbol of spiritual faith, worship and fertility. Today, the sunflower still represents adoration, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflower stems from its namesake, the sun itself.
Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus ) Taken in Newport, Rhode Island
The first wild sunflower is known to be native to North America. Evidence shows that the first sunflower crops were cultivated by the American Indian around 3000 BC, but its first commercialization didn't take place until it reached Russia. Indian tribes crushed the seeds into flour for bread and cakes or combined with vegetables, and the oil from the seed was used for cooking. Parts of the plant were used medicinally for snakebites, oils for the skin and hair and also for dyes to be used in body painting and decoration. Around the year 1500, the plant was taken to Europe by Spanish explorers and sunflowers became widespread as an ornamental. By the 18th century, the sunflower became more popular as a cultivated plant, and by 1830 the production of sunflower oil was performed widely on a commercial scale.
Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus ) 
By the early 19th century, Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflower, and by the late 19th century, the sunflower as we know it found its way to the United States. Canada started the first sunflower breeding program, which led to the construction of a crushing plant, and future production of sunflower oil. Today,Western Europe continues to be a large consumer of sunflower oil, but depends on its own production since the U.S. exports to Europe are limited. The sunflower itself is grown worldwide for ornamental uses and is known for its radiance and beauty.
(Photos by Lee Miller and Property of a Guide to Northeastern Gardening) 

Sunflowers are seen as symbols of good luck. Planting them around your home will bring good fortune and it is said that if you pick a sunflower at sunset, and wear it on your person, it will bring you good luck the following day. According to folklore, it is bad luck to cut down a sunflower, but if you sleep with a sunflower under your pillow, you will become wise. According to the language of flowers, dwarf sunflowers are a symbol of admiration and gratitude, while tall sunflowers represent pride and appreciation. 

 Linking with:Today's FlowersFloral Fridays, Macro Monday 2 and Friday Photo Journal


As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up July 2017: Welcome to My Summer Garden!

July Garden 2017
Welcome! It's time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up to view the garden once again and take in all that nature has to offer. The summer has moved along quickly, with July temperatures consistent in the 80's with some days in the 90's, sunny skies, and an occasional thunderstorm with rain to nurture the blooms. There is much to see everywhere, so come along with me on a stroll through my Long Island garden.
Astilbe Delft Lace
July is a great month for the many varieties of Astilbe, ranging in height from 12-18 inches up to 2-3 feet. Astilbe 'Delft Lace' is one of my favorites in the garden, displaying beautiful pinkish-purple blooms on 24" stalks. When blooming, it appears to be almost three feet tall!  'Delft Lace' is hardy in USDA zones 4-9 and prefers partial to full shade.
Astilbe 'Fanal'
Here in the northwestern side of my pool garden is Astilbe 'Fanal'. It displays brightly colored crimson blooms that last for several weeks, putting on quite a show! Astilbe 'Fanal' is hardy in USDA zones 4-9 and prefers partial to full shade. It grows to a height of about 18-24 inches tall.
Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue' and 'Twist & Shout'
After a couple of harsh winters, the hydrangea are doing much better this season. They are now glorious with large mophead and lacecap blooms. In this view is Endless Summer 'Twist & Shout' Hydrangea in the center, surrounded by two 'Nikko Blue'.
Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue'
'Nikko Blue' (hardy to zone 5) is a bit old fashioned with its voluminous deep blue mophead blooms that form on old wood. I have had these plants for many years in the garden along the south fence. Hydrangea do need some hours of sun to bloom, and these get the perfect mix of early sun along with afternoon partial shade.
Hydrangea Endless Summer (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer')
One the other side of the property, this Endless Summer Hydrangea has pretty pink blooms. Endless Summer Hydrangea are hardy in USDA zones 4-9 and bloom on both old wood and on the new wood of the season. Blooms appear blue in acidic soils and pink in alkaline soils.
Endless Summer Hydrangea 'Twist & Shout'
This variety is Endless Summer 'Twist & Shout'.  It displays delicate, more open looking lacecap blooms that are white with hints of pink and purple. 'Twist & Shout' also blooms on both old and new wood and is hardy to USDA zone 4. Colors can vary depending on the acidity of your soil.
Hydrangea Nikko Blue (Left) and Twist & Shout (Right)
Here is a view with mophead and lacecap hydrangea next to one another. It is wonderful to see these blooms again after two years of the plants trying to recuperate. 
Stella D Oro Daylily
As we stroll around to the pool area, Daylily 'Stella D Oro' is an old favorite along side Montgomery Blue Globe Spruce. Later on in the summer I will rejuvenate the daylilies so that they bloom into the fall.
South Garden
Here is the southwestern part of the garden with Salvia 'May Night' in front of 'Caramel' Coral Bells and Sedum 'Brilliant'. With some deadheading, this is the second purple bloom on the Saliva since May, and with the Coral Bells it's all about the foliage! The deep pink blooms of Sedum in the background will kick in later next month.
Bumble Bee in Flight
Bumble bees are a welcomed guest in the garden and love all the flowers. Here is one happy visitor!
Echinacea 'Pow Wow'
As we come around to the back perennial border, Echinacea 'Pow Wow' is now in full bloom and will continue to display its pretty berry-pink blooms until late in August. We'll encounter some 'Cheyenne Spirit' as we head towards the front.
Hemerocallis (Daylily) 'Pardon Me'
'Pardon Me' Daylily is also blooming for the month of July. I enjoy its deep cranberry-wine blooms with a touch of yellow with a green tinted throat. These 16-18 inch tall lilies are hardy in USDA zones 2-9 and prefer full sun.
Patio Garden
As we come around to the back of the patio area, here is another view of the walkway leading up through the gardens. A potted spearmint plant is alongside the step along with a potted Weeping Pussy Willow tree. On the right of the path is Weeping Norway Spruce, Blue Globe Spruce and various perennials.
Back Patio Garden
As we move along, Hosta 'Golden Tiara' can be seen beneath a grafted Montgomery Globe Blue Spruce. Heuchera 'Caramel' is in the distance behind the grouping of hosta, adding colorful foliage to a shady area.
Pool Perimeter
Here is the eastern side of the pool area with another view of Dayliliy 'Stella D Oro' and Spirea to the right of them. You may also notice the giant Globemaster Allium seed heads that remain from early spring.  I enjoy keeping them as part of the garden.
Skylands Oriental Spruce in Back Garden
Along the back portion of the pool is my new Skyland's Oriental Spruce, which seems to be adjusting nicely to its new home. I absolutely adore its beautiful golden evergreen foliage and purple cones that form in late summer.
Japanese Forest Grass Back Shade Garden
In the shadier portion of the back garden is Hakonechloa-macra (Japanese Forest Grass)...
Skip Laurel and Heuchera 'Caramel' South Bed
and here are the Skip Laurel along the back fence along with Heuchera 'Caramel'. These remarkable Heuchera are now reaching a diameter of two to three feet!
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' Front Driveway Planting
As we stroll around to the front of the property, Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' displays its ever-changing colorful blooms in shades of gold, pink, and orange all one one plant! 'Cheyenne Spirit' prefers full sun and does well with this southern exposure. I love when it is just opening up and the petals haven't unraveled yet.
More 'Cheyenne Spirit' Echinacea
 I can never get enough of this amazing plant, and it will continue its bloom into the fall!
Lampost Planting
As we get nearer to the end of the tour, here is a fuller view of the lamp post garden alongside the driveway, with yellow Coreopis and blue Nepeta next to the burgundy foliage of Weigela 'Spilled Wine'. In the foreground is Japanese Garden Juniper with Golden Oriental 'Skylands' Spruce in the backdrop.

Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar' (Artistic View)
Last, but not least is one of the newer additions to the garden from last year, dwarf Rudbeckia  'Little Goldstar', and this year's succulent planter. As you can see, I had a little fun with doing an artistic rendition of the Rudbeckia before our stroll!
Succulent Planter
I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Wednesday Around the World.
July Garden 2017
Wishing you much gardening happiness. Thank you for visiting!


As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved


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