Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bloom Day 2, July 3, 2011

When walking through gardens, isn't it always the unusual flower that pulls you in for a closer look.  The flowers I share with you in the Bloom Day Series are by no means rare, but the ones that often get the most attention. 

Shasta daisy, Astrantia, Geranium 'Rozanne'

According to Smith’s Exotic Botany of 1805, “The more refined admirers of Nature” rate Astrantia among their favorite blossoms.  I don't know how refined I am, but I sure admire Astrantia.  The flowers bloom like tiny enchanting fireworks.  If a natural look is what you’re after, plant a long-blooming Astrantia.  Slugs do not like Astrantias, so interplant them among your other shade plants to repel them.

The wildflower Knautia macedonica is one of the few flowers that does not have a widely used common name among gardeners.  The blooms begin in spring and with deadheading will continue until first frost. Knautia wants lots of sun but will tolerate a little shade and requires well-draining soil. The blooms tend to be floppy, so plant along side sturdier flowers.  Once established as a sturdy clump, it will be fairly drought tolerant with just occasional deep waterings.  While Knautia's individual clumps are not  long lived, it may self-seed to naturalize in the garden.

Agastache 'Cotton Candy' with Geranium 'Rozanne'
Perhaps my most favorite perennial is Agastache 'Cotton Candy'.  Cotton Candy forms a 2' tall x 3' wide drought-tolerant clump of upright green stems with very minty-fragranced leaves. From spring through fall, the stems are topped with dense clusters of small pink flowers. Agastache 'Cotton Candy' is a magnet for both butterflies and hummingbirds. While I do not like Geranium 'Rozanne' as a stand-alone plant, I love to allow the long stems to weave themselves throughout flowers.

Spigelia marilandica
Spigelia marilandica,  Indian Pink, are bright red on the outside and creamy yellow on the inside, a contrast that would have sent Gertrude Jekyll in a tizzy.   Indian Pink is under-used by hummingbird gardeners.  Grow in partial to full shade in rich soil with high organic content. A very hardy plant, though it is best planted by the end of July for reliable success in gardens and containers.  Be sure of where you plant Spigelia marilandica, as it prefers not to be transplanted once established. Indian Pink comes up quite late in the spring, so mark the planting spot to avoid accidentally planting on top of it.

Shasta daisy, Knautia, Alamo Fire Lupine, Geranium 'Rozanne'

So add a few unusual flowers to your garden...stand back and let the questions begin.

"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies." -- Gertrude Jekyll

Bloom Day 1

1 comment:

  1. Just beautiful. I love the Astrantia and the Spigelia and had never heard of them until I read this post, Kathy. Gotta get me some for the shade garden. New fact I just learned googling: Spigelia is the source of strychnine, thus poisonous, of course, and deer resistant.