Spring in North Texas went out with a bang. Correctly, it went out with a rumble of thunder, a flash of lightening and 60 mile per hour winds. And, as a dear gardening friend said, “a legit downpour.” The rain was a much welcome sight. The wind, not so much. And with that —- spring is over and we welcome in the first day of summer.
Daylilies have been blooming for over a month now, yet I still walk the garden each morning, eager to see which ones are blooming that day. My garden is in transition – leaving behind the pink flowers and rose-filled cottage garden to a tapestry of bold colors and even bolder blooms, sans the roses. (Rose Rosette is still running rampant in North Texas…)
“Clapping my hands
with the echoes the summer moon
begins to dawn.”
A new daylily for my garden, still in its nursery pot on my driveway. The blossoms are larger than my hands.
“To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee”
~ Emily Dickinson
Tropical plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) perfectly echos the color of the summer sky. Though not winter hardy in my zone 8a garden, it has overwintered in a container in my garage for many years now. It has a sprawling habit, so is great to grow in a container or spilling over a retaining wall.
“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence
The coneflowers were abuzz with bees this morning, a good reminder this week – National Pollinator Week – of the importance of planting flowers that attract and nourish our pollinators.
(I am not sure why bees always pose for photographs on the rattiest flowers available.)
I cut back the coneflowers once they have bloomed in early summer, allowing for a second or third wave of blooms in the late summer and fall. Below, a gray hairstreak braved the bees to partake of the coneflower’s nectar.
(See above about bees posing on the rattiest flower. This hairstreak sure picked a messed up flower!)
Two of my favorite flowers for pollinators are red yucca and Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus drummondii). Red yucca is extremely drought tolerant, once established, and makes a nice “evergreen” in the winter garden.
Turk’s cap has proven to be extremely adaptable in my Denton County garden. Originally planted in partial shade in an area that stays relatively moist due to our neighbor’s overwatering tendencies, it has spread into heavier shade and out into full sun and very dry patches. It grows just as well in all areas of my garden, though the leaves are smaller on the plants in full sun. Turk’s cap blooms from May until first freeze. It dies to the ground in the winter. I generally wait to cut it back until new growth is appearing in the spring. Below, Turk’s cap has spread along our driveway. Some of the plants are under the shade of a bur oak tree, while others are out in full sun.
Below, Turk’s cap has seeded out into full sun.
“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.” ~ Sir Francis Bacon
Summer is the perfect time to gain an appreciation for foliage, reminding ourselves that beauty does not only come from flowers. Below, an ornamental banana, which overwinters in my garage.
Coneflowers have popped up next to a variegated canna.
Caladiums, to me, have always been a foliage filler in a summer container arrangement… And then along came… Frog in a Blender, pictured below. I was wandering around Marshall Grain early this spring, when I spotted the bulbs, in a box labeled… Frog in a Blender. Always game for something unusual, I grabbed a few bulbs. And… I may now be addicted. To Frog in a Blender.
“Gardening imparts an organic perspective on the passage of time.”
~ William Cowper
We are always reminded to stop and smell the flowers, but we should also be reminded to stop and look up, for you never know where you might find a cicada molt.
The pink rainlilies have been especially beautiful this season. I wait until the seedpod has dried and cracked open to take the fresh seeds and scatter them throughout the garden.
Below, the seedpod to the far right is still drying… I will wait until the seedpod has split open, like the one in the middle of the photo. One can pop off the seedpod and rub the papery seeds to the wind, allowing rainlilies to pop up wherever they may.
“When on a summer’s morn I wake,
And open my two eyes,
Out to the clear, born-singing rills
My bird-like spirit flies.
To hear the Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush,
Or any bird in song;
And common leaves that hum all day
Without a throat or tongue.
And when Time strikes the hour for sleep,
Back in my room alone,
My heart has many a sweet bird’s song —
And one that’s all my own.”
~ William Henry Davies, When on a Summer’s Morn
Whichever way you look at the blossoms, the crinum lily (above and below) are a true Southern garden staple. Steve Bender writes that the crinum lily “has a bulldog constitution.” Yes, they are that tough. And yet – so beautiful!
“Now summer is in flower and natures hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streakd woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun.”
~ John Clare, June
Below, Leia, now nine months old, looking adorable and innocent in the garden. (She had just eaten my brand new prescription bifocal glasses an hour before…)