Sunday, June 12, 2016

June Garden, My 2016 Annuals

After last month's color burst in the garden, it remained chilly through the third week of May in my zone 7a region, but it warmed up quickly afterward. It was time to get busy with my annual plantings, both in my front beds as well as containers in the courtyard.

I had my annual beds at the front of the house switched out from the pansies to my red, white and blue color scheme the week before Memorial Day. My rotation of plants here include red geraniums and red vinca, white vinca and diamond frost, and purple heart and angelonia, which appear as blues.
2016 annual flower beds, front of house
I purchased a couple of simple, summer silk wreaths on sale from Michaels (online) for the front doors. Though Mr. P. prefers the doors to be au naturel, I like these for their simplicity and color. The fern in the urn on the porch has been a staple the last few years for summer.
For this year's annual container plantings, I got some really good deals at Lowe's the week before Memorial Day. I went there on a day when rain was expected (and did). While I strolled through the aisles. I was mixing plants and colors which caught my eye, then found some $1 pentas on the orphan rack in the back (tip: go to the orphan rack for good deals!). When I proceeded to check out, the gal started discounting everything I had, making comments like, "well those blooms already look past their prime", etc. I ended up getting a 40% overall discount on everything I bought - amazing!
2016 annuals purchases
I ended up also buying two more mandevillas for my trellis (had already planted two at front, was impatiently waiting for the moonflower seeds to germinate on the back side of it). She half-priced those!

So my containers for 2016 ended up fewer than last year (that's a good thing), and they're all currently in the courtyard. Flanking my sunroom doors are the largest of the containers, and they turned out pleasing, but different colors than I've used before. Clockwise, starting at noon (pictured below): fuchsia pentas (fillers), purple heart, yellow petunias, asparagus fern (all trailers), repeat. Centered is a dracaena spike (the so-called thriller, or taller specimen).
2016 large annual containers: pentas, purple heart, petunias, asparagus fern, with dracaena spike center
My other two (slightly smaller) containers flank the hot tub, and they're also a slightly different mix than I've ever used. Clockwise, starting at noon (pictured below): pink trailing vinca, lavender trailing verbena, and purple heart (also a trailer). Centered is a purple fountain grass (thriller).
2016 medium annual containers: vinca, verbena, purple heart, with purple fountain grass center
I had a random lemonade lantana and some pink vinca trailer leftover, so I planted a hanging basket and hung it high on the trellis while I wait for the mandevilla to grow upward (see pictured below, and pink mandevilla are at the base).
Lantana and vinca hanging basket
With much anticipation elsewhere in the garden, the next wave of perennials started blooming. The spirea bushes were in full bloom while the red bee balm and black-eyed Susans beside them started to bud and bloom.
My clematis vine took off in vertical growth and bloom, while the mountain bluet and rozanne geraniums continued in keeping the blues as ground cover below.
Just in time for early June in the southeast corner of the garden, the evening primrose, or buttercups, showed their happy faces and cast a sea of sunshine. A lot of people don't like the invasive nature of buttercups, but they're easy to contain by simply pulling them out in clumps. The same is true for bee balm.
The hydrangeas are finally blooming - yay! Just like many other bloggers, we're recovering from a very bad 2015. For me, it's been even longer as a result of a hard pruning the year prior (mine bloom on old growth). The picture below shows the beginning of my three remaining hydrangea bushes blooming (I've taken out 4 of 7), and I hope the rest of June and July show many more full blooms.
My magnolia has begun blooming as well, and I love catching a whiff of those flowers each time I walk through the trellis to/from the courtyard/landscape. I fell off the wagon of no more added perennials (blame it on the gal who discounted everything at Lowe's), and planted three pink gaura plants beneath my Japanese Bloodgood maple (see them peeking out in the photo below).
Pink gaura perennial planted at base of Japanese Bloodgood maple, in and among liriope and periwinkle
At mature growth, they should be no more than 18-24" tall and as wide, with wispy fronds of dark green to burgundy leaves, with delicate pink blooms. There are other varieties of gaura, and color choices (white and purple).

I've already harvested my lavender on four separate occasions, and spotted a little lizard family among them in the courtyard. The smaller, white lavender plants are my youngest ones, and they were relocated earlier this spring in the landscape. All seem to be thriving.
There's been a lot of this (below) going on, especially in the time since Memorial Day, as we've had a some really hot and humid weather, without rain. Not only was I watering my grass amendment on the riverbank, but all my annuals and seedlings needed daily watering (we do not have a sprinkler system). Gnats and mosquitoes like people who sweat, just sayin'. One thing we've not had a lot of, though, are the cicadas. They're around, but mostly in the higher, more wooded elevations.
Other garden work includes hibiscus staking and sunflower making (pictured below). I necessarily stake my hibiscus plants (top frames) so they'll be a nice, massive and tall show in July. I'm growing two varieties of sunflowers from seeds (bottom frames), one being a Mexican (bushy). I'm hoping the bushy one will fill once the buttercups are spent, in the southeast corner of the yard. Notice the difference in growth rates of my hibiscus in the collage. The plants on the top left (see squiggly stakes against brick) are nearly 5' tall, while the ones in the front landscape (right) are only about 3' tall. That's the difference in the southwest and northeast corners of my landscape and sun exposure of each, but eventually they catch up with each other.
With all my garden work to date, I haven't had a single episode of poison ivy, even with weeding, pruning and fertilizing beneath many of the plants, and that's a small miracle!

Recapping my June perennial blooms in the garden....
...the gateways around my home.
Memorial weekend sunset view, a particularly beautiful evening to the unofficial start of summer, from my front porch. 
Containers in the courtyard at sunset, with solar lights adding a soft glow on the flowers.
Thank you for coming along while I shared my June garden with you today. I love seeing any and all of what you're growing this year, and reading comments of the timing differences for each of our regions. Whether it's new container arrangements or perennials in your landscape, feel free to share. :)
Rita C. at Panoply