Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Garden Glamour Shots

I believe all gardeners have a universal feeling of euphoria when the first blooms of the season are spotted. The same is probably true of each and every plant in the garden throughout the growing season. Today's post is all about the summer garden glamour shots I've compiled of all my plants that are currently thriving in my Zone 7a garden. These shots have all been taken since my last landscape update on June 11.

The summer annuals in the beds at the front of the house and fence gates are my subtle version of patriotic curb appeal: red geraniums, white vinca, purple queen and angelonia.
The only two containers I created this year are in my courtyard, on a brick surface with intense sun exposure. They consist of braided trunk hibiscus.....
....with bandana lantana and asparagus fern at the base.
A pearl crescent butterfly found a happy landing pad on the lantana.
Bees and hummingbirds also find the lantana irresistible.
Even the spent blooms on the hibiscus are photo worthy.
Pictured below is one of the containers at dusk, with a solar light stake in the base. You can see the pastel colors of the evening sky in the glass reflection.
The hummingbirds were very late arriving in my garden this year. When the feeders seem to be just ornaments in the landscape, a bee balm bloom was the perfect cocktail for luring hummingbirds to its nectar.
While one bloom was like a cocktail, the bee balm en masse was like a favorite bar in town for the hummers.
Pictured below (starting clockwise, top L) is a time lapse of a single magnolia bloom throughout the course of one day.
Hydrangea blooms the morning after a summer storm make for a nice shot.
Endless summer hydrangeas en masse always makes a visual impact, especially from a distance.
One morning's discovery was finding bees all over the hydrangea blooms. They were working hard!
Zinnia seeds were planted for the first time this year. The first emerging zinnia blooms brought new-found excitement in the garden.
I had no idea if the seeds would germinate, or what colors they'd be. I planted both compact and tall varieties, and only the tall ones bloomed.
The zinnias will be a welcome addition in years to come. I love seeing a full bed with zinnias, salvia, coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans which I've transplanted into this bed over the past couple (and current) years.
I also love the contrast of the coneflower pink petals against the blue-grey of the weeping cedar atlas behind it on the brick wall.
Four o'clocks are fickle, at least in my garden they are. It seems almost every time I go out to take their picture, the blooms are closed. Is it four o'clock in the afternoon or four o'clock in the morning?? This shot was as good as it gets, mid-morning!
The first Lord Baltimore hibiscus bloom always thrills me, usually arriving sometime around July 4th. This year the first bloom arrived on June 27.
As if the plants are showing their gratitude for being staked throughout May-June, they stand tall and in attention, blooming continuously through September.
The limelight hydrangea plant, with its white blooms, is such a hardy plant. Mine was added to the landscape in 2017. The photo below also captures a single anemone at bottom right, randomly blooming in this part of the landscape.
Trust me, even if you have only one of these plants, it will surely add appeal in your garden. Mine is placed at the back of my landscape and, together with the Endless Summer hydrangeas and the Lord Baltimore hibiscus, creates a red, white and blue visual.
July 15: an early afternoon walk in the garden revealed yet another first bloom of the season with Mexican sunflowers, grown from seed, not quite fully open yet. What's even more exciting than the first bloom of these plants is knowing they will continue blooming through fall, when a lot of other plants are seasonally exhausted.
Some plants provide encore blooming after a few weeks absence through the growing season. The climbing roses in the courtyard are one such plant just now beginning to bloom again, though not as robust as the first flush in May.
There's beauty in even the smallest of things you see in the garden, such as moss in mortar on an old brick wall.
And how about tiny creatures that camouflage among our plants? Do you see the praying mantis on my courtyard hibiscus in the photo below?
Last, but certainly not the least of the glamorous beauty of the garden, is a shot of the sky captured at dusk on our riverbank one recent summer evening.
The seasonal (and some daily) chores of staking, dividing and transplanting established plants, selecting and planting new ones, watering and weeding - all start to reward this gardener by July in my Zone 7a landscape. One of the rewards is in the beauty captured via photos, another is sharing with you, my readers. These photos and posts then become part of my gardening journal archive. I hope you enjoyed the compilation.

Rita C. at Panoply

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