Friday, July 15, 2016

July Bloom Day

Here's a look at what is blooming in my northern Virginia garden in the middle of July....

Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master

The remains of Veronicastrum virginicum 'Lavendar Towers' bloom, Cluver's Root,  with Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinstern', Ruby Star Purple Coneflower, behind in my mini-meadow.

The big showy flowers of purple coneflower, it's reputation as a "native" plant, (whether it's actually native to the gardener's locality is another story) and one that draws pollinators makes it one of the most popular plants around. I seem to see it everywhere in my area at this time of year; sometimes it's the only perennial that appears in a garden. I, too, am smitten.

I can remember when I first saw Purple Coneflower in my mother's Connecticut garden probably thirty years ago.  I was so impressed by the spiky orange cone paired with bright pink petals. Some people wouldn't be caught dead wearing those colors together; how cool that nature produced a flower with this combination.  So, needless to say, I had to include some Purple Conflower in the mini-meadow I planted two years ago behind our house after construction was complete on our addition.

Going strong in its second summer

Too many of the recent Coneflower introductions have proven short-lived, but 'Rubinstern' (aka Ruby Star) is a German-bred variety from Jelitto Seeds that got very good, if not top, ratings from Mt. Cuba's Coneflower trials.  And, it was one I could find it at a local wholesaler. The flowers of Ruby Star are a darker, richer purpley-pink than the straight species and they seem to hold their color longer. The petals are held horizontally, as opposed to drooping downward, and, though it's a bit shorter, it has plenty of visual impact.  It seems quite vigorous so I'm hoping to have this one for years to come.

I don't have a lot of mid-summer flowers in my front garden, aside from container plantings, but these Athyrium 'Ghost' are looking pretty good.  They are growing with Pachysandra procumbens, Allegheny Spurge, Carex pensylvanica, Oak Sedge, and Bergenia ciliata, Hairy Bergenia.

Aesculus parviflora, Bottlebrush Buckeye
This shrub encloses my front garden once it has leafed-out. I can sit near my front door and experience the idea of "prospect refuge"- I can see out to the street without being seen.  I just stumbled on this academic theory, which I was completely unaware of when I designed the garden, but, it makes sense--a space feels comfortable when it offers both a view out AND a sense of refuge, in this case, because I'm screened by the Buckeyes.  Okay, maybe it's just me, but I like the effect.

Deschamsia cespitosa 'Goldtau',  is a wonderful dwarf form of Tufted Hair Grass, and one of the few good grasses for part shade.  It takes a few years for it to bloom reliably, but when it does it is a lovely, gold, airy inflorescence that stands out against the dark green foliage.
Cissus discolor, Begonia Vine

Origanum 'Kent Beauty' with a Sempervivum

Ratibida 'Red Midget'

Silphium perfoliatum, Cup Plant

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Alba', Blazing Star, Yucca recurvifolia, seed heads of
Allium 'Purple Sensation and cristophii, and Sporobulus heterolepsis, Prairie Dropseed

Pycnanthemum muticum, Short-toothed Mountain Mint
Agave ovatifolium (maybe?) , Whale tongue Agave

Thympophylla tenuiloba, Dahlberg Daisy
This fragrant, little yellow daisy is native to Texas and Mexico.  I grow it as an annual and it self-sows in my rock garden.

Labled as Dianthus deltoides, but seems to be some variety not the straight species.  Anyone know which one?

Hydrangea quercifolia, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, given to me by a neighbor.  If it's a cultivar, I don't know which one.  
Ligularia dentata 'Othello' , Leopard Plant
Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower, in bud

Cuphea ignea, Cigar plant, growing in a container with Heuchera 'Caramel' blooming in the background

As always, check out what's blooming in other blogger's gardens here at May Dreams.  Cheers! 


  1. Beautiful! I particularly like those little Ratibidas.

    1. Thanks. First year for the Ratibidas. I like the color. They flop quite a bit, though.

  2. I love your big clumps of Purple Coneflower. Unfortunately I no longer grow it because it was constantly attacked by Aster yellows. I replaced it with Ratibida pinnata/yellow coneflower. I also love your Ratibida 'Red Midget' - if only I could figure out a place to put it.

  3. Ah, too bad. My asters get it somewhat, but I manage to hide their ugly legs with other plants. The Red Midget is attracting Gold Finches right now. Once the Echinaceas finish they'll go after those.