Friday, June 15, 2012

June Bloom Day

Doctor, Doctor, Coreopsis has set in!  When I was 7 or 8 my brother played the title character in a high school production of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."   I thought that was a great joke... once it was explained to me.  Even after learning that coreopsis is a flower, I thought it was something quite exotic and never saw one (or expected to) for years.  But that's only because I was raised in the city.  Coreopsis is actually a genus of native U.S. flowers and not particularly uncommon.  Along with this, which I believe is Coreopsis triloba, I also have "Zagreb" blooming, the popular named selection of threadleaf coreopsis, Coreopsis verticillata. 
More than Coreopsis, quite a lot of other blooms have set it for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this June.  Perhaps the most prominent blooms around here, detectable from a distance if conditions are just right, are the gardenias.  My mature shrub, planted by previous owners, is apparently not in a good spot and suffers constant yellowing of the leaves despite my attempts to please it with chelated iron.  But I love the blooms, especially their fragrance.  I have put another Gardenia in another spot hoping it will be happier in the long term.  I was pleased to see blooms on it this year, but it is too young and small to make much of an impact yet.  In the photo with the gardenia are also the blooms of the herb Marjoram.  Other herbs in bloom this June Bloom Day include oregano, just starting, and dill and chives, winding down.
Along with Gardenias are the Hydrangeas.  I have a pink mophead that I showed in May and various U.S. native hydrangeas.  My oakleaf hydrangea started blooming just after May Bloom Day but is very young and had just one bloom.  Likewise, my pink Hydrangea arborescens is also too new to have more than a single bloom.  But my Hydrangea arborescens "Annabelle" is several years old and has enormous blooms on it, like the one shown below.  Unfortunately, the bloom clusters are so large and heavy that a formidable windstorm a few weeks ago caused the shrub to more-or-less collapse.  Since that was the storm which dropped a small tornado on a different part of town, I am not complaining.  I'm sure Annabelle will be just fine.
A first for me this year is Sweet Alyssum.... please don't laugh.  I know this plant is common as dirt for some people, but I have tried sowing seeds many times without success.  This year I discovered that the best time to sow them is in fall, in my area.  Of course it was already winter by the time I found out, but it was such a mild winter I gave it a try.  I probably shouldn't even show this photo, which isn't much, except that I'm happy to have finally had a small success with it.  I'm hoping that now that there are a few plants, it will self sow.  If it does, then I don't have to figure out the best time to do it!
Another first for me this year is this St. John's Wort, 'Brigadoon'.  I've had this for a few years but this is the first time it has bloomed.  I've moved it a few times but it seems happy enough in this new spot.  I like the spot too because it's not going to clobber anything delicate nearby!
Here's another plant I had to move because it was a little too spready.  I really like the color of this yarrow "Cerise Queen" and would love to have it combining with other plants in my pseudo-cottage garden, but when I tried that, it spread maddeningly even the first year.  So now I'm trying to use its spreading tendency to my advantage in a spot around the trunk of a young tree, to make a buffer between the tree and the lawn.  I don't want grass right up to the trunk, which would risk damage to the tree from a string trimmer, but the tree is still too small to shade out the annoying bermuda grass.  But yarrow seems to be a good buffer.  It doesn't suffer much from competing with either the tree or the grass, does a reasonably good job masking the fact that I don't weed the grass out as often as I should, and can be mowed on the edges with impunity.
Another spreader that I have not kicked out of the garden yet is bee balm.  This will bulk out considerably if I let it, but doesn't have the same annoying habit of popping up at a distance from the mother plant.  This is the first bee balm bloom this year.  I think there will be a lot more soon.
Similarly, this is the first of hopefully many four o'clocks, Mirablis jalapa.  I like this multicolored variety, which has blooms of multiple solid colors as well as striped and speckled ones, all on the same plant.  I suspect I will have a lot more four o'clocks to show on July's Bloom Day.
One of my favorite plants is this Veronica or speedwell.  I don't know the cultivar.  I think it was just labeled "blue".  It combines very nicely with black-eyed susans and purple coneflowers, and seems to have a very long bloom period.  It began blooming just in time for the previous Bloom Day and I think it may continue to the next one.

Uh oh, I'm running out of time....  I mostly take my Bloom Day photos in the evening after work.  It seems like every time I get the chance to get out and take some photos it gets overcast and windy.  Overcast is pretty good for photos, but that means I need a longer time exposure and the breeze is not helping.  Oh, well, I'll just go with it.  This is a butterfly bush, showing off the silvery undersides of the leaves as the breeze starts to turn into a gust...  now I have to run!
Check out May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming for other gardeners on this Bloom Day