22 July 2007

After the rain (and the book)

Yes, I finished reading Book 7. No, I'm not going to comment on it here, other than to say it was excellent and satisfying. There are plenty of people prepared to dissect it, critique it, and if they can, spoil it for others. Bet they peek at their Christmas presents before they're wrapped, too.

So on to other things. It's not Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, but I thought I'd fling a few rainwashed blossoms (and other delights) around. After an inspired rain yesterday and some fog too, today was hot and sunny and wonderful.

Hummingbird Mint (Agastache mexicana 'Acapulco Orange') is one of my favourite container annuals. It will overwinter indoors (and apparently, with a little winter protection, outside around here too--I'm going to try that this year.) And yes, the hummingbirds do adore it.

A friend of mine gave me this verbascum which I really like--and so do the bees. This was one of those perfect quiet mornings when everything worked: fragrances hung on the air like silk, the rain had washed everything brilliantly clean, there was no wind and all that we could hear was the sound of nature--birds, bees, other insects, humming and singing and buzzing and zooming and doing their thing. And it was wonderful.

Blue false indigo is a lupine relative. It took this plant four years to finally get around to flower (and this was another of those "Bloom or you're outa here" plants!). It's lovely though and was worth the wait.

Viburnum plicatum mariesii or doublefile viburnum--mine is small yet but flowering this year--the flowers will whiten as they get a bit older.

This is a woody perennial mimulus (well, it would be perennial in warmer climates--I'm taking this indoors come fall to be a houseplant. The flowers are less flamboyant than the garden annuals, but a lovely melon colour,, and with glossy, deep green foliage.

Not to be outshone by its perennial sibling...the traditional monkey flower is a delight and great in shaded gardens.

Take time to savour the simple things--raindrops on sunkissed pine needles (this is eastern white pine, Pinus strobus).

A new-to-our-garden peony, Primavera. I'm really delighted with the yellow centre, which as the flower matures becomes larger and more showy.

Widows tears (Tradescantia andersoniana 'Osprey'), one of a half dozen different cultivars we have. This is my favourite tradescantia; a clump former rather than a spreader.

Do not adjust your screens. This poppy really IS deep wine--almost black. Interestingly, some of them seem to cross pollinate with the huge double red ones we also have, and that results in some interesting new colour tints every summer.

An annual sage, Salvia 'Blue and Black'--definitely cold-sensitive but I've learned to keep it well protected and warm unti the weather stays consistently above 50 degrees--or else it pouts. It's so beautiful it's worth mollycoddling, though. I'm partial to blue-flowered plants, as I've discussed before, and so I don't mind nurturing a few fussbudgets.

What tender prima donna plants do you nurture every summer?


  1. Hi Jodi,

    Here in zone 8B the 'Black & Blue' salvia is a perennial but I still have to bring my Plumeria plants [actually small trees] inside. Meyer's Lemon, some Christmas cactus and Stapelia go in-and-out during cold spells.

    That sweet mimulus would be worth the trouble and nurturing!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. I always enjoy popping by here and looking at the pictures. THx for sharing.

  3. This week is all about prima donna plants, it seems! *grin* I admit to coddling my two bay laurel plants. This is the fourth year of their existence, and they are in 12 inch pots and both are at least 2 ft tall now. They're not so much trouble in the summer, but over the winter I give them a bath every week or so to keep the spider mites from getting any ideas.

    I adore that 'Black and Blue' salvia and keep thinking that I should pick one up myself. Agastache is my nemesis... I've tried to start that ('Apricot Sprite,' actually) from seed for the last 2 years to no avail. Glad you included such a gorgeous shot of yours for me to admire.

  4. Annie, I keep reading about Meyer's lemons but I've never had the pleasure of seeing or tasting one, let alone growing a plant. They sound delightful! I put my tropical hibiscus and plumbago plants outside plus my succulents and cacti, etc for a summer vacation, then haul them in come fall--along with a few annuals that I really like.
    Nienke; thanks for visiting--I enjoy your blog and get quite inspired by it. Now I just need more hours in my week, of course....
    BSG: Try the Proven Winners annual Agastache Orange Acapulco--you could overwinter it indoors or with cuttings or perhaps outside safely...and it's just so intoxicating....

  5. Hm, I would be nurturing my roses on the balcony - if they weren't dead already :-(. I'm an unexperienced gardener and didn't notice the bugs eating them untill it was too late. Soon I'll plant some new ones in new pots and gard myself with better knowledge. Wish me luck!

    That shot of the garden peony was lovely! All your blossoms are great!

  6. Love that Salvia Black and Blue but it won't be happy where I live as we can have winter temperatures in summertime.

    BTW You've won an award, read all about it on Bliss. Congratulations Jodi!!!

  7. I also like the Salvia 'Black and Blue', I've added it to my list of plants to get for next year.

    And I can't believe you have peonies and viburnum blooming in July!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  8. I love that agastache! Must add more to the garden for next year. Also, love the verbascum with the bees. I seem to have lost mine last winter. I do love the salvias and have two, one a light blue patens species and the other...I will have to look up the species but it is cherry red. Will post when they bloom profusely! Hopefully that will be soon. Tucker stepped on the cherry one and broke it and it is recuperating! Nice shots!

  9. Jodi,

    I love that Poppy! Your commening about taking the mimulus indoors in the fall reminded me of seeing alot of gloxinias last year at the garden center and thinking "I'll buy some next year and keep them indoors in the fall." and then not finding a single one at the stores this year.

    Good luck with your mimulus and make sure you don't leave it out accidentally it's really nice.

  10. rosengeranium: Having plants die makes you an experienced gardener--(hands up, all of us who have had plants shuffle off their mortal coils on us? ! Me! Me! Me!) Maybe your roses were not well when you got them. Hope the new ones do much better.

    Yolanda Elizabet; you are such a joy! Thank you so much for this award, I'm honoured that you thought of me. And before I even answered these comments I did my homework and awarded five even more worthy recipients!

    Carol: Yes, things are odd here--the last of the peony flowers are dropping off now, and while some of the viburnums have long since stopped flowering, this Mariesii is new last year so it's still a bit off. The cool air also keeps things lasting longer.

    Layanee: The other sage I have and love is Silver Sage (I'll have to look up the species) Silver fur covers the large leaves and it has white flowers. I'd take a photo but we're in the fog tonight....

    Mr. Brown Thumb: Hope you find some gloxinias--they are so lovely! I haven't noticed any recently but then I've been obsessed only with outdoor plants. I gave my mother a hardy glox this spring and it's STILL flowering.

  11. Jodi and Mr. Brown Thumb... at the garden center where I work, we are just starting to bring the gloxinias back in. Apparently a lot of those "houseplants" don't do well in the indoor greenhouses during the hot summer months when things are so crowded, and the space is often better used for annual and perennial color than houseplants anyway in terms of profitability. (I asked about this.) Just an FYI.


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