Focus on Flowers

Morning in the garden – July 13, 2014

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. It’s quiet and there are few distractions. It’s a perfect time to enjoy the views. Here’s a look at my perennial beds this morning, July 13, 2014.

Having a back yard fence protects ‘deer candy’ plantings from the jaws of the area’s most prolific herbivores. Until we added the fence a few years ago, a necessity once we installed an in-ground pool, I had little success getting day lilies to bloom, and trying to grow phlox was futile. The beds have matured nicely. This week I finally had time to devote to my own rather than clients’ gardens. So … with fresh edging and mulch these beds are ready to show.

We enter from the gate.

Welcome to joene's gardens in mid-July.

Welcome to joene’s gardens in mid-July.

And walk to the other end of the fenced-in yard.

Early morning in joene's gardens, mid-July

Early morning in joene’s gardens, mid-July

The yellow and pink shades of the lilies provide the bulk of the mid-summer pop.

Here’s a closer look at the lilies currently in bloom.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' (foreground), Asiatic lily 'Rosella's Dream', and the yellow Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ (foreground), Asiatic lily ‘Rosella’s Dream’, and the yellow Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’ July 13, 2014

Landini is a stunning shade of maroon, offering an unusual dark contrast to the Asiatic lily display. Take a look at the photo of ‘Rosella’s Dream’ in last week’s Morning in the garden post and you can see Landini’s buds.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ July 13, 2014

Farther along in this bed, beyond the lilies, is day lily Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’.  She never had the chance to bloom until I transplanted her to this deer-protected area.

Hemerocallis 'Siloam Ury Winniford' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’ July 13, 2014

Then, farther along near a bird bath, is the last bloom of this Iris ensata.

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Looking back toward the gate from inside the fence …

Perennial bed in joene's garden, July 13, 2014

Perennial bed in joene’s garden, July 13, 2014

Two of the three day lily varieties have opened. You can see ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ above and in close-up below.

Hemerocallis 'Prairie Blue Eyes' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ July 13, 2014

Not captured in the overview shot is ‘Catherine Woodbury’.

Hemerocallis 'Catherine Woodbury' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’ July 13, 2014

Along the fence, phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ continue to bloom and send a sweet fragrance through the garden.

Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise' July 13, 2014

Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ July 13, 2014

And the first balloon flower opened this morning.

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014 . 

Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’ continues to bloom between the phlox and balloon flower. See last week’s Morning in the garden post for a closer look of these bright yellow blooms.

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Morning in the garden, July 6, 2014

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. Birds sing, bees buzz and most human-created noise is quiet.

Here’s a sampling of this morning, July 6, 2014.

A favorite color combination, purple and yellow, as displayed by the concurrent blooms of Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ that wafts it’s sweet fragrance through the garden, and the day lily Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’.

Hemerocallis 'Going Bananas' and Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'

Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’ and Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’

 

Then there’s the lavender. I’m not 100% sure, but it’s likely ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Grosso’ … both grow well in my Connecticut gardens as long as they are not buried over the winter in shovels-full of snow.

Lavender in July in Connecticut

Lavender in July in Connecticut

Asiatic lilies are starting to put on a show. These are ‘Rosella’s Dream’.

Asiatic lily 'Rosella's Dream'

Asiatic lily ‘Rosella’s Dream’

Iris ensata, the last of my iris to bloom each year unless the reblooming variety manages to throw out a couple of late summer/early autumn blooms, completes this morning’s show.

Iris ensata, unknown variety.

Iris ensata, unknown variety.

 

 

 

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Don’t combine daffodils with other cut flowers

Enjoy vases of daffodils (aka narcissus) while they’re in bloom, but don’t combine daffodils with other cut flowers … the calcium oxalate crystals in daffodil sap will clog the stems of other blooming vase-mates, causing them to wilt.

Daffodills With Pussy Willows W5 Save For Web 576x1024

A cheery spring combination – a vase of daffodils next to a vase of pussy willows

I try to share this warning annually during daffodil season in Connecticut. In my south-central zone 6 gardens, daffodils are in bloom now, at about the same time they bloomed in 2013 but a month later than they graced my gardens in 2012.

When picking daffodils it’s best to try to keep their sap off your bare skin. The same crystals that wilt their vase-mates can also irritate human skin leading to a contact dermatitis known as ‘daffodil itch ‘  that is common among people who pick or work with the cheery spring bloomers.

My picking method involves slicing or snapping daffodil stems near their base, and holding the flower stems blossom-down to keep the sap in the hollow stems. When picking just a handful, I carry them into the house this way and quickly immerse the stems in cool water.

Cut Flower Supplies ThumbWhen gathering a larger bunch of daffodil blossoms, take a small clean bucket or other non-breakable water-holding container to the garden. After cutting, quickly place each stem  into the water-filled bucket. Using this method, the flowers can rest in the water until I have time to arrange them in a vase.

Daffodils are lovely solo in a vase, but adding a few woody branches makes for a more interesting mix. The branches add structure and height, and don’t seem bothered by the daffodil sap.

Don’t fret about the vase or the arrangement. Daffodils deserve a natural look – all mixed together in a haphazard way.

But do take time to freshen their water daily. All flower arrangements last longer when provided with daily fresh water. Also, keep the arrangement out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source. Follow these steps and your daffodil arrangements will cheer you up for days and days.

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