scenes from the garden 6/3/13

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Some of the cast of characters this summer. First spikes of Teucrium hircanicum. Shaggy grass is newly identified Chloris virgata (thank you, Maggie!)

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The peachy ‘Terracotta’ yarrow lining the path are beginning bloom too. The white umbels belong to Cenolophium denudatum. I’ve already noticed a self-sown seedling. Sown just last fall with seeds from Derry Watkins.

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Self-sown Verbena bonariensis is already up on its hind legs.

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I love me some summer daisies, and buttery yellow Anthemis ‘Susanna Mitchell’ just nails it for me as the quintessential daisy of summer.

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More daisies. The first blooms of the ‘Monch’ aster, a daisy often making desert-island lists, 10-best-perennials lists. A remarkably tough plant, even in perennial-averse zone 10.

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I never thought I’d see clouds of thistly eryngiums in bloom in my garden. Give them space and sun on their basal leaves, and the clouds will come.

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I’m a chronic shuffler. Pots gets shuffled and reshuffled constantly. Succulents like the ‘Fantastic’ flapjack plant, Kalanchoe luciae, get to summer in the ground once the leaves have toughened up and are of no more interest to snails.

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Cussonia gamtoosensis stretching towards the sun. I’ll probably plant this in the ground in fall. Which doesn’t technically break my no-more-trees rule since it’s slim silhouette should tuck in just fine, even at 10-plus feet high.

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More daisies, burgundy ones from the annual Coreopsis tinctoria ‘Mahogany’

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Why don’t I grow more lilies? I have a paltry two pots of lilies this summer. They have no pests here, no scourge of lily beetles.
Growing them in pots keeps them safe from slugs — and from me, since I’m constantly reworking the garden and spearing unsuspecting bulbs. Pots also make it easy to move them from sun to shade when needed and then whisk them out of sight when they’re done blooming.

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So I repeat, Why don’t I grow more lilies?

Speaking of scourges, the penstemon is succumbing to that omnipresent budworm, possibly the tobacco worm, that always afflicts and distorts the flowers. (If it even is the tobacco budworm — it has no interest in my nicotiana, aka flowering tobaccos.) I was hoping that by not growing penstemon for a few years this nasty piece of work would have moved on. No such luck. And they’re too tiny to find and hand pick or, my favorite method, bisect with scissors. I’m considering BT, Bacillus thuringiensis, a very pest-specific biological pesticide that interrupts the digestive process of tobacco budworms and kills them, and only on the plant where it’s applied. It’s even approved for organic food crops. But as a devout sci-fi fan, I can’t shake the plot twists involving the laws of unintended consequences. Penstemon are otherwise such great plants here, long blooming, drought tolerant. BT has supposedly been cleared as a suspect in Colony Collapse Disorder, that harrowing threat to bees and life as we know it. Since I rarely keep up regimens of any sort, more than likely it’s goodbye penstemon.

Which brings me round again to the question: Why don’t I grow more lilies?

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8 Responses to scenes from the garden 6/3/13

  1. So Hmmmm…. why don’t you grow more lilies? I used to have lots and lots of lilies and between the beetles and the rodents which have devoured forty bulbs or so over the last three winters I’m probably going to be phasing them out. Which is such a shame as I dearly love them. Wonder if I could cultivate them in pots here?

    Is that a Phormium behind the Coreopsis ‘Mahogany’? beautiful contrast in forms. Love, love, love the photo of the path with the pots of succulents. I love eryngium too, sadly the rodents at them too and I never replaced them. Maybe I’ll tuck some in my shrub border. I haven’t had any voles in there yet.

  2. Denise says:

    Oh, I remember your lilies, Deanne! Amazing stands of them, forests of lilies. I bet you could protect them from rodents by growing them in pots, with wire mesh in the pots for added protection. But that still leaves the beetles. So far, no problems here. I need to order more. And that is a phormium that’s been cooperative in not getting ginormous.

  3. kathy says:

    Here in the snail grotto , my lilies are unscathed. I plant more every year, and my only problem is standing water in winter(not an issue this year) but I don’t mind buying a few more to replace those that rot.

  4. Agreed on summery plants like your Anthemis…I need more of that in the right spot. Though everything like that here is hunkering down for June, maybe until Sept? The pot shuffling works, and having some smaller ones seems like a great idea…your scene with the agave on the walk’s curve is classic!

    And BT won’t violate the “Prime Directive”…

  5. Denise says:

    @Kathy, there was a snail on that kalanchoe last night just to prove me wrong. The only standing water we’ve had in LB is when the storm drains were clogged and cars floated down the streets, a huge storm about 10 yrs ago.
    @David, seems like they keep rewriting the Prime Directive! I just might try the BT on the penstemon then.

  6. Hoov says:

    Garden looks fabulous, great swapping-around-work there. The lily people were not at the Crystal Court garden show this year–is that why?

  7. Les says:

    I ask myself the same question every year about this time. I grow lots of dayliles, but no real lilies. Perhaps it is because they seem to come and go so quickly that they are not on my mind for long.

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