Happy 4th of July! Have a fun and safe holiday weekend - drive safely, be careful around fireworks and don't forget the sunscreen! Please visit us often, bring your friends and be good and grow. Jack
Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) is bushy little plant with coarse leaves and sky-blue flowers that blooms at this time of year. Use it in mixed borders, annual flower beds and along garden paths. It is frequently planted in wildflower meadows where it can self-seed and sometime naturalize under preferred conditions. Read more about this biennial (that blooms in its first year) that grows sun to part shade in USDA Zones 5-8.
Last week's storms knocked down the last of the blooming 'Honeymoon' lilies (Lilium hybrids) which is sad because they are one of my favorite plants to photograph. This is a picture of a flowers from several years ago - despite being transplanted to a new bed, the Honeymoons once again delivered strong stems loaded with buds and big beautiful blossoms. Download a large version (800x600) of this lovely lily.
I had a trio of these 'Girosa' lilies (Lilium hybrids) blooming up on The Hill beneath a fast growing deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara). I had forgotten all about them so it was a treat to find them at all, much less in bloom! Click here to download a large version (800x600) of these lovely lilies to display on your desktop.
'Pollyanna' is a member of the Asiatic Group of hybrid lilies (Lilium hybrids). They're among the earliest blooming of the hybrid lilies producing lots of flowers on long stems that are perfect for cut flower arrangements. Download a large version to display one of the Pollyanna lilies on your computer desktop.
One of the many things I miss about back home in North Florida is seeing the statuesque loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) trees back in the swamps and wetlands in bloom at this time of year. This American native tree produces white waxy blossoms that are easy to see, held against the tree's handsome evergreen leaves. Take a look at a few more of summer's fragrant-flowered woody species:
I had never seen a common (culinary) sage (Salvia officinalis) bloom before and assumed that its flowers would be small and/or interesting. As it happens they are big and blue and I'll never pull the buds off my sage plants again. Click to download this a large (800x600) version of this image. Here are a few more showy culinary herb that are pretty and good to eat:
The Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundiflora) is an easy to grow annual butterfly magnet, attracting beauties like this Palamedes Swallowtail. I found a package of seeds last weekend and planted few in the back. I hope it's not too late in the season for them to bloom but I'm pretty sure the local butterflies will be able to enjoy them for at least a few weeks in early fall. In this photo is a handsome palamedes swallowtail stopping by for a snack on plants in my North Florida garden. Click to download a large version (800x600). Here's a list of a few butterfly-attracting plants in bloom at this time of year:
Steve grows a beautiful patch of cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) in his garden. This showy native of eastern North America has showy flowers that will attract hummingbirds from all over the neighborhood! Here are a few more Profiles of Plants that attract hummingbirds:
At this time of year, among the things I miss most about being away from my home in Florida's Big Bend, are the luscious fresh figs (Ficus carica) are ripe and ready to eat right about now. There is nothing tastier than a fresh-picked, sun-warmed fig! Since I'm not there, the birds and other wildlife will have the feast all to themselves. In a few weeks the leftover figs will ferment and be eaten by certain wildlife like deer and especially by the squirrels who cannot hold their figs very well. They eat the alcohol-infused fruits, get fried and fall out of the trees. It's funny. I miss that too. More fruits and berries that you could be growing:
The giant bulrush (Schoenoplectus californicus) or tule, as it is called in California, is a water-loving perennial like its close cousin papyrus (Cyperus papyrus). This bulrush grows across the southern United States from California to Florida and South Carolina. Native Americans made flour from its seeds and young bulrush shoots, as well as the rhizomes, were consumed both raw and cooked. Mmmmm, bulrushy. Here are a few more American native perennials that like wet soils and swampy conditions:
I just put in my tomato plants a few weeks ago here in Kentucky but down in North Florida Steve has already picked his first harvest. The dark fruits are 'Indigo Rose' purple tomatoes (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) - these are especially healthy (and pretty) due to high concentrations of anthocyanins and other healthy compounds. Click to download a large version (800x600) version of this image. During summer, Steve's vegetable garden always hosts the makings for delicious fresh salsa:
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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