Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Garden in July

Summer seems to be positively flying by. 

But what a lovely summer it has been so far! Hot, but not unbearably so, with cool breezy evenings that have often made me want to reach for a sweater. 

Our rainfall seems to have been perfectly timed; arriving on more weekdays than weekends, and always when the garden seems to need it most.  

The month of June somehow vanished with barely a picture taken.

The peonies bloomed a few weeks later than usual, and put on a beautiful though fleeting display.

Sunny yellow Evening Primroses and little purple geraniums always provide a nice backdrop 
for the big showy magenta peonies in the front garden.

Evening Primrose, Oenothera tetragonaHeight: 30-50 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Not everyone is a fan of this plant because it spreads. It does well in sun or part shade, and it has happy yellow flowers, so I like it. 
Evening Primrose's unruly spread is best kept in check now when the plant is in flower. I edit my flowering clumps to a manageable size by yanking out unwanted plants and find the plant stems give easily. 

Roses filled in where the peonies left off.

Explorer Rose 'John Cabot' : This rose has glossy foliage and arching stems that can reach 3 meters in height (Note: can be used as a climber). This rose is only lightly fragrant. John Cabot's main drawbacks: the stems are quite thorny and Japanese Beetles love, love its blooms. Lucky for me its first flush of flowers appear a few weeks before the beetles make their now annual appearance.

Explorer Rose 'John Cabot'

A mix of roses from the front garden.

Other standouts in late June/early July were these mauve Veronica (on the right) and the light cream and magenta flowers of Penstemon 'Black Towers' (seen on the left).

Penstemon 'Dark Towers': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. Full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to dry conditions. Zones: USDA 3-9

Veronica 'Eveline': Height: 45-50 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Will tolerate part shade, but blooms much better in full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Moist soil is preferred, but mine seems fine in average conditions. Deadhead to encourage repeat flowering. Zones: USDA 4-9

Veronica 'Hocus Pocus' has been blooming now for weeks.

Veronica 'Hocus Pocus' : Height: 40-50 cm, Spread: 25-30 cm. Full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Moist or average conditions. Again deadhead to encourage repeat flowering. Zones: USDA 4-9

Along the white picket fence at the front of the house.

These Sidalcea 'Party Girl' continue to one of my favourite flowers in early July.

Prairie Mallow, Sidalcea 'Party Girl': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. Attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. A good self seeder. Zones: USDA 4-9

Recently, I added a lighter pink Sidalcea, as well as blue flowering Nepetia 'Walker's Low' to fill in a few gaps along the white picket fence.

Prairie Mallow, Sidalcea 'Elsie Heugh': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. Zones: USDA 4-9

Blue Catmint, Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low': A long blooming perennial (if regularly deadheaded) that has a mounded, bushy habit. Height: 30 cm, Spread: 45 cm. Full sun. Hardy zones 3-9.

In the back garden, I have been delighted with these Campanula. The white, bell-shaped flowers seemed to go on blooming for ages.

Campanula persicifolia albaHeight: 60-90 cm, Spread: 30-50 cm. Full sun or light shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist conditions. These easy-to-grow plants form a low mound of green leaves and have bell-shaped flowers that are born on tall stems. Zones: USDA 2-9

I also have the blue variety, but I have to say that the white form is by far the best of the two.

Last summer I grew foxglove from seed and this spring I transplanted them throughout the back garden.

This is a new perennial for me. It is a native plant that has the most delicate, starry white flowers.

Gillenia trifoliata: A tough, long-lived native plant with reddish stems, narrow leaves and white star-shaped flowers. Height: 60-120 cm, Spread: 60-75 cm. Full sun or light shade. Prefers rich, moist, well drained soil. Good fall color. Zones: USDA 4-9

My Agastache "Blue Fortune' is just starting to flower.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune': Height: 60-75 cm, Spread: 45- 60 cm. Full sun or part shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average, dry or moist growing conditions. Bees love this flower! Zones: USDA 2-9

My raised beds are barely visible in the jungle of plants. In the four raised beds I have a crazy mix of herbs, tomatoes, berries, roses and perennials.

The flower border that frames the part of the garden with the four raised beds.

I have a number of unusual perennials, but I also have very common plants as well. 
Throughout my garden there are hosta in bloom this month. 

I love the way this common Spirea seems to glow in the light of early evening.

I hope July has been wonderful in your garden as well.


  1. Absolutely beautiful! Lovely, lovely garden - and so green too. Mine is drying right up with this heat wave. Hope you're having a fabulous summer!

  2. Really attractive! I can relate to your comment that June is well over and there are many plants I forgot to take pictures of. Somehow the summer always seems to just dissapear on us.

  3. Loved the tour of your July garden, lots of colour and interest. We have been getting enough rain this summer again to produce lush gardens which is much better than when we were having those dry summers that stressed so many trees.

  4. Good Morning Jennifer,
    so wonderful!!! Could spent hours in your garden! Sitting in the middle of all the beauty! Thank you so much for the informations!!! Great!
    Kiss the dogs please and have a happy happy time

  5. Your garden is looking wonderfully floriferous - a delight for the eye - and I just love the vase of roses.

  6. Absolutely stunning photos. Your garden is breathtaking. I have the John Cabot as well and love it. Do you have any of the other Explorer Roses?

    1. No, I don't have any other Explorer Series roses Diane, but there are certainly lots of beautiful options in the series. The garden at the front is relatively small and the back garden was always too shady for roses. Now with two big trees in the backyard gone, I suddenly have more areas in sun and new potential spots for roses. More roses are one of the many plants I am now thinking of adding.

    2. Thanks. I was asking because I'm in the market for another one. I didn't find much at my garden centre...was told that 'people aren't buying roses anymore' because they are considered to be too much work. I may have to research and drive a bit south - I might even try 'pushing the zones' a bit. LOL. We'll see.

    3. Pickering Nurseries has a few varieties and they ship their bare root roses. Here is a link:

  7. Your garden is gorgeous Jennifer!!! Such a magical place with pretty blooms! I have always wanted some of that Veronica and think I will add some next year! We have had a cool rainy summer here in July.... Yours sounds perfect! Happy gardening friend!

  8. Oh my goodness, your gardens are absolutely gorgeous, Jennifer.
    You can see all of the love that has gone into the creating and care of them.
    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photographs here!!

  9. I love how all the colours work so beautifully together. I bet that front fenceline is the envy of the neighbourhood!

  10. Absolutely loving. Makes me feel like I should be having a spot of tea (and I don't drink tea). I enjoyed your pinks and purples. Great photos. Thanks for sharing

  11. Such an amazing garden you have!! I always learn so much from your posts, and enjoy reading about your garden. The Gillenia trifoliate really caught my eye. What an interesting flower. I always like to hear of native plants, although I don't always see the same ones in my gardening store. July really has been a lovely month so far, hasn't it. I just could use some slightly warmer days, as this week had the feeling of fall to it and it's much too soon for that! Enjoy the upcoming weekend Jennifer. Wendy x

  12. Wow, what stunning peonies and your jug of roses is so beautiful. Your garden must be looking so pretty with all these gorgeous flowers jostling for attention! July certainly is a wonderful month for blooms.

  13. Jennifer, you have great garden! Love your Oenothera, mine is in bloom as well. Your campanula is absolutely amazing, and I could choose some plants for my garden thank you for writing the USDA zone.

  14. Your garden looks beautiful, Jennifer! I've never heard of the Gillenia before; what interesting blooms. You've given me some ideas for plants I'd like to add to my garden like the Veronica and the Campanula--thanks for all the info on each. It has indeed been a great summer with plenty of rain to keep the garden looking good.

  15. Oh my gosh, your photos are always so, so beautiful. Those peonies....and that rose. I have a pretty big clump of the Evening Primrose and I LOVE it. The bright yellow flowers practically glow in the shady corner I have it in. We have a lot of the same plants - and garden style. "Cramscaping" I affectionately like to call it. :) Your posts are always so inspiring. I've pinned away, as always!

  16. Hello Jennifer girl !
    I also am behind in taking pictures because I am working in the garden and always think I will take pictures when I am done ... but then I am too tired and need a shower, BIG sigh ! LOL
    YOur pictures are beautiful as usual ... I have the pink gillenia but it has not flowered yet for me ... then again I trimmed it up when I planted it so that is probably why .. I hope it will eventually flower some time because your white one looks amazing!
    Love the pictures by the white picket fence ... it is a perfect combination : )

  17. As always, whenever you show your garden I wonder why you don't feature it more often. It's absolutely amazing. What is that very pretty variegated plant next to the pink daylily? Is it caryopteris?

    1. Sorry about the slow response Sarah. I had to look this one up as it is one of those not-so-common plants I got at Lost Horizons Nursery. It is Caryopteris divaricata, 'Snow Fairy'. It has insignificant blue flowers and beautiful variegated foliage. It is one of those plants where the foliage makes it special not the flowers. It has become a favourite! Height: 60 cm and Spread: 60cm (very similar in size and shape to a small Spirea) Full sun to half shade.

  18. Your garden is looking spectacular. Great to remind folks that some of the old-fashioned plants are just as effective and some of the newer pricier ones. You are indeed a flower arranging wizard - just adore seeing how you've put your roses together.

  19. Thank you for the tip on the evening primrose. I was debating whether to dig out my whole clump this year. They aren't very exciting looking when they first start out. But they are blooming now and so pretty so I think I will just pull some around the edges and maybe transplant one of my rogue peonies right next them.

  20. oooh, loving your foxgloves Jennifer. I want to live somewhere (someday) where I can have whole stands of them! It's all gorgeous. Your 'Blue fortune' Agastache blooms lots earlier than mine ~ maybe more sun???

    1. You are right Kathleen, Agastache does usually bloom a bit later. I have one older clump that is just starting to open and one new plant that was purchased this spring. I think it got an early start because it was in a greenhouse previous to arriving in my garden.

  21. So beautiful! I'm so glad you added the Gillenia. :o) I also want to know what the variegated shrub is. It looks like the beautyberry I just added to my garden. The rose bouquet in the white pitcher is absolutely stunning! Simply gorgeous! :o)

    1. Tammy you were my inspiration to add the Gillenia. The mystery shrub is Caryopteris divaricata, 'Snow Fairy'. It has insignificant blue flowers and beautiful variegated foliage. I have had it in the garden for two years now and feel safe to recommend it.


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