Early Summer at Chickadee Gardens

The flower show continues at Chickadee Gardens. While most spring bloomers are finished, there are many more summer flowers waiting in the wings. It's a photo-heavy post this week so hang in there and come along on a tour of early summer around the gardens.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras' started to bloom in late June and will continue for a few months. This reliable perennial is an example of what I want in this part of the garden so far away from hoses. Mixed with sedums, Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', Sisyrinchium striatum (strappy foliage that resembles an iris) and Ozothamnus 'Sussex Silver', the scene is bright at the edge of the labyrinth garden.



I took this in late June, Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape' looking fine. It seeded around from last year and these plants are much larger and stronger than the original flowers. The yellow blooming shrub is Callistemon viridiflorus, an evergreen shrub from Tasmania.


Around the other side of the house is the sunny white border, looking particularly yellow. I didn't consider the fact that the sedums bloom yellow, I added them for their silvery foliage. The yellow Achillea 'Moonshine' I like for its long bloom season and also its silver foliage. There are many white flowered and silver foliage plants tucked in (Echinacea 'White Swan', a white flowered salvia bottom left, Clematis recta 'Purpurea', Armeria maritima 'Alba', a white flowered guara and others). They all have their moment to shine at different times.


A bit of a surprise for me was how much I like this Clematis viticella 'Minuet'. It was a throw-away from another nursery where I worked, and I can't let a good plant go into the garbage. I planted it at the base of an existing flowering cherry tree, and to my delight, it has scrambled up to nearly the top of the otherwise dull tree. It's as if the cherry were re-blooming for the summer.


Agastache 'Kudos Mandarin' in full bloom. I've had a heck of a time getting an orange-flowered Agastache to take; this one has done better than any others so far. I also planted some A. rupestris this spring which is doing very well. I'll report back on that later in the year.


My thyme carpet is filling in, I couldn't be happier. This is Thymus 'Pink Ripple'. The bees adore it.


A couple baby Oscars. OK, these are actually supposed to be Agave parryi ssp. parryi, and I understand there is some confusion around this and A. parryi var. truncata 'Gentry', but I don't know how to distinguish the difference. In any event, they are hardy and look good in a pot.


Speaking of pots, here is what I have this year. I used to love pots in the old garden, but here I find I have no time or patience to make them spectacular and well-watered, so it's usually one plant per pot plus sedums randomly crammed in as I accidentally break pieces off of other plants. Bam. Container done.



Same thing here, only with many Sempervivum species and Bhudda.



Romneya coulteri 'Butterfly' has finally settled in and is happy. Much to my surprise, it does much better for me with a little bit of compost and water. I had starved the others and killed them. Who knew? I was told to give it lean soil and no water. It's a California native, the fried egg plant that I hope lives up to its reputation for taking over the world.



Stipa gigantea is just, well, gigantea. And I love it.


Achillea 'Terra Cotta' is my favorite achillea color. I have several in this bed mixed with crocosmia, Carex testacea and silver-leaved plants.


Lobelia tupa (center, red flowers) is a favorite among the hummingbirds. It has grown to considerable proportions in a year and a half. It's a little bit sheltered and on a slope, that helps with its hardiness.


Opuntia from my mom, he came with Oscar the agave. This is Felix. I don't know the species, I am not that familiar with opuntias. Feel free to chime in if you know. It came in a pot and was begging to be planted in the ground. It was so top-heavy it flopped over and I could not, despite much effort, keep it upright so I left it and it self-corrected. Plants are cool.


The Asclepias speciosa or showy milkweed has taken over in this full sun, well-drained part of the labyrinth garden. That's ok, there is room for it. The butterflies love it and we're hopeful a monarch will love it, too. Here, a swallowtail (one of many) hangs out most of the afternoon flitting around this grove of milkweed.


They also love the Agastache 'Kudos Blue'. 


Monarda, I think this one is Raspberry Wine. It was a gift at a blogger's swap from Mindy of Rindy Mae.



Tetrapanax papyrifer on the right is poised to get very large. The white flowers in the center are Sedum album. 



When sedums are in bloom the bees are all over them. They love the small, open flowers that are easily accessible. We have found that our honeybees love sedums, thyme, achillea, clover, ceanothus, Douglas' meadowfoam and cascara trees, to name a few.


The veggie garden is exploding with food. We've harvested cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes, beets, lettuce, kale and the peas keep on coming. The green beans are not far away and the corn is tasseling.


My first sweet peas! They smell divine. I am thrilled they actually (finally) grew.



Penstemon pinifolius, center, is actually done blooming but it was pretty electric while it lasted. I love this Western native for its ease of growing in hot, dry sites and the fact that it's evergreen. 



Guess who else loves it? The hummingbirds, of course. It finished blooming towards the end of June, I have since deadheaded it and might get a light rebloom but that evergreen foliage is enough for me.


In this same bed I have two large Santolina virens or lavender cotton. Here, in mid-late June, it is getting ready to bloom among West Coast native Zauschneria californica, left, and Carex comans, right.


Here it is now, blooming with such vigor that it flops over. I have killed a couple of these with too much water, they really do love full sun, well-drained soil and to be on the dry side which also helps keep it a little more compact. It's best to prune them in spring, by the way.


These sedums are also all blooming. It's kind of cool for a week or two, but the chore of cutting back the spent spikes is daunting and takes a long time. I do it to clean it all up, and if they didn't bloom at all I'd be a happy camper. Oh well, the honey and bumblebees love the flowers.



 Just to give an idea of how much sedum there is to deal with. 


Same general area but from farther back. These two beds with grasses were made last spring, one is planted with Carex comans, the one in the foreground with Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point' and Muhlenbergia rigens or deer grass. The sedum surrounding this bed has already been cut back as the flowers finished blooming long ago.



The dry creek bed with Stipa tenuissima, Artemesia 'Powis Castle', sedums (of course) among other plants.


Digitalis 'Honey Trumpets' from Xera Plants. A truly perennial digitalis, which, unfortunately, does not reseed. It's lovely.


Stipa barbata's silvery seedheads are among my favorites. I wish I had many of these.


Salvia, artemesia, scabiosa, grasses and more make up another dry gravel bed that gets mostly full sun.

The Carex comans 'Frosty Curls' have filled in nicely, smothering weeds while looking shiny.


Rounding out the tour, here's a turkey update: Sweet Pea decided to fluff up and show his stuff. He's so sweet and makes lovely sounds. The chickens love him; he thinks he's a giant chicken. We adore him. He loves to gobble at Facilities Manager roaring by on the mower.


And finally, a bit of the harvest: A typical afternoon haul from the veggie garden makes for a tasty lunch. We are thrilled to be able to share the bounty with friends and family.

The garden gives back so much to us in the form of food, flowers, movement, sound, smells, wildlife, stress-release, exercise, fresh air, insects, beauty, soil microbes, a place to enjoy the shade, the sun and the rain. We are extremely fortunate to be able to live in all of this beauty in a place where it is so easy to grow a huge variety of plants. I am so lucky to work at a place that has such diversity for sale. The land gives so much, most of all it gives peace of mind in these sometimes troubling times. I wish I could give a slice of the peace we feel to every person on earth. What a wish.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all and knowing what everyone is up to in their own gardens. Happy gardening everyone, be it desert, forest, English garden, container gardens on a deck or virtual gardening. They all add so much to our world.

Comments

  1. It is all looking fabulous. I have tried to grow Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape' poppies but no luck. I will try once more this fall. I don't cut back my sedum flowers and they seem to just wither away and look fine in a month or so after flowering.

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    1. Thank you, Laurin. Keep trying with the poppies, they are sooo worth it. It took a few years before they took. Re: sedums - I may take that approach next year...some of them I do leave to fizzle out and let the stems die, but these are particularly irritating to me..haha. Maybe I should let it be.

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  2. Your garden as usual is looking glorious. I'm wondering if you remember where you got Sisyrinchium striatum? I'd like to find some. I have a lot of those Sedums that bloom tall yellow and I despise the chore of cutting them back once they're past too. I still have plants I promised to bring you. Life got in the way of my trip down to Portland and Joy Creek. Maybe in August?

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    1. Aw, thank you Alison. I'll give you some Sisyrinchim - they seed around like mad at the nursery. We sell them, too. Yes, come down any time, Alison - you are always most welcome :)

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  3. Sigh.............. Just so lovely. Thank you, as always, for sharing. : )

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    1. Le sigh....merci, mon ami. Mon plaisir.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your gardens. I love reading your posts (and FM's too).

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    1. Yay! Thank you for reading and commenting. I'll tell FM you like his posts, too.

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  5. Amazing how you've built up such gorgeous plant communities -- and so fast, seemingly without much trial and error! And at first I mistakenly thought Sweet Pea was a garden ornament -- what a looker he is!

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    1. That is funny about Sweet Pea. He's been doing the "display" thing from time to time now that he's about a year old. He loves to show off!

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  6. Everything looks so fabulous...and your TURKEY! I'm so jealous...I've always wanted to have turkeys!!!

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    1. Come visit Sweet Pea! He'd love you to give him a treat ;)

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  7. Your summer garden is glorious and beautifully colorful, right down to the handsome turkey! Sweet pea flowers in July - I can't even conceive of that. I'm envious of the Callistemon viridiflorus too, a plant I've been trying to get my hands on for a few years now, not that I'm sure I have a place for it anymore (well, unless last Friday's horrific heatwave really did deal a death blow to certain plants as feared).

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    1. I thought sweet peas bloomed much earlier myself, I'm surprised. First time I've ever grown them, though, so I have no idea if July is late or not for us. If you want a Callistemon, we can get one to you, Kris! Xera Plants sells them and we can easily ship one your way. Also, were you looking for that Ceanothus 'Italian Skies'? I know where to get those, too :)

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  8. I live so far away yet when you post about your beautiful garden I get that sense of peace and belonging. I would love to share some of the bounty of the veg garden. It looks so yummy. 'Minuet' is a beautiful clematis. It must be tall too to scramble into a cherry tree. I would be tempted to get the hedge trimmers after all that sedum when the time comes to cut back the blooms. They sure give a good show while it lasts.

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    1. I am so glad to hear that, Lisa. It fills my heart with happiness. I would love to share some veg with you, too. 'Minuet' is gorgeous, I usually don't go for the pinks and whites together on the same flower, but a free plant is free. It is very tall, I'm surprised by that, too. The sedums...yes, I have thought about a hedge trimmer. Perhaps next time.

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  9. Your early summer garden is beautiful. So much color and texture. I love your turkey too. What a fun addition to the garden.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca. Sweet Pea the turkey is a welcome addition, for sure. :)

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  10. Your garden looks wonderful and as I remember this garden is still so young. Your green fingers did it all grow faster than normal I think, I love it. I never saw before an orange Agastache and I also love these flaming Penstemons along the gravel. Fun to have turkeys in the garden, is something else than chickens.
    Have a nice gardening weekend!

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    1. Thank you Janneke! Well, you give me too much credit. Mother Nature did it mostly :)

      The orange Agastache is so pretty, we have a few varieties with orange flowers we can grow. They are lovely and our hummingbirds love them.

      Have a wonderful weekend too! Nice to hear from you! :)

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  11. Your garden is looking so stunning! I really need to make time for a visit, so I can see it in person. And you, of course. It's been too long! I have an Achillea I forget the name of, which I got as a substitute because I couldn't find Terra Cotta, and it's performing abysmally this year. It did ok the first year. Interestingly, I have very similar Sedum to the one you have with the tall yellow flowers, but it's long past blooming. Meanwhile, my Penstemon pinifolius is still spitting out blooms here and there, and I dare not cut them back so long as any flowers remain, lest the hummingbirds exact vengeance.

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  12. Achillea 'Terra Cotta' is fabulously colored. I love the swath of Frosted Curls, what a pretty scene. Yes, gardening is peace. I wish more people could enjoy getting lost in plants..the simple but fine work of maintaining a veggie garden. It's my bliss too. Hugs Roomie!

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