Showing posts with label summer flowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer flowers. Show all posts

Thursday, October 9, 2008

White Pincushion Flower

  • One of my favorite summer flowers is Scabiosa, also known as Pincushion Flower. I think the common name suits it very well, and is ever so much nicer sounding than Scabiosa, wouldn't you agree? :-) This year I winter sowed seeds for a White variety, which I have enjoyed very much. It has been blooming strong.....even into these cooler fall days. I took all the photos below on the same day. The flowers were in four different stages on the plant, all at the same time.

The tightly packed flower bud, which resembles a pincushion.

The partially unfolded flower. I love the contrast of the white and the greenish center.

The flower in full bloom! Note the slender stamens inside each fold . . . they look rather like pins.

The handsome prickly seedhead. . . . still looking rather like a pincushion, don't you think?


Pincushion flowers can be either Annual or Perennial, and I suspect this variety (which I obtained from a seed trade ) is an Annual, so I will save some seed to plant next year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cabbage White on Verbena Bonariensis

The garden is all a-flutter this time of year with many small moths and butterflies, including the Cabbage White Butterfly which seems to have a definite preference for Verbena Bonariensis.

And who wouldn't? It is a lovely plant, with it's stiff, widely branched stems and open, airy look. This native of Brazil and Argentina grows to 3-6 ft., flowers all summer until frost, and re-seeds readily. The 'see-through' quality of Verbena Bonariensis makes it a great weaver in the Cottage garden, and a good choice for the front or middle mixed border. Although it is said to be a Zone 7 perennial, it came back for me this year in my Zone 6 garden....where it was heartily welcomed. It also winter sows very well.


Tip: Pinch out the first few shoots of Verbena Bonariensis in spring to encourage branching. The more you cut it back, the more shrub like it will become.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Glorious Daisy

Black-eyed Susans are one of my favorite garden flowers...especially so in late Summer, when they bloom their hearts out while other flowers languish in the heat. They also go by the names Rudbeckia or Gloriosa Daisy, which literally means Glorious Daisy, which I think decribes them best. I grew several varieties from seed this year, with the winter sowing method. This is one of my favorites so far....

It looks rather like a burst of sun, doesn't it? I love the sunny yellow ring around the brown center cone, along with the splashes of orange. I obtained the seed from a GardenWeb trade, labeled as 'Cherokee Sunset'..... but descriptions and images of that variety show them to be either double or semi-double, so I'm not sure if the seed was mis-labeled or perhaps just crossed with another type of Rudbeckia. In any case, it is very pretty!

Rudbeckias can be either annuals or perennials, so since I don't know yet what this will be, I'll save some seed to re-plant next year.... and hope to get the same results.


Some Trivia.....

The name Black-Eyed Susan is likely derived from the poem composed by English poet John Gay, titled, “Black-Eyed Susan,” which was written in the early 18th century.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cosmos in Vintage Vases

I enjoy collecting old glass bottles to use as flower vases. I thought it would be fun to share a couple of my latest finds.

I purchased this old bottle for 50 cents at a yard sale this summer. I love it's heavy glass feel, top lip, and rather unusual shape. It stands a little over 3 inches tall, so is perfect for a few selected flowers. Featured here with a few 'Picotee' Cosmos flowers. (Cosmos bipinnatus) The large blooms are white with a rose/pink picotee edge, and some blooms are also splashed or striped with crimson highlights.

This green bottle came from a recent flea market, where there was a huge selection of old glass. I didn't have any in this color, so I bought several in different shapes and sizes. In my mind's eye, I pictured a collection of them sitting on a tray with a few casual flowers in each. I like how the green color compliments this handful of Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus). Both photos were taken with the vases placed on my ironing board (cover by Martha Stewart), with natural light from a nearby window.


"Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?"

- Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doubledecker Coneflower

An internet search yielded this brief history of Doubledecker Coneflower:
A German plantsman, Eugen Schleipfer found an Echinacea plant that looked very different from the others. After years of selection, a reliable seed strain with two tiered flowers resulted. A set of shorter petals rests on top of the cone while a "skirt" of longer, deep rose-pink petals emerge from the base of the cone. First year plants sometimes produce single flowers. From the second year forward, a high percentage of two tiered flowers appear with either a single or double set of petals. Occasionally, older plants produce single flowers.

I purchased this as a very small plant 3 years ago from a mail order company. It had only bloomed with single flowers the past two summers, so I was excited this year when I saw some pink flower petals beginning to sprout out of the center cone! I wanted to wait to photograph them until they were fully formed, but unfortunately by the time that happened the original flower was already beginning to brown, as you can see by the tips of the petals.

A single bloom, growing out of the original flower. They have a somewhat 'messy' look.

This top flower is double and almost dwarfs the original flower.....making it look a bit top heavy!

Less than half of the flowers on my plant exhibited the double flower characteristic, so it will be interesting to observe, next year and see if a greater percentage of flowers will display this trait. I think perhaps this variety is still a little unstable, but 'Doppelganger' (it's German name) is an interesting plant, adding an unusual charm to the cottage garden.


Fun Fact: The word "echinacea" comes from the Greek word "echinos" meaning "hedgehog", referring to the flower's spiky central cone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Helenium Mardi Gras

This was my first year to order a few plants from Bluestone Perennials, and Helenium Mardi Gras was among them. Helenium also goes by the name Helen's flower, or Sneezeweed.

The flower petals are mainly yellow, splashed randomly with red. They have a sort of tie dyed look, which.... for some reason, I seem to be attracted to. (See this previous post.) The brown center cone on some of the flowers appears as though it is wearing a delicate crown around the outside seen in the bottom flower in the above photo.

This second photo shows some of the tightly packed flower buds, which are attractive in their own right. I look forward to this plant growing into it's full height and stature in the next couple of years. It it quite winsome, and has definitely secured a place in my perennial garden.


Since Helenium also goes by the name Helen's Flower, I am dedicating this post to Helen...
my sweet sister-in-law. :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Butterfly on Coneflower

I was taking some photos of a few new flowers in my garden yesterday, when this butterfly caught my eye. It was checking out the Coneflowers and I got the chance at just one shot.....before it quickly fluttered away again.

I am not sure what type this is....but it's not one I see often here. Can anyone identify it for me?

Coneflowers are always a favorite of the butterflies.....and me. :-)
I love the fact that they come into bloom just about the time when I am hauling cartloads of spent flowers out of the garden!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Passion for Pollen

I am always pleased each year when the Cosmos begin to bloom. It is the classic summer flower!

This bee looked to be quite smitten with this pink Cosmos bloom, and was tightly hugging the center of the flower. :-)


The family reunion is over, and it went beautifully. We have spent some time this week at our favorite campground upriver, in our very favorite campsite, on a bend of the river.....with the sound of rushing water relaxing us in the day and lulling us to sleep at night. It has been wonderful therapy, after some very busy weeks!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Cosmos

I have been eyeing these Happy Ring Cosmos in the Parks Seed catalog for a couple years, so this year I stopped resisting and purchased the seed. They were started in my greenhouse and planted out only last week, so I was surprised to see them already blooming.

The colors of this Cosmos reminds me of when we used to tie-dye our T-shirts when I was a teen. You you put the rubber bands on and then the dye makes concentric circles of various shades of color? I really like the effect. This flower, shown here in my favorite tiny vintage bottle, is a bit on the small side. I'm hoping the subsequent flowers will be larger, more like a regular cosmos, when the plant gets a bit more established. The catalog says they can reach 4-5 inches.

Happy Ring is just plain CUTE....and makes me happy!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Red, White and Blue 2008

Last 4th of July I had a nice, unplanned display of red, white and blue flowers , but this year the red Monarda didn't return. So I decided to take a stroll around the garden to see if I could come up with another spontaneous grouping of red, white and blue. This is the best I could do....

Okay, so I know the Salvia is more purple than blue, and the Maltese Cross has a bit of an orange hue, but the cute little button flowers of Feverfew 'Virgo' are definitely white. :-)

See yesterday's post for a red Zinnia that looks like a burst of fireworks.


Have a great Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Red Spider Sighting...

Ummm...... Red Spider Zinnia, that is. :-)

This is a new Zinnia for me this year. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in cuteness, don't you agree? The pretty white flower in the background is Giant White Hyacinth Candytuft. This winning combination happened quite by accident...when the candytuft hitched a ride with something else I transplanted nearby.


Flowers are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade.

~Rudyard Kipling

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Queeny Purple Hollyhocks

Over the next few weeks, I hope to do several posts on some of the flowers I consider to be "Keepers" in my garden.... some new to me this year that I liked well enough to grow again, as well as some favorites I have grown for years.

This was my first year to grow Hollyhock 'Queeny Purple', a dwarf plant growing to only 2 - 3 ft. I planted mine in a large pot, from winter sown seed purchased from Parks. They had a long blooming season, which started well ahead of the regular Hollyhocks. Although I usually prefer the single old fashioned Hollyhocks, I found this one to be quite charming!

'Queeny' stopped blooming in the heat of late summer and set seed, but gave me another flush of blooms, on the same stalks, when the nights began to cool. This photo shows a single fall looks a bit more pinky-purple than the earlier blooms. The flowers in the background are 'Apricot Profusion' Zinnias, which I grew around the edges of the same container, with the 3 hollyhock plants in the center. I liked this combination, as the zinnias are still giving me color, now that the Hollyhocks are no longer blooming.