Stokes Aster is a Star

I am so thankful for this beautiful and easy plant, Stokesia laevis ‘Peachie’s Pick.’

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When other flowers start to wilt and fade in the July heat, it steps it up.

I do not give this one any special treatment.

I divide it every few years.

It has thrived wherever I plant it.

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No wonder it’s ‘Peachie’s Pick’ Stokes Aster.

Whoever Peachie is, she know her plants. Butterflies like it, too.

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Blackberry Lilies

The Belamcanda chinensis are competing for attention in a rather crowded field of flowers today.

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These beauties are really in the iris family, but are called Blackberry lilies.

There are several colors.

My dark “Leopard Lily” must have crossed with

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my yellow “Candy Lily”

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to produce this unusual tie-dyed look.

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Another surprise in the garden!

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Seeing Spots!

This is the most magical plant in my garden.

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Its nickname is Fairy Flower.

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Most call it foxglove. The scientific name is Digitalis purpurea.

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One year I actually hid tiny fairies in the flowers for a post.

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Most of my foxgloves are pink this season.

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But no two are identical.

The tubular flowers have hairs inside along the bottom.

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The stamen with pollen and stigma are under the roof.

Bees go in and get their tummies tickled by the hairs

as pollen is deposited onto or removed from their backs.

It’s the spots that get me.

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Tiny Somethings on a Spiderwort

Sometimes I look through my camera and get surprised.

I got a surprise while photographing one of the Spiderworts.

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It had tiny flying insects hanging onto its stamen.

Not hoovering like a normal bee, but tucked into the flower.

This Spiderwort is Tradescantia ‘Zwanenburg Blue.’

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Its flowers close during the heat of the day and in wind.

It likes moist conditions, but I have had some rot if kept too wet.

It is deer resistant. A feature that is much needed now that my garden is a deer delicatessen.

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Don’t Blink, it’s Spring

I was away for three days. I came home to a different garden.

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The change is a tribute to the power of sunshine and rain.

The azaleas started blooming.

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The Lily of the Valley is reaching up and budding.

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The Solomon’s Seal is ringing its bells.

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Ascot Rainbow Spurge lifted its blooms.

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My ‘Expensive Stick’ turned into a tree.

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The best surprise was the ‘Juddii ‘Viburnum blooms.

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I wish I could share the scent of these lovely flowers.

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My garden was busy while I was away.

Don’t blink or you will miss something.  It’s spring in the south.

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Another Darling Baby

My other “Darling of Spring” is a tiny Columbine, ‘Little Lanterns’ Aquilegia canadensis.

It is always the first Columbine to bloom.

I have it right by the path into our house because it is less than 10 inches tall.

It will not be overlooked, however, because if its “fire engine red” blooms.

I have many varieties of Columbine that I will share later,

but this one is my most precious.

‘Little Lanterns’ Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

I have one more itty-bitty plant to share, but you will have to wait several weeks for it.

Every day is an art show in April.

I hope you are out and about. It’s a beautiful world.

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Sweet Betsy Trillium

I have a new friend under the fig tree, Sweet Betsy, Trillium cuneatum.

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It was sent to me by a fellow blogger, Marian St. Claire of Hortitopia.

I am happy to report that is blooming and spreading.

I learned about this plant at a writer’s workshop

when the two women at my table learned I was a garden blogger,

they both said their favorite flower was ‘Sweet Betsy’.

I was embarrassed to confess that I had never heard of Sweet Betsy.

I shared this story with Marian. She kindly shipped one to me.

That’s how we plant folks are.

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Thanks Marian.

I love Sweet Betsy so much I may write a song about her.

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Black Eyes and Bees

I am ashamed to say that I stroll by this plant often and never give it a glance.

Yesterday, I got closer than usual and a swarm flew up.

What was that?

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I took a closer look as the swarm settled back down.

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Each bee or wasp chose a black eye and began busily combing over it.

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Some bees had legs that were covered in deep yellow pollen.

The batch of Rudbeckia hirta/ Black-eyed Susan flowers was as busy as a city airport.

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It is one of only a few flowers blooming in full as August approaches.

I shall be more observant from now on as I buzz by.

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The Last Lilies

Most of the Asiatics have long finished their show.

The daylilies are slowing down.

Crimson Shadows daylily

The Stargazers are turning brown.

But it is not over yet!

The blackberry lilies are going strong.

I started out with a spotted orange type.

Then added a spotted magenta

and a yellow non-spotted candy lily.

These are all Belamcandas.

Other names are blackberry lilies, or leopard flowers.

The name leopard refers to the spots on the petals.

The name blackberry refers to the seed pods which open to expose clusters of black seeds that resemble blackberries.

One of the fascinating things about these is they cross pollinate to produce hybrids.

My two favorites this years are this water-marked form

and this red-orange mix.

I love surprises!  I never know what will show up until the flowers open.

I appreciate any flower that keeps going in this heat.

While the FLOWER wilts, the blackberry lilies bloom.

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