Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finding the Blooms in July.

Today is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens. Usually, my biggest problem for July's Bloom Day is the overbearing South Carolina drought. 

Not this year.

This year, my challenge is to find blooms in the garden that haven't melted away due to the enormous amounts of rain Upstate SC is experiencing. Did you hear the sad new about the South Carolina Botanical Garden? They recently installed the Natural Heritage Garden, an exhibit that included many rare and endangered plants, and the torrential rains caused horrific damage to the garden.  If you'd like to donate to help rebuild the garden, you can find information here.

Crazy, crazy weather.

Still, even with our daily deluge of rain, I found a few blooms to share with you.

Casa Blanca lilies...my favorite. I fear a vole snacked on many of the bulbs, because these are the only few that I've seen this year.

The large kitchen garden is a tumble of overgrowth and unripe tomatoes. Honestly, the foliage is lush and green, particularly in the herb garden at the front of the raised beds.

The flowering herbs are major pollinator havens.

But although the garden is green and bursting with vines, everything is late. I've yet to find one cucumber. Last July, we were already searching for recipes to use up our insane harvest of cucumbers.

Tonight, we ate the first beans harvested from our Three Sisters Garden. The corn definitely likes the rain, but the squash vines below melted. I planted more squash seeds, hoping for a fall harvest.

I can only hope that the veggie garden experiences a quick burst of productivity in the bit of sun that reached it today. Bruschetta is calling my name...but I need my heirloom tomatoes to ripen! 

Everyone is confused. Typically, by July the gardenias are sleeping. Not this year--they continue to infuse the air with their delicious scent. 

In the newly planted pollinator garden, the monarda is a good example of too much rain. Don't you just want to hand it a towel? Poor thing.

The lemon balm, while usually just a bit of a nuisance, truly became a bully this summer due to all of the rain. Fortunately, its tiny blooms attract lovely little pollinators, so I'm giving it a warning. If it continues its ill behavior, there WILL be consequences.

The tall verbena is bent over, beaten by the rain. I'm too embarrassed to show you the full photo, because it proves that I'm a softie for trying anything to keep a few blooms in the garden, even when they need to be yanked out by the roots. I keep crossing my fingers that I'll walk out tomorrow morning, and it will be standing at attention, nice and straight.

I know. I'm pitiful.

'Rozanne' seems to have withstood the worst of the rain. 

But even the poor stargazers are too saturated to last long in bloom. 


The blooms of the phlox also succumbed to the rain. Surprisingly, though, I haven't battled powdery mildew on the plant like I normally do.

Also, I'm typically battling black spot by now on the roses--but so far, not this year.

The buddleia seems to enjoy the gallons of water each day, thankfully. Our bees and butterflies congregated on the three bushes today, making me think I should keep the Epi-Pen a little closer while I took photos.

Fortunately, the bees were too busy with the flowers to bother with me. 

The beautiful daylilies I recently purchased revolted against their soggy new home. They're growing well, but they refuse to show their pretty faces. Yeesh, what prima donnas. These few daylilies planted last year were kind enough to add a bit of color to the perennial bed.

However, my trusty friends, the Japanese anemones, are preparing for an early show. They're full of buds, just about to burst any day. 

The little ice plant isn't loving all of the water, but it's a trooper and continues to produce a few cheerful blooms...

...and the gaura also tries to hang in there for me, withstanding the moisture and the attack of Japanese beetles. 

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise Japanese beetles?

Fortunately, the nasty beetles haven't damaged the lantanas throughout the garden. However, only the lantana in the mailbox garden is blooming. The others need Mr. Sun to shine down on them to encourage some color. Soon.

Now, we all know hydrangeas should enjoy water...right? For about a week, the hydrangeas looked magnificent. The Brides Blushed beautifully, the Twist & Shout partied hard in the garden, cute little Pee Gee beamed with blooms in the shade, and the oakleaf bushes drooped dramatic cones.

And then, the lovely flowers turned mushy.  

So. Depressing.

Thank goodness for the garden cheerleaders! Bright little Black-Eyed Susan vines add a touch of cheer in hanging baskets...

...while perky purple coneflowers refuse to melt under duress. 

I admit, I often curse rudbeckia. It's such a bully in the front perennial bed. The more I thin it, the more prevalent it becomes.

However, I'm rethinking my aversion to it. It's been a trooper during the summer storms, and I have to give it credit for the bright, lovely patch of cheer it's added to the entryway. 

Both Rose of Sharon bushes just began blooming--and they're heavy with buds. Thank goodness. I need some color in the back sitting area.

Mandevilla is so reliable. Honestly, I love this vine by the pool. Even the rain can't dampen its spirits.

The poor hardy hibiscus, though...it experienced a tough spring. First, the leaves served as a snack for every caterpillar and Japanese beetle in the garden until the leaves resemble lace. Then, the rain makes the blooms rather...sad. Normally, they're so perky and cheerful, but right now they just look so tired from the effort of opening.

My very happy surprise, however, is a new addition to the back garden by the pool: blackberry lily. A gift from my friend Janet's garden (aka The Queen of Seaford), these adorable little lilies produced blooms one week after transplanting them--and they just keep on going without complaint. I think they may be my new favorite plant! 

How's the weather in your garden? Wishing you rain (but not too much), pleasant days, and happy blooms!




  1. Happy GBBD! You found some very pretty blooms to share. I love hardy Hibiscus, but when I lived on the east coast, mine used to get turned to lace too. You would think they would do well here in the PNW with all our rain, but they come up so late in the garden, and we just don't get warm enough for long enough to please them. I have blackberry lilies too, a favorite!

  2. You about summed up what is going on in my garden too! With all the years of drought I never thought we would be in a situation of too much rain. I heard yesterday that Lake Hartwell is the fullest its been since 1964! All the rain has brought unusual challenges...powdery mildew, slugs and lack of pollination. I have one cucumber and a few melons. The saw flies have eaten my hibiscus to lace. I heard about the tragedy at the SC Botanical Garden. So, so sad! My daughter worked there for a few years when she attended Clemson.

  3. I hope this summer is a fluke and not a sign of things to come. I think all of your flowers look lovely but I am used to lots of rain so I think they all look lovely. It is so cool how you are growing the bean with the corn ~ I don't see that very often. I have never seen japanese beetles and I hope I never do. I deal with aphids and I have ladybugs for that!

  4. Those are really lovely despite your edition of Climate Change 2013! I have to confess that the Japanese Beetle pic made me shudder with memories of my couple of years of Virginia garden work! Eeep. I envy your cucumber trellis and may have to use it next year -- it's lovely. Really pretty blooms. I love the balance between people pretties and insect/pollinator ones. Thoughtful!

  5. So sorry about your hideous weather but you still found some lovely flowers to share. We've also been experiencing dreadful weather. Either torrential deluges or 90+ degree temps with dew points in the 70's. What happened to our lovely summer New England weather? My fuchsia collection is sulking in the heat. I'm hoping for moderation in the weather patterns to happen soon for all of us.

  6. Great pictures, wonderful flowers, images of gardens provide a lot of fun :) Regards

  7. We've been having the same terrible weather here - weeks of torrential rainstorms, and now high heat and humidity. My plants either love it or hate it, I've had a lot of damage too. Oh well, I guess every year is different with new challenges. Your garden is looking awesome despite the difficulties. Love you hibiscus! So lush and tropical looking.

  8. Love all your blooms...even with your challenging weather this year...it seems the days of predictable weather are gone!

  9. Your plants are persevering well, in spite of all the rain. I love the lantana and the gardenia--such a heavenly scent it has!

    After a cool, wet spring and early summer, July has been hot, humid, and sunny. Most of my plants are very happy. The Vinca and the zonal geraniums did not like all the wetness early in the season, though.

    Wishing you some sunny days soon!