An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

August 15, 2014

Bloom Day - Not Bad for August

     I don't know about the rest of you, but we are having a spectacular August. So far, the temperatures have not gotten above the 80's, and we have had sufficient rainfall to keep the garden looking good. Of course the moisture has been just as welcomed by the weeds and grass, as it has by the garden. My neighbors can thank me for the rain. Every time we leave for vacation, I water like a mad man the day and night before, and while we are gone, it pours. This year we headed out to Colorado again, where they too were having a wet summer, at least it was wet by their standards. Me - I saw a parched and dry landscape, while they rejoiced in the extra rain. It's all a matter of perspective.

     As to Bloom Day, let's go alphabetically this time. First up in Asclepias currassavica (a.k.a tropical milkweed). I planted several of these this year, not only because I like its hot, long-blooming colors, but I am trying to do what I can for the monarchs.
Asclepias curassavica

     This is one of my son's Scotch bonnet peppers (Capsicum chinense). He and his buddies are fascinated with hot peppers. This evening they have been bottling a tincture created from infusing grain alcohol with ghost peppers. I am staying out of the kitchen.
Capsicum chinense Scotch Bonnet Pepper    

     My Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'  suffered from the cold this winter, and I had to cut it back to the ground. It quickly reached 6' again and has bloomed profusely.
Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'

     Cuphea ignea 'David Verity' is a plant I lost this winter, but soon replaced because I do love orange in the garden, and it looks really good with the gold leaf raspberry  (Rubus cockburianus 'Aurea').
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'

Cuphea ignea 'David Verity' with Rubus cockburianus 'Aurea'

     I've said it before, but I could not imagine a garden of mine without Miss Huff (Lantana camara 'Miss Huff').
Lantana camara 'Miss Huff' (2)

Lantana camara 'Miss Huff'

     Evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata) is just now starting to bloom.  It is neither evergreen nor a wisteria, but I love its Nehi grape soda color and Nehi grape soda fragrance.
Millettia reticulata

     Years ago my neighbors planted several black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida). This prolific re-seeder blew into one of the cracks in my sidewalk, where it has become very comfortable.
Rudbeckia fulgida

     I tried 'Lady in Red' annual Salvia for the first time this year. It has bloomed continuously since being planted, but I think I should have found a spot with more sun.
Salvia 'Lady in Red'

     Where I work we use a lot of Stachytarpheta in our summer plantings. We value its shape, colors and the fact that the hummingbirds like it as much as we do.
Stachytarpheta mutabilis 'Coral'

     I have been growing this Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum' in a pot on my front steps for close to 20 years. I water it, and that's about it.
Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum'

     Finally, these are two varieties of Profusion Zinnia. I plant these, or any of the Zahara series, every summer. Keep them moist the first month, then after that they can stand on their own. This seems to have been an especially great summer for Zinnia around here.
Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' and 'Profusion Cherry'

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' with Nassella tenuissima

     Garden Bloggers Bloom Day occurs on the 15th of each month, and is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Hi, Les! long time since I've made the circuit, and after this will look at what I've missed here_ always something pleasant to the eye. Speaking of which, the Millettia reticulata is one beautiful specimen!

  2. Ditto what you said about August here in Wisconsin. We could use a little more rain, but otherwise it's been near perfect. We're growing some of the same plants--I'm a huge fan of Zinnias and Lantanas. Your garden looks great! Happy GBBD!

  3. Your pictures are stunning as always. Such a tropical display. I love that "evergreen" wisteria which I just saw on another GBBD post. New to me but I agree about the color. However, you may be showing your age with your reference to Nehi grape soda. Of course, no longer living out east, maybe it's still available there. Alas I have not seen it for years. Loved the Nehi orange as a kid; always a big treat.

  4. Oh that Millettia reticulata is dreamy...I must learn more about it.

  5. I love that Evergreen Wisteria - I'm a sucker for vines! I love all the zinnias too, especially that orange one! Are you seeing any Monarchs yet? I used to have tons of them when I lived in North Carolina, but I haven't seen any this year up in Massachusetts.

  6. Les you have a few plants I am not familiar with that are very colorful like your Orange Zest. The weather has been too cool here for my peppers...we need some hotter weather soon or I won't get but a few.

  7. Looks great, Les. It always fascinates me that plants more adapted to my climate, such as Lantana (though I know Miss Huff is much hardier than most), and Agave americana, are much better, much prettier, in other less ideal climates where they are smaller and not weedy. Lantana builds up a huge death thatch here and looks horrible everywhere, and A. americana is a complete weed.

    I have Zinnia for this summer, first time in a long time. The butterflies are happy.

  8. Beautiful flowers! And I like Scotch Bonnets. Here in Rwanda, they grow super-hot Scotch Bonnet type pepper for the traditional "pilipili" sauce. In the last several years, a local food entrepreneur has popularized his bottled version, called Akabanga; it's 80% peppers, 20% vegetable oil. Three drops will make a bowl of soup quite hot.

    I have a lot of blue-purple Stachytarpheta, which self-seed everywhere. The butterflies and bees like them here too.

  9. bottling a tincture? A little bit of pepper mischief in a long, hot summer? I think that's great that they're into a little creative mixology, but I hope they remember not to wipe their eyes during the process. Garden looks wonderful, Les.

  10. Millettia reticulate is new to me and I love the color and the fragrance sounds cool, too! Your garden looks very green and happy! Hooray for summer rain. Love your bright orange blooms!

  11. My mexican zinnias (agustifolia) reseed every year all over like your Rudbeckia. The cuphea makes me laugh - I always remember lecturer Holly Scoggins remark that they resemble little vampire faces with tongues out. Ruined my appreciation of the plant forever.