Serendipity in July: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day July 2014

– Posted in: What's up/blooming
13 comments

When you let plants self-sow, as I discussed in my review of Plantiful, serendipitous things can happen in your garden that surprise and delight you.

pink breadseed poppies dusky sedum

What I really like about this combination is how the dark splotches inside the poppies match the color of the sedum.

The poppies in the photo above are second year poppies. I scattered the seed of their parents over my flower bed, but I did nothing for the poppies you see here but leave them be.

pink hardy hydrangea and rose campion

The bright magenta spots provided by the rose campion are a counterpoint to the larger but milder pink flowers of Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea.

The rose campion was already here when I moved in. The most I have done is clear out some of the weeds so that there were more places for the campion to seed. When I planted the hydrangea, I wasn’t thinking of the rose campion. I was thinking, “I dug up this shrub from the old house, now where am I going to put it? I know, I will dig out these weeds and plant it here.” (As I remember, a rather large rock had to be removed as well.) The furry seed pods of the lupines play off the felted leaves of the campion.

But see that daylily in front? I am pretty sure it will bloom some shade of orange. I think I read somewhere that orange doesn’t go with magenta, but when I think of tropical color schemes it seems like they include both orange and magenta. At any rate, whether or not I think the daylily flowers “go with” the magenta flowers, it’s still a better combination than dock and dandelions, which is what I had before.

Astible, bellflower, actea, Japanese painted fern

This one I planned, and it pleases me. Sometimes you create your own serendipity.

In the back corner is ‘Black Negligee’actea. Threading through the bed is ‘Ringsabell Mulberry Rose’ campanula, a trial plant from Skagit Gardens. (It was one tiny plant. Make sure its companions are sturdy and vigorous. You have been warned.)The bright golden leaves belong to ‘Amber Moon’ astilbe, introduced this year by Walters Gardens and sent to me to try in my garden. Even when it’s not blooming, I love the contrast the foliage makes with the dark, moody colors in the rest of this bed. The Japanese painted fern picks up those dark purple tints in the ribs of its fronds. In the back, ‘Black Stockings’ thalictrum is still gathering strength. I hope next year that its airy blooms will bring that plummy color up to a higher level.
black gamecock Louisiana iris

‘Black Gamecock’ Louisiana iris

This iris was given to me by a gardening friend in Tennessee. I was not even sure it was hardy here. But after surviving this past winter, it bloomed at the beginning of this month, reminding me of the serendipitous way we make friends with gardeners in different climates.

This is the third year I am gardening in this place, and my garden would have far more gaps if those self-sowers hadn’t filled them in. My garden would be far less interesting without the plants from gardeners I have met through this blog and from nurseries which have sent plants for me to trial–and tell you about. In this garden at the new house, I am planning less and designing with what I have, often digging something up and moving it where I think it will perform better or look more beautiful. I feel more like an artist than the undergardener implementing the plan drawn up by the head gardener (also myself) in the middle of winter, and I have my friend in Tennessee to thank for that. She taught me by her example.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

A garden is half-made when it is well planned. The best gardener is the one who does the most gardening by the winter fire.

~Liberty Hyde Bailey in

13 Comments… add one

Jeff Morgan July 30, 2014, 5:54 pm

I fell in love with planting local species and hardy varieties when I visited with friends in southern California. The southwest has been converting from large lawns and plants with high water needs to alternatives that naturally cope with the arid environment.

The beauty of succulents and other types of water wise and hardy plants I guess just grows on you.

commonweeder July 22, 2014, 9:37 am

I don’t know about you, but it seems hardly possible that you have been working on this garden for three whole years. Where does the time go? And how do you manage to get so much done in such a short time? Three years is shorter and shorter in my life. Everything there looks wonderful.

Kathy Purdy July 22, 2014, 1:59 pm

Pat, I almost always have help (family) for the big projects. Beyond that, my goal is one tub trug of weeds per day. I don’t water except for container plants. And the garden season is never long enough. As soon as July starts I feel like I’m on deadline. Summer never feels leisurely to me. But I’m glad you like what you see. Thank you.

Nikki July 19, 2014, 11:38 am

I love the wildflower look! Your garden is so beautiful!

Dabbie July 18, 2014, 2:23 pm

I have to join the praises of your sedum+poppy combination; absolutely lovely!

Derek Yarnell July 18, 2014, 11:28 am

Kathy,
I did not realize you were only in year 3 of your current gardens. I am in year 2 in my own zone 3 gardens and always enjoy seeing what you have growing to inspire me. I’ll have to look into that Louisiana Iris for example…

Kathy Purdy July 18, 2014, 11:57 am

Since I received that Louisiana iris from a friend, I felt free to take a chance on it. I did do some research and found that they were hardy to USDA zone 4 (Canadian Zone 3 might be equivalent) provided they got adequate moisture. For the story on the new gardens, read New Gardens: An Overview, or browse through the category New House, New Gardens.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern July 18, 2014, 10:09 am

LOVE the sedum and poppy combination! Just love those moments. I have tried growing Rose Campion again and again and it never comes back for me. I’ll try again in a new spot where I don’t expect it to grow – perhaps that’s the problem! I set out to have a color scheme of dark purple/burgundy, frost green and orange. I just love those colors together but now I gravitate towards lime green. I would love to be more disciplined but I know it won’t happen. My favorite accidental combo is a new Quickfire hydrangea with Caramel Heuchera. That Iris is beautiful! I now remember seeing it in a catalog years ago and filing it away on a wish list. So good to know it’s hardy.

Frances July 17, 2014, 11:54 am

Your garden looks beautiful, Kathy. Letting Nature be the designer is a good plan and is easier on the pocketbook, (and back). xo

Tante Mali July 17, 2014, 7:45 am

Oh, Kathy – so beautiful and yes you are so right, somtimes nature is the better gardener as we are!
The papaver is so lovely!!
Have a wonderful time and all my best from Austria
Elisabeth

Kerri July 16, 2014, 9:10 pm

I love those delightful surprises of self-sown “volunteers”. Sounds like you’re having fun with your new garden. The Mulberry Rose Campanula is very pretty. Quite a spreader, eh? Happy summer, Kathy!

Yvonne July 16, 2014, 8:14 pm

Gorgeous poppy and sedum combo. Lovely photo!

michaele anderson July 16, 2014, 5:39 pm

I love that little moment of discovery when the eye focuses and sees how great something works together. I know my face would have lit up at seeing the compatibility of the “poppy splotch and the sedum” Ha, sounds like a kids book title.

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