I blog here mostly about vegetables, fruit and other edibles but we also have quite a few flowering plants here at Happy Acres so I don’t want to ignore them. Earlier this month I shared photos of what was blooming then, but we have some new faces showing up here in late July. The Limelight hydrangeas are pretty much in full bloom now, and we have a large one planted at the corner of our garage. I found a swallowtail butterfly on one of the blooms one morning, soaking up some sun. I don’t believe this hydrangea is a nectar plant for them, so perhaps it was just basking in the sun to warm up.
I am more likely to see the butterflies feeding on the coneflowers, of which we have many. Echinacea Marcella’s Rainbow is in bloom now, and features flowers that go from orange to pink in color as they age. This is a new plant and should be stunning next year when it gets bigger.
Another favorite nectar source for butterflies is the aptly named Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). We have two of them planted, and they are a reliable performer in the garden. They are late to emerge in spring so I always mark the spot with a stake so I don’t dig around and disturb the roots inadvertently.
The Millennium allium is another trouble-free plant that is blooming now. The purple blooms are attractive to both bees and butterflies. The flowers resemble chives, but are less likely to self-sow. Deadheading after the flowers are past their prime also lessens the chance of volunteer plants.
Another plant new to us this year is the perennial sunflower Helianthus salicifolius “Low Down” (aka willow-leafed sunflower). This is an improved version of a much taller native plant. It gets bright yellow flowers in late summer on a short 12″ plant.
We have had the red-flowered Scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) planted here since 2009 when I got the seeds from two sisters whose garden was featured on the Master Garden Garden Walk that year. Their garden was planted with many of the species we have here today, and served as an inspiration for me to grow pollinator and butterfly friendly plants like the hibiscus. The blooms only last for one day, but open over a long period from late summer to early fall. They do like moist growing conditions so I make sure they get extra water as needed.
Another newcomer is the South Pacific Scarlet canna I grew from seed this year. I have several planted in containers, since it is not reliably hardy in our area. It was a 2013 AAS Winner, and we also have South Pacific Orange planted which was a 2018 AAS Winner and has bright orange blooms. Both are blooming now.
We’ve had the native black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and taller brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) planted for many years. Last years a planted I red flowered cultivar called Cherry Brandy. It has maroon flowers with a brown center, and is putting on a good show in its second year.
It’s also the second year for the Echinacea Sombrero Baja Burgundy, and this 2020 AAS Winner is a real stunner. The butterflies love it too!
I’ll close with a shot of the flag my wife created for our butterfly and pollinator garden. Made of heavy weight waterproof canvas material, it graces one corner of the Wild Garden. It brightens up the area, and I eagerly await to see what other creations she can make with the material!
I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of the things that are blooming now in our gardens. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!