More Summer Flowers

The dahlia bed continues to go strong, and looks to be doing so for a good long time, given the number of unopened and forming buds on the plants. The dahlias that came up (mostly the Home Depot dahlias, interestingly enough) are pretty much all the same colour. That sucks. So this year I will order some dark reds, whites, and a few yellows to add contrast to the bed. I mean, I love this pink, but not so much that I want a giant bed with nothing else in it.


While most of the flowery goodness in the garden is in the dahlia bed, there are some other points of colour in the garden. For one thing, the sweet peas are starting to bloom in earnest, after I finally broke down and not only sprayed soap on the aphids but also gave them a shower of fungicide to help with the powdery mildew. Yeah, OK. Pests and disease do stunt a plant's growth.

Sweet Pea

I have two varieties planted: this two-colour one ('Cupani') and a dark purple ('Lord Nelson'). The dark purple has been going gangbusters, but the bicolour only just started to bloom.

Sweet peas

I'm torn about the long-term use of sweet peas in the garden, but they are a fast, fairly simple vine for right now. And the deep colours are a nice accent.

Here's one of my pelargonia: Pelargonium sidoides. So far it's low-growing, with these nice dark red-purple flowers floating above it. Very drought-tolerant and alkaline-soil tolerant too, given that it is in the driveway bed and right against the new foundation.

Pelargonium sidoides

Out back, the Brodeia have been putting on a nice show for weeks. Goldie was eating these down to a stub before we put up the dog fence, so I was worried they would never grow.


The borage is ending its life, after having been broken off at the bottom then staked up. These are "prolific re-seeders," so I'm expecting to end up hating this plant eventually. That is not stopping me from buying seeds for a white version for next year, though. The flowers are edible and apparently work nicely candied, which I may try next summer.


This verbena is lots of fun: Verbena bonariensis, aka "Verbena on a stick." Long, long sticklike stems with these flowers on top. I should have planted more of them, because a single plant looks kind of lonely and silly, but now I know better. If it doesn't come back from seeding next year, I'll just buy more of them than I did this year.

This year's theme was "trying things out"; next year it will be "swaths of plants."

Verbena bonariensis

Another winner of a plant is Nicotiana langsdorfii. I've been taking the little seed cups and sowing it all over the place. While I'm so allergic to tobacco that I break out in a rash from handling the plant, I love the way these little green trumpets look. I think I will add other colours of the same flower shape next year, too.

Nicotiana langsdorfii

The plain white Nicotiana alata is pretty phenomenal, too. Non-stop blooms, a marvelous scent in the evening, and a nice airy structure that means I'm not regretting planting it at the front of a bed.

White Nicotiana

The garden is still a little stiff and not very cohesive, but I think the bones are there for it to be pretty decent next summer and really great in a few years. Not bad when you consider that twelve months ago, we had a huge pile of dirt here.

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posted by ayse on 08/16/06