One of my goals when I first started planning my garden was to have a long bloom season.
There are plenty of plants out there (ahem, looking at you Azalea and Redbud) that have a week or two of bloom and then are unremarkable or worse (looking at you again, Azalea, with your dried flowers still stuck all over you) for the rest of the season.
By contrast, I like plants that:
a) Bloom for a long time
b) Are self-cleaning. That means you don't have to deadhead them because the petals or the entire flower falls off after the bloom is done.
Anyway, here are some of the plants blooming now:
|Remember how I was worried a few months ago that my Gaura lindheimeri were dead? Um, they weren't. Those of you who reassured me that the Gaura would bounce back were 100% correct. Two of the three are bigger than ever this year (and the other one is doing just fine too). Gaura has been covered with flowers now for a couple of weeks. Self-cleaning flowers that drop off and (presumably) add nutrients back into the soil.|
|Here's a wide shot of two of the Gaura lindheimeri "Siskiyou Pink" plants. This year I have looked closely and noticed lots of bees visiting the flowers. Not bumble bees (at least not so far) or even honey bees, but tiny native bees and/or wasps and/or hoverflies. And since the gaura attract aphids (found this out the hard way when I tried to see if Gaura would make a good cut flower - it doesn't), they also attract ladybugs that eat the aphids. Actually, the microscopic hoverfly larvae also eat aphids. As you can see, the aphids don't slow down the gaura or keep it from blooming. Some folks reportedly even plant Gaura specifically to serve as a trap crop and lure the aphids away from other plants.|
|Remember a few months ago when I asked whether folks thought all the tiny seedlings in the garden beds were self-sown Love-in-a-Mist from last year? It turns out they were! The plants got MUCH taller this year. Last year they were about 6-inches tall at most. This year, I'd guess that some of them are around 2-feet tall. And they're absolutely covered in blooms. Beautiful blue blooms. Well, actually blooms that start off bluish-white, then change to light blue, then dark blue and finally to the alien-looking purple-striped seed pod you can see here.|
|Finally, here are a couple of plants that aren't quite blooming, but almost. And anyway, I think Zinnia buds are beautiful in their own way, like tightly-packed jewels.|
|And here's a strong, bushy sunflower too! Can't wait to see its bright and cheerful blooms!|