Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day {august}


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Hello, friends! Well, summer has definitely shifted into high gear here in zone 4B and everything is blooming! And this is a balm my gardener’s ego needed after losing all 12 dahlias I had planted due to dahlia mosaic virus. My ego as a gardener was bruised because last year my dahlia garden was spectacular! But nature has a way of showing you who is in charge, does she not? 

Thankfully, my main goal going into this growing season was different than a spectacular dahlia garden. My goal was simple and one with a definite benefit for nature— to create a little slice of heaven for pollinators. You can read more about my attempt HERE. It has been a labor love between choosing pollinator friendly plants and also doing a bit of prairie restoration on a little hillside by our house. And that love and effort is paying off. After a very wet start to the season, nature seems to be in sync and she is one radiant lady. The wildflowers are going insane and the pollinators have been loving it! Check out the video at the end of this post. And please excuse the geeky mushiness in my voice… this is what a reward sounds like. But truly, all the pollinator-friendly plants are blooming and they are loving it.

So, let’s get this little tour of blossoms going. What is growing in my garden?

Let’s start with Sunflowers. For some reason I never had a desire to grow them but all that has changed thanks to these beauties. I grew them from seed and they were super easy and germinated pretty fast. I planted an Autumn Sunset mix that included beautiful yellow, orange, and russet colors. It is said to grow around 40-60 inches but let me tell you, I’m 6’1” (73”) and these plants are way taller than me… and they look gorgeous. They also provide food for pollinators, which is I have not cut any flowers. And I am ok with that.

Sunflower “Autumn Beauty” mix

Sunflower “Autumn Beauty” mix

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Another rockstar is the purple coneflower. This was the first to be visited by bees but now it is the hangout place for the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies. It has been a dream to watch all this unfold. We have had purple coneflower in our property but last year I planted this big patch with the seeds, but they did not come up (I think it was too late in the season). But this year the came up en masse creating a gorgeous display!

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Another plant that has started to get visits, especially from butterflies, is the Cosmos. I planted a white variety and a ‘Psyche’ mix and I am IN LOVE with cosmos now. I also learned some lessons with this one—you can plant them too close. I honestly had no idea how bushy they can get and had to thin them out and moved the ones I took out to an empty bed. Luckily, they bloomed too. Of note, I am loving the double frilly petals of the Psyche variety. I am thinking the cupcake Cosmos next year. 

Cosmos “White Princess”

Cosmos “White Princess”

Cosmos “Psyche”

Cosmos “Psyche”

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Another are that I wanted to explore this year was edible flowers and I planted nasturniums and borage in pots and it has been so much fun in the kitchen adding them to salads, especially fruit salads. So delicate and delightful. And those colors! Wow!

Jewel Mix Nasturtiums

Jewel Mix Nasturtiums

Borage

Borage

Other flowers starting to bloom are the ones in the prairie restoration seed mix we got. By no means is this a manicured area and it is taking everything in me to not mess with it. But again, plants are flowering— from rudbeckia to hollyhock, daylilies and clover, they are all creating a beautiful paradise for pollinators and I could not be happier.

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

Hollyhock

Hollyhock

From top left to bottom right— Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace, Hollyhock, High Mallow, Indian Mallow, Rudbeckia, Hollyhock, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Clover and Pinkweed.

From top left to bottom right— Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s Lace, Hollyhock, High Mallow, Indian Mallow, Rudbeckia, Hollyhock, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Clover and Pinkweed.

Daylily

Daylily

Clover

Clover

 
 

The Happy Tournesols


Tournesol in French. Girasol in Spanish. Both are the same word in different languages— sunflower. Both words meaning the same: to turn to the sun. This flower which symbolizes adoration, loyalty and longevity is cheerful and bright as its name— flower of the sun. It’s petals resembling the rays of the sun remind us that even on a cloudy day, there is always sun after.

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This was my first year growing sunflowers. For some reason I never had a desire to grow them but all that has changed thanks to these beauties. I grew them from seed and they were super easy and germinated pretty fast. I find that the trick is to keep them well watered when you plant, during germination and when they are young. Once they get about 18 inches tall they start tolerating the summer heat much better and do not require as much water.

I planted an Autumn Sunset mix that included beautiful beautiful yellow, orange, and russet colors. It is said to grow around 40-60 inches but let me tell you, I’m 6’1” (73”) and these plants are way taller than me… and they look gorgeous. They also provide food for pollinators, which is I have not cut any flowers. And I am ok with that.

Do you grow sunflowers? What is your favorite variety?