Six on Saturday – 27/06/2020 – Avens and Others

Just a week into summer and already we’re seeing a changing of the gardening guard, so to speak. There’s still a few tall bearded Iris blooming, a few peonies petals are hanging on (temperatures have moderated since last weekend and we even had a bit of rain on Wednesday) and lupins are still popping up here and there, as they will for a few more months. But the backbone blooms of summer have made an appearance, with bright colours and flower forms that beg close inspection. Every Saturday, The Propagator encourages gardeners around the world to share six things that are happening in their garden. Here are my six – a few are stalwarts and one a pleasant surprise.

1 – Lavendula angustifolia – English lavender – is hardy here as long as there’s good drainage. I’ve heard different approaches to pruning, from don’t prune at all until mid spring, when new growth starts, then just snip off the dead stuff, to prune back hard in early spring so that the plant doesn’t get woody. Any suggestions?

2 – Geum! Also called Avens, for some reason… this is Geum ‘Blazing Sunset,’ started from seed early in 2019. It germinated, and I planted them outside last spring, but then they seemed to disappear. This year, like magic…
3 – I planted a few pots with Sedum and other succulents this year, wanting variety but also to cut down on watering. I’ve misplaced the name of this one but I find it interesting, with its large reddish leaves plus the branches coming from leaf nodes, unlike the Sedum spectabile that I am more familiar with.
4 – Finally – a Clematis flower that escaped the chipmunks! This is C. x durandii – a sturdy, rambling vine that will now produce flowers until frost. This Clematis adds splashes of colour to a corner garden that get morning sun but is in shade from early afternoon.
5 – Gaillardia pulchella – Blanket Flower – is starting to open. I collected seeds from a rocky, sandy park in Toronto many years ago and continue to scatter their progeny here and there every fall. Often the blossoms have different colouring – some interesting genetic information going on there! This species is not native to Ontario but has naturalized in several locations. It’s found in many American states – in the central, south and east, and also in northern Mexico.
6 – Deadly nightshade – Atropa belladonna – springs up now and then. Not native in North America but widely spread. I don’t try to nibble, since, as the name implies, all parts (including the bright red berries) are poisonous. Interesting that it’s in the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatoes and eggplants. I really do love the blue flowers so I’ll let this stay for a few days before pulling it. It’s not nearly as invasive as some other things growing around here.

28 Comments

  1. Very pretty gaillardia, I don’t have mine flowered yet.
    Nice clump of lavender : I always prune mine after flowering by cutting the dry flowers and a very small part of the new shoots but not too much! In spring, I cut back the dead stems. Drained soil is the key ( and no wind :I lost one )

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  2. Wonderful, I love the English Lavendar and have no clue what to do with it..too far south for any Lavendar. We do have native Gallardia here and it comes up with all different flowers and colors. The named cultivars don’t hang around very long.

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      1. Ha! I have purple Oxalis, in a pot in the dining room; the Prickly Pear survived winter and is looking pretty good, with new pads and what I think may be flower buds! Muhly grass…I don’t think so….

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      1. Thanks…I wonder if I should tweak the shearing dates mentioned in the article, given our frost dates are likely earlier than yours? Maybe the beginning of august instead of the second half…

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  3. Your lavender looks great, and it has been interesting to read all the comments on when to prune. I seem to kill my lavenders off at a regular rate, and I thought I was being too brutal with the pruners….. i like the Gallardias with their colour variation, but not sure if they will grow here.

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