Six on Saturday – 31/07/2021 -Mid Summer Blooms

Well that’s it for July eh? It’s been a spectacular month in the garden, with plants growing taller and fuller than usual, and blooms larger and lasting longer than most years. No credit to me, of course – it’s all due to an unusual abundance of rain. 16 days with precipitation this month! More coming tonight! Unheard of in recent memory. (There was eight days with rain last July, which was more typical). With the growing season more than halfway over, I’ve started to think about what worked this year (Strawflowers, Alliums, carrots), what didn’t (Stock, thanks to cabbage moths; annual poppies, zero germination, although I may give them another try; radishes, which bolted before developing their fat roots) and what I’d like to do next year. Enough about that – today is about today! And Six Things in my garden Today! (Although to be honest, I take these photos earlier in the week, so ‘Today’ means ‘Yesterday!’) Feel free to visit The Propagator‘s site to see even more Sixes from around the world.

I love this photo. Taken at 6:30 yesterday morning, it seems to capture the sleepy fogginess of the early morning, or my early morning foggy brain, perhaps, and imbues the flower (Woodland sunflower, Helianthus divaricatus, an Ontario native perennial) with romantic mystery. It spreads easily by seed or underground rhizome and is easy to overlook, until it starts to crowd out other things or until you happen to catch it at the perfect moment, early in the morning…

Another native perennial that lives at the woodland edge is big leaved Aster – Eurybia macrophylla, formerly Aster macrophyllus. This aster has a cluster of large, roundish basal leaves, and sends a spike up with flowers at the tip in mid summer. It’s hard to tell from this photo but the flowers are a really nice pale blue.

Another aster – but this one’s an annual, not native, and was given to me by a friend as a seedling. It’s somewhat shocking to me – I’m used to small flowered asters, and not bright pink ones, but apparently this is very popular as a cut flower and for wedding arrangements. It just opened up yesterday, and I think I like it. If it keeps blooming til frost I may grow it myself next year. It’s called China Aster (Callistephus chinensis) ‘Valkyrie Pink.’

Back to the yellows. This tall, willowy native perennial has really grown on me over the years. For a while I didn’t like it because it self-seeds so readily, and forms clumps with really deep roots that are hard to pull. Then, as the years went by, I started to appreciate it, and looked forward to seeing it wave in the breeze, popping up in unexpected places. It’s Ratibida pinnata, aka Prairie Coneflower, or Grey Headed Cornflower. Any guesses what the little fella is on the last photo there?

I had a couple lily photos last Saturday; here’s another. It’s a true tiger Lily – Lilium lancifolium. Not native, but I do love an orange flower. Especially one with polka dots. I also love how little seeds, or aerial bulblets (or bulbils), form in the axil of each leaf. It’s a neat way to propagate itself.

The sixth thing in my garden this week is a repeat. Sorry – but this flower just jumped out at me yesterday. It’s a white Hollyhock – Alcea sp. I think I noticed it because most of my Hollyhocks this year have been pink, or pale yellow, or darker red/purple. Hollyhocks this year, despite the rain, have been wonderful, with only one patch showing any rust.

Hope it’s warm and sunny wherever you are – have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Your woodland sunflower is sompretty in the morning light. 😃 I also like your blue aster and the yellow coneflower, which I must look up as it is quite striking. I grew a Ratibida (columnifera) for the first time this year and it is a fascinating plant but a bit underwhelming! Have a great weekend Chris!

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  2. I’ve never seen (or heard of) woodland sunflower; it’s lovely. I’m quite fond of the way aster centers turn from yellow to reddish, too. We have some natives that do that, although they’re spreaders covered with multitudes of tiny blooms. As for the hollyhocks, they were a favorite childhood flower. I may have mentioned that I used to make dolls out of them: one turned downward for a skirt, and one turned upward to make a ‘face.’

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  3. I like your idea of growing pumpkins up a trellis rather than along the ground where they can take up such a lot of room. You have created an impressive vegetable garden. The flowers are all beautiful, and the flowers in the precious vase are lovely.

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  4. I wonder is the Coneflower related in some way to Rudbeckia? In any case, it looks great!
    It’s a very good idea to take stock of what worked well and what didn’t. I may base a SOS on that very soon.

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