Six on Saturday – 30JUL2022 – Perfect Timing

I remember reading an article, years and years ago, about how to make sure your garden was full of colour All The Time, and how Impossible it was to have colour in the garden mid summer. What nonsense, right? Gardens across the country are at their absolute peak right now, with bright glorious colours showing up in huge swaths or in tiny corners. True, leaf and bloom may, in the mid day heat, humidity and sunshine, appear just as limp and faded as I sometimes feel, but in the morning? In the late afternoon/early evening? Glorious!! And perfect timing – aside from a little watering I’m going to try to just enjoy the weekend. It’s our mid-summer holiday Monday. Three perfect days to enjoy the garden with friends, food and perhaps a glass or two of local Prince Edward County wine.

Here are six of the colourful blooms I’m talking about (well, maybe a few mire than six, but six types of blooms for sure). To see six things in gardens around the world, be sure to drop by The Propagator’s site.

Three or four years ago (maybe five years ago…Covid has made a mockery of my sense of time) I grew Cleome (aka Spider Flower), which is an annual here. I neglected to completely dead-head the fading flowers, I guess, and one or two plants have appeared ever since. This year there’s just one plant, but it’s HUGE. Sturdy, healthy, growing in the gravel of my side patio between flagstones, white. Here it is, growing beside a patch of Tiger Lilies:

Speaking of lilies…I’ve written about how insects or dry conditions pretty much wiped out my oriental lilies. Happily, a few other species were not affected. Top row: an unknown but very fragrant white oriental (or maybe trumpet?) lily, trumpet lily ‘Beijing’ and oriental lily ‘Playtime.’ Bottom are the tiger lilies: Lilium lancifolium.

Beside those tiger lilies is a humongous clump of Rudbeckia – black eyed Susan. This is its third summer, starting as a volunteer and getting bigger every year. (Those leaves on the left, beside my morning mug of coffee, are from the Cleome!)

Mid summer in my garden means Echinacea – coneflowers. I have several species but mostly the tried, true, and very purple, E. purpurea. They love my soil, and they self seed to produce more plants faster even than the local rabbit population reproduces (which is saying a lot!). The cool thing about them is the variations that can be found when, say, E. purpurea is growing next to E. pallida. Petals have different lengths or colour or direction, leaves can be fat or narrow and the cones can be quite different also, both in shape, size and colour. Here’s an example of an especially gorgeous flower…don’t you love the orange cone?

In contrast to the thousands of coneflower blooms, I have just a few Echinops – blue globe thistle. They don’t do that well when competing with other tall plants. I love anything blue though, so one of these years I’ll carve out a dedicated spot for them.

Finally, that quintessential summer annual, that premiere pollinator magnet, the queen of the cutting garden – Zinnias. I saved seed from last year and planted them directly in the garden almost exactly two months ago. Not much variation in form this year, but I’m loving the deep pastel colour palette. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!


  1. I’m glad to hear your cone flower success, I have one about to come into flower. Do they flower each year?As the parent plant hasn’t done much this year. I bought the plant last year and quickly divided it.

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  2. Those zinnias are fabulous. They were the mainstay of my grandmother’s cutting garden, together with bachelor buttons and others I can’t remember. We’re well past midsummer here, but a few of these still linger; your photos of them are wonderful.

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  3. The local community garden plants a wall of zinnias at the front of the site – wild color as I drive by. I should find a place for some. My coneflowers are looking better than ever since there are fewer Japanese beetles chewing up the leaves. I agree, the variations are nice. I have some that are pale, some more vibrant, and the petals start out almost white with greenish centers that quickly darken and then become the bright color that you captured. My ambush bugs love to hide at the edge of the cone (or at the edge of the central disk of any daisy). Impressive mound of Rudbeckia!

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  4. It seems that self sown annuals grow much better than transplants if the seedlings survive the slug onslaught early on. I must try direct sown Cleome, and it seems I should try to save my own Zinnia seed. I’m warming to Zinnia, when I first planted them I thought they were a big mistake, so stiff looking.

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    1. I totally agree about self sown annuals – they must have deeper roots – perhaps that goes without saying – because they’re always sturdier than either hone or nursery started, I find.


  5. That is nice black eyed Susan. It performs well here, and I do like it, but it does not form mounds like that. I do not know why, but it stays rather low to the ground. Perhaps some cultivars develop different form. I have not tried anything different yet.

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    1. Well, there’s Rudbeckia fulgida, and R. hirta – I have both, and one of them, as you say, stays close to the ground, spreading and self seeding everywhere. This one self seeds a bit, but once established seems to just grow and grow…

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      1. I did not consider other species or even other varieties. Isn’t Rudbeckia fulgida the orange coneflower? Now that you mention it though, that is what my black eyed Susan looked like. I should confirm that. I really like it, since it looks like a wildflower. Unfortunately, I do not know if it still lives here. I have not seen it in a while. I took pieces from another landscape, but installed them in front of where vegetation needed to be cleared.

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    1. It’s really a standout eh? The challenge will be to collect seeds and find an equally perfect spot that maybe isn’t amongst the patio stones! And, do I just scatter the seeds this fall, since that’s what’s happened here? Not coddle them by starting indoors? Questions…..

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