Saturday, July 14

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July

Well, there seem to be more blooms in July than I managed to scrounge up in June, but I've come to the realization that it's still all about the foliage and texture in my garden, anyway. Now I need to embrace that instead of just living with it... maybe I'll get there by the August version of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day?

In the meantime, here is one of the lovelier incidents in my garden right now. Remember the 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth that captivated me last summer? This year, I edited out all of its green progeny as well as any burgundy-hued plantlings that appeared in rather inconvenient spaces. I was hoping for some good contrast between the rough-textured amaranth leaves and the fine-textured Russian sage...

...but I completely underestimated the synergy that the two would have if they were in flower at the same time. Wow. This picture was taken on an overcast day, when these two plants really pick up on the blue tones in each other. I will have to take another picture to show you on a sunny day, when weird things happen--the burgundy reads red and the blues turn a warm silver in this bed when the sun shines on it!

A list of other plants in bloom:

Canna 'Wyoming'
orange annual cosmos
various peppers and tomatoes
'Ichiban' eggplant
'Caradonna' salvia (for the third time)
'Voodoo' sedum
teucrium aroanium
'Paprika' yarrow
'Margarita Banana' portulaca
'Yubi Red' portulaca
origanum vulgare 'aureum'
salvia lyrata 'Purple Knockout'
'Sykes' Dwarf' oakleaf hydrangea
red snapdragons
'Rotstrahlbusch' panicum virgatum
'Shuttle' lilies
'Samobor' geranium (must be confused?)
unknown variety of dianthus
'White Swan' echinacea
annual fuschia
curry plant
'The Watchman' black hollyhocks
asclepias tuberosa
drumstick alliums (almost done)
silene maritima
purple verbena
'Whiskey' wax begonias
'Lady' lavender


In bud, and highly anticipated:
atriplex hortensis var. 'rubra' (flowers are not showy, but I like the candelabra look of the flowerstalks)
'Red King Humbert' canna

26 comments:

Carol said...

That is a great combination.

I have a question about your oakleaf hydrangea... does it attract japanese beetles? I had one at another garden and it was my "indicator plant" that the japanese beetles had arrived, since it was the first one they attacked. I've avoided it for 10 plus years, but I do love it and want to try it again.

Thanks for participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Wow to that Amaranth! It's lovely! It's fun to see that some of your blooms are in bloom here too. That's quite a respectable list of blooms you got there Kim. BTW my blooms are up too.

Carolyn gail said...

Hi Kim,

Looking at your list of blooms reminded me that I forgot I had 'Paprika ' yarrow as well !

Thanks for sharing.

Tamara said...

Gorgeous amaranth! And I am a big rah-rah girl for Russian Sage too.

jodi said...

Love the amaranth, but I've given up on Russian sage. I got it to come back one year when I planted it in my 'almost perfect drainage' bed (winter wet is an issue here with heavy clay soil). But it didn't reappear this year unless it's hiding underneath the jungle of other things in that bed. So I'll simply enjoy yours, and others too. Oakleaf hydrangea is marginal hardy here (though it does okay in other parts of Nova Scotia), a pity because the fall foliage is so gorgeous. Again, I'll enjoy yours and others! :-)

Pam/Digging said...

Maybe you should start a Foliage Day, Kim. One good "study in contrasts" per blogger would give us all lots of inspiration, I'll bet.

Christa said...

I think amaranth is such a stunning plant on its own but, wow, it does look amazing next to the sage. Very nice!

Alyssa said...

I agree with Pam/digging, a foliage day would be excellent.

Amaranth are such neat plants. I planted one very similar to your variety four years ago, and to this day always have some every year. They become like small trees and the sun shining through the foliage is beautiful. Great plant.

Bonnie said...

Great photo of the Amaranth. Thanks for putting that up!

Pam said...

The amaranth really is a beautiful color. It was nice to run across it - I had forgotten about them. A friend of mine from Virginia used to have them all over her garden - you reminded me of her.

bs said...

that is a lovely combination! oh i'm kicking myself... i nearly bought an amaranth too. my neighborhood nursery should thank you.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Carol, I haven't noticed the Japanese beetles on it--but to be fair, I purchased this oakleaf last fall on clearance and I haven't really seen many JBs at all this year. (knock on wood) They have not made an appearance on my hollyhocks or roses, nor have I seen them visit my cherry tree like they did last year. Odd.

YE, how funny that we have similar things blooming halfway around the world from each other! I can't wait to go see what else you haev blooming.

carolyn gail, I think that it's easy to forget a bloom or two on your blog when you have that yummy video of Matthew on it to distract you... *grin*

tamara, I admit that I am a latecomer to the Russian sage bandwagon. I don't know why, as I absolutely love it now!

Jodi, you must have very heavy clay soil... because although I have sandy soil myself, even most clay soils here will allow Russian sage to grow. (It's lavender that people here lose to winter rot.) On the flip side, you probably can grow all of that gorgeous stuff that I struggle to give enough moisture to, like red-leaf varieties of cardinalflower and the dark-leaf ligularias. I'm getting to the point where I'll be admiring those moisture-lovers in your garden while you're checking out my oakleaf hydrangea. :)

pam/digging, that's a fun idea! Maybe the first Friday of every month should be "foliage Friday," when people post pictures of their favorite foliage combinations? Hmm...

christa, I'm with you there... amaranth is a stunning plant. That its leaves and seeds are edible, and that its flowers can be used to make dye (Red No. 2 here in the US is also referred to as "Amaranth Red" for that reason) seems like gilding the lily. :)

alyssa, these are the second year for my amaranths, but I hope to have them for years to come. I weeded out the green ones in the hopes that I eventually will just have reds, but who knows--I just had reds last year, and they still gave me some greens this year.

And you're so right about the light coming through the foliage! The biggest of these are in the bed on the east side of my house, and I love looking at them through the big picture window as the sun rises. Ahhh. :)

Bonnie, thanks for stopping by! I clicked on your name and see that you're gardening in Austin... can't wait to check out your blog and see what lovely things you have blooming at your place down south!

Pam, I bet she did have them all over her garden... of all of my self-seeders (bronze fennel, atriplex hortensis, and purple verbena being the others) the amaranth seedlings were the most far-flung. Maybe it's because the birds like to eat the seeds?

bs, start them from seeds next spring! Seriously, unless you would have trouble germinating the seeds for some reason in your warmer climate, seeds are the way to go. Less money for more plants. :)

meresy_g said...

I love Russian Sage, such a pretty background for so many things. And that amaranth looks great too. I planted 'Loves lies bleeding' last year, but they flopped over the first thunderstorm and never looked good again. Maybe I will try your amaranth next year.

healingmagichands said...

Beautiful, beauttiful. I would be interested in seeing this combo on a sunny day. Light makes such a difference.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

You must be quite a talented record keeper to remember all the names of those plants and flowers. (I am working on that.)

I would be curious to know about your system sometime. I'll be you're quite organized about what plants you have!

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Leslie said...

The russian sage and amaranth do look wonderful together! A photo on a sunny day would be fun to compare,

kris said...

Very nice combo. I have to check into the amaranth and see about trying some next year. You have a great list of plants in bloom.

Stuart said...

Awesome combination Kim. Honestly, I've never seen this plant work well in any garden setting that I've seen it and have often snubbed my nose when other gardeners have tried to talk it up.

But this! This is incredible and quite correctly brings out the blue hues of colour.

Entangled said...

Now I know what to do with my Russian Sage! I've never been happy with it where I have it.

I have an amaranth story to toss into the mix. After seeing your Hopi Red Dye last year, I planted some Marvel Bronze (hoping it would be similar). I got a late start with them, and they were just starting to look good. On Saturday, sometime between noon and 5 PM, all the leaves disappeared! The flowers were left alone. I think the amaranth would have looked good next to the Verbena hastata 'Pink Spires' I planted nearby. Maybe next year.

A Foliage Day would be interesting!

lisa said...

"Foliage Friday"-great idea! I want to get some sage, they have it planted where I work, and I bet it would grow well for me, too. Love that combo, BTW!

Ki said...

When I was little we would plant the green type of Amaranth and harvest it as spinach when it was about 5-6" tall. Vastly easier to grow than spinach and it grew to harvestable size very quickly. It also produced tons of seed so by leaving one plant to produce seed you would have a constant supply to sow and have pot greens for a long period of time even when the weather turned hot. Apparently the seeds are also used as grain or ground into a flour. The burgundy amaranth is beautiful but my early imprinting only makes me see vegetable. Sad but true.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

meresy_g, I had the same thing happen with the love-lies-bleeding that I planted last year. I also had an issue with the 'Hopi Red Dye' that I planted out as a wintersown clump instead of as singles... they seemed to all drag each other down somehow. I've been careful to keep this year's seedlings relatively spaced out and will see what they do--if they still flop a bit by the end of the season, I may experiment with cutting them back early in the summer and see if that helps. I'll keep you updated.

healingmagichands, thank you and I definitely will post another picture. In fact, I think that I will show the whole bed in both incarnations to illustrate what the light does to it. Another happy accident, but one that's way cool--I have to figure out how to replicate this phenomenon elsewhere in the garden!

Robin... I am cringing right now. Yes, cringing. To borrow a fun phrase from a kids' book, I am a "terrible, horrible no good" record keeper. On GBBD I mentally work my way around the yard as I type. I have all of the cultivar names memorized, and I keep all of my plant tags in a shoebox, but as far as a drawing or schematic or spreadsheet goes... well, I only wish I was so organized. (If you figure out how to get organized in the garden, please share the secret with me!) :)

leslie, I will definitely be posting those pics soon. Happily, though, it's been RAINING and overcast for the last couple of days--yippee! (We've had almost 1/2 inch of rain total in the past week and a half... which is wonderful in this dry summer.)

kris, thank you! There is an amaranth I want to try if/when I ever get tired of this 'Hopi Red Dye' called 'Hot Biscuits'... same form, but the foliage is green and the flower spikes are a warm golden color... like the crust of bread. Very yummy.

Stuart, thank you very much. Out of curiousity, did you mean the Russian sage or the amaranth--or both? I think that they both have more potential than they are usually used for, if that makes sense.

entangled, I had never seen that 'Marvel Bronze' before. Wow. Honestly, it looks better than my 'Hopi Red Dye'--more compact, and nice coloring. I wonder what ate all of the leaves, though... how odd! I wonder if the leaves will sprout back out for you, or...? Please keep me updated, as I would love to know what happens--and what ate the leaves, if you ever figure that out.

lisa, you have well drained areas in your yard, right? The sage really does like it lean and mean, from what I understand. And that's it... we're definitely starting a "Foliage Friday" or maybe a "First Friday Foliage" day. I'll work on that!

Ki, I am a little sad for you that you only "see" vegetable... I would rather that you see both. :) (But then, I admit that I have long advocated the idea that form and function are not mutually exclusive.) That said, I also envy you for having had such a food-savvy family that you grew up with this plant as a foodstuff. Very cool.

For the record, I have tried the leaves of the 'Hopi Red Dye' and they are not too bad when they are little. I prefer them sauteed in garlic and olive oil rather than eaten fresh--although I like spinach leaves and even Swiss Chard leaves just fine when they're fresh. I have no idea why the fresh amaranth leaves turn me off... maybe the texture? It kind of "feels, in the mouth" more weedy or... I don't know, I want to say "toothy," or "fuzzy," somehow. Maybe I'll have to try them again and be more thoughtful in my diagnosis!

Ki said...

Kim,
Since you're one of the few gardeners I know who plants veggies amongst ornamentals it doesn't surprise me that the Amaranth is planted with the Russian sage. I just need to get my head turned around. Most of the decorative Amaranths I've seen are the cockscomb type Celosia cristata.

I believe you're right that Amaranth leaves eaten fresh are fuzzy on the tongue. It must have small hairs on the underside of the leaves. I should check it out with a magnifying glass or take a macro photo of the leaves. We always cooked them which eliminated the fuzziness. I do worry about the very high oxalic acid content.
foodscience.ac.nz

Garden Wise Guy said...

Kim: thanks for dropping by my blog and your comments about High Country turf alternatives. We don't have the brown dormant issue here unless someone just chooses not to water. I don't know what's worse; dumping copious amounts of precious water on a useless lawn, or just letting it dry up in the summer to become an eyesore.

While I've got you, any other blogs you know of that I should be linking to? We share an aesthetic and sustainability ethos...any expansion of my reach in those areas would be great. Just drop by my blog and leave a few crumbs.

A wildlife gardener said...

Fantastic amaranth! Just exquisite! Well done to you! Beautiful photo too :)

Annie in Austin said...

When I read this a few days ago, I apparently was distracted googling atriplex hortensis var. 'rubra' and forgot to leave a comment, Kim.
Your combinations continue to inspire - the amaranth & russian sage is great. One of my Perovskia is in with a bronzey canna and the red-purple Bat-faced cuphea which I thought was a pretty cool contrast, but doesn't have as subtle a resonance as your duet.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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