Monday, August 26, 2019

Midsummer Daydreams (in purple & pink!)

On the warmest summer days in Wisconsin, people enjoy daydreaming while watching puffy clouds change forms as they cross a deep blue sky. Daydreams are a pleasant past time, and are different for each individual.  My daydreams take form in the flowers growing in our garden in the middle of summer.  I’m sharing a few of my favorite blooms that provided pleasure in recent months… this is what dreams are made of for a gardener!

Clematis ‘Etoile violette’ 
These clematis vines are perennials that require a support structure so they can grow tall and strong; they are quite hardy and perform well in USDA Zones 4 – 8.  Deep purple blooms are plentiful each summer, and diseases don’t seem to bother them.  Although I had several hundred Japanese beetles munching on my plants this summer, they never seemed to bother flowers or foliage on this clematis.  
HINT: Clematis enjoy full sun, but need some shade to protect their tender root zone.  I placed a rectangular container filled with annuals to provide a “shade pocket” for the root zone; this worked well, the plant thrived.)   ‘Etoile violette’ is an old cultivar—developed more than 120 years ago—but it looks young each summer!

Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’
When I’m in the mood to daydream in PINK, this plant is a vision to behold.  Flowers hold their soft pink color for a few weeks, and then I like to deadhead them to dry. When fully dried, these spikes can be spray painted and used in floral arrangements; however, they are lovely in fresh arrangements as well.  Astilbe is typically a shade lover, but where it grows in my garden it gets full morning sunlight; it is happy there.

Phlox paniculata

This prolific bloomer is tall garden phlox, and the soft lavender color beckons to swallowtails and monarchs throughout summer months.  It is a tenacious plant that doesn’t need pampering; simply deadhead expired blooms a few times in summer, and cut it back to four-inch height in fall.  Its foliage is prone to powdery mildew, but thru midsummer this season, it has not appeared.  
Since mildew/mold spores can winter over in foliage, I do NOT place dead stems in our compost bins.  Tall garden phlox blooms nearly six weeks in midsummer, and is rated USDA Zones 4 – 8.

Midsummer daydreams are a very good thing… I hope YOU photographed some memorable and beautiful flowers to create your own special daydreams!

M. Lynn Schmid,  Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture