Happy Monday, I hope you had a good weekend! Ours was a hot one with a few early morning garden chores. July is a maintenance month in the garden. . . watering, weeding, deadheading and fertilizing.
I’m dashing out the door to water and weed in the early morning hours before rushing back inside to escape the heat. Today is going to be a few degrees cooler with hopefully some rain headed our way. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain doesn’t miss us!
The sweet potato vine is threatening to take over the window boxes and the petunias and lobeila are starting to wane.
The limelight hydrangeas are starting to bloom! The large green blooms will turn gradually turn creamy-white over the next couple of weeks.
We planted a Chaste Tree (Vitex) last spring and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the blooms, along with the bees apparently!
Chaste Tree grows into multi or single-trunk shrub or small tree to about 10 to 20 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety. It tolerates light shade but needs at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight for best flowering and is drought tolerant once established.
I deadheaded it last week to promote a second bloom this summer and keep the bees happy.
I planted my vintage Schwinn bicycle along the border next to the Chaste Tree by the Potting Shed. You can see her planted with pumpkins here.
I added a rear basket to the bike last year, attached it with cable ties. . .
And placed coir liner in the baskets to plant Creeping Jenny, million bells, petunias and hot lobeila.
Purple Coneflower is blooming and a bee favorite. . .
And Passion Flower Vine is always buzzing with bees!
Passiflora incarnata, commonly known as maypop, purple passion flower, wild apricot, and wild passion vine, is a vigorous grower and common wildflower in the southern United States and a source of nectar and food for butterflies and bees.
It volunteers by my Potting Shed although it rarely comes up in exactly the same place from year to year. The first couple of years it ‘volunteered’, it came up between the porch boards of my shed and I let it climb up along the shutters with some fishing line. You can see it here.
Passion flower vine is drought tolerant but the roots appreciate a loose mulch. The blooms last a day and if pollinated, produce egg-shaped fruits, called ‘maypops’.
Passion vine is also the host plant for the Gulf fritillary butterfly.
The caterpillars have rows of black spines that are soft and non-stinging, but protect them from predators along with their bright orange color~ a warning that they’re toxic if eaten.
I discovered a mystery plant and volunteer a few weeks ago by our back door.
It sprouted up from the Creeping Jenny next to the house behind the shrubs.
My husband wanted to pull it up, but I convinced him to let it grow to see what it was. It’s not in a very visible area except to us when we go in and out the back door by the porch.
It’s a gourd! I’m guessing a squirrel found some seeds in the compost pile last fall and planted it.
We went out-of-town for a long weekend at the end of June and returned home to find the gourd vine climbing its way up the juniper! My hubby is really itching to cut it down now ;). Seeing the gourd vine climb it gives me the idea that I could plant some gourds next summer on a trellis since I don’t have the space for them to sprawl. . .and has my thoughts turning to fall, along with the 90+ degree temperatures!
I had another garden surprise and mystery a week ago. I walked out to find the butterfly bush completely bare and stripped of all the leaves and blooms.
Not only was the butterfly bush completely stripped, but it was cut down cleanly to half its height, looking like someone came at it with pruning shears. I have to give the butterfly bush ‘marauder’ points for tidiness. No debris was left behind. . . every leaf and branch just gone.
I gave it some fertilizer and it’s putting out new leaves, but no blooms for a good long while it recovers like those I used in this pitcher perfect garden bouquet . . . *sniff*
Butterfly bush is deer resistant and this was the only plant eaten. I’m guessing it was a squirrel or something using the branches for nesting material? The shrub has been there about 8 years and we’ve never encountered this before. Has anyone else ever had this happen or have an idea what marauder was responsible?
10/18 Update: It was a beaver!
Endless Summer Hydrangeas have transitioned from their spring blues to the softer, summer shades of green. . .
I deadheaded and harvested some hydrangea blooms to encourage new flowers and enjoy the blooms in an urn.
Endless Summer Hydrangeas usually put on a second flush of flowers if they are watered and will bloom until frost, which is typically mid-November for us.
To encourage new blooms, I gave the hydrangeas a second dose of fertilizer. I use Pennington UltraGreen Azalea, Camellia & Rhododendron Plant Food. I apply it in March on the azaleas and hydrangeas and then give them a second dose in July.
I also use the UltraGreen Azalea plant food on the gardenias too, which are acid-loving plants.
How’s your garden growing?
Do you have any garden surprises, mysteries or volunteers?
Thank you for your visit!
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