Okay, I’m not sure I can really limit it to ten, but I’ll give it a shot.
Generally speaking, July is my 2nd least favorite month (with February at the top of the list). In a “normal” summer (this summer has not been at all normal), July is hot, humid, dry, pest-ridden, and the late spring-early summer perennials have had their heyday and the borders are looking alot like the day after the party…This year, with all of the rain and cooler temperatures, plants are running a little behind bloom schedule and the Japanese beetles, bless their voracious appetites, have just arrived. As a result, this year’s July line up is a mixed bag with some early summer blooms still hanging in there.
In not any particular order, my top ten blooms for July are:
Carding Mill, one of my favorite David Austin roses. It’s a shrub rose with the most spectacular, apricot-colored blossoms. It blooms all summer long once it begins, barring decimation by the dreaded Japanese beetles, although I’m quite zealous about handpicking them off this shrub on a daily basis.
What can I say? I adore poppies of all colors and types. I have no issue at all with allowing them to self-seed wherever they desire.
I also adore hollyhocks, one of those quintessential cottage garden flowers. I’m particularly fond of the deep burgundy version, which I had for several years. Unfortunately, when allowing them to freely self-seed, there is little guarantee on the colors. I prefer the single bloom variety as they are more pollinator-friendly.
Clematis ‘Wisley’, with lovely purple blossoms that bloom from mid-summer through early fall. It can reach up to 10 feet tall. This one is growing up the north side of the large arbor near our back patio and gazebo.
Asiatic Hybrid Lily ‘Golden Stone’ — an upfacing bloom with a cheery yellow disposition; I love the splash of red in the center. These grow on the edge of my shade garden, which gets a few hours of sun in the morning, and they generally reach between 4-5 feet in height.
What would mid to late summer be without daylilies? This is part of a red mix that I purchased from White Flower Farm in Connecticut. I bought 24 of them and they’re scattered throughout the hot border.
The luxuriously soft leaves, sparkling with early morning dew, of Stachys byzantina ‘Big Ears’. Its leaves grow up to 12″ long, twice the size of the typical “Lamb’s Ears” (as it’s commonly known). It will throw up silver wands capped with small pink or purple flowers, but I’ve added it to the edges of the Rose Garden for the felt-like, silver foliage.
You can’t find a more trouble-free summer perennial than Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ — the Shasta Daisy. It’s upfacing, white flowers with yellow centers always remind me of the dog days of summer. This patch –I have Shasta Daisies throughout my garden–is on the south-easterly side of the gazebo and looms over a two year old Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ (elderberry).
My shade garden is a sea of columbine (already spent), hosta, and astilbe of all varieties.
Another daylily in the hot border – Hemerocallis ‘Ruby Spider’. It has large, 8-9 inch blooms that, with its deep red and bright yellow center, really makes a statement.
Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Nights’ — a happy flower on wonderful burgundy stems that can reach 3-4 feet tall. It’s also in the hot border and despite my attempts to remove it — I wasn’t fond of its flimsy nature since it would inevitably end up bent over after the first significant rain — it insists on reappearing. I left it alone this year and so far it’s holding up. I do enjoy its free-flowing nature.
Last on the July list…Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Sentimental Blue’; this is a dwarf variety that tops out around 1′ to 1.5′. It has decent foliage and with its marvelous bluish-purple blooms it’s a great add toward the front of the border.