31 July 2012

coneflowers: hot summer colour

I was never particularly fond of any type of coneflower, much to the dismay of my thriving patch of shasta daisies that came with the house.  I have always preferred the more lush look provided by calla lilies, crocosmia, daylilies, and some species of hydrangeas for late summer colour in the garden.  But with some bare patches of dirt next to these existing perennials, there was room for a change in foliage and flower texture.  I thought I would try one of the new Echinacea cultivars, called 'Mamma Mia'.




And it seemed to love it's new hot and dry location right off the hop, blooming like crazy.  The flowers start out red, and over time change to orange then coral and finally pink. The hummingbirds and butterflies also really seem to enjoy it. 

Echinacea 'Mamma Mia' and a Monarch Butterfly.


I have read that some of these new hybrids are awesome performers the first year, and then peter out over time.  This was obviously not enough to deter me from purchasing another, however.  This time, 'Coconut Lime'...it's a double-flowering white version that I thought might look nice with some ornamental grasses and Sedum 'Autumn Joy'. 

Echinacea 'Coconut Lime' just starting to bloom.

29 July 2012

spotted: great horned owl + baby

The other night, I finally got to see where all this strange squawking has been coming from over the past couple of months.


How cool.  They sat like this for hours.  The baby is too young to have developed the ear tufts.


Although these are one of the largest owl species, a full grown adult only weighs in at 2 pounds!  Normally there are two fledglings for each nest so I hope the other one is still around somewhere.  Remember dissecting owl pellets and putting together an entire mouse skeleton in grade 3?  No?  I remember this vividly, maybe that's why I am still amazed at these birds to this day.  They will often eat their prey whole, which dies instantly by the crushing power of their talons, and then within about 2 hours will regurgitate a large (about 10cm!) pellet containing the bones and fur and other non-digestible matter.  Sometimes you will find these on the forest floor.

20 July 2012

july - what's blooming now

I'm very grateful for the downpour I woke up to this morning--of course this always seems to happen the morning after I've spent 2 hours watering the night before.  Oh well, these creatures below don't mind i'm sure.


The top left is my new favorite Hosta - 'June'.  Apparently i'm not the only one either...'June' was awarded the American Hosta Growers' Association Hosta of the Year  in 2001.  I decided to try it after hearing Margaret Roach rave about it in one of her blog posts. Oh and if you haven't checked out this blog, I suggest you start following her if you enjoy gardening even in the least!  She is a very talented woman.

To the right of the hosta is a new hydrangea I picked up in the Spring.  I wanted something a little different than the regular pastel color of these beautiful plants, this one is called 'Pistachio'.  I really love it so far..the flowers start out a lime green and then change into a rusty pink color.  Striking!

Bottom left is 'Gaillardia', or commonly known as 'Blanket Flower'.  I remembered these from seeing them in Whistler last year, which I originally posted about here.  Drought and heat tolerant and the slugs nor the deer seem to enjoy them!

And finally is the calla lily or 'Zantedeschia'.  This is such an easy plant to grow and on my top 10 list for sure.  You can divide every year, they make great cut flowers, good in full sun to part shade, they bloom all season and they really provide that lush tropical look that compliments a variety of landscape styles. 


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