The temperature outside is languishing at six below zero F, all is locked in ice and snow, a perfect opportunity to revisit some of the beautiful flowers of summer. Above, stands of daylilies fill the yard in July. Looking at the photo, I can almost hear the scratchy music of crickets, smell the fresh-cut lawn, and feel the sun blazing through the long daylight hours.
Lavender soaks in the heat against the house wall, while memories of lavender fields in Provence flash through my head. This protected southern spot fools the plant with Mediterranean-like warmth.
This past year, the Sweet William thrived. What started as one small plant several years ago has spread until Sweet William occupies a solid corner of a rock garden. The long-lasting blooms smell deliciously of nutmeg and cloves. As the blooms fail I allow the seeds to ripen and spread in the area.
Butterflies flock to the large flower heads, and hummingbirds dip their beaks searching for nectar. A member of the carnation family, Sweet William is a biennial or weak perennial requiring reseeding to flourish.
A native Eastern North American wildflower tamed to garden life, Bee Balm brings a brilliant show in mid-summer. There are several colors, the red being most common and nicknamed Oswego Tea by colonists who turned to the leaves after rejecting British tea in Boston. The leaves and blossoms of Bee Balm are used in tea and cooking and sometimes added to fragrant potpourri. As the name suggests, bees and other insects favor this plant. Butterflies and hummingbirds frequent my planting. Bee Balm prefers sunny to partial shade areas and can thrive in many soils.
Powdery mildew can be a concern for this plant. Some mildew is evident along the stems of my flowers, although it did not seem to bother the plant’s performance.
There, I have nearly forgotten the winter chill looking at my garden flowers. Spring, please hurry!