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Posts Tagged ‘Eupatorium Phantom’

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We enjoyed a pleasant weekend, but Monday and Tuesday have been overcast and drizzly. On the plus side, flowers can really shine on a dull day. While even bright flowers sometimes look washed out under intense sun, on gray days they make their own glow. Here are a few of the flowers that caught my eye today.

Pictured above are the small orange flowers of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). It’s a native that grows quite vigorously in damp areas around here. It seeds about in the garden and I mostly pull it out, but left this one plant because jewelweed is loved by hummingbirds.

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I usually plant a few annuals each spring, and by late in the summer, when the garden begins to look a bit tired, they add a boost of colour. Lavatera ‘Silver Cup’ is a pretty, clear pink. For brilliance, though, it is hard to beat zinnias.

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The rudbeckias are reliable late-summer bloomers. This is rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’. You can just make out a little yellow flower crab spider near the centre of the photo.

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A few late daylilies are opening the last of their flowers. Wild Child (Salter 2002) was new this year and I enjoyed its colourful blooms. I was sad to see its last flower today, a bit bedraggled by the rain.

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Golden Tycoon still has a few buds left and stands up well to the rain.

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The angelica (Angelica gigas) is just coming into bloom and is very popular with bumblebees.

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My Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’) is also just starting her show and will soon be attracting crowds of bees.

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Here are the leaves of annual coleus competing with the flowers for attention.

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This echinacea, ‘Now Cheesier’ struggled last year. I moved it this spring and it is doing better in its new location.

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Finally, here’s a garden variety of a native wildflower, Joe Pye Weed. This is Eupatorium ‘Phantom’.

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Wow, the middle of August! Hard to believe, although we can’t complain that we haven’t had plenty of hot summer weather this year. My garden is at its peak in July, when the 140 varieties of daylilies are in bloom. There are just a few late daylilies blooming their last blooms now.

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Here’s Flaming Wildfire, so brilliant and intense it seems to glow. And below is Cameroons, a 1984 Munson introduction, showing off the washed eye pattern shared by many of the Munsons.

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By August, there are hints of autumn as the ornamental grasses begin to put out their seed heads and the bright gold of rudbeckias dominates.

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Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ is in full bloom. Named Perennial of the Year way back in 1999, it is a very reliable standard for the late summer garden.

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Here’s Goldstrum anchoring a planting with its taller cousin, Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstonne’ (Autumn Sun). Behind Herbstonne is the very tall grass Miscanthus giganteus, Giant Maiden Grass. To the left of Herbstonne is a tall switchgrass, Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’. Between the Goldstrum clumps you can see the reddish seedheads of Redhead Fountain Grass (Pennisetum ‘Redhead’). At the right of the photo are stems of Willow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolium), which has yet to bloom.

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My Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) has really matured this year and is putting on a terrific display. Some of the stems are drooping, which allows you to see visiting pollinators. The sprays of yellow flowers are mostly held so high, well above my head, that it is hard to admire insect activity up there.

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Silphium is a native plant and quite appreciated by pollinators.

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This spring, I split a clump of Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’), and thought it would take a year or two for the new clump to take hold. However, it apparently loves its new home and the hot summer we’ve experienced, and has filled out enthusiastically. Here’s the newly-established clump, just coming into bloom, embracing a bird house post with Phantom Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium ‘Phantom’) in the foreground.

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Another brilliant gold bloomer is Golden Dwarf Goldenrod (Solidago ‘Golden Dwarf’). It has taken me a while to get used to seeing goldenrod in the garden. It is a prolific native wildflower (aka weed) in these parts, and I have had to suppress an urge to yank it out of the garden every time I pass! It is actually quite well-behaved and its brilliant yellow is set off by an assortment of pink and purple phlox plants.

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Here’s a newer phlox, just introduced to the garden last year. In addition to pretty flowers, Phlox paniculata ‘Nora Leigh’ offers interesting variegated foliage.

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Phlox produces a wonderful blaze of colour that sets off other perennials beautifully. Here’s a hollyhock backed with phlox.

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And here’s Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ set off by phlox.

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Geranium ‘Rozanne’ was chosen as Perennial of the Year in 2008 and is a deserving winner. It has proved drought resistant and hardy, and blooms over a long period with no attention from the gardener. Here’s Rozanne tumbling over the edge of a path.

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Kniphofia ‘Shining Sceptre’ was new this spring. It settled in well and wasn’t disturbed by drought conditions. I was a bit surprised and pleased to see this attractive preview of the future clump of sceptres I’m hoping for. This winter will be its first test for hardiness.

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Most of the echinaceas have been in bloom for a while, but Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’ is just hitting its stride now.

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I’m very fond of the agastaches, mostly because they are beloved by pollinators of every stripe. Unfortunately, I haven’t found many of the varieties I’ve tried to be very hardy here. The sturdiest has been Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, shown here with Coreopsis ‘Sweet Dreams’ in the foreground and Echinacea ‘Prima Donna’ to the left.

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They’re not flowers, but I couldn’t resist including the showy berries of this pokeweed (Phytolacca acinosa).

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I don’t really think of hostas as flowering plants, but their wands of mauve or white flowers can be quite attractive. Here’s a clump of a small, unidentified hosta with violet blooms, backed by Hosta ‘Ryan’s Big One’, with an hydrangea bush in the background.

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Thank you for visiting the Willow House garden! If you would like to tour other gardens, visit May Dreams Gardens for more August Bloom Day links.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) visiting Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’.

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Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp.) is fairly common and little stands can be spotted in damp areas here and there along the local rural roads at this time of year. My favorite place to see Joe Pye, though, is along a stream a few miles from here. You can stop your car on the quiet road, and from the bridge that crosses the stream you can look up and down the river and see big thickets of Joe Pye following the flow of the water.

Joe Pye likes the middle ground, the space between the water-loving cattails and the open meadow goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace. The flower heads are a soft pinkish-purple, a gentler shade than the bright purple loosestrife that has invaded wetlands in recent years. The flowers are born in clusters at the tops of tall stems, with the fuzzy-looking blooms opening a few at a time.

Joe Pyes are big plants, and in ideal circumstances, it is said that they may reach 7 feet tall. The ones I see around here are mostly about 5 feet. The narrow, toothed leaves grow in a whorl around the stem, maximizing the sunlight each leaf receives.

The plant has long been used by herbalists and native peoples as a diuretic to treat urinary ailments. Oral tradition holds that a man named Joe Pye, now lost in the mists of time, used a concoction made from the plant to treat typhus fever. The scientific name, Eupatorium, is for another healer, the first-century Mithradates IV Eupator, king of Pontus (the southern Black Sea area), who legend holds used the plant to treat patients. Or maybe himself. Apparently, the King was something of a poisons expert. Not sure where Joe Pye entered into that.

There are a number of cultivars of eupatorium available for the garden. I used to have a variety called Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’. This plant features purplish-brown leaves and white flowers, quite attractive. This spring, I added Eupatorium ‘Phantom’, pictured above and below, to my garden. It looks very pretty with the phlox and coneflowers growing nearby. Phantom is shorter than many eupatoriums at 3 to 4 feet tall. Joe Pye is said to be very attractive to Tiger Swallowtails and fritillary butterflies, but I have yet to spot any visiting. The bees like it though.

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