I wanted to really savor my stroll around the back yard today, because I know it will be a mess most of the rest of the summer from all the construction. I was glad to see there are a few things that had bloomed for the first time within the last twenty-four hours.
These are the first hollyhocks of the season. I love hollyhocks! Some are growing from seeds my sister gave me; others are from seeds I scavenged from a stand of hollyhocks that are self-sown on drainage district property, along a ditch. I had driven by those several times, admiring them. One day in the fall I just pulled over and took some seed pods and put them in my pocket. I just couldn't help myself!
Purple loosestrife has started to bloom. Now, before you call the police, let me tell you I know they're invasive and no longer available to plant. This is the last of a very old planting of them. They have gradually died out in my garden. I think the fact that they are much loved by Japanese beetles has a lot to do with that. I'm not too worried that my particular plant is causing any problems. I don't think it ever has a chance to set seed, since it is so thoroughly eaten down by the beetles each summer.
This was the first week of bloom for the oak leaf hydrangeas.
Finally a plant I know the real name of: penstemon "Husker Red", developed, I believe, at Nebraska State University. I planted them because I'm trying to gradually shift to prairie natives throughout my garden, or, at least, go that direction when I plant new things. The goal is to make the garden tolerant of our climate and welcoming to our particular birds and butterflies. I like the wine red of the stems and early foliage on these.
To see who else is strolling today, visit The Quiet Country House.