After several weeks, I finally have time to complete a Six on Saturday post. This week’s entry is a miscellaneous collection of plants that bloom during the hottest days of summer.
1. Rhexia species (Meadow Beauty)
This is basically a weed that infests my bog garden and mini-bog planters. It spreads by underground rhizomes which must have arrived, unnoticed, in the pot of some pitcher plant or orchid. The flowers are very showy, but like those of many other Melastomataceae, they only last one day. The petals don’t wilt or shrivel as the flower ages; by late afternoon, a gentle tap will cause them to simply fall off.
2. Iris dichotoma (vesper iris)
I bought this plant last autumn, so this summer is the first time it has bloomed. The flowers are significantly smaller than I was expecting, but they are quite attractive. As suggested by its common name, this is an evening/night-blooming plant. The flowers open in late afternoon and have faded by the next morning.
3. Iris x norrisii ‘Wine and Roses’ (candy lily)
Obviously, the “lily” in the common name of this plant is a misnomer. It is a hybrid of Iris dichotoma (vesper iris) and Iris domestica (blackberry lily). You’ll often find it in the plant trade labeled as x Pardacanda norrisii, because I. dichotoma was formerly classified as Pardanthopsis dichotoma, and I. domestica was formerly Belamcanda chinensis. The hybrid grex is quite variable, and I really like the bicolored flowers of this clone.
4. Bouvardia ternifolia (firecracker bush)
This is a difficult flower to photograph, because digital cameras often overexpose strong reds, and the flowers stick out in all directions, making focusing a challenge. I think the exposure of this picture is OK, although it may still appear oversaturated on some monitors. The flowers really are as intensely red as they could possibly be.
B. ternifolia is native to Mexico and Central America, and at the northern edge of its range reaches southern Arizona, New Mexico, and southwest Texas. I didn’t really expect it to survive in our much wetter and colder climate, but it has now made it through four winters with numerous cold snaps and snowfalls. In warmer climates it grows as a shrub. Here in NC, it dies back to the ground every winter, sprouting again in late spring and blooming from July until the first autumn frost. I have it planted in a particularly dry and sandy part of the garden.
5. Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’
‘Autumn Minaret’ is a hybrid of the very tall Hemerocallis citrina (syn. H. altissima) and sometimes masquerades as the species. I really like its tall, airy inflorescences and the fact that it blooms over a very long period (for a daylily). My plant has been blooming for about a month, and the >5′ (152 cm) inflorescences still have many unopened buds. I recently obtained a small plant of the true H. citrina, so it will be interesting to compare the two in future summers.
6. Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant)
The final entry this week is another very tall plant and a North Carolina native (though it is more common further west). It grows about 7-8 feet tall (2-2.4 m) with thick stems bearing large, coarse leaves. I’m only showing three inflorescences of about thirty in the clump. It’s not a plant for a small garden, but given the huge number of butterflies and bees that it attracts, I don’t begrudge it the space it requires.
Oh, one more thing…Sometimes the Rhexia petals don’t get a chance to drop before someone comes along and munches on them.
As always, head over to The Propagator to see his very interesting Six on Saturday and links to those of other participants.