We're enjoying from beautiful weather in my Northern Kentucky neighborhood. Lots of rain with dry-outs in between have gardens lush and landscape gloriously green for mid-summer. Best of all the tomatoes are doing well and beginning to ripen - I had my first yellow cherry tomato last week! I hope things are growing well where you are too. Please visit often, share Floridata with your friends and be good and grow! Jack
Grassleaf spurge (Euphorbia graminea) is a tropical perennial that is frequently grown as an annual in non-tropical climates. You may have seen the variety 'Glitz', and perhaps others, used as "filler" in container plantings where it create dense cloud of wiry stems and tiny white flowers. Read more about this versatile species that is hardy in Zones 10-12 but grown as an annual in other zones where it is also used in mass plantings, borders, indoor containers and for cutting and arranging.
The most familiar Euphorb (a generic name for a member of the botanical family Euphorbiaceae) would be the holiday poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Many others, like the crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii) in the photo, are grown as ornamentals in a range of climates from tropical to temperate, as well as indoors. It is a large and diverse family many of whose members are cultivated as ornamentals and garden plants like those in this list:
Here is a super showy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) for gardeners who live cold climates. There are several cultivars of the swamp (aka "hardy") hibiscus. All produce scores of huge blossoms throughout the season and all are spectacular but 'Lord Baltimore' is my favorite and certainly the most colorful. Click to download a large version (800x600) to display on your computer desktop.
Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a woody shrub that is native to the southeastern United States. Look for cultivars 'Grandiflora' (aka peegee or tree hydrangea), 'Limelight' has large flower clusters with a green tinge and 'Pinky-winky' has flowers with a pink blush. The cultivar 'Tardiva' blooms later in the season than the species. Here are a few other shrubby summer bloomers:
The grand crinum lily (Crinum asiaticum) is a huge plant that produces gorgeous clusters of fragrant blossoms at this time of year. Download a large version of grand crinum lily blossoms to display on your desktop and check out more summer blooming bulbs in this list:
In its native Australia this tree is called argyle apple but in The States it's know as the silver dollar tree (Eucalyptus cinerea). Florists use the showy silver-blue leaves in both fresh and dried arrangements. In the early sixties my Mom had a bunch of "milk glass" (translucent white) vases that always hosted a bunch of this fragrant foliage. I have a silver dollar tree in my yard in Florida so maybe I'll surprise her with a fresh bouquet of silver dollar stems when I go on my next trip back home. Click here for more on this colorfully fragrant small tree for USDA Zones 8-11. More aromatic woodies:
The halberdleaf marshmallow (Hibiscus laevis) grows to 7 feet in height and inhabits wetlands and poorly drained soils. The very showy flowers, about 6 in (15 cm) across, open for just one day with five petals that are pale pink with crimson bases. A succession of blooms may last most of the summer. Read more) about this spectacular, American native that ranges from eastern Canada to northern Florida. Here are some links to a few more moisture-lovers that will beautify your wet spots:
A better common name for okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) would be "pods of the gods" - I like them pickled... Click here for a large version (800x600) of this okra flower (note resemblance to cotton, a fellow member of the mallow (Malvaceae ) family. Links to more edibles that we enjoy from our gardens at this time of year:
I photographed this handsome Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundiflora) growing at the edge of Steve's vegetable garden. The plants were so big that branches were breaking from stem under their own weight. I didn't grow Mexican sunflowers this year but plan to next year for sure... Click to download a large version (800x600) this brilliantly blazing blossom.
Adjacent to Steve's sizzling scarlet Mexican sunflower blazes a magenta-flowered garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) cultivar. The whole area swarms with butterflies and bees stirring up a riot of color that's impossible to ignore. Click to download a large version (800x600).
Cultivars of celosia (Celosia argentea) with a feathery upright flowerheads are placed in the Plumosa Group. They are commonly called feathered amaranth, woolflower or red fox. This patch of of pink celosias has reseeded itself in my friends garden for years. Download a large version (800x600) of this pretty pink feathered amaranth.
While taking pictures of my friend's celosia (Celosia argentea) patch I noticed that one of the plants had mutated into the crested cockscomb form. This oddly shaped, flattened form is commonly called cockscomb because it resembles that weird thing on the top of a rooster's head. Download a large cockscomb to display on your desktop.
Among our Plant Profiles is that of the water chestnut (Pachira aquatica) which produces those crunchy white disks found in certain Chinese dishes. Even if you can't grow these where you garden you might enjoy reading about these familiar fruits and foods. Some like water chestnut can even be grown indoors - young water chestnut plants are sold as "lucky money trees". As you browse Floridata's Plant List you'll discover we have profiles of many unusual and exotic fruits - plants that you may not grow but that are fun to know. Here is a sample:
The rugged and dependable 'Indigo Spires' salvia (Salvia 'Indigo Spires') is blooming itself silly at this time of year - so much so that my needs to be cut back and straightened up. Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this super easy to grow perennial to display on your desktop.
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is a frost tender perennial species that blooms throughout the season. Hummingbirds and butterflies swarm this plant when it is in bloom and yes, it really does smell and taste (in tea) like pineapple! Click here to download a large version (800x600) of this showy sage to display on your desktop. There are many species of Salvia and this list contains a few of those that bloom in our summer gardens:
Most of the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) growing around here in Greater Cincinnati has bloomed, reached its peak and the flowers fading. The species produces somewhat large plants with tall-stemmed flowers but cultivars with more compact plants are now available. The photo is of the cultivar 'Crazy Pink' which produces plants more suited to smaller gardens. Download large versions of this and other images from the Purple Coneflower Profile image gallery.
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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