Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Few Flowers in the Blazing Heat

This time of year, it's a struggle to motivate myself to do anything at all outside.  High heat and humidity combine in devilish alchemy-- or in other words, it's too darn hot. 

Of course, while the gardener's away, the weeds will play.  They certainly have no problem with the weather!  They're thriving!

Nothing for it but to go out in it, every so often, despite the discomfort.

Saturday morning, Donald and I worked on another section of the pathway, and today I took a few photos, pulled a (very) few weeds, and watered the plants most in need of consistent moisture.

I'm a little surprised by the number of things in bloom, this last week of July.  Not to suggest that my garden is a paradise of flowers-- plenty of room for improvement-- but it's not so sparse as I might have feared.

The annuals are of course hard at work.  This year our main flowering annuals are vinca, marigolds, begonias, and morning glory-- plus the one successful black-eyed Susan vine. There are a few self-sown cleome, zinnias, and cosmos, too.

A few daylilies bloom sporadically, including this one in pale yellow.

Daylily

The purple rose of Sharon still can't be stopped.  This one flower was being shared by three butterflies at the same time!

Rose of Sharon and Butterflies

More and more of the crepe myrtles are flowering.  Even 'Victor' still has some color, though I think it's finally near the end of its bloom.  The watermelon reds are peaking.

Crepe Myrtle and Bee

Another spike of the orange and yellow gladiolus has made an appearance.

Gladiolus

Then there are the roses.  The old-fashioned pink shrub roses bloom a little now and then, as does the pink climbing rose.  The KnockOut roses come in waves.  Even the "too-red" rose that was so cruelly transplanted in the hot summertime has made a supreme effort and put out another flush of bloom.  

Red Rose

The purple coneflowers may have taken a while to get started, but now that they're here, they're persistent.  The fancy coneflowers are still in bloom, too.  (Not pictured.)  I wouldn't say they're thriving, but at least they're still there. 

Purple Coneflower

Some of these coneflowers are well past their prime.  I can't decide if I should deadhead them now or leave them for later.  I'd like to collect some seed, but I'm not sure how coneflowers "work".  Are the seeds "ready" now?  If I cut these off and let them dry indoors, will the seeds be viable, or do they need more time on the plant?  If I deadhead, will more blooms follow, or will I just ruin all chances for harvesting seed this year?  More reading to do...

Purple Coneflower

Some of the azaleas along the front fence have put out new flowers.  (I didn't remember that those particular ones did that.)

Azalea

Then there are a few blanket flowers... a smattering of leftover gaura bloom... a couple of salvias (mainly 'Victoria Blue', but also a little on the Salvia nemorosa)... lantana... hummingbird sage (and maybe hummingbird mint)... coreopsis (mainly 'Golden Sphere' and 'Mercury Rising')... a few daisy gardenia blooms... fading achillea... a past-prime flower on the new 'Endless Summer' hydrangea... butterfly ginger still perfumes the air (if you're close enough)... and the petite butterfly bush continues to flower.

Any plant with interesting foliage is a real help, this time of year, too.

For instance, the elephant ears have won me over.  They were chosen not because I absolutely loved elephant ears, but because they were cheap and would help fill up the flower garden.  Also, I chose them because I associate them with my maternal grandmother's garden.

As the months have passed, I've found myself growing fonder of them for their own sake.  Though I still wouldn't say that elephant ears are among my very favorite plants, I have a new appreciation for them.  Those giant leaves have a lot of personality!

Later this year or next spring, I'd like to transplant a little of the darker elephant ears growing in Granny's garden into my own.  (She gave me a piece, years ago, but I didn't really know what I was doing, back then.  I think I'll have better luck this time.) 

Elephant Ears

I'm also enjoying the ornamental grasses we purchased this year.  (Those would be river oats and a couple types of Japanese sedge-- 'Evergold' and 'Everillo'.)  I'm excited about the possibility of adding another few grasses to the flower beds-- nothing invasive, I hope, but something to add multi-seasonal interest.

Oh!  And the bamboo!
I need to try to get a good photo of it, to show how much it's grown since I planted it.  (It's not the easiest plant to photograph.)  I think I might transplant it, this fall or winter.  It could probably use a little more room to grow, and if I expand that part of the flower bed (as planned) its screening properties might be put to better use a little further out to the east.

I'm looking forward to more moderate temperatures toward the end of summer, but in the meantime, I guess this is a good chance to fine-tune these plans.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July Flowers

Our weather continues to be hotter than usual (even for this time of year), and for the past several days, the spotty afternoon showers have found us more often than not.  I appreciate not having to water things by hand.  Less helpful is the lightning that necessitates the unplugging of electronics. 

- - - - - - -

A good handful of the seed-grown purple coneflowers have survived so far, this year.  Some are blooming.  I'm not sure if this is the normal bloom-time for coneflowers, this far south.  I suspect that established plants probably would've begun blooming quite a bit earlier than these did, but I wonder whether they'd have stopped (or at least slowed) flowering by now. 

I'm grateful for each one and hope they'll multiply in years to come.  I may try to save some seeds, later in the year, and start new plants to help along the process. 

Purple Coneflower


Purple Coneflower

The purple rose of Sharon is still flowering its little heart out.  It's definitely a more prolific bloomer than the all-white variety (this year, at least). 

Rose of Sharon

Those big flowers attract a lot of bees and butterflies.

Rose of Sharon


Rose of Sharon


Rose of Sharon

The Spanish flag (also known as mina lobata or exotic love vine) is still looking lush.  No sign of flowers, yet.  If you look closely at the second photo up from this paragraph, you'll notice that there's some mina lobata trailing its way through the rose of Sharon, too. 

Spanish Flag - Mina Lobata

The 'Little Gem' magnolia had a nice flush of bloom a week or so ago.  Those flowers are gone, now, but another plant has deigned to make a tiny repeat performance of its own.  The daisy gardenia's rebloom is nowhere near as heavy as the first flower period, but who can complain?!  

Daisy Gardenia

The black-eyed Susan vine is doing its own thing.  I found what I think is a seed pod, so I'll be interested to see, later in the season, whether I can harvest some seeds from this plant.  Of course I'd love to have some free seed for next year. 

The vine I tried to grow in a hanging pot has been less than impressive.  It's still alive, but it's not flowering, and even the foliage is very sparse.  Actually, none of the vines I tried growing in hanging pots have been impressive, including morning glories.  They stay small and hardly flower.  Maybe they're getting too hot and dry between waterings... Next year, I don't think I'll bother planting vines in hanging pots. 

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

I spotted no fewer than three grasshoppers on one section of the viburnum, this morning.  I didn't bother messing with them.  (Unless I were willing/able to catch and squish them, what would be the point?  Chase them off and they'll just come back.)  So long as we don't have an actual plague of locusts, I guess I can spare the grasshoppers a few leaves here and there... And maybe they'll provide food for some songbirds, later on.

Grasshopper

I don't mind grasshoppers nearly so much as those hideous leaf-footed bugs (compared to which they are downright cute and cuddly), though I do wish they'd be content to munch on weeds. ;o) 

Grasshopper

Earlier this year, Mom gave me a sprig of her "hummingbird mint"-- 'Acapulco Trio' Agastache.  It's supposed to have multicolored blooms in red, orange, and pink/purple (hence the 'Trio').  So far, I haven't seen a ton of bloom, and what I have seen hasn't been distinctly "multicolorful"-- but it's grown well (though still on the short side at 6-8 inches), so I have hopes that it will bloom better in future.   (I see some sneaky gripeweed hiding under it... Time to get out there and weed again.)

Hummingbird Mint

Annual vincas are a good, reliable plant for summer in our garden.  Not the most exciting plant, perhaps, but they flower all summer, and they fill in the gaps very nicely.  For the past couple of years, I've been finding volunteer vincas in the flowerbeds.  Free plants!  Of course, when they're volunteers, you don't get the choose the color.  (So far, we've gotten white-with-red-eye, red-with-white-eye, peach-with-red-eye, and peach-with-white-eye as volunteers.)  One of the benefits of cultivating an eclectic cottage-garden atmosphere is that you need not be fussed about color schemes (unless you want to be).  Anything and everything goes! 

Annual Vinca

One of the more successful seed experiments this year was blue bedder salvia (or sage).  They've taken a while to put on any size, and there are no flowers from them, yet-- but at least several of them have made it so far, and a few are looking pretty good.  (Again, aside from that "no flowers" thing.) 

I haven't been that bothered by the lack of flowers, thinking that as it's a perennial, there's always next summer-- and maybe they take a year to get settled in.  However, now that I'm reading more about them online, it seems that (though the seed pack I bought was labeled "perennial"), they are generally "grown as an annual".  (Le sigh.)  My only consolation is that they are hardy to about 10°F, so unless we have a crazy-cold winter, maybe they'll return in spring.  (There are some reports that even if it comes back, it's not as attractive after the first year.) 

Blue Bedder Salvia

The sweet olive has put out some new, bright-green leaves!  Good boy! ;o)

Sweet Olive

I think every cutting I got from that broken "branch" of the Mexican purple sage (Salvia purpurea) took root.  I gave away a couple of them and planted the rest.  All look happy.  The "mother plant", however, has begun to sag and "fall open".  I'm not sure what's going on.  Is it getting too much rain?  Maybe it just can't support its own weight... The same thing has been happening with some of the marigolds.  The wind from thunderstorms probably isn't helping.  Or are there insects at work?  (I need to give it a closer examination.)

Whatever it is, the plant is still very much alive-- it's just looking kind of messy and past its prime, which is frustrating, since it hasn't even had a chance to bloom, yet.  If this is how this plant always behaves, I think I'll be planting it at the back of a bed, next time.  Maybe against a fence or wall, where it will have some support.  Maybe with a bamboo stake or two for good measure.

Of course, this is assuming that it survives winter.  I'll try to take cuttings, but the thought of keeping cuttings alive over winter intimidates me... I'll try some as in-water cuttings and others as potted cuttings (though I doubt they'll get enough sun from the windows to stay happy). 

...Aha!  I finally found some good info on this plant (and put a link up under the botanical name in an earlier paragraph)-- and here's another page about this plant.  So many search engine results point you to a totally different plant (Salvia officinalis 'Purpurea'), which is hardly helpful! 

It sounds like this "sprawling" and "lax" habit is just natural for the plant.  (Good to know.)  In fact, it's even recommended to place it next to sturdy shrubs that can provide support.  You can cut it by half once or twice in the summer to control its size. 

This plant is apparently also known as "autumn purple sage" and can tolerate some shade.  It's a water-lover that can thrive in damp soil.  (Very interesting... If the winter doesn't kill it, I'd like to try some cuttings down in the wet part of the yard.)

Mexican Purple Sage

Some of the white crepe myrtles are in flower.  So far, not a spectacular show, this year.

White Crepe Myrtle

I'd like to inspect the moonflower vine(s) for seed production.  I want to gather some for next year, and though it's probably too early to collect any yet, I'd like to get a look at the pods.  The wasps are haunting this particular vine, though-- and it's the one that's been blooming the most and has the best chance of providing seed.  The wasps are clearly entranced by the smell of this plant, and I don't dare get too close.  

Wasps on Moonflower Vine

This creepy-crawly has set up shop in the shelter of our back porch. 

Spider

The pink climbing rose has been blooming sporadically a few times since the peak spring bloom.  Nothing to write home about, but I appreciate the effort.  Now I've noticed more buds.  I don't know if they'll open in a crescendo, but if they do, it will by far the most impressive rebloom this rose has ever given. 

This unknown rose has been enjoying its best year in a very long time (maybe ever).  I wonder if it's just a fluke-- the result of attaining a certain size/establishment of root-- or if it has something to do with the fertilizer and extra water it's gotten, this summer.  (Poor starved thing; it's probably the fertilizer.)

Climbing Rose Rebloom

A few generic "flower garden" shots:

A few of the rabbit-eaten vines growing along the fence have rebounded.  There's a 'Grandpa Ott's' morning glory here, near the Confederate rose and 'Mercury Rising' coreopsis.  On the other side of the gate and arbor there's a very hearty vine that I suspect must be moonflower.  

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Flower Garden

Thank you for joining me for another rambling blog post!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What's Blooming Today?

This spike of gladiolus is the most interesting we've had bloom, this year.  The others have been either plain yellow or a salmon color.  This orange-edged yellow makes a nice change of pace.

Behind it, our 'Victor' crepe myrtle is still going.  I've been pleasantly surprised by how long it's blooming!

Gladiolus and Crepe Myrtle

Watermelon-red crepe myrtle beside the unstoppable purple rose of Sharon, with the tree-sized loropetalum in between.  

Crepe Myrtle and Rose of Sharon

Some of the welcome repeat-blooming daylilies against a backdrop of 'Victoria Blue' salvia.  

Daylilies and Salvia

Another daylily has added itself to the list of rebloomers.  I'd forgotten that this large pale yellow one makes an encore appearance.  

Daylily

Our new-this-year (clearance-purchased) butterfly bush (Buddleia 'Flutterby Petite Dark Pink) continues to impress.  I've been very happy with this plant, so far.

Butterfly Bush

Some of the seed-grown achillea is finally blooming!  This one has a pretty range of pastel pinks and yellow.  I've read that they often revert to white after the first year.  That's a shame, because these colors are nice.  However, the white/cream's not bad, either-- and I don't want to bother starting with new plants or seeds every year.  (Not to mention that it took these a long time to work up to blooming, whereas the old, established white ones from Mom have been in flower for months, already.)

Achillea (Yarrow)

Hummingbird sage has begun to bloom.  It's not covered in flowers, but it's still pretty.  As the name indicates, it's supposed to attract hummingbirds.  It's also known as scarlet sage-- Salvia coccinea

Hummingbird Sage

Nearby, the red Mexican ruellia is coming more into its own.  (Ruellia elegans-- Brazilian petunia.)  This was a Plantasia purchase.  I'm happy with this plant, but I hope that this patch will get bigger in years to come.  I've read that it's a great "cut and poke", easy-rooting plant, so I'll have to give that a try.  

Red Mexican Ruellia

I was surprised to see that the butterfly ginger is already blooming!  Well, one of them is, and the others aren't far behind.  I thought they didn't usually flower until later in the year, but either I'm mistaken or this has been a good year for them. 

Butterfly Ginger

One last photo from a little of a distance...

Flower Garden

(Introspective) Vegetable Garden Update

You may have noticed that I haven't blogged about the vegetable beds in a while.  They came into their prime and then went tumbling into decline.

At one point, I told Donald that I actually resented the vegetable beds because they made me feel guilty.  Guilty because they took precious time away from the more interesting flower garden.  Guilty because I didn't even feel like keeping up with picking the squash-- but if I leave food to rot, that makes me feel guilty.  (It's wrong-- shameful-- to waste food, after all!)  And yet I didn't want to pick it, because if I picked it, I'd have to deal with it... or see it go to waste inside the house, because we can only eat so much squash or bell pepper (for instance)-- and no-one else seemed to want or need it, either.

I'm not sure what the solution is.  Possibly we should pare back on next year's planting.  Actually, we should definitely pare back on some things.  But the problem is that in early spring, everything (including vegetable gardening) feels so fresh and new and exciting, and you're so optimistic... You forget that in another couple of months, it will be hot and humid and miserable.  You won't want to be outside so long every day, and when you are outdoors, you'll want to prioritize flowers and shrubs and pretty plants that aren't already starting to look fatigued and faded.  You forget that you'll have bell peppers coming out of your ears and nothing to do with them.

Another option would be to just not worry about waste-- to recognize and accept that it happens and that it's ok to waste a few vegetables.  In the grand scheme of things, a bucket or two of rotten produce needn't send stress levels sky-rocketing.

...That might be easier said that done, for some of us.  (g) 

- - - - - - -

I think my plan for next year's vegetable bed will be multi-pronged.

Don't Worry; Be Happy! ;o)
First, try to stop worrying about the waste.  It's a hobby-- not another source of guilt.  (And I used the "wasted" produce for trench composting, so it wasn't a total loss...)

Be Selective.
I have a thing or two I specifically want to try, next spring, but I also want us to limit the number of vegetables we plant.  Try to learn from past seasons.  What did well?  What was disappointing?  What did we actually eat?  How much of a given item will we use? 

Consider Freezing.
Last year, we froze a lot of tomatoes, and that worked out well.  We've also frozen blueberries, bell peppers, and jalapeƱos.  However, I never bothered to look up whether or not it was possible to just chop and freeze summer squash and zucchini.  (If it requires much more than that-- blanching, etc.-- I'm less likely to do it.)

Now that I've spent the whopping two or three minutes it took to research it, I know (for next year) that you don't have to blanch them, if you're planning to use them within six months.  (Longer than that and the flavor deteriorates.)  If you blanch (which isn't hard to do), they can last twice as long.

- - - - - - -

Well, now for the more concrete element of the post.

Vegetable Beds

-- I've ripped out the squash and zucchini vines.  Some of them were still sluggishly producing, despite neglect, but none of them looked especially healthy, and insects had become a problem for the zucchini in particular.  (Something was boring holes into the zucchini fruits themselves.)

-- The tomatoes were also well past their prime, so we removed those, too. 

-- I pulled most of the weeds that had grown up under and around the vegetables and blueberries, but there's still more weeding to do around the berries. (Isn't there always?) 

-- I've left the chives, the bell peppers, the jalapeƱo, and the marigolds (some of which have grown huge).  Also a bit of the Swiss chard, though we never tried it, and it's not looking particularly hearty. I think it suffered from being too close to the zucchini, which shaded it.  (Lesson: Zucchini and squash plants get much bigger than you think they will, and they sprawl.)

We do not need more bell peppers, but I didn't have the heart to pull up relatively healthy plants that are still producing.  Maybe I'll send any future bell peppers to work with Donald.  He could leave them out in the common area, and maybe someone else can use them.  I've already frozen more than we're likely to use, unless we discover some amazing pepper-heavy recipe that we both love (and that's not going to happen).

-- We've stopped using the soaker hose-- stopped some time back, as a matter of fact.  There's just not enough in the beds to merit watering them all, so when we have dry spells, I water by hand every other day or so.  It's much easier to do that, now that the beds are so near the spigot.

--  Those horrible stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs (especially the latter) have been very present in the vegetable garden, this year.  I loathe the things.

They're still attacking the pepper plants (and now that the tomatoes are gone, probably focusing on them more than ever), but I am too scared of the dratted things to squash them (the recommended "treatment").  I know it's silly, but they horrify me.  (If neighbors ever hear what sounds like a few terrified monkey shrieks, it is very likely that a leaf-footed bug has just startled me by flying right in my face.  My apologies.)

I tried vacuuming some of them up with the shop vac, yesterday morning.  I don't know how effective it was-- and I think I damaged some leaves in the process-- but maybe it's better than doing nothing...

- - - - - - -

The current focus of interest in the vegetable garden is the okra.  

This is our first year growing okra with any success.  We tried last year; the seeds sprouted just fine, but the young plants faded away.  Not enough light, probably.  This year, we're seeing flowers and okra pods, so we're on the right track-- but I still suspect that the okra would be happier with even more light.  We planted them at the end of the bed closest to the garage, so they don't get morning sun.  Next year, if I grow okra, I'll site it at the westernmost end of the bed, instead.

Okra Pod

I haven't managed to get a great photo of the okra blooms, yet.  They're actually pretty-- a reminder that okra is in the same family as hibiscus.  Its yellow flowers with a dark red throat bear definite resemblance to Rose of Sharon (shrub althea).

This is the best photo I have to offer, so far, and this flower hadn't completely opened up.  I think they take a little time to open fully, and I don't usually want to go out and take photos in the heat of the day.  

Okra Flower

Donald doesn't really like okra.  (Maybe it's one of those foods that you're more likely to enjoy if you grew up eating it.)  At the moment, there's not enough to cook, anyway, but maybe soon...

There are always ants visiting the okra, now that it's started blooming.  Based on the little I've read, they shouldn't be a problem unless they are fire ants, which can lead to less okra.

- - - - - - -

We've discussed the possibility of planting some late-season, cool-weather crops, but there's no guarantee we'll follow through.  It will probably only happen if Donald is enthusiastic about it.  My personal stores of enthusiasm for food-growing may be nearly sapped, for the year!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Assorted Garden Photos

Luna woke me early, this morning, so I took advantage of the relatively pleasant temperatures* and took the camera outside while she had her walk.  (*still steamy)

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The dappled light coming through the lattice wall of the patio was eye-catching.

Under the Covered Patio


Under the Covered Patio


Under the Covered Patio

On Friday, I planted the new pot of clematis on the east side of the arbor.  (The arbor's not complete, yet, but it's far enough along for planting.)  Ideally, I wouldn't plant things in the middle of summer, but the alternative would have been keeping it in the pot for another few months.  I'll keep it watered and hope for the best.

It doesn't look like much at the moment...

Newly-Planted Clematis

'Joseph's Coat' is growing on the west side of the arbor.  I haven't starting training it, yet.  Sometime this week, most likely. 

'Joseph's Coat' Rose

From the front yard.
I don't often photograph from this position...  My plans include converting some of the lawn on the right side of the photo into an extension of the existing flower bed.  Much more on that in future posts!

Flower Garden

Another wider-angle shot, this time from the back yard.
Though the older leaves of this elephant ear plant get sunburned/scorched in the full sun, in other ways it seems to be the healthiest of the three plants.  It has recently put up several new "stalks".

The sweet olive (Osmanthus fragrans)-- left corner of photo, in the foreground-- seems to be holding up, despite its sunny location.  (Knock on wood...)  It's even given us a few tiny blossoms in the past week or two.  Not enough to cast its fragrance very far, but if I get close to the flower and sniff, it's faintly present. 

Flower Garden

The Confederate rose has grown so much since I planted it in the spring!  I'm looking forward to flowers, later this year.

Confederate Rose

These purple daylilies continue to add interest to their corner of the garden.

Daylily

Daylily

It sometimes strikes me that the 'Victoria Blue' salvia doesn't look exceptionally happy, but neither does it shrink or shrivel.  Instead, it keeps on blooming.  I'll be interested to see how it fares over the winter.  In this zone, it could easily return in spring, but if we have a bad winter, it might not.

'Victoria Blue' Salvia

Rose of Sharon just keeps on going-- a veritable Energizer Bunny in the blooming department.  I think they're nearing the end of flowering, though.  Especially the all-white one. 

Rose of Sharon

The 'Tangerine Horses' look-alike daylily is reblooming this year!

We got this one (along with a few others) last year at Crenshaw Farms Daylily Garden in Stockton, Alabama.  It's an interesting place to visit, if you're a daylily fan.  You walk among the thousands of daylily plants, admire them for as long as you want, and pick up the ones you'd like to buy.  The ones we bought had several fans per pot.  They have named/registered cultivars for sale, too-- as well as an antique shop right on the spot-- but we limited ourselves to the vast selection of their own hybrids, which are cheaper (and perfect for non-collectors who just want pretty flowers). 

I'd love to go back again, sometime, though I can't honestly say that the garden needs more daylilies, at the moment...

Daylily

Cardinal climber (a.k.a. cypress vine) has been persistently popping up in several places around the yard.  I've tried to pull it as I've found it (because it's just so invasive here), but we're hitting its favorite time of year, and now I'm finding vines that appear to have sprung out multiple feet of growth overnight.

This one sneaked into a hanging airplane plant and has even started to bloom!

Airplane Plant and Cardinal Climber

'Sunny' KO rose.

'Sunny' KO Rose

The seeds of the river oats are getting longer.
I'm hoping for several new little river oats popping up in spring.
(Every time I think this or express this wish, I have the urge to glance over my shoulder to see if Future Me is standing there in frowning disapproval. (g)  Well, you've got to take some risks in the garden, right?)

River Oats

Close-up of a moonflower bud:

Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

And here's the same one with the wasp that was very interested in it.

I've read online that one downside of moonflower vine is that it attracts wasps.  I can confirm that I've noticed more wasps around this obelisk than around any of the places where morning glories are growing.  It's something to consider.  I might not plant moonflower vine right next to a spot where I planned to sit often-- or where children or pets would be spending a lot of time-- at least, not if there were any other options available. 

Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)

Gaura 'Whiskers Deep Rose' is still very pretty.

Gaura 'Whiskers Deep Rose'

The mountain laurel has been getting regular water during dry spells, and I think (rap wood again!) that it's looking well.  The lighter green leaves are all new growth, which should be a good sign.

On the left you can see the survivors of this year's group of daylily seedlings.  I still haven't decided whether I'll plant them in the ground in late autumn or wait until spring.  

Mountain Laurel and Daylilies

Watermelon-red crepe myrtle.

Crepe Myrtle

A second seed-grown purple coneflower has begun blooming, and a third is not far behind. 

Purple Coneflower

In the week to come:
--weeding
--clearing out more of the vegetable beds
--painting the last pieces of the arbor
--training the rose on the arbor
--???