Welcome to summer! I'm spending the summer working on the next version of Floridata which I hope to launch by autumn. In the meantime we'll continue posting new Plant Profiles to this site so please visit us often and bring your friends. Don't forget the sun screen and be good and grow! Jack
Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is a spring-blooming perennial and the latest addition to Floridata's Plant Encyclopedia. A few selections of this American native are available, the cultivar 'Husker Red' has purplish foliage and very showy flowers that last for weeks. Foxglove beardtongue is a used in beds, borders and native plant gardens in USDA Zones 3-8. Read more about this easy-to-grow native that will probably look great in your garden too.
Our profile of the slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis) had some bad pictures and I've been intending to update them for some time. At last I caught a pretty planting of deutzia shrub blooming at our local arboretum (Boone County Arboretum, near Union in Northern Kentucky - visit if you get a chance - and you can even bring your dog!). Read more about slender deutzia, a pretty little spring-blooming shrub that grows in USDA Zones 4-10.
The fuzzy deutzia (Deutzia scabra) is another member of the genus that blooms at about the same time. It has a more upright form than the slender deutzia described above and has blossoms that are a bit larger and more fragrant. Fuzzy deutzia shrub is grown in USDA Zones 4-8 where it is a popular woody ornamental.
I just put in my tomato plants a few weeks ago here in Kentucky but down in North Florida Steve has already picked his first harvest. The dark fruits are 'Indigo Rose' purple tomatoes (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) - these are especially healthy (and pretty) due to high concentrations of anthocyanins and other healthy compounds. Click to download a large version (800x600) version of this image. During summer, Steve's vegetable garden always hosts the makings for delicious fresh salsa:
One of the many things I miss about back home in North Florida is seeing the statuesque loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) trees back in the swamps and wetlands in bloom at this time of year. This American native tree produces white waxy blossoms that are easy to see, held against the tree's handsome evergreen leaves. Take a look at a few more of summer's fragrant-flowered woody species:
Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a North American native wildflower species that thrives in the heat and humidity of mid-summer. 'Paprika' is a particularly showy cultivar that is also attractive to butterflies. Download a large version to display on your desktop.
The lablab or hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab) is an easy-to-grow, drought tolerant vine of many talents. The showy flowers are fragrant and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The bean pods are equally showy and the beans edible (although they are toxic and require careful preparation - and also don't taste very good). At this time of year the lablab is in its full glory covering itself in both flowers and pods. Download large versions of this and other images from the Lablab Bean Profile's Image Gallery
Another bean with beautiful blossoms is the scarlet runner (Phaseolus coccineus). In Europe the immature pods are prepared and eaten like green bean (), but in the US that are mostly planted for their showy red flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Read more»
The tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) is another pretty ornamental vine with showy purple flowers. Tepary beans are also edible and very nutritious. They were first domesticated in Mexico and have been found in archaeological sites dating to 5000 years before present. Read more»
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Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia) and it is famous for its ability to produce non-stop flowers throughout mid-summer's heat and humidity. This particularly pretty variety in the photo is the purple-flowered member of the 'Serena' Series.
The dahlias (Dahlia spp.) growing in containers on our patio don't seem to mind the hot weather at all (as long as I remember to water them). The cultivar in the photo is called 'Chic'. The happy yellow flowers look particularly brilliant against a background of dark burgundy foliage. There are hundreds of dahlia cultivars in all shapes, sizes and colors and require surprisingly little effort. Check out the article Dahlia Addiction for more on these beauties - and then read up on these other mid-summer bloomers:
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:
The lovely southern maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) is the subject of Floridata's newest plant profile. The delicate maidenhair fern is among the prettiest of the cultivated ferns. The lacy foliage works well as a backdrop for other semi-shade loving plants. They do well in hanging baskets, rock gardens, shady borders and woodland margins where it is hardy in Zones 7-11. If provided suitable conditions (above average humidity), the maidenhair will succeed indoors too. Read profile » and check out this sampler of links to representative profiles of a few famous fern families:
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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