From about the middle of June we can expect to see regular visits from dragonflies and it's not unusual to see more than one in the yard at the same time. This one here came for a rest on one of our lily buds one July 2nd, 2005 and must have remained in this spot for easily half an hour, maybe longer.
It's unfortunate that some of the more subtle detail of the body's pattern and the shoulders are lost when you reduce the picture size to suit a webpage, it's quite fascinating actually.
More plentiful yet of course than dragonflies this time of year are honey bees. They're a little more tricky to photograph however since they do not make a habit of sitting in any one spot for too long. After all, they're busy as a bee...This little fella was sitting just long enough on the 'White Tiger' Lily for me to quickly take his picture.
As a complete surprise to us we saw this 'tiger-lily' open July 2nd. Haven't the foggiest what it's name is and we suspect it came from a small batch of tiger lily bulbs our neighbour Darlene gave us 2 years ago. They were in very sad shape when we planted them and I must admit I didn't expect we'd see any of 'em grow.
Here's pretty much the entire inflorescence on the 'White Tiger' right beside the one yellowish above.
It's an interesting speculation as to why these 2 varieties are being referred to as 'Tiger lilies'. I suppose it is because they have a speckled throat, recurved petals and are sideways to downward facing, not unlike the 'real' thing: Lilium tigrinum or lancifolium. If they have any of the real thing in their genetic background I suspect it's a few generations back in as much as 'tigrinum/lancifolium' are prodigious producers of stem bulbils and the stem itself is hairy; neither of these two so-called tiger lilies show any of those characteristics. That makes me think we're really dealing with some form of Asiatic here as well as above.
New to our yard this year is so-called 'Black Mondo grass'. It provides a nice contrast because of it's shape and GREAT colour. It also multiplies fairly quickly and from late June on you can expect to the tiniest of flowers on it, like the ones you see here; they're shown larger than life size in this picture, so you can imagine how small they are in real life. Cute though, isn't it; also a nice contrast to the rich, dark colour of the foliage (which you cannot see in this picture of course, just take my word for it).
July of course is the month we see our plethora of Oriental, Trumpet and OT hybrids in bloom. This year again 'Mona Lisa' has the distinction of being the first of those to open up. It is rather short in stature, no more than about 20 inches, but that makes it a great choice for pots. We started off with just the one bulb 2 years ago, but I think I noticed some basel offsets developing so with any luck we'll have more next year.
As the flower matures all Oriental and OT (Oriental Trumpet or Orienpet) hybrids start to fade. It is particularly noticeable on this OT called 'Amatist' which starts out with this wonderful range of soft, varied colour. I'm not gonna say you can stand there and watch it fade, but in 5 or 6 days you'd be hard-pressed to recognize it: that's how quickly it fades to almost white. Same with the 'Mona Lisa' above, the soft pink on the sepals and tepals quickly fades in about 4 days.
Back for it's second year is this recurved beauty, which we think is a 'White Henryi', but we stand -and would love- to be corrected. Last year it was literally right on top of a 'Shocking' OT, which made for some interesting speculation and the two of them were dug up in the fall, replanted along with whatever had developed in terms of bulblets. Certainly this one had at least one bulblet and that is somewhat fasciated: it looks like 3 Siamese stems, rather flat looking actually, and now that we have the inflorescence still developing it would appear as if we have those 3 stems separating with each developing it's own buds. Problem has been to get a clear picture of it, but we'll try again soon.
This year for the first time we have let the Hosta flowers go through their cycle and we're fascinated to see how a fair number of our 'Golden Tiara' have started to set seed. We'll let them ripen and sow them in the spring to see what develops, they're open pollinated - most likely self-pollinated since they're pretty much the only ones in bloom at that time so it's quite unlikely they're pollinated by some other variety's pollen. After trying our hand at germinating open pollinated lily seed this year -and quickly running out of room to accommodate them all- why not see what we might do with Hosta seed....
It's interesting to see the differences in inflorescences that exist between the various varieties we have, undoubtedly a reflection of their parentage. You see differences in colour, shape and size, all quite fascinating actually. This 'Golden Tiara' flowerscape has some nice pods developing on it and at this point all we can do is hope some of others will set seed as well. It looks as if 'Ground Master' won't, neither will 'Bella' and all the others still aren't far enough along yet to make that call.
We'll try our hand at pollinating some of the more prolific flowering varieties we have such as 'Sum and Substance' and 'Striptease'.
Towards the end of the month we have plenty more Oriental lilies opening up and scenting the yard. Here at the top of the picture we see a couple of 'Nippon' towards the end of their bloom - they are a variety that actually darkens somewhat the longer it has been open - with some 'Othello' in the foreground.
It was a little later than last year to start flowering in earnest, but our Clematis 'Jackmani' has flowers popping out all over.