What's in Bloom Archives - Late Summer

What's in Bloom Archives

Lotus Water Lily

White Lotus Water Lily

The white lotus is a shallow-water, night-blooming plant with a creeping rootstock (rhizome) that sends up long-stalked, nearly circular, dark green leathery leaves, which float on the surface. The flowers, up to 25 cm (10 in) across, remain open until midday.

The lotus is an Asian water lily known for the delicate beauty of its water flowers. It possesses an amazing ability to flourish in a variety of environments ranging from clear ponds to muddy marshes. It is also known for its exceptionally hearty seed pods, which often plant themselves far from its source, bringing the beauty of the lotus blossoms everywhere.

We were able to capture this beautiful lily in the Linnaeus water feature and wanted to share its beauty since it can viewed very sparingly.

Yellow Bells 'Esperanza'

Yellow Bells

In the Tulsa area, Yellow Bells 'Esperanza' is considered an annual. However, if planted in a container, it can survive the winter by moving it into warmer winter quarters. The striking, tubular, 2 1/2-inch bright yellow flowers are highlighted by the attractive, shiny, green foliage and continue through the heat of the summer. The flowers have an odd but pleasing fragrance and also provide nectar for bees.

This plant can be found in a container near the vegetable garden and has been a show stopper in our garden since it opened two years ago.

Crossandra Orange Marmalade and Croton 'Codiaeum Variegatum'

Crossandra and Croton

Crossandra Orange Marmalade planted in front of Croton

Crossandra Orange Marmalade is a beautiful tropical plant with glossy green leaves and vibrant orange flower spikes. As a true tropical plant, it is tolerant of high heat and humidity and makes an outstanding crop for late summer and early fall flowers.

You can find Crossandra in our entry garden displayed along with Croton 'Codiaeum Variegatum'. Croton is a tropical plant that can be used as an annual in the garden, and it comes in an amazing diversity of leaf shapes and colors.

It has rather thick evergreen alternate leaves, tiny inconspicuous star-shaped yellow flowers that hang down in long racemes, and a milky sap that bleeds from cut stems. Depending on the cultivar, the leaves may be ovate to linear, entire to deeply lobed, and variegated with green, white, purple, orange, yellow, red or pink. The colors may follow the veins or the margins or they may be in blotches on the leaf.

Croton

Croton

Croton is a tropical plant that can be used as an annual in the garden or as a display planter, and it comes in an amazing diversity of leaf shapes and colors. It has rather thick evergreen alternate leaves, tiny inconspicuous star-shaped yellow flowers that hang down in long racemes, and a milky sap that bleeds from cut stems. Depending on the cultivar, the leaves may be ovate to linear, entire to deeply lobed, and variegated with green, white, purple, orange, yellow, red or pink. The colors may follow the veins or the margins or they may be in blotches on the leaf.

You can find this tropical plant in a planter located in our entry garden.

Black Pearl Ornamental Pepper

Black Pearl Pepper

This summer annual is an All-America Selection 2006 winner and was chosen for its lustrous black leaves, upright habit, round black fruit and excellent garden performance in a nationwide evaluation.

Whether in a container or a garden border, this heat loving annual produces clusters of round fruit that emerge black and turn to cherry red from summer to fall. Black Pearl's botanical name is Capsicum Annuum 'Black Pearl'.

It was jointly developed by Dr. John Stommel, USDA, Vegetable Laboratory and Dr. Robert J. Griesbach, U.S. National Arboretum. It resulted from a cross between a purple-foliaged plant and a green foliaged plant bearing clusters of small round fruits. The plants average 18 inches high and 12 inches in diameter, but may grow to 2 or 3 feet in height in warmer regions with longer growing seasons.

For best growth and black leaf color development, grow in full sun. Plants withstand high heat and humidity and do not require pruning to maintain growth habit. They prefer well-drained loam or sandy loam soil with some organic matter and tolerate a wide range of soil pH.

This plant can be viewed as a container plant in the Linnaeus Vegetable Garden.

Crape Myrtle

Pink Velour

Pink Velour

Rhapsody in Pink

Rhapsody in Pink

Nothing can compare in mid summer months to the heat loving crape myrtle, especially the 'Whit' cultivar crape myrtle series. Lagerstroemia indica is the scientific name for the crape myrtle and Dr Carl Whitcomb has created eight different varieties. Three of his famous cultivars can be seen at the Linnaeus garden - Pink Velour, Red Rocket, and Rhapsody in Pink.

Most crape myrtles are hardy through zone 7, but Dr Whitcomb's creations are hardy through zone 6 (Tulsa zone is 6b), and all have high mildew resistance.

Pink Velour was picked as a "2003 Oklahoma Proven" plant, which proves its hardiness for Oklahoma weather. It has distinct dark wine foliage which peaks in spring and then explodes with shrill pink flowers in mid-summer.

Red Rocket

Red Rocket

Red Rocket has cherry red flowers and is the fastest growing "Whit" red and may have more repeat blooms then the famous Dynamite Crape Myrtle which was chosen as a "2002 Arkansas Select Plant".

Rhapsody in Pink has a distinctly unique landscape appearance with soft pink flowers against nearly purple foliage.

They are deciduous plants and can be grown as large shrubs or gently pruned into multi-stemmed tree-form plants. The crape myrtle has become a mainstay in mild-climate landscapes because of its ease of production and cultivation, long-lasting mid-summer bloom, range of plant habits from miniature potted plant to large tree, and diversity of landscape uses.

Acoma Crape Myrtle

Acoma Crape Myrtle

Tulsa's summer heat is a natural for growing crape myrtles, and their showy flowers really make any landscape in the dead of summer jump out with wonderful color. The semi-dwarf, slightly weeping growth habit of an Acoma give it an especially graceful appearance.

Along with its modest size (9 feet tall and 11 feet wide) and clusters of pure white flowers, this crape myrtle can brighten any special spot in a landscape. It provides abundant summer color with a minimum of maintenance, withstands droughts after becoming established, and is relatively free of disease and insect difficulties. Because of these features, crape myrtles should be used more often in the home landscape.

You can view these plants in the entry walk of the Linnaeus Garden.

Pocomoke Crape Myrtle

Pocono Crapemyrtle

This miniature hybrid crape myrtle is a tough little charmer that grows only 20 inches tall and 30 inches wide. Plant this rosy-flowered little beauty in any hot, sunny area to give your garden a southern accent. Its unique habit is perfect for bonsai, ground cover, containers and wherever a mass of low-growing summer color is needed in full sun.

Check it out in the Linnaeus Pavilion Garden.

Double Feature Crape Myrtle

Double Feature Crape Myrtle

Double Feature is the latest sterile and reblooming crapemyrtle to be patented and released by Lacebark Inc. It begins spring growth with small wine-red leaves, and then the flower show begins in late June and continues into October.

The greatest feature is that each panicle of blooms opens, petals drop cleanly as the flowers age, then a new set of flower buds form on the same panicle. There are no seed capsules produced, therefore the plant has a constant flower show.

Double Feature is a semi-dwarf that fits many landscape applications - it is larger than some of the dwarf crapemyrtles yet smaller than tree forms. It is highly resistant to powdery mildew and leaf spot disease.

You can view this showstopper in front of the entry wall of our garden.

Planting Annuals in Mass

Annuals planted en masse
Annuals planted en masse

Annuals that produce masses of flowers in mid summer are an absolute show stopper in any setting. Check out the selection of the HOT NEW ANNUALS that were chosen for our area.

Snow Princess Alyssum

Snow Princess Alyssum
Snow Princess Alyssum in Pot

Snow Princess Alyssum is a new sweet alyssum known botanically as Lobularia and called Snow Princess because it looks like snow in the middle of summer.

Snow Princess prefers fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of sun. Its sea of white will excel as a groundcover, complementing whatever color you choose to partner it with. Be sure to give it room as it will spread 12 to 24 inches.

In addition to the landscape, Snow Princess will dazzle in mixed containers, falling over the edge like a blanket of snow. Plant it where you can enjoy its sweet honey aroma.

This new sweet alyssum cannot take near as much cold as the other sweet alyssums but it takes a lot more heat, which is a good trade off for this area of the country. You won't find it in garden centers in late summer, but put it on your list and buy this must-have plant next spring.

Torenia Catalina Midnight Blue

Torenia Catalina Midnight Blue

An early, long blooming series with a great mounding and trailing habit and unique, bicolor blooms. They exhibit excellent heat and shade tolerance and their habit and floriferous nature makes them a great choice for hanging baskets and containers. They also make an excellent groundcover for shady areas which is how our garden displays them in the entry garden.

They have shades of periwinkle and deep cobalt blue with a yellow throat. These blue flowers show all season, have excellent heat tolerance, love the shade, and with all these attributes are a low maintenance annual.

By Sandi Rebman
Photos by Marc Schreiber