Flowering Now - Summer Flowers

Summer arrived early this year, unseasonably hot and dry, so the summer flowers are nearly a month ahead of last year.

Flowering for the first time from seed is Calochortus venustus.  It's a variable plant in colour and markings, and although I already have a cream-coloured variant, it was a thrill to get this sumptuous strawberry colour. This hails from California so revels in our hot dry summers.

Also flowering for the first time is a dwarf delphinium D. tatsienense, also grown from seed. Some plants are plain blue in various shades, but a couple of plants are rather attractively marked with a purple blotch to the tips of the petals.
This is only about a foot tall, compared with the tall spires of the border delphiniums.

Forming a good-sized clump is Gentiana pneumonanthe, the marsh gentian.
How it survives and increases in a hot dry raised bed when its natural habitat is a swamp, I can't imagine!

Also flowering for the first time from seed is Campanula formanekiana which originates from Greece. Unfortunately is it monocarpic - that is, after flowering the whole plant normally dies,but it sets plenty of seed so is not difficult to keep going. It may only take one or two years from seed sowing to flowering. The flowers are usually white but sometimes have a pinkish or bluish tinge to the petals.

Another member of the same family, the Campanulaceae, Platycodon grandiflorus, revels in full all-day sun. Its common name is the Balloon Flower, so-called because the flower buds are spherical like a balloon before they open. The flowers are large and almost flat-faced.

A favourite plant at this time of year is the Chinese lantern, Sandersonia aurantiaca, belonging to the Colchicum family. This is a bulbous plant hailing from South Africa and Swaziland. It arose by chance after I tipped out a load of apparently empty seedpots under a rose bush a few years ago, and was delighted that this popped up a while later. I love the golden yellow lanterns dangling from tall stems.  It seems to enjoy the semi-shade under the rose bush so I hesitate to move it. It has never set seed for me yet unfortunately.

Also enjoying semi-shade is the Western Wood Lily from America, Lilium philadelphicum. In the wild it is often found at the edges of light woodland. The petals aren't joined at the base so the flower doesn't form a trumpet like most lilies but is 'see-through'. It is a bright orange with dark spots in the centre, and here is providing a little support for a twining codonopsis which flowers a little later in the summer.

And finally for this month, a rain lily from Peru and Columbia, Zephyranthes rosea. This is a bulbous plant with grassy leaves and bright pink flowers. It prefers full sun, and is small enough for a trough or the edge of a rockery or border.

Just a reminder, seeds of several of these plants can be obtained from time to time if you are a member of the NZAGS and take part in the annual seed exchange. So as the seeds are ripening in your garden please spare a thought about donating seed to the exchange and sharing your plants with fellow members.

Happy New Year to all!