Northern Shade Gardening

A Tangle of July Flower Colours

Friday, July 8, 2011 Category: Perennials
garden bed with iris Campanula Paeonia daisy

garden bed with iris Campanula Paeonia daisy

This garden bed is an informal tangle of July flowers in bloom. It’s bright and cheery, and the vibrant colour mix suits a sunny July. There is a pink Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, some tall yellow, purple and blue bearded iris, purple blue Campanula glomerata, (clustered bellflower) and some volunteer daisies that I just haven’t got around to pulling out yet. The potpourri of summer colours are scented by the wonderful peony perfume. The area has a part sun siting, getting a little more light than most of my other beds.

iris bellflower peony flowers

iris bellflower peony flowers

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ has large, double pink flowers with an abundance of extra petals. I adore the over the top combination of wonderful scent and fluffy flower heads. Normally I’m not fond of yellow and pink flowers together, but the addition of purple seems help them get along. The deep purplish blue colour coordinates beautifully with either the light pink of the butter yellow, so putting it between the two helps them harmonize.

daisy iris Campanula

daisy iris Campanula

There are lots of these yellow bearded iris of unknown identity in my garden. The iris start blooming in another garden section in May, and by July this garden bed is the last to bloom with iris. These iris have butter yellow standards (upper petals) and maroon coloured falls (lower petals) with beautifully patterned white markings. The two-toned iris fits the multicoloured theme for this garden section, and I especially like it with the saturated purple blue of the bellflower. The yellow and maroon iris is very rugged, so it has done well in every light exposure that I’ve planted it in.

yellow iris around blue iris

yellow iris around blue iris

In the centre is a pretty, solid blue bearded iris. It comes up every year, but does not spread as well as the stalwart yellow iris. I should probably make a little more room around the blue iris to give it a better chance. It actually does have more space and flowers than the picture above, which makes it look totally hemmed in.

blue iris volunteer in garden

blue iris volunteer in garden

This bitone iris with dark blue falls and light blue standards is a volunteer in my garden, that appeared a couple of years ago. It is my favourite iris that I grow. I like the delicate tracings of white on the falls, and the bright yellow beard. The velvet texture of the dark blue falls is very appealing, and set off by the lighter edging. It has been expanding and producing many more flowers now, so I think it will be ready for dividing this fall.

mixed iris

mixed iris

It is probably a cross between my yellow iris and the solid blue one that you see above, since it has the colour of the solid blue, the darker falls like the two-toned yellow, and the white tracings of the maroon falls. It seems to have inherited the hardiness and willingness to expand of the yellow parent.

Campanula glomerata and iris with yellow and maroon petals

Campanula glomerata and iris with yellow and maroon petals

The Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflower) have large, purple flower heads that make a great show in bloom. The  colour goes perfectly with the powder pink peony, and both of them pack the maximum number of petals into a flower. It also pairs well with  the yellow iris.

yellow iris and purple Campanula glomerata

yellow iris and purple Campanula glomerata

Unfortunately, I’m only fond of the Campanula glomerata plants for about three weeks in the summer, when they are flowering well. After that their foliage quickly deteriorates. Clustered bellflower also spread a little too much to be considered a polite garden resident, so it’s best to cut them back quickly after they have bloomed, and be ruthless about pulling them out as soon as they step out of line. I’ve removed them from my other garden beds, but keep them here since they look so good with their neighbours.

iris Campanula glomerata and peony in garden-bed

iris Campanula glomerata and peony in garden-bed

These perennials do well mingling together to create a kaleidoscope of pink, yellow and purple colour. When these are done flowering, some carnations, pinks and other bellflowers take over the flower show in front, with the annual light blue lobelia as an edging. Then in late summer and fall, the tall phlox join in.

yellow bearded iris with purple Campanula glomerata clustered bellflower

yellow bearded iris with purple Campanula glomerata clustered bellflower

You can see that this garden section is a little crowded, but the iris and Campanula handle it quite well.

yellow iris and purple bellflower

yellow iris and purple bellflower

Here the yellow iris is putting a pushy Campanula in its place with one petal. You have to watch Campanula glomerata as it will squeeze its way into other beds, so I would only plant it with fairly strong plants that know how to push back.

talll bearded iris Campanula glomerata bellflower Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'

talll bearded iris Campanula glomerata bellflower Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'

If you’re reading this on a smaller monitor, you might have to click the above photo to see the whole shot. There is also a hardy blue geranium that self seeded into the garden here, fitting right in with the colour scheme. With the exuberant colour of early summer, it is fun to tour the garden each day to check out which new flowers are opening, and how they look with their neighbours. Here are some more iris photos from last year.

17 Responses to “A Tangle of July Flower Colours” »

  1. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm :
    July 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Those are great flowers! I have the same flowers here, various irises (LOVE your purple/yelow combo, btw), peonies, campanula glomerata and daisy. All of my irises have finished now, as well as the peony :-(
    That’s a beautiful combination!

    I am partial to campanulas and have several of them!

  2. Northern Shade :
    July 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Sheryl, I have tons of that yellow and purple iris, as it was easy to transplant to various new beds when I was first making them. I have a long sweep of yellow iris that goes around my patio and deck. These are the last of the flowering iris now in this section near the peony.

    Campanula are one of my very favourite plants, too, and there are lots of different types out in bloom now in the garden.

  3. Diane :
    July 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Those blues and pinks are just lovely together!

  4. Northern Shade :
    July 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Diane, I enjoy a pink and blue flower combination. It’s one of my favourites to repeat around the garden.

  5. The Garden Ms. S :
    July 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Your irises are doing amazingly well. It’s a very pretty combo of colours. Nice to see some summer flowers!

  6. Marit :
    July 9, 2011 at 1:22 am

    It seems like that we have the same irises. Nice photoes and nice colours. The blue campanula was a good match together with the irises.

  7. Northern Shade :
    July 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

    The Garden Ms. S, the garden is looking very summery now that the bellflowers are out. Now all we need are some more sunny days to make it feel like summer. On the plus side, I’ve done very little watering this year with all of the rain we’ve had.

    Marit, I always smile when I see your yellow iris, as they are very familiar. I really only keep that Campanula here since I like it so well with the iris.

  8. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    July 9, 2011 at 10:51 am

    What beautiful combinations, I find the informal summer bouquets that grow freely are so appealing. The blooms bending & bowing to greet their neighbours.

  9. Northern Shade :
    July 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Rebecca, another volunteer in this section that just opened yesterday is a hardy geranium. The hardy geraniums tend to bend a lot, so it has draped itself over the peony blossoms and the shimmery blue colour fits just right.

  10. Shady Gardener :
    July 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Northern! What beautiful color combinations!! Must you pull that errant daisy? ;-) How’s your summer going?

  11. Northern Shade :
    July 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Shady Gardener, there were five daisy plants that had parachuted in, and I did end up being a daisy meanie. However, I’ve really enjoyed the volunteer iris and geraniums. The one geranium is already over 60 cm (2 ft) tall and full of pretty blue flowers. It might be a G. pratense.

    Up until now, we’ve had an unusually cool and wet summer, but on the plus side I’ve hardly did any watering. I’ve even got away with planting new perennials in the rain and not even watering them in.

  12. Randall :
    July 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your site! so great to come across a website from a fellow Edmontonian. I’m a relatively new gardener here (well less than five years now so I still consider myself a beginner) and as almost half of my small yard is shade or partial shade, I have much to learn from you. I’ve already got several ideas from you and I hope my garden can look as great as yours someday. many thanks :)

  13. Northern Shade :
    July 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Randall, you’re welcome, it’s useful to see how plants perform in our climate. These flowers are great for your part shade area. Although they will get even more flowers in the sun, they get a good number in partial shade.

  14. Anonymous :
    July 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    “Unauthorized copying or storage of this website’s content is prohibited without prior written permission.”
    So where do I right for permission?

  15. Northern Shade :
    July 31, 2011 at 9:38 am

    # 14, you can ask right here in the comments by identifying yourself, stating what part of the content you want to use, how you want to use it, and where you want to use it.

  16. Anonymous :
    November 3, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I’ve just discovered your wonderful website and would like to both thank you for sharing your garden and learning in such a useful way. I’m working on developing a Zone 3-4 garden and your information, pix as well as other readers comments are terrific.

  17. Northern Shade :
    November 4, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Hi # 16, you’re welcome, and I’m glad that the information is helpful. I figure that it is useful to see pictures of the plants in an actual garden, and get an idea how they look together, as well as how they perform. We had our first deep frost last night, so much of the garden is looking wintery now, but the plants with deciduous leaves are still keeping the colour going.

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