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