Gardens will explode with color

Published 9:00 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

When the month of July arrives the heat is definitely turned up in the gardens as everything explodes in a colorful extravaganza. I wait all winter for this month to arrive so I can see my gardens at their absolute best and most colorful. This is the month that I schedule garden tours because every garden is in bloom and shows off its very best of colors.

The cutting garden displays a rainbow of colors with poppy, coreopsis, larkspur, Asiatic lily and cosmos flowers. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

The cutting garden displays a rainbow of colors with poppy, coreopsis, larkspur, Asiatic lily and cosmos flowers. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

In late May and early June the spring flowers in their pastel colors are gorgeous and then in June the roses steal the show but that means only a couple of gardens have lots of color in them.

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Once July hits the cutting garden is a riot of different colors with the many diverse plants from Shirley poppies, coreopsis, larkspur, phlox, Asiatic lilies, anise hyssop, cosmos, monarda, bachelor buttons, butterfly weed, globe thistle to zinnias give the gardens a rainbow of colors.  This garden has mostly self-seeders for annuals I never know what the combinations will look like until they bloom. It is always a hodgepodge of flowers with color combinations that Mother Nature orchestrates and I could never ever improve upon.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

Lilies are blooming in most of the gardens starting with the Asiatics, then orientals and orienpets and trumpet with lots of colors. I have run out of room to add more, but as the catalogs arrive I am seeing several I would like to add if I can fit them in somewhere. The daylilies start their long procession of blooms and some of them repeat bloom to the end of the season.

My friend Cheryl has over 3,000 daylilies in her gardens and how I wish I could be there to see this grand occasion. She lives in western Iowa up in the Loess Hills area and her steep front yard garden has about 600 daylilies planted in it. Can you just imagine all of the color there is when they bloom?

The hollyhocks are opening now and mine are yellow in garden one which most of the plants in this garden are in shades of yellow and orange. The tiger lillies on the eastern side of this garden really make a statement when they show their yellow and orange colors. A couple of tall garden phlox carry this garden through to the end of the season as long as I keep them deadheaded. Joe-pye weed is in the center standing tall with mauve colored flowers and a few rudbeckia bring in the butterflies. This garden really needs to have a thorough work-over done on it, but I just never find the time come spring when I am so busy planting.

Along the north fence morning glories climb the trellis to add blue and purple to the color scheme along with Joe-pye weed and lots of yellow rudbeckia as this garden will steal the show from late July to autumn. I always look forward to the morning glories blooming as they are so cheerful looking. There are only a couple of sunflowers this year and I love the yellow heads they produce and then the goldfinch that come to eat the seeds.

Along the driveway a few zinnia germinated and will give me a bit of color but not nearly as much as in other years. The dill is plentiful this year and that should make the swallowtail butterflies very happy as they lay their eggs on them and the caterpillars eat the foliage of the dill. I have seen a few monarchs and swallowtails already among the gardens.

Our feral mama cat, Violet, brought her three kittens into the gardens the other day. While I was watering I could hear a kitten meowing, but did not see where it was and later that evening sure enough Violet and the three kittens were in the gardens playing. I love having them in the gardens and they keep the mouse population down, but mostly I just love watching their playful antics in the gardens. They have not met Roosevelt yet and I have no idea how he will react to them. I guess we will find out soon enough!

The month of July will come and go in the blink of an eye so it is time to just sit under the gazebo and enjoy the show, come join me.

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.” — Luther Burbank


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at