Cary, NC – After the showy flowers of spring, one has to look more closely to find the hidden gems of early summer.
Tulips, roses, daffodils and hydrangea – the power flowers of spring amaze and delight. But, by early summer, they are mostly spent.
In their place, other smaller blooms peek out in unexpected places.
During the summer, Hostas can put up striking lily-like flowers. Once classified as a lily, Hosta is now considered in the Asparagaceae family. Yeas, asparagus.
The large buds on my variety emerged a pale lavender, but turned to white when they opened.
Since Hostas are grown for their lush green foliage, the flowers seem like a bonus.
Cacti are not usually known for their flowers. But this little beauty popped up in a pot of mixed cacti on the front terrace.
The tulip-shaped buds are about a third of an inch long.
Another unexpected flower is from parsley. Parsley is great in the garden for edible greens in cool weather, even over-winter in a sunny spot.
Parsley bolts in mid-spring. I usually let it do its thing and sometimes butterfly caterpillars come along and defoliate the entire plant. A dozen or more butterflies can hatch on each plant.
The tiny inflorescence pictured below is about a 1/2 inch across. Still haven’t seen many butterflies this year, though.
Here’s another unexpected treasure – the oddly beautiful flowers of butterfly weed. This is another pollinator and butterfly attracter. The blooms are about one inch across.
Cone flowers are not exactly an unexpected treasure. But this one caught my attention because it’s my first try at growing cone flower in a container.
Having the plant on my terrace gives me a regular close-up view and a better appreciation of all the stages of blossoming.
In early summer, you can usually expect oregano to sprout clusters of tiny white flowers.
Again, this is a bonus to get flowers from a culinary herb. The individual florets are about a millimeter across (really tiny).
Daylillies are expected to put up big, showy flowers all summer long and they do. But the overwhelming variety of daylillies in our Piedmont gardens are the yellow Stella D’Oros.
This apricot-mango-peach colored daylily was a surprise in my garden, planted by a previous homeowner.
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Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree.
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