Campanula ‘Takion Blue’

‘Takion Blue’ is a lovely Peachleaf Bellflower (Campanula persicifolia) with lavender-blue flowers that steal the show when they start appearing in late spring before many perennials have started blooming.

I purchased my plant last spring. It bloomed sparingly in its first year in my flowerbed, but this year it was loaded with showy flowers from top to bottom.

‘Takion Blue’ is a compact bellflower that grows 16 to 20 inches tall and 12 to 16 inches wide. The plants grow happily in full sun or part shade.

‘Takion Blue’ is deer-resistant and hardy in Zones 3-8.

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First Impression: Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Lavender’

For a time I was really impressed with an All-American-Selection-Winning salvia called ‘Summer Jewel Red’. I’m always excited to find trustworthy annuals in the 16 to 24-inch range.

But then there were a few summers where my plants barely reached 8 inches tall and they got buried by their neighbors. Eventually I gave up on growing this cultivar altogether.

But this winter when the seed catalogs arrived I was enticed by a sibling of this plant that also just happened to win an AAS award. I decided to give ‘Summer Jewel Lavender’ a try, and I ordered some seeds.

The germination rate was excellent and the plants were well-behaved in their little plant packs. They started blooming shortly after I planted them in late May.

The flowers are a lovely color, and so far the plants are on their way to achieving their intended height.

‘Summer Jewel Lavender’ grows 18 to 24 inches tall in full sun to part-shade.

So far I’m sold, but we’ll see what they look like in mid-summer.

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A Bevy of Blooms: ‘Pandora’s Box’ Daylily

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Tomato Temptation

I made a last-minute trip to the garden center at the end of May and two tomato plants hitched a ride home with me. They were so cheap and so tall and healthy that I couldn’t resist them.

I’ve had issues in the past with chipmunks taking little bites out of all of the fruits, but I decided to give tomato growing another try.

‘Jet Star’ (72 days) and ‘Big Boy’ (78 days) are both indeterminate tomatoes with heavy yields.

My hope is that there will be so many tomatoes that the chipmunks won’t be able to keep up with them all!

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Trespassing Foxglove

Hmmm. This looks like a foxglove. I don’t remember ever planting a foxglove in any of my flowerbeds, so where it came from is a mystery.

It’s kind of a pretty little thing, so I’m going to let it grow and see what happens.

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Up Close and Personal: Zinnia ‘Peppermint Stick’

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Beautiful Bunting

I spotted just over 100 species of birds during a week-long birding extravaganza last month. That number is probably a little higher, but there were a few birds I was unable to identify. Even after more than 30 years of birding, there is still plenty to learn which is why I love the hobby so much.

My yard was quieter this year. Some warblers did eventually arrive, but by then the tree canopy had leafed out and it was much easier to identify the birds by ear than try to find them.

I only had a couple of orioles eating grape jelly at the feeders, and I didn’t see any male Scarlet Tanagers during this migration season.

Thankfully an Indigo Bunting dropped by for an afternoon which is always a thrill. That blue color is just stunning:

 

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My Odd Robin

An American Robin’s diet consists of insects and fruit. Well, most of the time. I have a robin that eats safflower seeds!

He has been coming to my feeder regularly for the last week.

Other southern Wisconsin birdwatchers have recently reported that they have robins eating suet and cracked sunflower seeds at their feeders. I’ve never heard of that before, and I’ve been birding for decades!

When I think of “robin food” the first thing that comes to mind is earthworms, not birdseed.

Humans eat a lot of unorthodox things (pork rinds, head cheese and those orange circus peanuts come to mind). Perhaps this is just a tired father that needs a snack!

 

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Double Dose: Daylily ‘Charles Johnston’

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Bewildered by My Hosta

The saga of my ‘Orange Marmalade’ hosta goes back almost 10 years now.

Every year this hosta has emerged in a different color combination starting with this one during its very first year in my yard:

As it aged, it lost more and more of that bright color. This year the plant is huge, but the leaves are a solid bluish-green color:

Interestingly, I peeked at its “undercarriage” and the younger leaves of this hosta are yet a different color!

 

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