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Mid-June flower power

By Penny Stine

Growing lots of flowers is relatively new to me, but seeing them bloom makes me happy, so I decided to share the joy. I’ll pass on a few tips while I’m at it.



This is a penstemon (I think). It’s a perennial, so it will get larger every year. There are a bunch of different types of penstemon and they don’t look alike at all. This one has gotten quite large, and has reddish leaves so it adds color and interest even when it’s not blooming.


I think both of these are also penstemon. 

I planted them too close together. I’ve seen the red one take up a three-foot square space in the yards of people who know what they’re doing and they’re quite beautiful.









I love the snapdragons in my veggie garden. I’ve read that you can cut them back to encourage blooming in the fall or you can let them dry and produce seeds where they stand. I’m hoping they reseed, because I want them back next year.










Speaking of reseeding, this is borage. I’ve heard that once you plant it, you can never get rid of it. I planted it last year and it came back this year. It will get unruly by the season’s end. The flowers are edible and taste slightly of cucumbers. An interesting addition to salads.






This is bellflower. It’s a biennial that I started last year. It didn’t bloom last year, and now I’m trying to figure out how to make it act like a perennial, because I want it back next year.




Coreopsis. Easy to grow, gets bigger every year, blooms for a long time. It doesn't get a lot of water where it's planted, and it doesn't seem to mind. A great addition to the raspberry patch.




The official name for this is gaillardia, but it’s also known as blanketflower. I started a bunch from seed last year and was disappointed when they didn’t get very big, nor did they bloom. This year has been a pleasant surprise because I’m finding the plants in a couple of places that I’d forgotten I put them. They should bloom all summer with very little help from me, but these two will be overshadowed by the tomatillo plant next to them by August or September. 



Starting perennials from seed is great when you're on a budget and you've got enough patience to wait a year or two to see them in their full glory. It can be tricky if you don't know how big a plant has the potential to grow, so perhaps my flower power tutorial has been helpful. I'll do a July update when later season specimens start to bloom. 


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