I keep wondering if this summer is going to be the second in a row of our new “normal” summers here in the PNW. Everyone agrees that we’re more than a month ahead of schedule for heat loving plants. And some of the usual spring bloomers came and went pretty fast. Our summer started back in May and my garden and I are confused. Where is our rain?
I usually cut lavender in July when it’s in tight bud but this year some of the lavender already has wide open flowers, not the best time to cut it if you want to use them for decoration like wands. It’s much better to cut lavender when it’s still in closed bud. Evidently there are early, midseason and late blooming lavenders so I still have some in tight bud if I get ambitious. I have learned to hang the tight budded ones upside down for a few days to keep the stem and flower spikes straight. I have discovered a good use for the lavender stems that are in full bloom. I strip the wide open flowers from the stems, put the flowers on a newspaper for a few days to dry. Then I put the dry lavender flowers in a pillowcase and tie it off. Leave plenty of room for the lavender to be tossed around because you now have a new dryer sheet that will last for months. And your clothes smell really fresh. I leave it in the dryer.
If there was one annual that I wish more people would find and grow, it’s Salpiglossis. I started growing it a few years ago because of a picture I saw on a package of Ed Hume Seeds. It’s also called Stained Glass Flower and Painted Tongue. The flowers look like rich velvet and come in every color including kiwi green. I only saw that once and I have a witness. I don’t see Salpiglossis for sale everywhere but it is possible to find the plants. You just won’t find flats and flats of them. Do a search online and look at all the crazy colors. Mine were growing next to a lupine that was thick with gray adult aphids. The Salpiglossis wasn’t bothered. I brought it in as a cut flower and it still looks fresh after 4 days.
Salpiglossis plants are pretty easy to grow from seed. They should be started inside in early March. We started them in April, a little late. But because of the early spring heat, the seed grown ones are ready to bloom. They’re just a couple of weeks behind the plants I bought. They are seriously beautiful annuals. I’m beginning to like annuals again. Maybe it’s some kind of horticultural progression…(or regression).