What's Blooming in July

Welcome to the Member Ideas area! This community feature is where our members can post their own ideas. These posts are unedited and not necessarily endorsed by the National Gardening Association.
Posted by @LarryR on
This month's article is devoted exclusively to our winners. That's right, plural. There are three of them! Come on in, check them out, and see what photos they've chosen for their awards. At left is a photo of this month's mystery flower.

Dutchlady1 (Hetty)


How did you come to be a gardener? 

Like you I believe people are born as gardeners, and it just takes a small something to awaken that trait or talent. In my case, a plant I was given in school when I was very young, and told to grow it for a semester and then it would be evaluated, made me take up the gauntlet. It was a Coleus and I won second prize, incidentally!

How long have you been gardening?

As you see from my previous answer, it seems - all my life. It's just gotten 'serious' - or 'out of hand' as some people might say - in the past ten years.


Hetty is passionate about Plumeria. This variety, 'Henriette,' was named for her.


Do you have a favorite flower?

PlumeriaMy plumeria are my pride and joy, and having one named for me was VERY special!

Do you grow vegetables as well?

I don't (I suppose a few herbs don't count), but mostly because I lack sufficient space to do it right.

If you had a chance to give just one piece of advice to a beginning gardener, what would it be?

Look around to see what other people in your area are growing. Those are likely to be the plants that will do well for you too.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I read voraciously and have done so since very young. I am miserable if I don't have a book.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about you?

I work at the Naples Botanical Garden, which is pretty much a dream job for someone who likes gardening!

krancmm (Monica)

How did you come to be a gardener?

I grew up in very urban Detroit, in a family totally disinterested in gardening. I didn't wake up one morning thinking "I want to garden". No epiphany, it just gradually happened.

How long have you been gardening?

40+ years - in Minnesota, Texas, Morocco, Honduras, Romania, Tasmania.

(I asked Monica about gardening in such exotic places.  Here is her response:

There's really no way to talk briefly about gardening in other locations. Minnesota or Texas Gulf Coast gardening is just as "exotic" as Moroccan. Each location has its own soil, climate, limitations and opportunities that need to be learned and worked with...exciting but often frustrating.

I gave a talk to a newcomers' club here, 8 miles inland from the Gulf Coast. Most of the attendees were from England or Michigan. As we discussed growing seasons and plants that would or wouldn't prosper, one English woman exclaimed, "I've gardened for years and thought I knew how to garden, but I feel like a rank beginner". I knew exactly what she meant as I'd also been a "rank beginner" several times.)

Thumb of 2012-07-07/krancmm/a9ed0c

Monica chose this beautiful mix of leaves with contrasting shapes, textures, and colors.


Do you have a favorite flower?

My favorite flower changes as I move through a garden at a given moment in time.

Do you grow vegetables as well?

The usual suspects (tomatoes, eggplant, melons, beans, winter brassicas and chard), a few herbs

If you had a chance to give just one piece of advice to a beginning gardener, what would it be?

Learn about your soil, a fascinating living and chemical complex that's not there to just anchor plants.

Why did you choose this particular photo for publication?

It has no flowers. I'm particularly interested in foliage textures, colors and combinations.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Foreign travel, Neolithic archaeology, interior design, acquiring knowledge about almost everything and synthesizing information

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about you?

I like to give advice whether people want it or not. Whistling

threegardeners (Lee Anne)

How did you come to be a gardener?

I learned to garden as soon as I could walk. I helped my Grandfather, who lived next door, he had huge gardens. It was my job to help him plant his seeds; later I weeded. He had grow lights in his basement and he started his Geraniums down there.

How long have you been gardening?
I've been gardening for almost 45 years. *Blush*

Lee Anne says: "I love the way the light is in this photo. It was an accidental mix of plants that went well together."  In the foreground is a rudbeckia and in the background left are daylily blossoms.

Do you have a favorite flower?

All flowers are my favourite.

Do you grow vegetables as well?

Yes! I grow vegetables as well. Before I had a proper veggie garden I mixed my tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc., in with my perennials.

If you had a chance to give just one piece of advice to a beginning gardener, what would it be?

Don't get all caught up in what other people, gardening books, etc. tell you, just do what makes your heart happy. There are no hard fast rules in gardening. If you like how it looks, that's all that matters.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Houseplants are my other hobby. I have over 150 of them.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about you?

I also crochet a lot in the winter.



August 8, 2012

You'll find this blossom on a very common garden plant.  Flowers in this well-known genus can be single or double, white, lavender, or striped.

Be sure to click on photo to enlarge.


Scroll down to the forum at the end of this article.  Click on the thread, "July Contest Entries."  (The thread may not appear immediately after the article is published.  If there is no thread by that name, please start one and name it "July Contest Entries" if you'd like to identify the mystery flower.)  Enter the name of the plant pictured at left.  This time, only the genus name is required.  The winner gets to select a photo of a blooming plant from her/his garden, to be published in next month's What's Blooming article, along with a brief interview.

Check back often to see if the bloom has been identified.  If readers are having difficulty, I may provide a hint.



Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, owned by Larry and Wilma Rettig, South Amana, Iowa, has been featured in local and national publications, on the Internet, and is listed with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in its Archives of American Gardens.  Larry and Wilma grow over 300 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Since 1986, they have maintained a seed bank that preserves vegetable varieties brought from Germany to the Amana Villages during the 1850s.


Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
July Contest Entries by LarryR Jul 23, 2012 11:40 AM 4
We have a winner! by LarryR Jul 23, 2012 10:02 AM 0
Great Photos!! by RobertB Jul 23, 2012 10:01 AM 3

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