July was a far better month for the garden than we had any right to expect. We had more rain than we're used to seeing, and the Japanese beetles were sparse this year.
The roses mostly took a break, but they did start putting on blooms toward the end of the month. Scentimental dropped all of his leaves, and I though he was going to just give up and die on me. After some anti-fungal spray and a little Espoma rose food, he bounced back, put on new leaves and even produced a couple of nice blooms.
The new David Austin roses I planted in April have really impressed me. I'd have been happy to just see them get established and survive the summer, but The Generous Gardener actually bloomed!
The Rose of Sharon that I planted last summer are still quite small, but they are healthy and they both produced a few nice blooms. One is bright pink, and the other has produced both pink and solid white blossoms on the same plant. Weird.
The pink lilies did something interesting. A few got really tall (like 5 feet!) before putting on blooms in June. The rest, which I really do think were from the same bag of bulbs, got not quite so tall, and bloomed in July. I'm not sure why, but I'll take it!
The purple clematis (no idea of name, I lost the tags) gave several rounds of blooms through May, June and July.
We had perfect weather, in many respects, for maximum blooms this year. I only had to water the flowers about 3 times this entire summer. That's a bit too much rain to avoid fungus problems with the roses, but everything else loved it. Especially the hydrangeas. Once those things start blooming, they just keep going! There are pink hydrangeas in the garden that opened in May, and still have the blooms on them! There are a few stinkers however, that didn't bloom at all this year. Since I lost the tags on many of them, we'll have to watch and see if maybe they just didn't have enough old wood to produce blooms, or if they might need some pruning.
The real stars of July were the dahlias though. I planted a couple of giant purple dahlias this spring, and they've really done well. People ask almost every day what those huge purple flowers by the birdbath are. I also planted a smaller, deep red dahlia this spring. The pink/lavender dahlias that I planted last spring, and which I forgot to dig up in the fall, wintered over and are still going strong. All of them have to be staked and tied up to keep the flower stalks from falling over and breaking off, but they're totally worth the trouble.
We extended the front flower beds and planted some hydrangeas, wiegela, snowball bush and spirea in the corner. I'll fill in with some mums this fall, and add some bulbs for spring. And of course, if/when I find good deals on flowers I love next summer, I'll add them too. You can build a beautiful garden for not a huge investment if you have some patience.