Official TEG Poll: Which is your favorite Summer Flower to plant?

Official TEG Poll: Which is your favorite Summer Flower to plant?

  • Roses

    Votes: 5 21.7%
  • Crape Myrtle

    Votes: 2 8.7%
  • Bottle Brush

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Vitex

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Gardenia

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Abelia / Chinese Abelia

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Angel Trumpet

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Smoke Bush

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Chinese Hibiscus

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • Others (please specify)

    Votes: 18 78.3%

  • Total voters
    23

Zeedman

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Cleome, sunflowers, and "Zebrina" mallow. I introduced the cleome & Zebrina to my vegetable garden hoping they would naturalize - which they did. They fill in dead spaces, and as long as they are out of the way, I let them grow. Cleome attracts beneficial wasps, and the Zebrina is an OUTSTANDING bee plant. The sunflowers are from a nearby bird feeder, several pop up on their own each year.
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Several edibles volunteer every year as well; tomatillo, litchi tomato, and martynia. I let a few of each grow every year. The litchi tomato is beautiful in bloom. A little chaos in the garden helps to soften my obsession with straight lines. :D

And while I am primarily a vegetable gardener, I do love the tiger lilies that came with my home when I bought it. They have multiplied many times over since then, almost becoming a weed... but then, I have a soft spot for pretty weeds.
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Zeedman

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Wikipedia has confused me, @Zeedman .

Is Zebrina a Malva? Like hollyhocks?

Is it a groundcover?

Steve
@digitS' , yes, they are Malva sylvestris. It is a very upright plant; some of them reached 6' tall last year. They bloom early, and continue until killed by freezing weather. Mine generally survive & continue blooming even after the first few frosts; they are one of the few plants still blooming at that point, and one that the bees appreciate. In milder climates, Zebrina has been reported to be perennial.

I first saw Zebrina during a visit to SSE's Heritage Farm about 10 years ago, and was impressed by the amount of bee activity. Like all mallows, it is a rich pollen source... there were numerous bee species working the flowers. I introduced it into my vegetable garden for that reason, and generally have 100+ plants interspersed throughout the gardens.

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I found out this year that it has another useful trait - as a trap crop for Japanese beetles. They have been moving into my area, but they are most attracted to soybeans, and to Zebrina. During peak population, I went out with a spray bottle of soap solution once a day (twice when numbers high), and killed any I found. Nothing else was attacked, except for a few beetles at the very top of the pole beans.
 

Smart Red

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I was just about to mention that the Japanese Beetles love, love, love my malva. That means they seldom look as lovely as they should. But, on the other hand, they are great at spreading hither and yon.
 

flowerbug

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@digitS' , yes, they are Malva sylvestris. It is a very upright plant;
...
I found out this year that it has another useful trait - as a trap crop for Japanese beetles. They have been moving into my area, but they are most attracted to soybeans, and to Zebrina. During peak population, I went out with a spray bottle of soap solution once a day (twice when numbers high), and killed any I found. Nothing else was attacked, except for a few beetles at the very top of the pole beans.

i've never looked them up before, as i've just thought they were a geranium. we have a light colored one like the one you have pictured and a darker one where the white is a pinkish purple.

like hollyhocks, they get everywhere and can be hard to remove from edges and in between rocks. they can drop a lot of seeds and the chipmunks/mice/etc move them around.

another crop the japanese beetles adore is grapes. the wild grape vines for the past several years i've been able to collect japanese beetles in the early morning (i just take a container will a little lightly soapy water in it and knock them off the leaves right into the container). after they are dead i toss them out in the pathways so that the birds can eat them. maybe it will train them to eat them right off the plants. :) something does eat them...
 
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so lucky

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Hmm. I don't see many Japanese Beetles on my grapes, but they sure love the pole beans. And roses.
I have never liked malva much, but I may be liking them more now. My mom called them dwarf hollyhocks. I have only seen them in that light with purple color. I could stand a few in my garden, I think!
 

flowerbug

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@flowerbug, do you have chickens? Because chickens love Japanese Beetles.

no, i only keep the worm farm for pets. :) i don't want any outdoor animals if i can help it (too many issues with predators/wild animals around here) plus Mom isn't into animals at all. she is ok with the worms.
 

digitS'

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@so lucky , what about Lavatera?

Those are somewhat different from Hollyhocks. They can be so soft, a breeze moves the petals.

I used to have either those or Cosmos amongst the dahlias when a dahlia failed to emerge. Maybe I have had better luck with the dahlias in recent years and less of a feeling of need for "insurance." I don't really know what the insects think of Lavatera ...

Steve
 
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