At Its Peak - Bloom

Posted 7/07/08
by Jane Kashlak

For every garden, there is a time when the stars and planets align.

It's the garden's peak bloom - that time of year when more flowers are blooming than at any other time of the year.

Some gardens peak in the spring, Others peak in the fall.

Our garden starts bursting into serious bloom in June and peaks reliably every year on the 4th of July. You could set your firecrackers by it.

Right now, the daylilies and lavender from June are still going strong. Pink and red salvia from May are putting on their last decent show before the heat sets in.

Summer Hydrangeas are at their peak, as are July stalwarts like purple coneflower and purple verbena. You might even catch some early summer blooming annuals like zinnias.

Since gardeners do tend to be a bit obsessive, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden actually has a guide for calculating the precise moment of peak bloom. Although the guide is for individual plants, you can apply it an entire garden:

  • If you have buds, but no petals, that's called Pre-Bloom
  • Once flowers begin to open, that's called First Bloom.
  • When there are beautiful flowers, covering the entire plant, that's Peak Bloom
  • When most flowers or petals have fallen off, and the show is just about over, that's Post Peak.

We're now in a race against time.

Our Peak Bloom period is on a downward slope, fast heading into the dreaded Post Peak period.

Meanwhile, Pat Sutton's Butterfly Garden Tour is heading our way, set to visit our yard Friday, July 11.

(Click here for more info on attending the garden tour.)

I'm not sure the lavender will last that long. And I know the autumn sage is already in Post Peak, at least until fall.

We can count on the coneflowers and the hollyhocks, but what about the early daylilies?

If you want to see what's blooming in our garden this weekend, sign up for Pat's tour. Call the Nature Center of Cape May (609) 898-8848. If you're a really obsessive gardener or you just like looking into other people's backyards, sign up for the tours on all three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We'll be busy weeding and mulching until the big day, hoping against hope that the daylilies squeeze out just a few more flowers.

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