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Flowers beautify June-July gardens with array of colors

By Erwin Goldstein For the Norwich Bulletin
Many beautiful flowers liven June and July gardens. Some that do nicely for me are lupine, columbine, bee balm, foxglove and delphinium.

Lupines flower nicely through June. Their 3- to 5-foot stalks graced with richly colored blossoms are beautiful. Then, when flowering ceases in July, I cut their stalks down but leave the foliage on the 18-inch tall plants. Lupines do best in full sun. They'll grow in half-day sun but full sun suits them best.

Lupines decline after three or four years, but new ones can be started from seed. As they're legumes, dust your seeds with innoculent, so new plants will take nitrogen from the air for their food, conserving nitrogen in the soil.

Lupine seed germination isn't outstanding. Perhaps only half the seeds in a packet will germinate. One way to enhance lupine germination is to place seeds in the freezer for two days. Then soak them in warm water for 24 hours before planting. Lupines can be found in white, red, yellow, orange and, most popular, blue.

Columbine is another June-July beauty. Its blossoms, with long, unique spurs, come in many colors. Some blossom in two colors. Also, columbine foliage is appealing. Columbine grows 3 to 4 feet tall and hummingbirds enjoy them.

Also, there are dwarf varieties. Columbines bloom for about three years before declining. But they frequently self sow. Mine do. As columbine seeds require light to germinate, don't cover them. Bee balm is an easily grown beauty, attracting both bees and hummingbirds. It begins to bloom in June and flowers until August. Then if we cut plants back after August bloom, they blossom again in autumn. Provide either full- or half-day sun and plenty of air movement. Air flow decreases the chance of mildew. Blossoms come in red, white and purple.

Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall, so provide adequate room. Pinch their tips when plants are 4 inches tall to stimulate branching. We can grow bee balm from seed. Also, new plants can be produced through divisions made in spring, or by propagating stem cuttings in midsummer.

Foxglove is a longtime favorite. Plants climb 4 to 5 feet and get 12 to 18 inches across. They do best in full sun, but can get by with half-day sun. The flower blossoms in white, yellow, pink and purple. Read more.

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