Flowers in July

Flowers in July

In July  wild and garden flowers are abundant. These photos were all taken during July 2020 and include 5 garden flowers and 5 wild flowers.

Agapanthus ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ is a cultivar, raised in the 1940s in a garden at Headbourne Worthy in Hampshire. There are  a large number of cultivars on sale. ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ came from South Africa in a mixed pack of seeds in the 1940s.


Achillea ‘Red Velvet’  is a cultivar from Holland. Yarrow Achillea millefollium is a wild flower native to Britain.Many cultivars of Achillea have been developed for use as garden perennials. A. millefolium (e.g.Red Velvet) flowers are red, pink and white.


Argentinian Vervain Verbena bonariensis is a tall hardy border perennial, native to South America. Bonariensis refers to Buenos Aires.  Bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers which secrete nectar at the base of the ovary. First grown in Britain in 1726

Alstroemeria ‘Saturne’ is a fully hardy hybrid from Peru. The hybrids were created from Peruvian (winter growing) and Brazilian (summer growing) plants. Flowers produce  nectar  to attract the main pollinators which are bumble bees 


Common Centaury Centaurium erythraea is a member of the Gentian family. It is a wildflower  found in grassy places in England such as The Chilterns.

The Common Toadflax Linaria vulgaris is a wild flower native to Britain commonly found in fields, hedge banks and waste places

Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea is a common grassland wild flower toxic to horses.

Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata is a native wild flower found in chalk grasslands in Britain and temperate Eurasia. 

Dark Mullein Verbascum nigrum  is a native wild flower found growing on chalky soil. It is common in Southern England and also found across Europe to Siberia.

Bear’s Breeches Acanthus mollis is an introduced species that grows wild in Cornwall but is planted in many gardens. 



Crocosmia, also known as Montbretia, are widely cultivated as perennial garden plants. There are over 400 varieties. ‘Lucifer’, shown below is an Alan Bloom hybrid. Crocosmia is a genus of about 7 species of  plants found in grasslands in South Africa.  They are protandrous with pollen released by anthers a few days before stigmas become receptive. Nectar is secreted by nectaries located in the wall of the ovary. They are pollinated by nectar-seeking sunbirds in South Africa but in the UK they attract long-tongued hoverflies searching for nectar. Flies have good colour vision but bees would not be attracted to a red flower.

crocosmia flowers

Individual tubular flowers are on long arching racemes opening from the base progressively. The green ovary is at the base of the flower just where it joins the brown stem.

crocosmia flowers close-up

The plant is a member of the Iris family which includes 2000 species in two main sub-families Crocoideae (Crocus, Crocosmia, Gladiolus and Freesia) and Iridoideae (Iris and Sisyrinchium).  All flowers in this family have only 3 stamens and one style which is usually 3-branched. 

crocosmia in a garden

The plant is a spectacular garden plant in Britain. It grows from corms, which are underground storage organs. New corms form annually and may split off  so the plant can spread and become invasive.

crocosmia flower

An individual flower  with most of the petals removed, showing the 3 stamens  with vertically opening anthers and  the 3-branched style

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

The Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera flowers in June and July. It is often difficult to find but unmistakable when seen. It is at the northern end of its range, which extends throughout central and southern Europe where it is pollinated by the Longhorn bee Eucera longicornis. The orchid is a sexual mimic – it has the appearance and smell of a female longhorn bee – but in Britain, since this bee is rare, the orchid self-pollinates. The bee orchid is common in southern and eastern Britain on lime. 


bee orchid flower

In the orchid family pollen is transferred to pollinators in packages known as pollinia which stick to the head or proboscis of the bee and are carried whole to another flower. The two yellow pollinia are located just below the green hood  and one can be seen in this photo on the end of a long yellow stalk. Darwin was the first to recognise that in Britain self-pollination was almost certain to occur because the stalks that support the pollinia were weak and allowed the pollinia to droop slowly over the sticky stigma below. If a suitable pollinator does not arrive, eventually the pollinia will stick to the female stigma and self-pollination will occur.

bee orchid flower

The flower of the orchid looks like a female bee and it sends out pheromones that smell like a female bee. When the male lands on what it thinks is the body of the bee the two pollinia (which can be seen just below the green hood)  stick to its head and as the bee flies off are carried to another flower.

bee orchid
The orchid is short, from 15 to 45cm tall and has 2 to 5 flowers arranged in a spike.
bee orchid flowers

Since Darwin, considerable research has revealed that not only does the orchid look like a bee, it also emits species-specific pheromones that mimic the  female Longhorn bee.