In my humble opinion one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden. If it rains the enormous blooms hang to the ground. In a heat wave the flowers only last a few short days. But what a glorious show they give when the conditions are right. Definately worth making a space at the back of the flower bed or set apart as a single breathtaking specimen.
These gorgeous bushes were one of the few plants on the property worth keeping when we moved here 3 years ago. The poor things were being choked out by landscape fabric and rock. I went around each one, pulled the 2" rocks back & cut away the landscape fabric. Then I created some planter boxes around their bases with some leftover cut rock from the walls of our koi pond we built.
Next I spread a nice layer of composted manure around each one. I suspect they have never been fed since they were planted. How could they have with all that rock and landscape fabric? And finally, I layed down 2 layers of newspaper and covered it all with some cedar mulch.
I detest rock used as mulch in the garden. It's so hard to keep weeded and clean and the fabric beneath always breaks down after a few short years, making an even bigger mess. And then there's the escapies. The rocks that somehow make their way into the lawn for the lawn mower to hit. My first project, after painting, when we moved into this house was to rake and shovel all that rock around the pool out of there and replace it with mulch. Well, it only took me a day to realize that I was definately not up to the task. I also realized that replacing it with mulch would create a real mess in the pool on windy days. So............... rock it is.
Don't forget, you don't have to be outside to enjoy them. They also make great cut flowers. Today is 90+ degree's and a thunderstorm is forecasted for later. So, when I got up, I went out and cut a bunch. A vase for my mother, a vase for a cousin recovering for surgery, and a vase just for me.