Monday, August 11, 2014

What's Going On in August

I water and water.

I even connected all the hoses and went out in the meadow to water the newer saplings. I get discouraged when there is no rain for weeks and I have to spend entire days watering. . . . it just eats up summer days with a tedious chore, and nothing looks that great despite my efforts.

Thankfully the days have been warm but not terribly hot and the nights are still downright chilly, so heat stress is not adding to the garden's woes.

Clethra is flowering and the spicy fragrance is wonderful on the breeze. I have to keep the clethra watered, they are not planted in a very wet area and they are moisture loving plants. At least it's nice watering them and inhaling!

Crocosmias are done blooming -- but I found one growing in the old compost pile. I have had such a hard time getting a stand of red 'Lucifer' going, and now there's one impudently blooming away in the waste area.

Same thing with the cardinal flower. I found one out in the meadow, a bright red spike peeking up in the weeds. I can't get lobelia cardinalis to spread or even to come back much in the garden. This is all that will grow for me in the garden, standing next to the steely blue globe spruce.

I finally found a shady enough spot for several bergenia plants, but these pigsqueaks have never really bulked up much. They always look awful in spring. This patch looks okay now, though. The bunchberry did not come back under the Japanese maple at all, so the pigsqueaks have no competition and are doing a little better.

Pale lavender 'Jim Crockett' boltonias are blooming and flopping, next to a small orange stand of 'Marmalade' coreopsis. I've never been able to get coreopsis to come back after winter, so maybe I'll dig these up and put them in pots to spend the winter in the garage. The yellow 'Gleam' nasturtiums are spreading along the gravel.

I didn't think I'd like the pale orange-tan color of the 'Marmalade' coreopsis, but I do, so I will try to save them.

I always like the rich velvety color of the 'Choca mocha' cosmos, but this year I stuck individual plants in among other things along the fronts of several borders. They don't really show up like that. Last year I had three bunched together and Choca mocha was much more impactful in a big group.

'Blue Chip' dwarf buddleias came in finally. They really are tidy little dwarf butterfly bushes. There are three, and each one is a different size. Butterfly bush is another plant that won't come back after winter for me. These did, but are uneven in size and flowering. There is only one really blooming well.

Geraniums are making a full, even display of tiny purple flowers all around the bend of the walk. This is Geranium wlassovianum. In other years they would be ratty looking by now, and past blooming. I would shear them and hope they'd come back in time to make a nice foliage display for fall -- they turn jewel red in a good year. But this is mid August and they are still blooming nicely, not ready to be cut back yet.

Tall phlox 'Nicky' makes a big punch of bright color in the Birch garden, but it's an odd shade of purple-pink. Many gardeners disdain magenta in the garden, and I can see why. But from afar it pops.

And of course the black eyed Susans are in their summer glory in August.

It's a delight to walk around the garden on these cool August mornings. There is enough moisture in the air to make everything slightly dewy until the relentless sun is up high and every plant thirsts for a good drink. We need rain.


  1. Your geranium path is gorgeous!! And those cosmos took my breath away! So much beauty happening in your space lady now my only wish is that it rains for you soon!!!

  2. Nice to see your garden again Laurrie. I miss my orange coreopsis that met its demise through the voles. My clethra is blooming now too. I like when the summers aren't too dry so they can be enjoyed more. Lobelia is a flower that will bloom and then seed around but not long lived unfortunately. I have to add more to my garden.