Friday, August 15

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: August 2008

On the 15th of each month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day so we can all show off the flowers in our gardens. It's an excuse for lazy gardeners like me to keep better records of what's going on in the yard... and I must say that I'm kind of surprised at the dearth of flowers in my yard in August!

Last year, I cut down the flower stalks of these 'Othello' ligularia before they could bloom because I don't particularly care for the flower color. Good thing I left them alone this year so they could brighten up this view:


I've also noticed that while the butterflies ignore the fennels and the asclepias that I've planted specifically for them, I will find the occasional monarch having breakfast on the ligularia. That's as good of a reason to let them bloom as any!

On the sunnier side of the bed above, a self-sown 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth is the "thriller" of this vignette as it towers above little bluestem and 'Ichiban' eggplants:


These big bloomers are the exception rather than the rule in my August garden, however. Far smaller than the above, and a much more pleasing (to me) shade of orange than the ligularia flowers, is the common butterfly weed, asclepias tuberosa:


A tiny iceplant bloom, not much larger than a quarter, turns its face to the sun at the driveway's edge:


The fragrant, purple blooms of grey creeping germander, teucrium aroanium, are almost finished:


While the pretty (but soon to be cut down) flowers on my basil are just starting. It seems to me that some of these purple-leaf basils, along with the thai basils, don't lose their flavor as much when they start to flower... so while I'm vigilant about pinching back my 'Genovese,' I'm much more lax with these 'Opal Purple' basils:


This is the flower that really breaks my heart, though:


That is my bolting 'Florence' fennel, shown against a backdrop of 'Rotstrahlbusch' switchgrass. 'Florence' is a bulb fennel, and if it doesn't get enough moisture it will bolt on you very quickly. I thought that I had been doing a good job of keeping it watered, but... apparently not! I'm going to have to try to save seed and start a few more of these for myself next year.

In the frontyard garden, even less seems to be in bloom. The flower colors on the seedlings from last year's snapdragons continue to surprise me:


'Bonfire' begonia is one of the few plants that has kept the heat kicked up throughout the entire summer, flower-wise. I think that I will be using more of this pretty annual next year:


This felis catus var. neighboricus is a wondering transplant between a few of the houses along my street. He usually naps beneath my Japanese maple, hidden among the silvery lamium there. I think that this is a nice spot for him, though, where his silvery fur picks up the overlay on the 'Ivory Prince' hellebores:


His eyes are a good color echo for the nearby 'Walker's Low' catmint, and the newly blue echinops ritro flower, too:


The rest of my front yard bloomers are mostly done putting on their shows, but the Japanese anemones are in bud and a few Spanish foxgloves and lavender are about to rebloom. I've tried to choose plants for the front yard that look interesting when their flowers are spent, too. Seed stalks of the foxgloves that I didn't cut back, and the browning flowerheads of this oakleaf hydrangea are among those choices:


By and large, though, the front yard garden is more about foliage and texture than it is about blooms. (So much so that I'm working on a separate post about it.) While I work on that, I'll sign off with a complete list of blooms in the garden for August 2008. Make sure to check out Carol's August Bloom Day post for links to what's growing and blooming in gardens around the world!

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Houseplants and Annuals: Crown of thorns, 'Bonfire' begonia, coleus caninus, various snapdragons, various coleus, 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, 'Yubi Red' and reseeded 'Banana Yellow' portulaca

Herbs and veggies: Greek oregano, 'Opal Purple' basil, various peppers, 'Ichiban' eggplant, bush cucumbers (blooming in spite of powdery mildew!), horehound

Perennials, Grasses, Vines and Shrubs: echinops ritro, 'Rotstrahlbusch' panicum virgatum, 'Othello' ligularia, 'Hab Gray' sedum, 'Caradonna' salvia, 'Summerwine' achillea, lonicera sempervirens, Northern sea oats, various heuchera, two 'Pine Knot Strain' hellebores that decided to rebloom in July for some reason, Russian sage, hardy blue plumbago, 'Efanthia' euphorbia, 'Merlot' echinacea, 'Black Watchman' hollyhock

Great Seedheads/Spent Flowers: oakleaf hydrangea, atriplex hortensis var. rubra, allium sphaerocephalon

In bud: Japanese anemones, 'Matrona' sedum, verbena bonariensis
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19 comments:

Gail said...

Lovely! Thank you for identifying the tall red plant as amaranth! It is good looking. How is Ivory Prince hellebore in your garden? I just added him this past spring, it's always iffy for me to spring plant..it get dry and hot very fast here in Nashville!

I grow bronze fennel and it seeds itself about everywhere...but you grow it, too, if I remember a few posts back? So far not one caterpillar or maybe the birds are too quick to capture them!

Well thank you for letting me ghost post on your comments section;->sorry if I went on and on!

I enjoyed all your blooms and the commentary that accompanied the photos!

Gail

ICQB said...

I love the kitty that naps in your garden!

Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures!

Nan Ondra said...

A "dearth of flowers," Kim? It doesn't appear that way, based on your photos and lists! That little teucrium is very cute, and the ligularia/miscanthus combo is a beauty. I think my favorite is the kitty combo, though! I can imagine how lovely he would look with lamium. Oh, wait, I have another favorite: the fennel with the switch grass. I can understand why you'd be disappointed at missing your harvest, but it's a beautiful pairing.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Hi Kim, I think, considering how hot it's been there and how little rain, your garden has a lot of blooms. I am amazed actually. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your kitty bloom is a beaut. I like Othello too. I have invited him to my garden several times but he doesn't stick around very long. Your garden as a whole looks great.
With all that color in the foilage who needs blooms???

Annie in Austin said...

You have a lot going on Kim - it looks great for August. The Swallowtails seem to like my green fennel - guess you can snip the leaves for seasoning but it doesn't make bulbs - has reseeded in a few places.

Kim, at Pam/Digging you mentioned Totally Tempted cuphea - I have two other varieties of batface cuphea that have survived and bloomed, but like yours, my TT is Toast.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Fern said...

I love the Bonfire Begonia!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Gail, I went on and on, as you say, in return earlier today in comments on your bloom day post. Thank you for letting me! :)

(And for all of you who wonder, 'Ivory Prince' gets raves from me in regards to toughness and beauty!)

ICQB, thanks for stopping by! I love that he naps in my garden, too, but it makes for interesting times when the dog discovers his presence... lol.

Nan, it certainly feels like a dearth of flowers in comparison! *smile* I love that little teucrium, and it's a nice step-up, height-wise, from the woolly thyme that otherwise cascades over those stones. The fennel/switchgrass combo is very nice, isn't it? But, darn it, I have bronze fennel just behind the switchgrass, so I get to see that anyway. lol.

Dee @ reddirtramblings, thanks--you know, you're right, it has been pretty hot (up until the last week or so) and there definitely hasn't been much rain. That makes me feel a bit better! :)

Greenbow Lisa, I think that you mentioned that about Othello before... if I could figure out how to send you some of him (maybe next year when he's just breaking dormancy?) I would happily do so. I have a few more of 'Othello' than I really need, to be honest.

Annie in Austin, thanks for weighing in on the Totally Tempted. Sorry to hear that it's now Totally Toast, but that makes me feel a lot better--I've been wondering what on earth I could've done to kill such a tough customer!

The first year I was here, I had multiple swallowtail (I think) cats on each plant in my little stand of bronze fennels, but they haven't seemed to like it since. I like to pick the leaves to eat while I'm walking around in the garden, but, yeah... I did really want to experiment with the bulb on this one. :)

Fern, thanks! So do I--definitely am using more 'Bonfire' next year!

Frances, said...

HI Kim, your garden looks beautiful with foliage and colorful flowers. My own garden is not a colorful as the photos would suggest. Foliage is key! That is a gorgeous kitty, so nice that he blends so well with your plantings. Good news on Ivory Prince, I have tons of hellebores, but the foliage is blah, IP looks like he has some pizzazz to his leaves. The teucrium looks like it could live in my xeric spot as a low edger, lovely. BTW, my golden splendor lily seed pods are gigantic but no signs of opening to spill the contents. Did you get any seedpods on your lilies? Just asking. ;->

Pam/Digging said...

Though we all love flowers, foliage is really where it's at, right? I look forward to that post, but meanwhile your few blooms do look pretty. That amaranth is so much fun.

Carol said...

Thanks for sharing your blooms again! Your garden always has great combos.

On digging and dividing Surprise Lilies (Resurrection Lilies), I dug up the bulbs in mid-September last year and immediately replanted them in new locations. They did well, though there was one I didn't get deep enough and it heaved out of the ground during the winter, so be sure and plant them nice and deep. You should mark where the blooms are in your grandmother's garden now so you can find the bulbs later.

I've also successfully transplanted them in the spring, by digging up the foliage and bulb.

Good luck!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Frances, yes, the foliage on 'Ivory Prince' is very nice. There are a few similar-foliaged ones that I've seen in the newest Plant Delights catalog, with names like h. ericsmithii and h. nigercors. The leaves are shorter, and darker green, some with white or silver overlays... I wonder if they seem to hold up better and look nicer because they're so short? In any case, it definitely can handle some dry conditions, based on where it is in my garden!

My seedpods are still small, and showing no signs of change right at the moment. (But then, they don't look like they're dying or duds, either!) I'll have to send you a picture today to see what you think.

Pam/Digging, that's true! Although I do think that I need a few more annual flowers in the back, if for no other reason than to keep attracting the bees to pollinate my veggies. *grin*

Carol, thank you for the information on the Surprise LIlies. I think that I will bring some markers home with me this coming weekend, and mark where the bulbs are. Then maybe next month I can make it home again and dig them up! But it's nice to know that I can dig them up in the spring, foliage and all, as a fallback...

lisa said...

I'm digging that begonia! Looks like something hummingbirds would enjoy...I need to find one next year. You had a really nice Bloom Day!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Where's Coco? How could she let a CAT sleep her in garden? She must be losing it. I agree with your dislike of the color of the Ligularia blooms, but if the butterflies like them, who are we to argue?

Blackswamp_Girl said...

lisa, I think that I need to put up a hummingbird feeder next year. Between this, the pineapple sage, the native honeysuckle... the hummers really SHOULD like me, but they never seem to come around!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, lol! Well, Coco desperately wants to "meet" this kitty, but Kitty will have none of that. There's usually a pathetic display where the small grey cat disdainfully hisses at the respectfully tail-wagging, 90lb. dog... and then prances away. But she's never had a chance to meet him in the backyard where she can be offleash--only in the front yard. :)

Very good point about the butterflies and the ligularia. I guess I'll keep them!

joey said...

Lots of good stuff blooming, Kim. Enjoyed viewing 'the fruits of your labor', especially the veggies (which I have never grown). After a wonderfully wet spring and early summer, August leaves us water deprived, BIG time. I'm praying for rain (but not this weekend) ;)

MrBrownThumb said...

The flowers and plants are nice but that cat is stunning. I'd be tempted to keep it.

Kylee said...

I'm with MrBrownThumb. That cat is fabulous! I'd be feeding it and doing everything I could to entice it to stay in MY garden!

Lovely goings-on in your garden, Kim, as usual. I'm glad to hear you say you had cut down the blooms on Ligularia, because the blooms on that are exactly why I've never purchased it. I love the leaves and for some dumb reason I've never thought that I could just cut the blooms off!

Your Verbena bonariensis isn't blooming yet? Mine has been blooming for several weeks now. I winter sowed it last winter. I really love it!

Hope to see you this weekend! :-)

Leslie said...

I'm finally visiting bloom day posts...better late than never? In any case..thanks for the info on watering bulbing fennel. I wonder if that explains my inability to get it to bulb up! I hate to pinch back the purple basil too...the flowers are prettier so I am tempted to leave them too.

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