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!
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