Sunday, August 15, 2010

August GBBD: Deja Vu

It's time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the day each month when we show off what is blooming in our gardens.  I've noticed lately that there seem to be two distinct camps among garden bloggers--those that have the "I'm sick of the heat, and I don't feel like getting all sweaty and fighting mosquitoes in the garden, and I'm almost too unmotivated to blog" attitude, and those that have the "It may be hot, but look at these lovely blooms that thrive in heat, and aren't you glad it's not winter?" attitude.  I'm afraid I belong to the first category, but for today only I'm going to try to take the high road and look positively at what is blooming in spite of the heat, the lack of substantial rain, and the inattention of the lazy head gardener.

The purple coneflowers may be fading and looking rather tattered these days, but the Black-eyed Susans are still going strong in the butterfly garden, attracting all kinds of creatures.  It's hard to believe that these cheery faces didn't exist in my garden until last year.

The butterfly garden really is a garden of chaos this year.  So many plants re-seeded themselves, like this cosmos, that it was hard to weed until I knew for sure what each seedling was.  I pampered some very tall seedlings, as I racked my brain to think what they were, only to discover eventually that I had cultivated some fine examples of mare's tail, or horseweed.  Not a good thing.

The emerging leaves of 'Cosmic Orange' cosmos, from seed from Tina, were also originally mis-identified, but fortunately were left alone until their unmistakable blooms appeared.  These are also happy self-seeders, and the pollinators love them.

This is the first year for a successful planting of verbena bonariensis, but judging by how well they're doing this year, there should be a vigorous re-seeding of these next year as well, which makes me happy.

One plant that is not blooming is the Obedient plant.  I was really disappointed until I looked up information on this native plant and discovered that it doesn't bloom until late summer or fall.  I hope that's true, because I have a throng of these plants, all from one little plant that was knocked over by Sophie last summer before it ever had a chance to bloom.  With luck, maybe all of these will finally bloom in time for Wildflower Wednesday later these month.

What little energy I've had for gardening lately has been spent on the vegetable garden, where tomatoes are ripening so fast they need to be checked every day.  Often overlooked here, though, are the modest blooms of marigolds, planted to keep pests away and to camouflage the weeds that were sure to grow behind them.  These are either "Golden Guardian," a seed I purchased, or seeds from Frances in the seed swap this past winter, or maybe both . . .  Breezy mornings have made it difficult to photograph anything other than a single bloom held steady by the photographer.

Also in the vegetable garden, a lone hollyhock stands sentinel.  Two weeks ago I lamented the lack of hollyhocks this year, but several sprang up in unwanted places and were weeded out.  This one escaped the hoe, fortunately. Other than that strange cutout near the top, it's a perfect pink specimen.

I also lamented earlier the lack of tall zinnias that usually are the highlights of my August garden.  Still no sign of them, so these smaller, but floriferous 'Zahara Yellow' zinnias will have to do.  This is a bit of deja vu--I showed a similar photo of these in July, but hey, you've got to love any plant that blooms so long and does so well in spite of one of the most continuously hot summers in memory.

Also worth repeating is this photo of  'Lucky Lemon Creme' lantana, this time, though, with a new friend also enjoying it.  I've mentioned before that this has been a banner year for butterflies, with the number of species seen as amazing as the total number of butterflies.  While June saw flocks of Red Admirals, swallowtails and Buckeyes are the most numerous right now.  Buckeye sightings are usually rare in my garden, but this August dozens can be found in my garden.

I wish I could show you just one good photo of a plant I've been so happy with--Salvia 'Wendy's Wish.'  But every time I try to photograph it, my camera focuses on something else nearby, or a breeze sends the blooms waving in the air, both resulting in blurry photos.  This less than satisfactory photo will have to do for now.  Similar in color intensity to Salvia 'Black and Blue,' but hot pink as you can see, this plant has been so much more robust than 'Black and Blue' was for me last year.  It's definitely a keeper, but I'm afraid it's probably an annual in my zone 5 garden.  So I'm going to try to collect some seed; if not, I do hope the garden center stocks this again next year.

Also keepers are the two 'Radsunny Yellow' Knockout roses planted this year in the new lily bed.  Now that the Japanese beetles have diminished in number, they are putting out new blooms once again. 

Now here's a bloom I know I've never shown before.  Some people prefer to snip off the blooms of Lamb's Ears, but I think they're kind of cool.

Knowing that the daylily blooms would be a transitory show, I wanted to add some plants that would have all-season interest.  Lamb's Ears and silvery Artemisia, planted at one end of the lily bed, fit the bill perfectly. But the best part about these plants is not what you see, but what you feel.  It's hard to walk by these two without running your hand over their soft foliage.

Like a child with a new toy, I have given the most attention this year to the new lily bed.  The front garden, the first garden I planted, really needs a makeover and isn't very photogenic right now.  Nevertheless, the pollinators still are pleased with it, including this bumble enjoying the Russian Sage.

Watering has been a constant chore since early July, and about the only chore I've been diligent about.  As a result, most of the containers are still looking good, especially the ones in the shade.  This lantana, name forgotten, planted with a coleus and tri-color ipomoea vine would probably do better in full sun, but it still adds a bright spot in a shady area out front.

My favorite plant in the shady containers are the two Illumination Begonias I was thrilled to find this spring.  I found a yellow one like the one I had two years ago, but I couldn't resist also buying this Apricot Illumination.  The blooms start out a deep apricot, then turn to more of a lemony yellow as they mature.  This photo doesn't do it justice, but trust me, it's a beauty.  And every time I look at it, I will always think of Flydragon, who shared my love of Illumination begonias.  Though she lost her courageous battle with illness last year, her witty posts will always be remembered.

Another current favorite is the 'Limelight' hydrangea just coming into its own.  Planted in the fall of 2008, this plant has exceed my expectations, growing to nearly 4 feet tall this year and just as wide.  I wish I could get a decent photo of the whole plant, but this single blossom will have to do for today.

The shade garden is definitely feeling the effects of the continued heat and lack of rain.  The "sea of lamium" has dried up, and I think I may have lost a couple of heucheras.   Oh, sorry to slip into my negative mode there; I was going to stay positive today, wasn't I?  Well, then, let's just end by looking at these lovely hosta blooms.  Just when I thought the hostas were done blooming and ready to go into dormant mood, these suddenly appeared on what was labelled a 'Sum and Substance' (though with much darker green leaves than my known 'S and S').  Another hosta is also sporting some buds, so the shade garden still holds some surprises for the season. 

And best of all, the weather forecast is for a reprieve from the heat for the next few days--woo hoo!  Maybe I'll stop being the neglectful gardener and finally tidy up the garden this week.

To see what else is blooming in August across the country and around the world, be sure to visit our always motivated hostess, Carol of May Dreams Gardens for the monthly meeting of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.


  1. An excellent and very positive report. I hope we get some rains as it cools down this coming week. Don't keep it all in Illinois!

  2. Really like the lantana and Buckeyes picture. And I'll have to investigate the Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'.

  3. Hi Rose, love all your blooms. I fall into the first category but because I specifically plant lazy gardener plants that don't need too much water, I can also pretend I'm int he second category. :) Your obedient plant is right on schedule--mine looks exactly the same. I love it and it's bee magnet! It will also double in size in a year or two. :)

  4. Very large selection of plants. I like the simple combo of artemesia and lamb's ears. I agree that I am happy not to think of winter. I am from the snow-belt of Buffalo, here in Niagara Falls. I want summer to last as long as possible, even with the excessive heat this year.

  5. Beautiful photos of beautiful blooms there! I am yearning to add a 'limelight' to my gardens. Maybe this fall. Happy GBBD!

  6. Your blooms are looking mighty good Rose. Yes, it is indeed to be positive. A chore sometimes for sure. Obedient plant does indeed bloom later. A pretty light purple like phlox unless you have Miss Manners; which is white. That begonia is wonderful!

  7. Hi, Rose!
    Happy Bloom Day! Your flowers are lovely. They seem to be in a fine mood, in spite of the difficult weather. Hang in there, it will cool down soon. PS: I call mine the dis-obedient plant because of it's unruly ways with the flowers growing nearby.

  8. What an abundance of blooms! Artemisia is on of my favorites, and I love it with the lambs ear. 'Wendy's Wish' is a lovely color. And I'm definitely in that first gardener camp! It is nice to focus on the bright spots in the high-summer garden for a day...

  9. Rose.....despite the heatwave your gardens are full of blooms.
    It is amazing just how some plants cope with extreme conditions.
    I agree it is so hard to cope with gardening in the heat but I have to say I fall in the second category. We are, as we are.

    The buckeye is beautiful, how wonderful that you have so many.
    Your butterfly garden is obviously a magnet to them.

    My purple coneflower has just come into bloom.....I thought it had given up but it looks pretty good. Perhaps I will have them next year after all. As yours come to an end, mine start their display.

    Glad your pot plants are doing well. Beautiful that you remember a blogger, after she has passed away. I have found myself connected to so many people, and been touched by their lives.....blogging opens up another world.

    Hope things cool is windy here and the temperatures have dropped considerably. I don't mind....I gardened from 10.00 - 18.00 today, it was wonderful.

  10. aloha,

    boy for being in the first category, it doesn't show on your many beautiful blooms today, your garden looks great

    i also love your double begonias, they are a knockout!

  11. What beautiful flowers Rose. I am in that first group. I can't seem to get enthused this month. Yawn...

  12. I love the yellow butterfly on the orange cosmos. It’s a tribute to your skill that your garden is doing so well despite the heat and drought.

  13. Your blooms were worth repeating!
    I love your butterfly shot, very well done.

    Sorry you have had the task of so much watering. I hope you get some rain soon! I was lucky to have a lot of rain for a while but now it's drying up quickly!


  14. Beautiful. Black-eyed Susans really are the iconic flower of summer, aren't they?

  15. Hi Rose

    Despite that rough heat you and the garden are suffering from I think you've shown us a wonderful array of flowers. Some new to me and others old favourites. I too grow lambs ears and artemsia together and it is so touchy feely. Another I also grow along side these is a little dianthus with spikey silvery leaves. I also let the lambs ear go to flower as the bees simply adore its sweet nectar.

    I grew illumination begonias last year and this year I didn't and I miss there beautiful colours in my containers. Glad you can keep the memory of your blogging friend through this plant.

    Thanks again for visiting me :) Rosie

  16. Oh my, you've got a lot of color right now - I especially like the lantanas - the hotter it gets, the happier they seem!

  17. Goodness Rose you have lots of beautiful blooms right now. Are you sure you are in the first category of gardeners right now? I know I am for sure.

    Hope you have a wonderful Monday.

  18. Carol, If we get some rain, I'll be sure to tell it to head east as well!

    RBell, The 'Wendy's Wish' really is a pretty plant, prettier than my picture could show it. Thanks for dropping by!

    Monica, Today it has been cooler, and I feel much more like the 2nd category. Guess what--I saw some tiny buds on the obedient plant today!

    GardenWalk, I didn't get to go to Buffa10, but have seen so many posts on it--what a lovely city you have. And no, I'm not really wishing for winter either.

    Aerie-el, You won't regret adding a 'Limelight'!

    Tina, The first tiny buds on the Obedient plant showed up today--I think they might be purple.

    Kate, I'm thinking this heat surely can't last much longer. I was surprised the Obedient plant came back at all, much less multiplied. At this rate, it may take over the garden:)

    Amy, I enjoy the garden, but this time of year I don't have much motivation to actually work in it:) I'm really pleased with the Lambs' Ears and artemisia.

    Cheryl, Your work ethic is amazing! I think I spent too many years sitting down grading papers, and now I'm realizing how out of shape I am:) Today was cooler, and I had a much more positive outlook on gardening.

    Noel, The begonias really are beautiful and one of my favorites. Thanks for dropping by!

    Lisa, I'm glad I'm not the only one...afternoons usually find me on the couch:)

    Sarah, We have a plethora of butterflies this summer--I've planted many flowers just for them, so I'm very pleased.

    Rosey, With the hot weather we've had, everything dries up so quickly. I didn't realize I had lost a few plants to a lack of water until it was too late.

    Birdwoman, I've seen so many Susans on posts today--love those cheery faces!

    Rosie, Always a pleasure to visit you and see some plants that are new to me as well. I missed having these begonias last year, so I made a special point to look for them early in the season this year.

    C, You're so right--lantana is one plant that thrives in this heat.

    Susie, What is blooming is doing so without much help from me. I hope I'm a little more ambitious when fall rolls around.

  19. You must be very pleased, Rose. Your August garden is delightful, lots of color, lots of variety. We are enjoying a break in the heat and today is stellar!

  20. This has been a summer for the record books Rose, and not in a good way!

    In spite of the heat, you've got such wonderful blooms. I may have to try some lantana here just for kicks. I've never seriously considered it, thinking it wouldn't bloom at all here. But if it's blooming for you in not much sun, it's worth giving it a try. Even if it's not as floriferous as it would be in full sun, it might be worth experimenting with here in one of our sunnier spots.

    I hope you got some relief from the heat today. It was really gorgeous here, and we even turned off the air conditioning for the first time in weeks.

  21. I especially love the verbena, the lantanas and the butterfly!
    Your posts are always filled with beautiful things.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  22. Gorgeous as always. My favourite is the Lantana.

  23. Gorgeous blooms this month Rose. I wish more of the Lantanas were hardy in my zone. 'Miss Huff' is the only one I have since she is a perennial here. Love those little Zinnias, have to put those on my must add list of annuals. Glad to hear that 'Limelight' has exceeded your expectations. I couldn't imagine my garden without this pretty hydrangea. :)

  24. Beautiful blooms! My lambs ear bloomed this year as well. I did not know they bloomed until seeing one in Tina's Tiger Gardens! Mine bloomed during the wet season so it was not as pretty as yours. Lamb ear does not seem to like water in my garden.

    The buckeye is beautiful and when everyone else is talking about the many butterflies, we dont seem to have as many this year. I think they all went north of us here in GA. We do have butterflies but not as many as last year.

    The cream colored Lantana is wonderful, I have never seen a creamy colored one before. Nice...

  25. The Susan's are always sunny and happy no matter how hot and humid the summer. What a striking combination the artemesia and lamb's ear are together. I love the apricot Illumination Begonias. I will look for it next year--I may have to rethink my front garden all-white theme. Your garden blooms are lovely in spite of the heat, and your photos amazing regardless of the wind and weather. Thank you for your uplifting post. Maybe I can muster up a little more positive attitude too.

  26. I hope you're enjoying the brief reprieve of cool temperatures we're having! I think I had a buckeye butterfly in my garden today...thanks for the ID! Also, I love the 'Wendy's Wish'!

  27. So glad you've seen so many butterflies! Send them my way (they should be migrating soon, right??)! I look forward to seeing what your obedient plant ends up like. I too, am trying to maintain a cheerful face in this trying summer - chin up!

  28. The heat and humidity take the joy right out of gardening ... until you walk outside and find an unexpected bloom! We'll make it through this summer, as we have the others. We just have to follow our plants' examples!

  29. so many beautiful blooms :) <3

  30. Hi Rose, your blooming looks fabulous, despite your protestations! I love those little yellow zinnias, what a nice color they are. The buckeyes are more abundant this year here as well, we are happy to report. Your marigold is not from my seeds, but thanks for the linkage anway, my friend! Stiff upper lip and all that until the cooling rains come and make it all wonderful again. It will, I promise. :-)

  31. Joey, the last three days have been wonderful! So nice to have cooler temperatures.

    Linda, I haven't turned off the A/C, but I've been tempted. The lantana in the shady containers gets a little sun during the day; I'd definitely give it a try.

    Maggie, Thank you; I'm trying to stay positive!

    Liz, The lantana loves heat, so it's doing exceptionally well this year.

    Racquel, None of our lantanas are hardy here, so I start over each year with new annuals. There is such a variety to choose from!

    Skeeter, Sorry to hear you don't have as many butterflies; perhaps they've decided to stay up north this year. I love the more colorful lantana, but I wanted a yellow in this area of the garden, and I like this lemony color.

    Jenny, I've been happy with the way the Lambs' Ears and artemisia look together. We've had cooler temps the past three days--much easier to stay positive then:)

    Rose, Definitely look for 'Wendy's Wish' next year--it's a winner. The Buckeyes are really a surprise this year.

    Jean, I'm happy to report the obedient plant is just starting to bloom. This heat can't last forever:)

    Cindy, I like your attitude. I have to remember how miserable I was last winter, and then the heat won't seem so bad.

    Rachel, Thanks!

    Frances, The marigolds don't have as big a bloom as I would like, but at least they're blooming:) The Zahara and Profusion zinnias really are easy-care plants and one of my favorites at the edge of borders and in containers.

  32. Rose, you have a butterfly resort there. Those Tiger Garden cosmos (that's what I'm calling them) cheer me up and refresh me every time I brave the heat to work in the garden. They remind me of orange popsicles bobbing around in the breeze, when we're lucky enough to have one. I'm amazed that lantana can survive the winter there, or do you bring it inside?

  33. Hello Rose,

    I am definitely in the first category, but don't want to admit it, so I tried to convince everyone that I was type 2 when I wrote my GBBD post. I am thankful that fall is only one month away :-)

  34. Dear Rose, I was so excited in the Denver airport when I saw a woman whom I thought was you! ~I almost ran over and hugged her! Too bad! But I digress, your garden flowers look wonderful. Obedient plant looks just like that in my garden~It really is a late bloomer. it has been a banner year for butterflies~There must be caterpillars, too, but i can't find a one! gail


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you, so please leave a comment. I'll try to reply here, but I'll definitely return the visit.