Sunday, August 14, 2011

August Bloom Day

August has brought blessed temperature relief with highs mostly in the seventies and eighties, and refreshingly cool mornings and evenings. August is undoubtedly the bloomingest month of the year here.

Stepping out onto the patio with a cup of coffee early each morning is a olfactory delight with the scent of sambac jasmine filling the air. Even with only some morning sun, the jasmine, typically considered a plant for full sun, blooms prolifically, if sporadically, throughout the summer. Hummingbirds in twos and threes enjoy jasmine nectar several times a day.

This hanging basket seems the perfect spot for these Nonstop begonias, gifts from the Lawn Man back in late May. I haven't always had great luck with Nonstops. Some years they've rotted from too much rain. Other years their blooms have been more like Nonstart. The hanging basket is a moss-lined wire basket. They drain exceptionally well even after a few days in a row of torrential rain. This basket seems to be in a perfect spot for the perfect amount of sun. For the first time here, Nonstops are living up to their name.

Surprise lilies just started blooming a few days ago. The hosta camouflages the yellowing foliage as it dies back in late spring.

The hanging basket fuchsia is a delight to the hummingbirds and to me.

All of our coneflowers except one 'Magnus' were started from seeds. They are all unique, varying in plant size, bloom size and color. This is one of the taller ones. It has the palest of pale pink blooms that appear white in photos. Some of them have petals that stay like this, and others have the more characteristic drooping petals of most species coneflowers.

Red Dragonwing begonias bloom nonstop too. This one, along with two pink ones have overwintered indoors for three years, where they continue to bloom without ever taking a break.

The petite Crossandra was a gift from the Lawn Man when we were dating. It has overwintered indoors for eight years. It never gets taller than about eight inches. Each year it gets fuller and has more of these bright yellow-orange blooms. Back in July I was squashing mealybugs on it for the first time. Fortunately they seem to be gone now.

Nodding onions (Thank you Monica!) are blooming in shades of the palest pink.

Impatiens started from seeds indoors back in March are everywhere in urns, pots, and hanging baskets, bringing welcome color to our woodland garden and nectar for hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, and butterflies. I save seeds, and never know what colors I'll get. Last year they all turned out bright, and this year there are pastels in the mix. I like the color surprises. Since most of them aren't blooming yet when they go outside, we never know what color combinations we'll end up with.

Diamond Frost euphorbias perform admirably here in pots, hanging baskets, and even in the ground. Both drought and shade-tolerant, over a dozen of them are overwintered in the basement each year. Bigger and fuller each year, thanks to their drought tolerance they're easy to overwinter and eminently neglectable even outdoors.

Cardinal flowers, the most favorite blooms of hummingbirds in our garden, are blooming a month later than usual, probably due to our chilly spring. They were worth waiting for.

Joe Pye weed, and the tall, stately Herbstsonne rudbeckias in the background attract butterflies and other pollinators in droves.

Closeup of 'Herbstsonne' rudbeckia with great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus)

Hummingbirds seem to prefer the red bee balm cultivars here, but every bee in the neighborhood loves these natives.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune' is the palest of gray-blues. I was disappointed in their pale color their first year here. They've been allowed to stay anyway. Bees love them, they don't seed all over the place, they're very drought-tolerant, very fragrant, and they bloom like crazy with only about three hours of dappled sun each day.

Another gift from the Lawn Man when we were dating, this mini-rose blooms a few times each season.

Black-eyed Susans bloom wonderfully here even with just a couple hours of dappled sunlight.

. . . more impatiens!

Hosta rectifolia 'Fujibotan's foliage is ordinary. The double blooms are, however anything but ordinary! Our hummingbirds love them too.

. . . more impatiens!

Phlox 'David' seen with pink phlox, black-eyed susans, and tall bellflowers. The bellflowers, from Mom's, have been blooming non-stop since May.

Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' is a prolific self-seeder. New to our garden, this seedling is blooming sparsely in its first year. I'm looking forward to more seedlings, and watching them mature to show what they can really do. With bright chartreuse foliage, prolific blooms adored by pollinators and much brighter than 'Blue Fortune,' 'Golden Jubilee,' is still fragrant, drought-tolerant, and blooms beautifully even with very little sun. Though marginally hardy in zone five, the seedlings will help insure against any winter losses.

I love everything about calamint - the glossy, clean, fine textured, shiny, fragrant, dark-green foliage, the intricate, delicate, ornate, airy blooms, its shade and drought tolerance, and its value to our pollinators.

The showiest blooms in the east-side vegetable bed belong to this oregano. It draws an incredible number of pollinators to the vegetables and provides fresh and dried oregano all year.

Most of the gardening here happens in back and in the vegetable beds in our sunny side yards. There are some blooms in the full, blazing sun in front too, including the drought-tolerant, long-blooming 'Blue Hill' salvia. Hummingbird moths, hummingbirds, butterflies, and many kinds of bees visit these every day.

'Happy Returns' daylilies bloom all summer long in front.

Borage from Renee's Garden blooms in front too. Renee says pollinators love borage. It's true. She says the flowers are edible and make beautiful garnishes - true, and true!

Finally, like every other blooming thing here, the zinnias have a story. The Lawn Man brought them home from a big box store late in May, where they were displayed with the store's shade annuals. They stayed in pots in back in the sunniest spot on the patio until they started looking raggedy and stopped budding. Each successive generation of blooms got smaller and smaller. We enjoyed them in back for as long as possible, and now they're really showing their stuff after moving the pots to the front and into the blazing sun they need to thrive.

There are lots of stories I could tell you about our human babies. Each plant baby here has a story of its own too. That's one of the things I love about Bloom Day. Visiting other Bloom Day posts, I enjoy reading the stories of the blooms in your gardens as much as seeing the photos. Do your flowers tell stories too?

For links to other Bloom Day posts, please visit our host, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. The Red Dragonwing begonias have been a big success in my zone 6 garden. I've never been a fan, but now I am a fan of this variety.

  2. I love them Patsy! So easy-care, and I think they're really pretty. The Lawn Man and I were in downtown Chicago over the weekend, and many of the hanging planters on the streetlights had Dragonwings and vinca - they were really pretty!

  3. You have so much going on in your garden! Really lovely. Favourites are the Nodding onions. How unique!
    Happy GBBD :)

  4. Your garden looks so lush right now. Mine is a bit tired and haggard from the heat. I love those Nonstop Begonias, very pretty. :)

  5. Wow, there's a lot of flowers in your garden! Wonderful! In my garden the roses just started for the second blooming. I love August and September.
    Take care

  6. Your garden looks wonderful! How fun to get a random assortment of impatiens from seed. My 'Blue Fortune' agastache is brighter than you and others have described that cultivar as being...I wonder if I got sent the wrong plants? Oh, well, happy Bloom Day!

  7. Thank you Barbie/Christine!

    We've been enjoying cooler weather, especially cooler nights Racquel. We sure could use some rain.

    Hope some weather relief is on the way to you and your garden soon.

    The garden here definitely peaks in August Alex. Some things bloomed late this year due to our chilly spring, so it's even more floriferous this year than usual.

    Thank you Rose! I do love the color the impatiens add here.

    I wonder if 'Blue Wonder' tends to vary in bloom color. I have seen some that are deeper blue, and many others that are this drab gray-blue(ish.) I'm glad for you that you have a bluer blue! (It would have been ok with me if they sent me the wrong plants if they were bluer! :)

  8. What a gorgeous collection of blooms you have right now, Linda! The heat has taken its toll on much of my garden, but yours looks so full and lush. I was never a fan of begonias either, but I'm changing my mind, especially with the dragonwings and the Illumination varieties. All those impatiens from seeds?--I'm impressed!

  9. Thank you Rose! We had to water a few times in the worst of the heat. The maple trees suck so much moisture out of the soil, and the perennials can't compete. I do as little watering as possible, but there are times when it's the difference between life and death.

    The Lawn Man did bring home a few impatiens in June, but the great majority were from seeds.


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