Despite this summer’s unusually hot and dry conditions, things are looking pretty good here at Hayefield.
It really shouldn’t surprise me, because late summer and fall have always been the best time of year here, garden-wise. Some of the perennials that started blooming in June and July are still looking respectable, as with the wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), above, and the late Dutch honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’), below against the foliage of ‘Australia’ canna.
Some clumps of ‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare; above) have been blooming for well over a month now, but I cut this one back by half in late June, so it’s still looking fresh now. The ‘Black Dragon’ Orienpet lilies are just about done but lasted long enough to overlap with the white Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. alba) this year.
It’s not all leftovers for late summer, though. August brings on one of my most favorite perennials: golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia). It starts at the same time as the ironweeds (Vernonia) and overlaps with the later part of the Culver’s root season (below, pinkish Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Erica’).
Even though the early ‘Mardi Gras’ Helen’s flower (Helenium) is finished now, the season continues with ‘Coppelia’, above with ‘Jade Princess’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum).
Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) is pretty ordinary as perennials go, but its fresh, bright daisies are a welcome addition to the garden this time of year. Below, it’s with ‘Silver Fern’ ghost bramble (Rubus thibetanus) and Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii).
Late summer is prime time for the burnets, too. Above, the nodding, fuzzy tails of white Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. alba); below, the smoother, reddish purple spikes of plain old S. tenuifolia against ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus).
And below, great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) – at about two-thirds of its usual height due to a mid-June, by-half cut-back – with the seedheads of ‘Mardi Gras’ Helen’s flower and some spiky celosia.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) has been in bloom for a few weeks by now, adding a delicious dash of bright red to the front garden. Below, it’s with Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’), a bit of canna and marigold, and some ‘Isla Gold’ tansy.
By late summer, many of the tender perennials and annuals are finally hitting their stride. Above is ‘Sedona’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) with ‘Australia’ canna, ‘Oakhurst’ pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), ‘Tripled Curled’ parsley, and variegated blue lilyturf (Liriope muscari). The ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ dahlia growing in the same area is better than ever this year.
‘Imagination’ verbena seeds around freely, but I’m happy to have the seedlings for use as fillers; they transplant easily and bloom beautifully for the rest of the growing season.
Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata), below, also self-sows, but it doesn’t transplant as readily, so I mostly leave those that are in acceptable spots and pull out those that are in the way.
Purple devil (Solanum atropurpureum), which made its first appearance last month, is still looking marvelously malevolent. Another oddball annual, new for me this year, is the carnivorous, yellow-flowered devil’s claw (Ibicella lutea). This one deserves an entry of its own in a future Three Neat Plants post.
Last month, I showed ‘Marbles’ four-o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) with pink-and-yellow blooms. Not all of the flowers are multi-colored, though: some are solid pink. Above, they’re set against basically black ‘Vertigo’ fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Below, the even more vibrant, violet blooms of globe amaranth paired with classic zinnia (Zinnia angustifolia).
August is amaranth (Amaranthus) time, too: above is ‘Elephant’s Head’ in front of ‘Hopi Red Dye’; below is a closer view of some ‘Hopi Red Dye’ plumes.
I don’t often grow zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum), but I really like ‘Black Velvet Scarlet’, above, which is easy to grow from seed.
Yet another element that makes late summer such a great time in the garden is the ornamental grasses. They’re especially pretty in the low-angled light at dawn and just before sunset. Above is ‘Jade Princess’ millet; below is ‘Karley Rose’ Oriental fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale).
Above, Siberian graybeard or frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus); below, ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora).
Above, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) with ‘Little Joe’ Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium dubium). And below, Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).
Above, the flowers and developing seeds of annual Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi).
For even more late-summer seedhead action, there are the herbaceous perennials, such as Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum)…
…purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), above; alliums and yarrow (Achillea), below…
…above, false or bastard hemp (Datisca cannabina); below, giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima)…
…above, ‘Amazone’ tuberous Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa); and below, the annual red orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra).
I think that’s enough of the flower-related highlights for this month. You can find links to lots more late-summer excitement in Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.
Since time doesn’t allow for a separate Foliage Follow-Up post, here are a few favorites for this month:
Above is ‘Russian Red’ kale with orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) and blackberry lily (Iris domestica [Belamcanda chinensis]).
Below is variegated pokeweed (Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’) with Tropicanna canna (Canna ‘Phaison’), red orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra) and ‘Profusion Orange’ zinnias.
Above, ‘Saratoga’ ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba); below, black-leaved cotton (Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’)‘
Above, ‘Bellingrath Pink’ coleus with ‘Bull’s Blood beet and Tropicanna canna.
Below, a much quieter combination of ‘Berggarten’ sage (Salvia officinalis) with lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus), common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lavenders (Lavandula), and ‘Grey Lady Plymouth’ geranium (Pelargonium).
And a couple of corns (Zea mays): above, dwarf, white-striped ‘Tiger Cub’, and below, tall, yellow-striped ‘Old Gold’.
For more lovely leaves, check out Pam’s Foliage Follow-Up post at Digging on the 16th.
And last…well, I don’t think anyone has yet started a Garden Bloggers’ Harvest Day, so breathe a sigh of relief: I’ll spare you pictures of some eye-catching edibles, except for this one, ‘Tigger’ melon:
It looks just like the pocket melons (a.k.a. plum granny) I grew a few years ago…
…except that the pocket melons are the size of tennis balls and ‘Tigger’ fruits are roughly softball-sized. Both have a powerful fruity scent, which makes them nice to have sitting on your desk. ‘Tigger’, though, is touted as an edible, and it is edible, fair enough, but it’s also boringly bland – a disappointment, especially considering how prolific the vines are. Oh, well; it’s still a beauty!