Posted on 26 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day — August 2012

Front garden at Hayefield mid-August 2010

In a way, August seems like the end of the gardening season to me. I’ve just finished the last main pass through the garden, weeding, lightly trimming back some stuff that hasn’t yet flowered, and doing some general grooming, so apart from the vegetables, the garden won’t need anything from me until it’s time for cleanup in November. For the next couple of months, I’m just a spectator, which is fun in its own way. It’s also a relief, when the typical hot-and-muggy August weather makes it unpleasant to move around much.

The high humidity makes for really bad hair days for some of us…

Daniel of Hayefield

…but it also makes for some great photo opportunities in the side garden when the sunrise clears the trees out back.

Side garden at Hayefield mid-August 2012

Side garden at Hayefield mid-August 2012

As you can see, these areas aren’t quite at their best yet; there are a few more weeks yet before the grasses and goldenrods and asters here really take off. There’s still a lot to show off, though, so I’ve decided to save the rest of the general garden shots and combinations for the next post and just concentrate on particular plants that are especially attractive or interesting right now.

Eutrochium [Eupatorium] purpureum at Hayefield

I think of pink as a spring color, so it’s always a surprise to see how much of it there is this time of year. A lot of it comes from the Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium [Eupatorium] purpureum), such as the clump above, which planted itself right at the base of the steps from the side porch. This is also the season for the ‘Black Beauty’ Orienpet lilies (Lilium) that grow on the other side of the house, joining more Joe-Pyes along the path to the barn. Hooray for their strong stems, which stay upright with no need for staking.

Lilium ‘Black Beauty’ Orienpet at Hayefield

Hibiscus 'Plum Crazy' at Hayefield

Out in the shrubbery, the huge blooms of ‘Plum Crazy’ hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus) are hard to miss; above, they’re with Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) and New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis). And inside, there are much more delicate touches of pink, such as the almost-open buds of ‘Vera Jameson’ sedum (below with Carex flagellifera ‘Toffee Twist’).

Sedum 'Vera Jameson' buds at Hayefield

Lycoris squamigera at Hayefield

And gosh, every garden needs a few naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera), right? I’ve waited three years for these to do their thing, and it was worth the wait, even though I expected them to be the red L. radiata (so much for depending on plant labels). The pink doesn’t really go with the other colors out front, but the flowers last only a week or two, and they really weren’t too bad in that spot.

Lycoris squamigera at Hayefield

Clematis viticella at Hayefield

I’ve pretty much decided that this seed-grown clematis is Clematis viticella, unless any of you recognize it as something else. It’s been flowering since May and still looks lovely.

Pale blue isn’t an especially summery color, either, but this cut-leaved chastetree (Vitex negundo var. heterophylla, below) fills a key space now in the blue-and-white part of the side garden. It’s so loaded with bees that the sound is more noticeable than the color.

Vitex negundo var. heterophylla at Hayefield

Datisca cannabina (female) at Hayefield

Bastard or false hemp (Datisca cannabina) isn’t a wow plant color-wise, but the drooping sprays on these female plants are great from a textural perspective – kind of like a more-elegant version of the annual green love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus ‘Viridis’). Bastard hemp has shrub-like proportions (5 to 7 feet tall) and very sturdy stems, but it’s technically a perennial.

Datisca cannabina (female) at Hayefield

Spodiopogon sibiricus and Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Cassian' at Hayefield

The grasses are starting to look really good now too. Above is frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus) behind ‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides).

Below is (clockwise from the front) ‘The Blues’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), ‘Dewey Blue’ bitter switchgrass (Panicum amarum), ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) and ‘Northwind’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), with that classic late-summer bloomer, orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida).

Schizachyrium scoparium 'The Blues' with Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue', Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Panicum virgatum 'Northwind', and Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida at Hayefield

Rudbeckia maxima at Hayefield

The giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) in the courtyard is already done flowering, but its foliage and seedheads still look great.

‘Henry Eilers’ sweet coneflower (Rudbeckia subtomentosa), on the other hand, just started flowering about a week ago, about the same height (5 to 6 feet).

Rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' at Hayefield

A couple more of the typical yellow composites of late summer include coreopsis and compass plants (Silphium). Below is Coreopsis tripteris, which I’d cut back hard in early summer so it’s only about 2 feet tall here instead of the usual 5 to 6 feet. The larger yellow daisy is cut-leaved compass plant (Silphium pinnatifidum). I bought this as a tiny seedling because of the attractive leaves (you can just see the bright green, lobed leaves below the stems). I put it in the garden to bulk up for a couple of years, with plans to move it to the meadow once it reached flowering size, because it’s supposed to get 6 to 8 feet tall. So far, though, it has stayed just about 3 feet tall, so I’m inclined to let it stay in this spot for a while longer.

Silphium pinnatifidum at Hayefield

The later sneezeweeds (Helenium) are coming into flower now too. ‘Ruby Tuesday’, below, is a new favorite of mine; it’s a near-perfect color match for ‘Sedona’ coleus (when ‘Sedona’ wants to be red instead of orange or pink, which it usually does this time of year in this spot).

Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday' with Coleus 'Sedona' at Hayefield

Iris domestica [Belamcanda chinensis] at Hayefield

August is also the season for blackberry lily (which used to be Belamcanda chinensis and is now Iris domestica) – above – and candy lily (which was xPardancanda norrisii and is now Iris norrisii, apparently) – below.

Iris norrisii [xPardancanda norrisii] at Hayefield

Meadow path at Hayefield

Before moving on to the annuals, let’s take a quick look at what’s going on out in the meadow, perennial-wise. More Joe-Pyes at the upper entrance, shown above, and a large patch of mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) below. I love the intense fragrance of this mountain mint but find it a challenge to control in the garden, so moving it out to the meadow turned out to be a great solution.

Pycnanthemum muticum at Hayefield

Silphium perfoliatum at Hayefield

I used to grow cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the garden, but it’s such a vigorous self-sower that it got to be a problem. I moved it too to the meadow, where it looks great, can seed around as it likes, and can sprawl if it feels the need.

In the lower meadow, the white baptisia (Baptisia alba) is in seed now, but the wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) still looks bright and fresh.

Parthenium integrifolium and Baptisia alba at Hayefield

Asclepias tuberosa at Hayefield

Orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) was also part of the original seed mix I sowed in this area (the sand mound, or raised drainage field for the septic system). I needn’t have bothered, though, because it has also come up in other parts of the meadow on its own. This year, I’m also seeing lots of New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis). I’ve been crumbling seedheads from the garden plants out here for a number of years, and I guess some of the seeds finally took.

Vernonia noveboracensis at Hayefield

The most exciting find of the summer has been a beautiful clump of rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), which must have seeded in from the garden, though it’s about 200 feet from the nearest garden plants. It put itself in one of the soggiest spots in the meadow, right next to a clump of ‘Ruby Spice’ summersweet (Clethra alnifolia).

Eryngium yuccifolium at Hayefield

Back in the garden, we’re up to the annuals and tender perennials. Let’s start big, with the bold and beautiful cannas.

Canna 'Phaison' (Tropicanna) with Coleus 'Lifelime' at Hayefield

Well, at 3 to 4 feet, Tropicanna (Canna ‘Phaison’, above) isn’t all that big, relatively speaking, but its showy striped leaves and bright flowers are definitely eye-catching.

‘Australia’, below, is more like 5 to 6 feet tall, with rich red flowers and glossy, deep red to near-black leaves.

Canna 'Australia' at Hayefield

Canna indica ‘Purpurea’ at Hayefield

I’m going with Canna indica ‘Purpurea’ as the ID for the previously unknown cannas in the front foundation border, unless any of you recognize it as something else. It’s a very strong grower and is blooming at 6 to 7 feet tall, with spikes of small, scarlet-red blooms.

I’ve been growing ‘Intrigue’ (below) for a few years now, but this is the first time I’ve had it flower. It’s kind of a cantaloupe orange and in the range of 7 to 8 feet tall. I think I like it better without the blooms, just as a foliage accent.

Canna 'Intrigue' at Hayefield

Annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are also great tall bloomers for this time of year. The one below is from the seed strain ‘Sunspots’, with yellow-splashed foliage.

Helianthus annuus 'Sunspots' at Hayefield

Asclepias curassavica at Hayefield

The scarlet milkweed or bloodflower (Asclepias curassavica) has just started to flower, looking terrific with the other bright colors and dark leaves in the front garden. The monarchs have already started munching on it, which is fine.

Monarch larva on Asclepias curassavica at Hayefield

There’s no lack of other butterflies, either, thanks to the Joe-Pye weeds, as well as the Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis, below).

Eastern tiger swallowtail on Verbena bonariensis at Hayefield


A couple of yellow-flowered annuals, starting with tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca, above). The flowers generally aren’t as interesting as its powder-blue leaves and stems. I start the seeds indoors in March, and the strongly upright plants usually reach 6 to 7 feet tall by frost.

Below is a new one for me: cowpen daisy or golden crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides). The seeds came from the HPS/MAG Seed Exchange last winter. At the moment, it looks a lot like a coreopsis with gray-green leaves, at about 1 foot tall. But, it just started to flower in early August and looks like it may produce lots of clear yellow blooms for fall, so I’m still open to being impressed by it as the season goes on.

Verbesina encelioides at Hayefield

Thunbergia alata 'Susie Clear-Eyed Orange' at Hayefield

For orange flowers, there is ‘Susie Clear-Eyed Orange’ black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata, above) and ‘Thompsonii’ flowering maple (Abutilon pictum, below).

Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' at Hayefield

Tweedia [Oxypetalum] caeruleum at Hayefield

Two blues, starting with tweedia (Tweedia [Oxypetalum] caeruleum, above], a really cool annual milkweed relative that’s about 18 inches tall at this point. It’s an unusual shade or sky or turquoise blue.

Below is amethyst flower (Browallia americana), which started blooming just a few weeks ago and will keep going through the fall, flowering in shades of blue to purple-blue. It usually reaches 18 to 24 inches tall and tends to self-sow gently, making it a great filler for summer and fall color.

Browallia americana at Hayefield

Impatiens balfourii at Hayefield

Along with the many perennial pinks for late summer, there are some pink-flowered annuals, such as poor man’s orchid (Impatiens balfourii), an enthusiastic self-sower that blooms from midsummer to frost. And below, well, I can only call it freakish to have sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)blooming in August, but I’m not complaining. I’m thinking of saving the seed of this one to see if its offspring are unusually heat-tolerant, or if this was just a fluke.

Lathyrus odoratus and Verbena bonariensis at Hayefield

Chenille plant (Acalypha hispida, below) has loads of personality. It’s hard to resist tugging on those silly, fuzzy tails.

Acalypha hispida with Melissa officinalis 'All Gold' at Hayefield

Solanum pyracanthum at Hayefield

Porcupine tomato (Solanum pyracanthum, above), on the other hand, is definitely on the “Do Not Touch” list.

Bed-of-nails (Solanum quitoense, below) is also scary-spiny, but it makes a fantastic filler and foliage accent.

Solanum quitoense with Coleus 'Exhibition Limelight' at Hayefield

Zea mays 'All Gold' at Hayefield

Some more early entries for tomorrow’s Foliage Follow-Up include ‘Old Gold’ field corn (Zea mays, above) and Topicanna canna (Canna ‘Phaison’, below).

Canna 'Phaison' (Tropicanna) at Hayefield

Hibiscus acetosella 'Mahogany Splendor' at Hayefield

Above and below is ‘Mahogany Splendor’ red-leaved hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella), which has a terrific rich color and is easy to grow from seed.

Hibiscus acetosella 'Mahogany Splendor' at Hayefield


Two other foliage favorites in the red category are ‘Velvet Mocha’ coleus (above) and the absolutely gorgeous ‘Big Red Judy’ coleus (below).

Coleus 'Big Red Judy' at Hayefield

Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’ at Hayefield

Two variegates that caught my eye this week include variegated pokeweed (Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’, above) and ‘Silver and Gold’ yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea, below).

Cornus sericea 'Silver and Gold' at Hayefield

And to finish up, a few fun things from the vegetable garden.

Potatoes at Hayefield

Last fall, I collected several dozen potato varieties for a writing-and-photography project, and I’m having fun now starting to harvest the leftovers that I planted in spring. Below is ‘Purple Viking’, which has a beautiful purple skin that’s marbled with pink, and bright white flesh.

Potato 'Purple Viking' at Hayefield

Potato 'All Blue' at Hayefield

Above is ‘All Blue’; below is ‘All Red’ (which is more accurately all pink).

Potato 'All Red' at Hayefield

Squash 'Yugoslavian Finger Fruit' at Hayefield

And two winners in the pointless-but-fun category: Yugoslavian finger fruit squash (above) and pretzel bean (a.k.a. ‘Ram’s Horn’ cowpea, below).

Pretzel bean ('Ram's Horn' cowpea) at Hayefield

Now, if you’re up for more August garden goodness, check out the list of participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day in Carol’s main GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for visiting!

Side garden at Hayefield

Posted on 26 Comments

26 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day — August 2012

  1. Amazing colourful and inspiring summer sights Nan ! Thank you for sharing them with us.

    Thanks for visiting today, Nicole. I hope your garden is doing well this summer!

  2. Your garden is the Willy Wonka flower factory Nan. It is always a joy and inspiration to pop over here to see what is blooming. Do you leave your cannas in the ground? I have done so and had a few come back. It doesn’t seem right but it just shows how mild our winters have been lately. Love seeing your fertilizer factory foreman despite the bad hair. Happy GBBD.

    You’re too funny, Lisa. I usually think of the garden as a sort of roller-coaster ride: from spring through July, there are a few small thrills, but it’s mostly just chugging along slowly due to the early-summer cutting-back and our usual summer dry spells. Things finally reach the tipping point in the first or second week of August, and from this point on, it’s one long “Wheeeeeeee!” until November.

    I’ve tried leaving a few cannas in the ground but haven’t had them overwinter yet. I did set them out much earlier than usual this year – in March instead of May – which is likely why I’m seeing a lot more of them flower.

  3. I love your garden! I like finding the same plants in your garden as in mine, yours bloom about 2 weeks earlier. But I get really excited by the things you have that are unusual that I don’t have. I visit a lot of gardens, but you seem to have the most variety, the most “unknown” plants. I love my cup plant (sylphium), thanks for the tip to watch for it self-seeding. It’s about 6-7 feet tall and never needs staking, which makes it a good architectural focus point. I’m intrigued by your red leaved hibiscus acetosella, so easy to imagine it in my red bed. Tweedia caeruleum – never saw it before, but what an exquisite shade of blue. I saw rattlesnake master at a public garden and it was so striking – and yours self seed? Lovely meadows, lovely self-sowers. I guess taking your camera out there allows you time to stop and notice all that beauty. You’re the master Nan!

    The silphiums sure are hard to miss when they’re in bloom. You’re so lucky to be able to grow the cup plant without it flopping. Here, it needs huge stakes to stay upright in the garden. In the meadow, though, the competition from the grasses seems to keep it sturdier. Think of trying the hibiscus next year: it’s expensive as started plants but so easy to grow from seed as an annual. And yes, I’m stunned that the rattlesnake master self-sowed; I have only a few plants in the garden and never expected to see it in the meadow!

  4. I always love seeing what’s going on in your garden! I especially like seeing a few wide shots to put things in perspective, but sadly, that’s missing this time. :(

    There was just so much to show that I decided to save the combinations and garden shots for the next time, Alan; otherwise, this would have been a book instead of a blog post!

  5. Just beautiful, Nancy.

    Thanks for sharing Bloom Day with me, Layanee!

  6. You are lucky to grow so nice plain coloured Coleus species, so hard to find in French nurseries or garden centers…

    Yes, we’re very fortunate to have so many gorgeous coleus to choose from. I try to keep purchases to a minimum, but it would be hard to go a season without ‘Sedona’ or ‘Big Red Judy’.

  7. Your garden overwhelms as usual.
    Does the red chenile over-winter for you?

    I really like the looks of your rudbeckia maxima, I have one planted under a choke cherry tree, and it doesn’t bloom… The echinacea does fine… dunno what the prob is…

    Beautiful arrangement of taters, I got marbles when I dug mine… Anything large enough to eat fed the voles…

    I’m glad to see the monarch caterpillar… all I’m seeing is milkweed bugs, and aphids… It is early yet… but… I’m expecting them soon.

    I wish the chenille plant would survive the winter outside, but no, I can’t even manage to overwinter it indoors. Maybe your Rudbeckia maxima just needs a bit more time to settle in? I find that it takes 2 or 3 years to recover from transplanting. I hope your monarchs arrive soon; this was the first larva I’ve noticed this year.

  8. Nan, your garden is amazing. How do you keep your plants looking so lush? In my Massachusetts garden, I’m just trying to keep them alive!

    A lot of luck, Margaret. We’ve been fortunate enough to get about 2 inches of rain since late July, and that makes a huge difference. I hope you get some rain soon!

  9. Wow! Lots to see in your garden as always Nan. I love the grasses and rudbeckias, the meadow looks great, and pretty much everything else! You just packed a book into a post. I missed the change of the Blackberry lily to Iris domestica so thanks for that info. I’ll think I need to look into some of those taller rudbeckias to plant in the back gardens. We need some brighter colors back there. Right now we have lots of salvias with purple colors that just don’t show up well from a distance.

    (I had trouble posting my comment for some reason so I hope this isn’t a double post!)

    Sorry that the site gave you a hard time, Dave; I appreciate that you took the time to comment. Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ might be a great choice for your back gardens; untrimmed, it’s 5 to 6 feet; with an early-summer trim, it blooms at 4 to 5 feet. It’s really nice as a cut flower, too.

  10. Fantastic showing, as usual Nan! I’m loving the variety, and especially the contrasts between foliage and flower! It’s making me really consider grasses and such for my backyard’s fence… since I require HEIGHT to block off a busy roadway behind my house… I love all of the 5 feet+ flowers you grow! and Joe Pye Weed… why dont’ I have Joe Pye Weed…?!

    And I had meant to keep you updated on the seeds to supplied me last fall – everything but the Cotton (Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’) and pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa) [which have both sadly perished] are doing splendidly! I’m going to put them in a standby garden to live till the spring, to strengthen their roots for the winter! So happy! ♥

    Hey, Donna. Thanks for checking in. If you’re looking for more ideas of tall plants, I wrote a post called The Screening Test a while back to discuss some of my favorites. Sorry you didn’t have luck with the two kinds of seed, but I’m glad to hear that the others did well for you. It doesn’t look like I’ll get any cotton seeds this year, unfortunately, since my own plants haven’t even started flowering yet, despite the heat.

    1. … it’s the drought! Everything suffered… well, except for the plants that like it hot and dry, hehe. I believe I didn’t sow *all* of the seeds from the packets… so I will try again next year! [and maybe not neglect them and keep them in their red solo cup caskets… :D]
      I will most definitely check out that post! Doing so right now actually!

      We’ve certainly had enough heat on this side of PA to keep cotton happy, but I guess the dry weather is what kept mine from growing much. Well, we’ll see what happens next year.

  11. Nan, I love seeing in your garden and always impressed with the great photos. I did not see any evidence of Japanese Beetles which have riddled my Iowa grown plants, trees and shrubs. Any secret?

    Pure luck, Carolyn. We had loads of Japanese beetles up until four or five years ago, then they practically disappeared. I saw maybe three this summer in mid-July, then nothing. It’s wonderful! I wonder if it might be due to the very dry summers we’ve been having.

  12. Thank you, Nancy, for your beautiful pictures, especially the ones in mist or fog. How early did you have to get up to capture these beauties? Naked ladies are known as surprise lilies in my neck of the woods. I too was surprised about how long they took to appear. Again, thanks for sharing your superb gardens!

    Welcome, and thanks so much for your note. Sunrise is getting later and later now; these shots were at about 6:30, I think. I’ve also seen “resurrection lily” used for the lycoris, but I’ve gotten in the habit of using the “naked ladies” moniker because it makes Mom laugh.

  13. Ahh Nan, another fab post. It really is looking very lush and filled in. I LOVE that red leafed Hibiscus – is that something you collect seeds from? If so can I go on the begging list for later in the year? I am steeling myself to sow the cotton seeds you gave me once the temps stay warm – any hints for doing this well?

    Hey there, Kerry. Unfortunately, the red-leaved hibiscus almost never flower when I grow them as annuals, so I have to buy new seed each year. How exciting that you’re starting to think about spring seed-sowing for your own garden. I start the cotton seeds indoors on a heat mat several weeks before our last frost date, and I wait until the nights are consistently above 50 degrees F to plant them out.

  14. It’s a pleasure to peruse one of your wonderful posts which have frequently been recommended to me as among the best in garden blogdom. Your gardens are marvelous! Larry

    You’re so kind, Larry. I’m glad to have you as a reader. Happy Bloom Day to you!

  15. Another new month and a new post from your lovely garden. You know I have been doing this for a bit, this garden writing gig. But I have to tell you I am a super-fan of your garden. It seems another month is another lesson in diversity of foliage and contrasting colors. I have to say you inspire me to be bolder and try more unusual plantings. I am going to feature you Friday on #follow friday my dear. Keep up the great work and thanks for the lovely, detailed shares. Blessings…Brooke

    Wow, thanks so much, Brooke. It’s so nice to know that people enjoy looking at the posts as much as I enjoy putting them together.

  16. Canna indica ‘Purpurea’ – Got it Nan. Thanks! Great post, great plants, great combinations as usual.

    I meant to let you know directly, Marie. By any name, they are fantastic plants; thanks so much for sharing them with me! I hope you’re doing well.

  17. First of all I would like to say I know just how your alpaca feels! I have had plenty of days looking like that as I come in from the garden this summer. This pastime is not conducive to high fashion! Second of all I love the collection of cannas. I am hoping to add some to my garden and my heart lusts after “Australia” so I think that will be next. I am fortunate enough to be able to winter them over here.
    If you happen to do the seed thing again this spring, will you consider adding rudbeckia maxima to the list? I would really like to add that one to my tall border too. The sunrise shots are dreamy! I can feel the humidity and warmth as I look at them. Nice to look back on this winter. As usual your late summer garden is lovely. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and for giving us a great few minutes of wandering through your meadow and poking around in your borders. I was almost surprised to look up from my computer and find myself at my desk again I was so transported.

    Hi there, Kate! I am hoping to have the time to share some seeds again this fall, and you bet, I will try to get some seeds from the Rudbeckia maxima. The goldfinches have been haunting the patch, waiting for them to ripen, so I’ll have to (gently) fight them off. I think we’ll all be grateful for cooler and less-humid weather; Daniel and Duncan both look much cuter with a fluffy topknot.

  18. As always, Nan, your post is a treat! I think ‘Intrigue’ is my favorite Canna…there is something wonderful about those thinner-than-usual leaves…and that smoky purple coloring is so fabulous. I just planted some Rattlesnake Master this spring and love it…can’t wait for it to bulk up over the next few years! I think that shot of all the Vernonia seedlings in your meadow is just brilliant…so perfect!

    I agree with you about ‘Intrigue’, Scott; the color is so versatile, and the form is both bold and spiky. Best of luck with the rattlesnake master; mine have been slow to fill out but worth the wait. And yeah – how about all of that vernonia? I was going to take credit for it, because I’ve been crumbling the seedheads of the garden plants out there for several years now. But, there’s also a beautiful stand this year in an untended meadow just down the road, so maybe it’s just another bit of wonderful-good luck!

  19. You do it so well! I can’t begin to tell you have fun it is to see your garden. Each month for my tour of the GBBDs, I save yours for dessert and I’ll tell you it’s like having a triple decker chocolate pie a la mode. I think my surprise for this month is your open field with the native flowers. It is so nice to give Nature some room for herself and I wish others would mow less to see the wildflower surprises she can come up with. I’m jealous of your potatoes.
    Your southern garden friend,

    Hello, friend David! Thanks so much for visiting again. I think I haven’t shown much of the meadow in the last few months, but I have about 2 acres of meadow area that wraps around the cultivated areas and pastures. I’ve mowed it just once a year over the last 10-plus years, and I look forward to finding a few interesting new things each year. Happy Bloom Day!

    1. Nancy, have you been mowing that meadow at the same time each year? When would you recommend the best time to do that. I’ve got a friend in Eastern Montgomery Co. who has too much lawn, some of which falls down to a stream which I envision as a splendid meadow area.

      Hi Eric. Yes, I usually mow just once a year, some time during the winter (December through February, whenever it’s really dry but without snow). In some areas, I’m trying out a second mowing in early to mid-May to give the warm-season grasses and perennials a better chance to compete with the smooth brome and other cool-season stuff. Plus, I hand-cut invasives through the year. I’ve talked about the evolution of the meadow in detail in a couple of posts here, including In the Field. After more than a decade, I still consider the meadow to be an ongoing experiment: a lot of decision-making, but some neat results to make it worthwhile.

  20. Just wanted to say: wonderful as always. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

    Thanks so much, Carolyn – I wish you the same.

  21. Wow, what an amazing post! We have some of the same plants, but you have many that I covet but do without, the heleniums and massive cannas for starters. Thanks so much for sharing all these photos, I’m going to have to come back and go through it again to look for ideas.

    It’s super to have a fellow plant nut as a reader. Come back any time!

  22. Hi Nan – just love your posts – pictures are awesome – always leaves me wanting to add to my gardens!!

    Not sure how I found your blog – but so glad I did – after the last post I ordered all your books – they are sitting here waiting to give me inspiration!!

    I’ve been eyeing up some Joe Pye Weed that is growing by a stream bank by me …. do you know if they trasplant well? And if so when would be the best time for me to dig them up?

    Thanks Nan!


    So glad you found me, Gayle. Thanks for buying the books! Yes, I find that Joe-Pye weed is easy to transplant. I like to move it in early spring, before the new growth starts. Early to midfall works too, but then you need to cut down the stems and you lose the fall and winter structure. I wouldn’t advise that you dig up a plant growing wild, though. Joe-Pye weed is readily available at nurseries, with selections in a variety of heights. I’d bet you could even find divisions for free if you ask on Freecycle, or maybe on the Mid-Atlantic Gardening board at Gardenweb. Good luck!

  23. Your gardens are wonderful and inspiring. Thanks for spending so much time to post all those pictures. I was particularly interested in seeing the work you are doing on your meadow. We have a big property here in upstate NY, and I haven’t done much with our fields. There are some lovely native wildflowers that bloom at different times in the summer, including a wonderful stand of native lavender monarda. However the fields are under seige from the invasive goldenrod (canadensis). Do you have that one in your area, that has runner type roots and creates big colonies? It seems to be everywhere in this area, and it has really soured me on the whole solidago family.

    Our fall season has started now. Some of my late blooming plants don’t get much chance to give a show. Physotegia variegata has nice blooms in mid to late Sept, but I usually just see the pretty maroon color the foliage turns when the frost hits it. My hardy hibiscus ‘Fireball’ just had its first bloom open, and it is just loaded with buds. We counted 16 on just one stalk, most of which won’t make it. Discouraging, but with the warming climate, perhaps it will have more time some year soon.

    Hi Deborah – thanks for visiting. Yes, I have Solidago canadensis here too, but so far, the Panicum virgatum and Sorghastrum nutans in the same area are holding their own against it. There are so many other worse things that could be out there that I’m not too worried about it – yet, at least. The insects and spiders certainly like it, anyway.

    I hope frost holds off for you for a while yet. We’re usually good until mid-October here, but we could also get frost in mid- to late September. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, enjoy your hibiscus!

  24. Nan, great, beautiful post!!
    I love that hibiscus!!

    Thanks, Katie! You’ll be seeing it several more times in upcoming posts, as it looks so amazing at this time of year.

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