It feels like cheating to do another picture-heavy post this month, but there was just too much going on to pack it all into the last Bloom Day extravaganza. So, here are the missing combination and garden shots for August, starting in the front garden.
I have a lot of fun experimenting with bright colors out front, but to my eye, bright colors alone aren’t very satisfying. The more dark foliage I mix in, the more I enjoy the high-impact flowers. Some of the experiments work perfectly from the get-go; other still need some tweaking.
This spot by the front gate got a little too heavy with the purple foliage, but the bits of red and scarlet help to perk it up a bit. Going clockwise from the top right: ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana), red orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra), Fine Wine weigela (Weigela florida ‘Bramwell’), ‘Black Velvet Red’ geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), ‘Red Splash Select’ polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), Babylon Red verbena (Verbena ‘Oxena’), Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’), ‘Oakhurst’ pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), and Tropicanna canna (Canna ‘Phaison’).
I kind of like this one, but I wish that the red flowers and yellow foliage in front of the ‘Intrigue’ cannas had gotten taller than the Japanese blood grass along the front, as they were supposed to.
This one is also a bit heavy on the burgundy from the ‘Mahogany Splendor’ hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella) and Japanese burnet (Sanguisorba tenuifolia), but the touch of orange ‘Coppellia’ sneezeweed (Helenium) and abundance of green brightens it up a bit for now, and it’ll look even zippier when the purple ‘Hella Lacy’ New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) behind the hibiscus begins to bloom.
In other spots, I wish I had included a bit more dark foliage, though a single clump can be all the more striking as an accent in a sea of bright blooms. Above is ‘Jester’ purple millet (Pennisetum glaucum) with cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis), ‘Sedona’ coleus, Pentunia integrifolia, and ‘Profusion Yellow’ zinnia.
Below is ‘Australia’ canna with just-about-to-bloom ‘Ruby Tuesday’ sneezeweed (Helenium), Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’), ‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), ‘Sedona’ coleus, ‘Golden Delicious’ pineapple sage (Salvia), and ironweed (Vernonia).
Moving into some more contrasty combos…above is ‘Red Spider’ zinnia (Zinnia tenuifolia) against red orach (Atriplex hortensis var. rubra) and ‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare); below is more of the tansy with cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’).
A red-stemmed seedling from the ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard seed strain is the star of the above grouping, with ‘Profusion Orange’ zinnia, ‘Emerald Lace’ sweet potato vine, ‘Bellingrath Pink’ coleus, and ‘Red Spider’ zinnia.
Right across from that collection is this grouping of Tropicanna canna (Canna ‘Phaison’), ‘Lifelime’ coleus, and ‘Purple Lady’ beefsteak plant (Iresine).
‘Lifelime’ was a new coleus for me this year, and I like it, but I don’t know if I’d spend the money to grow it again. (It’s vegetatively propagated, and since I can’t manage to keep coleus indoors over winter, I’d have to buy new plants each year.) ‘Giant Exhibition Lime’ (also sold as ‘Giant Exhibition Limelight’) is just as good, I think, and you can grow it from seed. Above, it’s with bed-of-nails (Solanum quitoense).
And below, one more high-contrast combo along the front path, with ‘Golden Delicious’ pineapple sage surrounded by Canna indica ‘Purpurea’, ‘Red Spider’ zinnia, ‘Purple Knight’ alternanthera, ‘Black Velvet Red’ zonal geranium, and Vertigo fountain grass (Pennisetum ‘Tift 8’).
If those were a bit too retina-searing for your tastes, how about something a little milder?
Well, ok, orange coneflowers (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) are still bright, but pairing them with grasses adds some soothing greens and blues. Above, they’re tucked between ‘Little Bunny’ and ‘Hameln’ fountain grasses (Pennisetum alopecuroides), along with the heads of ‘Anabelle’ smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens), blue-purple Geranium wlassovianum, and light green columbine (Aquilegia) foliage.
Below, the orange coneflowers are behind ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum) and in front of golden catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’) and giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea).
Above, orange coneflower in front of frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus) and golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’); below, it’s with ‘The Blues’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), ‘Dewey Blue’ bitter switch grass (Panicum amarum), ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), and ‘Northwind’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum).
Farther along in the same border, more orange coneflowers mingle with purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) and the dark seedheads of Carolina lupine (Thermopsis villosa).
Below, another pink-and-yellow combo – this time, ‘Ping Pong’ phlox (Phlox x arendsii) and golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia) – with a swath of Brazilian vervian (Verbena bonariensis) along the back.
More pink for this time of year comes from Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium/Eupatorium) – above with northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium); ‘Splash Select Pink’ polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachys) – below with ‘Autumn Bride’ hairy alumroot (Heuchera villosa)…
…and ‘Plum Crazy’ rose mallow (Hibiscus) – below with ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) and New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis).
There are a few cool blues and grays this time of year, too, mostly in the side garden. Above is cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo var. heterophylla) behind ‘Swift Creek’ privet (Ligustrum chinense).
Below is tweedia (Oxypetalum caeruleum) with white South African foxglove (Ceratotheca triloba ‘Alba’), silver spurflower (Plectranthus argentatus), and ‘Silver Falls’ ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea).
Oh, and one more from the herb garden: below, broad-leaved ‘Berggarten’ sage (Salvia officinalis) with lacy white ‘Silver Brocade’ (‘Boughton Silver’) beach wormwood (Artemisia stelleriana) and tiny-leaved French thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
And finally, a quick trot around the garden for a general tour, starting with the front path, below.
Above is the path that runs through the middle of the front garden; below is a closer-up shot of one side.
Above, the diagonal path that separates the front garden from the side garden. Below, the path that runs along the side of the house.
This is one of my favorite views of the side garden. Right now, the interest is mostly from the ‘Queen Red Lime’ zinnias, fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), orange coneflowers, and golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia), but it’ll look really good in another 2 weeks or so, once the asters and goldenrods start flowering.
Below, the arbor that leads out to the veg garden area.
The perennial meadow squares out back, which were new last year, and looking terrific this year. Here too, there’s still a lot of color to come from the fall-blooming flowers and grasses.
Out in the courtyard, between the house and the barn, the ‘Black Beauty’ Orienpet lilies (Lilium) were lovely through the first two weeks of August.
There’s still lots of other pink out there (just by chance, not by design), thanks to the purple coneflowers and Joe-Pye weeds.
Well, that’s more than enough, I think. Now, some of the fall bloomers better come along quickly, so I have something different to show you for September’s Bloom Day. Thanks for visiting!