Posted on 24 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2015

Side Garden at Hayefield (mid-August 2015); Nancy J. Ondra

It’s somewhat unfair that the garden here starts to look really good just as the very first signs of season’s end appear: touches of fall color here and there, the constellation Orion peeking over the eastern horizon just before dawn, and–for goodness’ sake–snowblower sales. I prefer to ignore all that and just enjoy the abundance of late summer.

I’d actually prepared the pictures for this post 2 weeks ago, because I thought I might not have time to do it now. But things are changing so quickly that I ended up replacing many of those images with pictures from the last few days. I’ll re-file the others and save them for a colorful winter post.

Hemerocallis Red Razzmatazz with Cotinus Grace; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Hemerocallis ‘Red Razzmatazz’ with Cotinus ‘Grace’

Daylily season mostly wound down in late July, but ‘Red Razzmatazz’ started flowering later than most of the others I have, and it produces so many buds that it’s just now finishing.

Hemerocallis Autumn Minaret, Rudbeckia fulgida, Pennisetum orientale Karley Rose, Patrinia scabiosifolia, Vernonia noveboracensis, and Molinia caerulea subsp arundinacea Skyracer; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’, Rudbeckia fulgida, Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’, Patrinia scabiosifolia, Vernonia noveboracensis, and Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’

Tall, elegant ‘Autumn Minaret’ starts even later–in late July–and keeps going through August. Above it’s with orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) and golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia), as well as the fluffy tails of ‘Karley Rose’ Oriental fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale), some New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis), and the see-through stems of ‘Skyracer’ purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea).

Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis)

Blackberry lily (Iris domestica; formerly Belamcanda chinensis) is doing particularly well this summer. It’s been flowering since mid-July at over 5 feet tall, and it is a magnet for eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies. (What an amazing summer it has been for all kinds of butterflies around here!)

Papilio glaucus on Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Papilio glaucus on Iris domestica (Belamcanda chinensis)

A few mint-family members are looking good right now, including ‘White Cloud’ calamint (Calamintha nepetoides) below…

Calamintha nepetoides White Cloud; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Calamintha nepetoides ‘White Cloud’
Physostegia virginiana Pink Manners with Echinacea purpurea; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Physostegia virginiana ‘Pink Manners’ with Echinacea purpurea

…’Pink Manners’ obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)–above, with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)–and ‘Miss Manners’ obedient plant–below, with ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum).

Physostegia virginiana Miss Manners with Leucanthemum x superbum Becky; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ with Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’

Summer heat finally brought out the blooms of hardy hibiscus. I wasn’t always a fan of their huge flowers, but I’ve come to appreciate that sometimes they’re ideal for contrasting with a lot of fine-textured stuff, and that they can hold their own with equally big-and-bold partners too. Pure white ‘Blue River II’, for instance, looks great out back, offering some visual variety among the dozens of self-sown phlox plants.

Hibiscus Blue River II with Phlox paniculata; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Hibiscus ‘Blue River II’ with Phlox paniculata

‘Heartthrob’, below, is new for me this year, and I’m really impressed with its deep red shade. It’s a good color and texture for this spot, and it will be even better next year when it’s a foot or two taller in bloom. Here it’s with ‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’), ‘Citronelle’ heuchera, not-yet-in-bloom ‘Solar Cascade’ goldenrod (Solidago shortii), and the summer foliage of ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta).

Hibiscus Heartthrob with Tanacetum vulgare Isla Gold and Imperata cylindrica Rubra; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Hibiscus ‘Heartthrob’ with Tanacetum vulgare ‘Isla Gold’ and Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’

‘Fireball’ is a beauty for a brighter red. Its lobed leaves are interesting in their own right, and it’s taller: to about 5 feet in its first year.

Hibiscus Fireball; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Hibiscus ‘Fireball’

On the far more subtle side is flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata), below, also known as prairie baby’s breath or native baby’s breath. I’ve had it for over a decade but rarely photograph it, because bits of it pop up here and there and it’s usually pretty sparse-looking. Maybe someday it will find a spot it really likes and make more of a show.

Euphorbia corollata with Phlox paniculata; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Euphorbia corollata with Phlox paniculata

This is also the season for balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus), including the ever-unpredictable ‘Axminster Streaked’.

Platycodon grandiflorus Axminster Streaked; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Axminster Streaked’

The pineapple lilies (Eucomis comosa), too, have started opening their flowers in the last few weeks. I’ve been growing ‘Oakhurst’ for ages, so last year, I added a few ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (below) for comparison. To my eye, they’re identical to ‘Oakhurst’ in foliage color, height, and bloom time.

Eucomis comosa Sparkling Burgundy with Origanum vulgare against Symphyotricum oblongifolium; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ with Origanum vulgare against Symphyotricum oblongifolium

I usually don’t have much luck with red valerian (Centranthus ruber), but it’s been doing pretty well this year.

Centranthus ruber with Sedum alboroseum Mediovariegatum and Perovskia Filigran; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Centranthus ruber with Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum’ and Perovskia ‘Filigran’

And then there’s this washy sort of pink: not usually my favorite, but I do like masterwort (Astrantia major), and this is what I have. It’s a seedling of ‘Sunningdale Variegated’, and its flowers are pretty much the same as those of its parent.

Astrantia major Sunningdale Variegated seedling; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Astrantia major ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ seedling

Yet another summer pink is whiteleaf leatherflower (Clematis glaucophylla). It’s loaded with flowers this year, which would be a good thing, except that a hummingbird has claimed it as its territory and I can’t walk under the arbor without getting harassed. I was lucky to get close enough for one picture.

Clematis glaucophylla; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Clematis glaucophylla

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) in August? Go figure. I direct-sowed the seeds in late April, and the following month of no rain really slowed them down, so they didn’t take off until mid-July.

Lathyrus odoratus; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Lathyrus odoratus

A new annual for me this year is ‘Delft Blue’ love-in-a-mist (Nigella papillosa).

Nigella papillosa Delft Blue; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Nigella papillosa ‘Delft Blue’

Each of the flowers is a little different: some are nearly all white and some are mostly purple-blue.

Nigella papillosa Delft Blue; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Nigella papillosa ‘Delft Blue’

The cotton plants in the greenhouse–‘Red Beauty’ on the left and Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’ on the right–are still thriving.

Gossypium Red Beauty with Gossypium herbaceum Nigrum; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Gossypium ‘Red Beauty’ and Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’

‘Red Beauty’ started flowering in late July, with pink-blushed cream blooms that age to deep pink.

Gossypium 'Red Beauty bloom; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Gossypium ‘Red Beauty’ in bloom

The black-leaved cotton started about 10 days later and has much deeper pink flowers right from bud stage.

Gossypium herbaceum Nigra at Hayefield

Cupheas love this heat, too. I’m grateful that ‘Firefly’ is a dependable self-sower, because I didn’t have the time or money to buy and plant a lot of annuals out front. It was easy to transplant the ‘Firefly’ seedlings to the empty spots in June, and they are filled with flowers now.

Cuphea Firefly; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Cuphea ‘Firefly’

The variegated ‘Figaro Violet Shades’ dahlia that I overwintered has started to bloom, too.

Dahlia Figaro Violet Shades (variegated form); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Dahlia ‘Figaro Violet Shades’ (variegated form)

‘Karma Fuchsiana’ dahlia is still flowering now and will keep going until frost. Isn’t it nice how the rust spores on the ironweed leaves echo the bit of orange in the center of the dahlia bloom?

Dahlia 'Karma Fuchsiana' with Vernonia noveboracensis; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Dahlia ‘Karma Fuchsiana’ with Vernonia noveboracensis

I showed the flowers of a male bastard hemp (Datisca cannabina) last month, so the female version gets a chance this month.

Datisca cannabina female plant; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Datisca cannabina (female plant)

Many grasses are looking great now. A few of my favorites include frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus), flowering at 6 to 7 feet tall…

Spodiopogon sibiricus; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Spodiopogon sibiricus

…’Prairie Munchkin’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), below, at about 14 inches now and still growing…

Schizachyrium scoparium Prairie Munchkin with Sedum alboroseum Mediovariegatum and Perovskia Filigran; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Prairie Munchkin’ with Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum’ and Perovskia ‘Filigran’

…’Skyracer’ purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’), below, at hmmm, around 8 feet, I’d guess…

Molinia caerulea subsp arundinacea Skyracer with Rudbeckia fulgida; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Molinia caerulea subsp. arundinacea ‘Skyracer’ with Rudbeckia fulgida

…and tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), below, at around 4 feet tall.

Deschampsia cespitosa; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Deschampsia cespitosa

Now, a few late-summer combinations.

Achillea Strawberry Seduction with Sanguisorba Tanna against Filipendula ulmaria Aurea; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Achillea ‘Strawberry Seduction’ with Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ against Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’

Above, the old and new blooms of ‘Strawberry Seduction’ yarrow (Achillea) with ‘Tanna’ burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) against golden meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria ‘Aurea’). Below, balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) with wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium).

Platycodon grandiflorus with Parthenium integrifolium; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Platycodon grandiflorus with Parthenium integrifolium

Below, ‘Jeana’ summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Echinacea purpurea and Phlox paniculata Jeana; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Echinacea purpurea with Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’

Below is a different clump of purple coneflower with golden European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus ‘Aureum’)–part of which is taking on orangey fall color already–and some ‘Fiesta’ forsythia (Forsythia) at the bottom right.

Echinacea purpurea with Viburnum opulus Aureum and Forsythia Fiesta; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Echinacea purpurea with Viburnum opulus ‘Aureum’ and Forsythia ‘Fiesta’

I’ve seen some gorgeous pictures of eryngium-and-agastache combinations on Pinterest, so I had to give one a try for myself. This pairing of Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) doesn’t look like much this year, but I have hopes that it will be more impressive next summer.

Eryngium yuccifolium with Agastache Blue Fortune; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Eryngium yuccifolium with Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’

The foliage of ‘Grace’ smoke bush (Cotinus) is usually gray-green-purple by late summer, but I didn’t get around to doing its second trim until late June, so it still has some rich color now. Below it’s with Brazilian vervain (Verbena bonariensis), a bit of dill (Antheum graveolens), and tall coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris).

Coreopsis tripteris with Verbena bonariensis and Cotinus Grace; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Coreopsis tripteris with Verbena bonariensis and Cotinus ‘Grace’

Below, a late bit of dark mullein (Verbascum nigrum) is gracing the side garden.

Verbascum nigrum with Rudbeckia fulgida and Patrinia scabiosifolia; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Verbascum nigrum with Rudbeckia fulgida and Patrinia scabiosifolia

And below, a clump of diminutive ‘Leia’ pineapple lily (Eucomis) with dwarf fleeceflower (Persicaria affinis), Wlassov’s geranium (Geranium wlassovianum), and orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) in the courtyard.

Eucomis Leia with Persicaria affinis, Geranium wlassovianum, and Rudbeckia fulgida; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Eucomis ‘Leia’ with Persicaria affinis, Geranium wlassovianum, and Rudbeckia fulgida

A few foliage highlights include variegated cinnamon vine (Dioscorea batatas ‘Variegata’)…

Dioscorea batatas Variegata; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Dioscorea batatas ‘Variegata’

…’Golden Sword’ Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa) with cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)…

Yucca filamentosa Golden Sword with Euphorbia polychroma and Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’ and Euphorbia polychroma against Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’

…and October daphne (Sedum sieboldii) with woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus).

Sedum sieboldii with Thymus pseudolanuginosus; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Sedum sieboldii with Thymus pseudolanuginosus

Below is peppermint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum) with Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’), ‘Fire Alarm’ heuchera, ‘Fire Island’ hosta, and a bit of solid purple wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina).

Pelargonium tomentosum with Heuchera Fire Alarm, Hosta Fire Island, Imperata cylindrica Rubra, and Tradescantia zebrina (solid purple form); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Pelargonium tomentosum with Heuchera ‘Fire Alarm’, Hosta ‘Fire Island’, Imperata cylindrica Rubra’, and Tradescantia zebrina (solid-purple form)

The meadow has some interesting features now. Compass plant (Silphium perfoliatum) and mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum or P. incanum) were both too aggressive for the garden, but they’re fine where they have room to seed or spread at will.

Silphium perfoliatum and Pycnanthemum in the meadow; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Silphium perfoliatum and Pycnanthemum in the meadow

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), which came up on its own, its thriving too.

Andropogon gerardii above Apocynum cannabinum in the meadow; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Andropogon gerardii above Apocynum cannabinum in the meadow

I have lots of New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) in the garden, and it’s abundant out in the meadow as well. As a plus, the rust that affects the foliage isn’t evident from a distance.

Vernonia noveboracensis in the meadow; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Vernonia noveboracensis in the meadow

To finish, some general garden shots.

Amaranthus Hopi Red Dye with Zea mays var. tunicata; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Amaranthus ‘Hopi Red Dye’ with podcorn ( Zea mays var. tunicata)

Above, next to the path to the front door, is ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranth (Amaranthus) and podcorn (Zea mays var. tunicata). Below is another view, with ‘Fireball’ hardy hibiscus.

Amaranthus 'Hopi Red Dye' with podcorn ( Zea mays var. tunicata), Hibiscus 'Fireball', Tropaeolum majus, and Rudbeckia fulgida; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Amaranthus ‘Hopi Red Dye’ with podcorn ( Zea mays var. tunicata), Hibiscus ‘Fireball’, Tropaeolum majus, and Rudbeckia fulgida

Below is the path through the courtyard to the barn, lined with ‘Black Beauty’ lilies.

Courtyard path with Lilium Black Beauty; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Courtyard path with Lilium ‘Black Beauty’ (mid-August 2015)

From the opposite direction…

Courtyard Path at Hayefield (mid-August 2015); Nancy J. Ondra
Courtyard Path at Hayefield (mid-August 2015)

The grass paths are still spotty in some areas but should thicken up once we get more regular rain.

Front Garden at Hayefield (mid-August 2015); Nancy J. Ondra
Front Garden at Hayefield (mid-August 2015)
Side Garden at Hayefield (mid-August 2015); Nancy J. Ondra
Side Garden at Hayefield (mid-August 2015)

One shot of the Long Border and The Shrubbery, gearing up for its late-season spectacular.

The Long Border and The Shrubbery at Hayefield; Nancy J. Ondra
The Long Border and The Shrubbery at Hayefield (mid-August 2015)

In the sitting area out back, the ‘Pignoletto Giallo’ corn has really come along in the last month. I didn’t know what to expect from the plants, so it was interesting to see how short they were at tasseling stage (only 5 to 6 feet), with impressively sturdy stalks.

Pignoletto Giallo corn (Zea mays) at Hayefield; Nancy J. Ondra
‘Pignoletto Giallo’ corn

That’s it for now. For more late-summer garden goodness, check out Carol’s main Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens. And, find yourself some shade to keep cool!

Daniel and Duncan under the solar panels; Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield
Daniel and Duncan under the solar panels at Hayefield
Posted on 24 Comments

24 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2015

  1. Beautiful! I enjoyed the tour.

    Thanks for visiting today, Automatic!

  2. You are such an inspiration, Nancy! Since finding your blog a year ago, I have made many changes in my yard to emulate yours. I refer to you so often when telling my husband my latest ideas, that I feel we are on a first name basis!
    This year I began, hesitantly, to add perennial grasses to my planting beds. I’ve always been afraid they would self sow with wild abandon. (I’m waiting for somebody to buy me your grasses book on my amazon wish list.)
    I grew my first eucomis this year and it was a flop… literally. As soon as the flowers began opening, all the stems fell over. Yours looks wonderful. If you have any tips, please pass them on.
    I ordered three of the persicaria affinis after drooling over it in your pictures. I am so excited to add them to my borders.
    Thanks so much for sharing your garden and wisdom with us!

    Hey there, Debbie. I’m honored to be part of your garden, even tangentially. I’ve learned a lot more about grasses since I wrote that book (that was…gosh, 14 years ago!), so if you ever have a question about a specific grass, feel free to email me or leave a comment here and I’ll be glad to share what I know about it now. So far, the only perennial grass that is becoming problematic for me here by seeding is Pennisetum alopecuroides, when it’s growing next to “lawn” areas.

    I do recall that my pineapple lily flower stalks were floppy for the first few years. I’d usually prop them up with forked sticks. Now that the bulbs are much bigger–some are larger than a large grapefruit–the stalks are a lot sturdier. It also helps a good deal if the leaves get full sun.

    Best of luck with the Persicaria affinis. Once it gets settled in, you’ll be able to take bits of those clumps and spread them around. It’s such a nice thing for the front of a border or along a path. Enjoy!

  3. Beautiful!
    Love the Clematis!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    Happy Bloom Day back to you, Lea, and to your menagerie too!

  4. Amazing pictures as always! Just as my garden is starting to look a bit bedraggled, yours is bursting with splendid combos and vista! I was intrigued that your Euphorbia corollata “pops up here and there”. I’ve never managed to propagate mine, but to make up for that, my one plant has been in the garden for going on 20 years, and still makes a fine display every summer (a few examples on my site: Looking forward to next month’s exposé :-)

    Good to hear from you, Rob. I planted three small pieces of the Euphorbia corollata over a decade ago; they never did much and disappeared a few years later. But every year since then, I’ve found single stems here and there, always in different places from where I noticed them the year before. I can only guess that they’re self-sowing but I’m pulling out most of them by accident; they really do like kind of like weeds when they are young shoots. Your well-established clump looks beautiful!

  5. I always love these posts. I wanna be you when I grow up! My special favorites this month are the balloon flower and wild quinine, the blackberry lily with the swallowtail butterfly, and the sedum sieboldii and woolly thyme.
    Several questions… I don’t remember you mentioning having a greenhouse. Is this new? And why did you not plant the cotton plants in the garden?
    The summer phlox re-seeders.… Don’t they just take over after awhile?
    I also found your arbor of Virginia creeper interesting. We pull up every piece of that here. But it’s beautiful as you have used it.
    Thanks again for all the inspiration and ideas.

    Hi Amy! I’ve had some sort of greenhouse for many years, but for most of the time, it was a cheap one that was not at all photogenic. Last summer, Mom and I replaced it with a prettier wooden kit one. Neither one had/has heat, so I mostly use them for overwintering some borderline things, and for hardening off seedlings, and they’re usually empty in summer because they get too hot. I realized that would be ideal for the cottons, though. When I plant them in the garden, I’m lucky to get them to about 1 foot tall, and the seeds often don’t ripen before frost. In the greenhouse, they’re more than double that size already, even with a late start, thanks to the heat and a LOT of watering. And, they’ll be fine even if we get an early frost. I should get lots of seeds this year, though it recently occurred to me that they might have crossed, being so close together. I’ll have to look into that before offering to share the seeds.

    The phlox…yes, it’s really gone to town back there. I deadhead it in other parts of the garden, but I rarely get time to tidy back there, so I’m fine with letting it and other seeding and spreading perennials fight it out in that area.

    And the Virginia creeper…that arbor originally had golden hops on it, and there’s still a bit on one side. At some point, a creeper seedling popped up on the other side, and it’s been so happy there that I just left it. It has created a prime nesting spot on top of the arbor, apparently; every year, the robins and mockingbirds fight it out to see who gets to move in the spring. They also haunt it when the berries ripen in fall. I do, as you can imagine, pull out loads of seedlings too!

  6. Thanks for the glimpses of late summer in your garden, Nan. Always such a pleasure to see the fruits of your labour and accompanying thoughts. Large blooms are often needed to stir things up in my garden, too, so it was interesting to see the pics of the hibiscus. I’m just wondering about their water needs as we continue into drought mode and apparently, things are not going to change much in the coming years. Day lilies are certainly useful for bigger flowers, agapanthus can sometimes read as insubstantial at a distance even if the umbels are large. Both take limited watering quite well in our garden. I’m wondering, if well established, the hibiscus would be the same? Oh, love the monochrome echos once again.
    Victoria, BC

    I imagine it would depend on your soil, Barbara. Around here, established clumps of hardy hibiscus seem to do fine even in obviously neglected areas, with no extra water, probably because our soil is on the heavy side. We have dry spells too, heavens knows, but it sounds like your situation is more desperate. I wouldn’t encourage you to add several, but maybe try one and see how it does?

  7. Very enjoyable. Thanks

    Thank you for stopping by, Betty.

  8. Love all your flower combinations, they are stunning and the light and movement with the grasses is beautiful. I know you do beautiful foliage combinations, I have your book, but it is good to see them in your garden.

    One of my favorite things about this time of year is the changing light: just in time to really show off the grasses in morning and evening. The purple moor grass, especially, is practically invisible during the day but really stands out when backlit.

  9. Nan, as always, beautiful images. I wanted to thank you for some mullein (‘Governor Aiken’) seed you shared a few years ago. The plants are spectacular, creamy-white specimens of no interest to deer and of considerable interest to my neighbor’s honeybees. After a good haircut following the first flowering, they all rebloomed. I’ll save seed in hopes of keeping them going. Many thanks….

    That’s terrific, Michael. The seeds came to me from reader Alice B. in Vermont, home of the original Governor George Aiken, so she gets the main credit for them. A couple of other folks have gotten in touch this summer to say how much they like this mullein. I was stunned that mine did not self-sow, and I gave away most of the seed I collected, but I finally found a bit in my seed box and got some new plants started this summer. I hope to have seeds to share in 2016. It would be great to have this beautiful plant more widely grown.

  10. Hi Nan, thanks for the ongoing inspiration and dose of plant porn! Here in BC we are beginning to think we’ll need to change our gardens to xeriscaping, lots of cactus in our future. Do you have another book in the works?

    Angela (Bowen Island)

    Oh dear, Angela. That seems to be an increasing and unfortunate trend. It’s been relatively dry here too, but I hesitate to complain, because it could be much worse: a friend in northern Italy has been dealing with 100+ temperatures and essentially no rain for several months now.

    I actually have two books coming out: one on container gardens late this year or early next, from Storey, and one on perennial combinations, due out next March, from Rodale. The first one is off at the printers now, I think, and we’re working on the layouts for the second right now. It has been a busy year!

  11. Spectacular pictures of your garden as always…Thanks for sharing them! I want to try pineapple lily next year. Do you have a favorite place to buy the bulbs?

    I can’t recall where my ‘Oakhurst’ came from, unfortunately. The ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ and ‘Leia’ came as potted plants from local nurseries. I imagine you’d have good results with any well-known online bulb supplier. I’ve had luck with other things from, and McClure & Zimmerman has a variety of species and cultivars too. The online listings won’t be live until it’s time for their spring catalogs, though, since the bulbs are tender in many areas.

  12. Your garden is full of strong colors this August, Nan. I love all those reds, especially the Hibiscus and the Gossypium. I was surprised to see the sweet peas – mine were fried by our early heatwaves in March and we’re already coming up on the recommended deadline (Labor Day) for planting seeds for next years crop. My Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ are also struggling this year but I think the problem there is the limited water supply – that’s definitely changing my garden and will undoubtedly lead to further changes in my plant selections but I enjoy seeing all the beauties in your garden.

    It’s definitely not common for us (or at least me) to have sweet peas in bloom in August; usually they peak in early to mid-July. They’re finishing now, and I hope the seeds will ripen before the vines wither. I don’t have luck with fall sowing, so I usually direct-sow in April.

  13. Your eucomis look great! I wintered mine over and repotted this spring, but no blooms. Do you plant them in the ground each year?? Any secrets to reblooming? My patrina are growing everywhere and I share the starts. Thanks for showing us your garden.
    Cathy in Utah

    Hi Cathy. I normally plant out the ‘Oakhurst’ and ‘Leia’ in the ground each year, then dig them with a clump of soil in fall, drop them in a plastic shopping bag, and store them basically dry in my unheated basement. I did miss one last fall and had it come up and bloom this year, so I may leave a few more out this winter, but I won’t gamble with them all. I don’t know why yours wouldn’t be blooming, if they’re getting plenty of sun during the growing season. Thanks for the good news about the patrinia; it’s my favorite yellow this time of year.

  14. I love how the boys strike a pose like a push-me-pull-you. It’s hard to pick a fav, but I think the photo of Eucomis ‘Leia’ might have an edge.

    Ah yes–that way each knows where the other one is but can pretend to ignore him. ‘Leia’ really is adorable. It was still dormant when I set out the clump in May and didn’t sprout until late June, but it has made up for the delay. I have a ridiculous number of photos of it; I really like where I have it this year!

  15. The Hibiscuses are so lovely, I used to have one that came up every year but no more. But the Rose of Sharons do well. Do the Strawberry Seduction yarrows fade like other reds? They are such a wonderful dark color. I’m interested to hear that the Cuphea Fireflies like the heat and also self-sow, they are such a bright red. I love looking at all your flowers, so many ideas!

    I’ve had the same thing happen with other hibiscus. ‘Strawberry Seduction’ yarrow does fade as it ages. Somewhere in this post is a pic of it with Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’, where you can see some of the richly colored new blooms along with the pale old ones. (I forgot to deadhead it.) I should have lots of ‘Firefly’ cuphea seeds to share this fall, if you’d like to try it for yourself.


    Hi, Lynn. I’m so happy to show you an old friend. I plan to collect seed of the patrinia again this year for my fall giveaway. If you’d like some, you could ask then or let me know now. I can’t imagine being without it; it’s a star of the later-season garden.

  17. I just love clematis with those little bell flowers. I have only one and it has a blue bloom. I can imagine that your trousers are all stained by the pollen of the black lilies. They are worth the aggravation tho. Fun seeing all the beautiful combos of bloomers in your garden now. Give “D” boyz a pat for me. They look like book ends sitting there in the shade.

    Trust a true gardener to notice the implication of planting lilies along a path. I always wear long-sleeved shirts because, besides the pollen on the Oriental lilies, both they and the pineapple lilies are loaded with bees and wasps. The boys say hello; they’re currently sprawled in front of their fan.

  18. Beautiful color combinations. I saw you menttioned finding it hard to use the large flowered hibiscus. Have you tried Hibiscus cocineus and it’s crosses. Has a smaller star shaped flower with space between the petals, and is very tall, but almost see through. Much easier to place. Fire engine red, white, and a favorite magenta cultivar called ‘Moy Grande’ from Plant Delights.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Margaret. I adore H. coccineus, but sadly, the rabbits have eaten my last two years of seedlings, so it’ll be a while before I have any large enough to flower. I did save some H. laevis from them, but it’s not very dramatic color-wise. ‘Moy Grande’ looks like a stunner; I’ll have to keep an eye out for it at local sources.

  19. Hey Nan, your garden looks like mine in July except that you have loads more plants than I did. Mine has that waning look in August, but it’s okay. I just love looking at your photos and dreaming of different combinations. I grow ‘Moy Grande’ and a smaller ‘Cranberry Crush’ (I think), and ‘Luna Red’ hibiscus. Mine are all doing well this year. The grasshoppers didn’t make too many meals out of them. I’ll come back again during the month and look over your pictures. So many choices. So little space. Haha.~~Dee

    We got a bit of a late start, I think, due to our very dry spring. And we may be waning soon as well, if we don’t get some much-needed rain. It’s good to hear that you too like ‘Moy Grande’. I had a bad feeling about my hibiscus plants when I saw the Japanese beetles arrive, but this year, at least, the beetles were more interested in the persicarias and sanguisorbas. Enjoy the rest of your summer, Dee!

  20. Nan, what are those little signs hanging on the frames in your back sitting area (by the ‘Pignoletto Giallo’ corn)? Plant IDs?

    Those are the remnants of my mailbox from my previous garden. Mom had built it to look like a greenhouse, and I spent many hours that winter painting mixed borders on the sides. Unfortunately, someone thought it would be funny to blow it up, and those two parts were all that I could salvage.

  21. How does Apocynum cannabinum behave for you? My neighbor and I just noticed it growing along the roadside this year and it’s already a large patch. I know it’s a native but its aggressive behavior is making us nervous. We have seen wild parsnip take over many a country road. Love the variegated dahlia–at least then if it never gets around to blooming (mine sometimes don’t) the foliage contributes interest. And didn’t know blackberry lily had a name change. For once, the Latin name is now easier to pronounce! My hibiscus aren’t blooming yet, but the Japanese beetles found one of my three and the leaves look like lace. But–it still has flower buds!

    In my meadow, hemp dogbane is even more aggressive than Canada goldenrod. I’m experimenting with some different mowing timings to see if I can knock it back a bit. On the plus side, though, it attracts lots of pollinators and other beneficial insects, according to this article: What Good is Dogbane? I’ve seen many of the insects shown in that article on my own dogbane plants.

    It’s easy to accept the iris link when blackberry lily is in leaf and in seed; not so much when it’s blooming. I will always think of it as Belamcanda, though, and hope that the name changes back eventually. Enjoy your lace-leaved hibiscus!

  22. You’ve sold me on giving hardy hibiscus another try. I’ll ignore the wet napkin look just to have a few of those bowls of color scattered around the yard. I’ll even fight off the sawfly attacks!
    Funny about the euphorbia. Mine also withered away and died after a year or two and I never got seedlings…. I also never had anything as nice as Rob’s plant.
    hmmm. A kit greenhouse might be something I could afford someday. Might be worth it to get the cotton to do well, sprouting is about as far as I ever get with that one :/

    Oh yeah–the “wet napkin” thing. I admit that it’s especially noticeable on the reds. That’s a major advantage of the smaller-flowered species and selections.

    The kit greenhouse basically worked out well, though–of course–it was nowhere as “quick and easy” as it was touted to be. If it weren’t for Mom’s woodworking skills and tools, I’d have never been able to finish it. My favorite thing is the automatic vent. After years of worrying about manually opening and closing the greenhouse, or using heavy shade cloth, knowing that it will release excess heat on its own is a blessing. My next project is installing a small solar panel to be able to run a little heater in spring. I’ve had all the parts for a year now and just haven’t taken the time to figure it all out.

  23. As always your pictures inspire me. I have hand dug 3 large gardens(whew) at our new property and have used several of your plant combos. I especially like sedum sieboldii. Mine has flattened out in the center. Yours looks great. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Have you ever used hyacinth bean? I love the reddish leaves with the purple/pink flowers.

    That’s great to hear, Sandy! I hope the combos work out well for you. It think it’s pretty much the nature of Sedum sieboldii to flatten out as the stems elongate. Mine is on top of a very low stone wall, which is probably why it looks more arching. Thanks for the reminder about hyacinth bean. I had it ages ago and loved it, and I definitely need to grow it again.

  24. I have 2 of the Hibiscus ‘Fireball’ plants in my red berm, and they come back reliably every year here in upstate NY (zone 4/5), but I rarely see many blooms. They start blooming for me about 2-3 weeks before our first hard frost flattens them. I’m hoping to enjoy more blooms in years to come – we’re definitely getting warmer. For now I appreciate the reddish-green foliage, and oh those 2 weeks of dinner plate blooms.

    It’s great to hear about the hardiness, Deborah; thanks for sharing that. May you have a late fall this year so you can enjoy lots of those stunning flowers.

Comments are closed.