Welcome to the August edition of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day from Hayefield. Here in southeastern PA, we have been blessed with frequent rain this summer, so the garden is particularly lush right now. It’s been a busy time, trying to keep up with the vegetable harvest and collecting lots of interesting seeds. I like to give the whole garden a week or so of concentrated attention around now too: doing a thorough weeding, tidying up the edges, and making a final edit of everything else to balance heights and colors. As soon as that’s done, I can pretty much just stand back and enjoy the show for the next several months.
According to the gardening column in our local paper, August is a “difficult” month, with most flowers being past their peak. To my mind, it’s the opposite: the start of the very best of the gardening season. Here, August marks Stage One, highlighted by the flowering of three key perennials: orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida), golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia), and New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis).
I know orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida var. fulgida) is common, and it can be a bit much in large expanses. Weaving among taller partners, though, and interspersed with plenty of green, it’s a beautiful addition to the late-summer show. It self-sows freely, so I have quite a bit of it. In late May, I cut most of it completely to the ground, but I leave some of the mid-border plants alone. That produces a nice multi-layer effect (as in the above photo) and extends the bloom season too.
Even a single clump of golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia) tends to have a layered look without pruning, due to its branching habit. If you let it self-sow, the multi-level effect is particularly noticeable. There’s a great deal of variation among the seedlings: Some are more compact and densely branched, while others are taller and much more open. A mix of the forms allowed to seed through beds and borders really does create a lace-like effect.
The height and color of golden lace make it a perfect partner for the sumptuous purple flowers of ironweeds (Vernonia). To be honest, as much as I adore the color of ironweeds, I’m pretty ruthless about keeping them limited in the garden (well, “limited” to a few dozen), partly because they self-sow so freely and partly because they’re so prone to rust here. I let them do what they want in the meadow, and they’ve happily made themselves at home out there.
Back to the garden, though…there are many other beautiful and/or interesting things contributing to the show right now. Let’s start with the annuals and tender perennials.
Some perennial and woody stars in the garden at the moment include the following…
There are some pretty things out in the meadow, too, besides the purple ironweeds.
I haven’t been shooting many combinations recently, because I’m waiting until I finish the garden cleanup. I did grab a few, though.
What really pleases, and amazes, me is how good the garden and meadow areas look as a whole. Sometimes I just wander around and take it all in. Here’s a quick trot through the highlights.
Well, that was quite a stroll for a late-summer day, so it’s time for a break.
Find yourself a patch of shade and chill out for a bit, then check out more summery garden splendor from the participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. You can find the list at Carol’s main GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for visiting!
I am passionate about collecting and growing seeds! In the links below, you can find out more about why I started my own one-person seed company and how it works. The library page is a collection of articles I’ve written on seed-related topics.