Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2019
And so it begins…my favorite part of the gardening season. Except for a very brief groundhog incident, my unwanted-wildlife issues seem to have been resolved (for now, anyway), the garden and meadow are full of flowers, and loads of seeds are ripening. I did my best to pare down the photos for this post, but there’s just so much to share; let’s get to it.
To start with, a few garden shots.
The Courtyard: yellow wingstem (
Verbesina alternifolia) with Joe-Pye weed ( Eutrochium maculatum)
The Courtyard: the same Joe-Pye weed (
Eutrochium maculatum), which is about 6 feet tall, with the aptly named tall coreopsis ( Coreopsis tripteris)
The Front Garden – Outer Path
The Front Garden – Outer Path: a vignette of orange coneflower (
Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii) with a compact form of great burnet ( Sanguisorba officinalis)
The Front Garden – Front Corner: male false hemp (
Datisca cannabina) with blackberry lily ( Iris domestica)
The Front Garden – Another Corner: orange coneflower (
Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii) with a Japanese maple ( Acer palmatum)
The Side Garden – Outer Path
The Side Garden – Outer Path: a reverse view, with purple moor grass (
Molinia caerulea var. arundinacea) and golden lace ( Patrinia scabiosifolia)
The Side Garden (I never get tired of this view!)
Side Garden – Cross Path
I adore the tufted hair grass (
Deschampsia cespitosa) this time of year–particularly when it’s golden in the setting sun. It is, however, becoming problematic by seeding around enthusiastically, so pretty soon, I’ll have to cut it all down before its seeds ripen. Sigh.
The meadow, at least, is still low-maintenance, besides a once-a-month path mowing and much more frequent forays to visit the plants and wildlife.
Speaking of wildlife: I’m very happy to display my “Pollinator-Friendly Garden” sign, indicating that Hayefield has passed muster with the Penn State Master Gardeners Pollinator-Friendly Garden Program. If you too are interested in becoming certified, you can find more info here:
PA Pollinator Garden Certification.
There is certainly an abundance of flowers out there this year!
Mountain mints (
Pycnanthemum) are getting a lot of attention for pollinator-friendly gardens. This year, the Virginia mountain mint ( P. virginianum) is doing particularly well in the upper meadow.
The huge patch of short-toothed mountain mint (
Pycnanthemum muticum) isn’t nearly as dense this year, but it’s still abuzz with insect activity, including lots of bees.
The great golden digger wasp (
Sphex ichneumoneus) is so large it can hardly fit on the flowerhead, but it manages. It’s kind of scary-big, actually, but reportedly not very likely to sting. I didn’t test that report.
And there are ever so many butterflies! At the moment, the common buckeyes (
Junonia coenia) are particularly abundant.
There is a lot of other plant action in the upper meadow besides the mountain mints, such as this patch of cup plant (
Silphium perfoliatum) mingling with eastern gramagrass ( Tripsacum dactyloides) in the foreground and big bluestem ( Andropogon gerardii) in back.
I first tried eastern gramagrass (
Tripsacum dactyloides) in a border. It thrived there, but after a few years, I realized it wasn’t well suited for that: The flowering stems are originally upright, but as the seeds form, those stems sprawl outward, and the whole plant looks rather open and messy. It’s fine in the meadow, though, and it’s seeding around happily there, which is great. It’s native to parts of southeastern Pennsylvania, apparently, but isn’t common and is now considered endangered, according to this species factsheet.
Many grass flowers are fascinating at close range, and the flowers of eastern gramagrass (
Tripsacum dactyloides) are particularly intriguing. The male flowers (see the dangling bronzy bits above) are at the upper part of the inflorescence, and the female flowers are below.
The female flowers of eastern gamagrass (
Tripsacum dactyloides) form at the base of the inflorescence. They get pollinated and then develop into seeds, while the male parts fall off.
Indian grass (
Sorghastrum nutans): also a beauty in bloom
The big bluestem (
Andropogon virginicus) is living up to its name, easily reaching to 7 feet tall as it begins to flower.
Little bluestem (
Schizachyrium scoparium) may be “little” in relation to its “big” cousin, but it’s still a good 3 feet or more in height.
The first swamp milkweed (
Asclepias incarnata) to appear in the upper meadow
In the lower meadow, I mow in winter, then again in late April. That seems to be helping the later-blooming flowers, such as New York ironweed (
Vernonia noveboracensis), as well as the many native asters ( Symphyotrichum) yet to come.
The wild quinine (
Parthenium integrifolium) is still blooming and still loaded with insects. I felt a bit guilty about bothering these pearl crescent butterflies having an intimate moment.
I really like this unplanned combination of wild quinine (
Parthenium integrifolium) with Maryland senna ( Senna marilandica).
Another nice wild combo: Joe-Pye weed (
Eutrochium maculatum) with flat-top goldenrod ( Euthamia graminifolia)
I’m really pleased at how this slope at the bottom of the lower meadow is filling out. It looked terrible for many years because not much would grow there. I started tossing leftover perennial seeds out there each year, and many wonderful things are starting to come along. To be fair, it doesn’t look wow in this view at this time, but it’s full of young baptisias that should reach flowering size next year.
This cardinal flower (
Lobelia cardinalis) popped up in that area for the first time last year and produced several more stems this summer.
I don’t mind our township mowing the edge of the road down there, because it’s hard for me to do it, but sometimes they mow up on the slope as well. I just added this cool sign I got from
Prairie Moon Nursery, in the hope that it will make the mower guy realize the slope is intentionally meadow and not just “weeds.”
Back to the garden now, to check out closeups of some current stars, starting with two beautiful grasses.
Siberian graybeard (
‘Dewey Blue’ bitter panic grass (
The rest of these perennial plants are from seed.
Rattlesnake master (
Wild petunia (
Ruellia humilis): I didn’t plant this one, but I’m happy it appeared
Blackberry lily (
Iris domestica, formerly Belamcanda chinensis): look at all the butterflies!
‘Axminster Streaked’ balloon flower (
Platycodon grandiflorus): I particularly like the markings on this one
False hemp (
Datisca cannabina): female inflorescence
Monarda punctata), also known as spotted bee balm: technically perennial, but it acts like an annual for me
White-veined Dutchman’s pipe (
Aristolochia fimbriata): marginally hardy for me. Thanks for the seeds, Mel!
More things that are true annuals, or that I grow as annuals here (all of these too are from seed).
‘Red Noodle’ and ‘Pretzel Bean’ vines (both
Lavender moonvine (
Ipomoea muricata), also known as clove bean
Pink cypress vine (
Ipomoea quamoclit ‘Rosea’)
White cypress vine (
Ipomoea quamoclit ‘Alba’)
Snow on the mountain (
Brazilian bachelor’s button (
Porcupine tomato (
Redwhisker clammyweed (
Variegated tobacco (
Nicotiana tabacum ‘Variegatum’): first flower!
Black-leaved cotton (
Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’) thriving in the greenhouse
‘Mischief musk mallow (
Devil’s trumpet (
‘Silky Gold’ tropical milkweed (
Silver ponyfoot (
Job’s tears (
Pineapple helenium (
Helenium aromaticum, a.k.a. Cephalaphora aromatica): tiny flowers, but the plant really does smell like pineapple when you rub or crush the leaves
Blue milkweed (
Tweedia caerulea, a.k.a. Oxypetalum caeruleum)
Well, that’s it for the August highlights here at Hayefield. For more Augusty garden goodness, be sure to visit the list of participants at the
main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens. Thanks for stopping by!