Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mears Garden news- Summer week 11.5- September 1, 2009

As the month comes to a close I would like to say a few words about the August garden, both mine and in general. We used to go away in August. That was a time when you could take vacations, before school started but after most summer programs were finished. We are no longer limited to that schedule. For that reason we have seen the entire garden month for several years in row now.

If the goal of a gardener is to have an interesting garden from start to finish (and it should be the goal) August is the first of the tough months. The daylilies are done, mostly. The heat and sometime lack of moisture usually have taken their toll. Where do you find color, interest and excitement?

1- There are a limited number of perennials that can be counted on in August. Black Eyed Susans and the hearty hibiscus are two that come to mind as I drive around and look at people’s yards. We have a new neighbor down the street who has started an ambitious garden from scratch. All the plants are new. I think that the Black eyed Susans are the biggest, almost to the point of division already.
Turtlehead, also called chelone, seems to bloom in August, in addition to having a charming name. Phlox seem to be everywhere. I sometimes think of them as a bother. They do appear on their own. They are a good color contrast with their pinks and purples. The hybridizers have been busy with different colors and more mildew resistant varieties.
As I walk around the neighborhood I see gaillardia and rose of Sharon (even though it is probably a bush).
Then there are hosta flowers. Some are interesting. I mostly do not think about them. Hosta is foliage, not flowers.

2- There are some perennials that bloom in the fall. The early varieties will start in August. Japanese anemones and toad lilies are two in my garden.

3- There are annuals. Little zinnias, a variety called Profusion, seem to be a keeper from this year. In a previous post I have mentioned morning glories, as an exciting annual that at least this year is just starting in August. There are always impatiens, nasturtiums, and Persian shield, and coleus. (What is the plural of coleus?)

4- I suppose there is the category of non-hearty bulbs. This would include caladium, which I treat as an annual and is an absolute must for the shady garden. If you have sun, I really like dahlias.

So I guess that is a start. August, particularly when there is adequate moisture and you can stay ahead of the weeds can be good. Over the top? I don’t know about that. Good should suffice for the time being.
How about some pictures…..I decided to put even more in the poll this week.

Here is the last lilium in the garden, a species variety called speciosum var. rubrum.

Then there is this blond elephant ear, called Lime Zinger, that is finally getting good after 3-4 years. Elephant ears are in the category of non-hearty bulbs. They just get bigger each year. You do have to take them inside, when finished for the season. There is this one set of elephant ears over on Clark Street which must be ages old at this point. They are on both sides of the sidewalk in front of the house and are 5 feet tall. I do not exaggerate.

This is the center of a Japanese anemone. The center remains the same, and usually gets a picture. It is just like some art piece in a museum.

How about some more morning glories? They are glorious.

Another visual fixture this time of year is the castor bean seedpods. Castor beans are another annual that I really like. You can see them well from the street.

Finally there is this euphorbia, called Icicle. It just keeps coming back, reseeding itself. Like a poinsettia it is sometimes hard to tell where the flower begins.

That’s it for this week. I just couldn’t narrow the field so you get more voting choices.
In last weeks double poll, as to the pictures, the Toad lily just edged the water lily close-up. As to your chosen sign of fall “chill in the air” won over “school is open”. On that last note these last few days I have had my sweater out of the closet for the first time in months.
In the bonus world of pictures:
There is the first fall crocus, just emerging, one of the aforementioned turtleheads, the anemone in the close-up above, a picture of a daylily seedlings, ready to go into the ground. There is also another picture of the same lilium. Interestingly some flowers are real curvy, like the one in the poll picture, and some are flatter, like the one in this picture. Finally there is this nice rudbeckia.

Enjoy September.


Catherine Woods said...

Thank you so much for these many, many weeks of flower postings! I've been following your blog since late 2007 when my dear Iowa City friend Annie first told me about your website. I used to live around the corner from your home, on Morningside Drive (back in the 1980s). These days, I reside in Colorado, with its higher altitude and lower humidity.

Your postings have given me great pleasure, joy, and deep peace. I've copied many photos onto my "pictures" folder so I can view them as a "slideshow" whenever I need to remind myself of the sheer beauty of flowers. Most wonderfully, your blog inspired me to plant flowers in my own modest plot.

With gratitude and thanks,
Catherine Woods (formerly Lasocki)

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