Seasonal Page:

August: The Good, the Bad
and the Ugly!

[Red Oriental Lily]

I've already stated that August is my least favorite month in the garden. Looking at the pictures here, you would have trouble understanding why, but what you don't see is the dry lawn (we don't try to keep up with the grass as well as the vegetable garden and flowerbeds), the weeds and all the grooming tasks to be done. It's also hot, the lighting is not as pretty for picture taking, and I'm tired of summer. Come September, I'll get excited to be outside again and usually have a surge of gardening energy take over before the rains of fall and winter set in. Enough of the complaining...let's look at a few things that are out in August.

[Mixed Oriental Lilies]

The lily pictured at the top of the page is the same one you see here. These were purchased in a bag of mixed Oriental Hybrids at Costco. They are beautiful and even a bit familiar, but don't ask me to tell you the names! I have them in a spot that is slightly difficult to see without walking into the back bed. They bloom near the Buddleia 'Pink Delight' and just behind the Acanthus you see below.

While wading into the bed to take the photo of the lilies, I was standing right next to the Acanthus spinosus. It had been pictured on the July page. These stalks look like floral skyscrapers with silly window awnings. Can't you just imagine being a little bug and sliding from the top awning onto each succeeding one, all the way to the bottom? ...Kind of like a game we had in my family when I was a little girl, called "doink." We would slide down the stairwell from top to bottom on our tushes (Ouch!). It was more fun if you said "doink" as you hit each step! When my father got safety conscious and installed rubber treads on the hardwood stairs, our games were over. It just wasn't the same! :-)



[Acanthus spinosus flowers-Close]


[Pink Oriental Lily]


Here's another Oriental Lily hybrid, name unknown. I really love how soft the color is with the contrast of the bright rust colored anthers.



[Anemone japonica 'Prince Henry']

Late summer and fall are the seasons for the Japanese Anemone (Anemone japonica). This cultivar is called 'Prince Henry.' It is shorter than most at about 1 1/2 to 2 feet and has nice double rose colored flowers. These are growing in almost full sun, but they do well in a shady location also, especially if you live in a hotter climate than our Northwest one. I like the buds on this plant almost as much as the flowers...they are such perfect little spheres.

For old time's's the swan song of Daylily 'Cherry Cheeks.' It's finished now, but bloomed like this during the first week of August. The Fuchsia behind it will keep on going until frost. It's is Fuchsia magellanica 'Maiden's Blush' ... one of the hardy Fuchsias that get as tall as me eventually.



[Daylily 'Cherry Cheeks' with Hardy Fuchsia]


[Daylily 'Chicago Royal Robe']


This is finished now also, but bloomed earlier in the month. You might recognize it as Daylily 'Chicago Royal Robe.' I had a photo on the July page and it may have been slightly more accurate in its color, but I tend to think it was more intense this month because of the elevated night temperatures.



A closer look at a flower on Nicotiana alata. These have all come from seed from plants I'd grown in the Rose Frontal Bed a few years ago. They range from white to pink-mauve, or rose-mauve. I especially like the white ones with a slightly rose colored reverse. They are closed during the daytime and open in the evening to release their intoxicating fragrance, right into our bedroom window. During the month of August, you can often see Sphinx Moths pollinating them (at a glance they look just like hummingbirds...which, by the way, I have not seen for awhile. I wonder if they have flown south already).



[Nicotiana alata seedling]


[Rose Frontal Grouping]

Another familiar shot of the Rose Frontal Bed, but I couldn't resist. The plants you see here are: Nicotiana alata, Larkspur and two varieties of Dahlia. The light yellow and pinky blend is 'Alfred Grill.'  

What would a hanging basket be without Lobelia? This variety is 'Sapphire' and it just sparkles. The little Petunias I put into the baskets with the Lobelia are not doing so well. Since the Dogwood tree has gained more height, it's time to revamp my thinking on what is appropriate for these baskets...maybe some Impatiens?



[Lobelia 'Sapphire']


[Aster divaricatus with Bulbous Oat Grass][Aster divaricatus close-up]

This is typical of late summer to fall plantings...a bit weary around the edges and kind of messy and informal. The little daisy flowers are Aster divaricatus. It's a wonderful late bloomer that is suited to shady areas and will tolerate dry soil. The leaves are a fresh green and the stems black. The whitish grass behind in the left photo is Bulbous Oat Grass, and it's about due to have a haircut. After shearing, it will send out fresh growth which will look nice until frost.


The Crocosmia seedling pictured here was a volunteer that sprouted under the skirts of 'Lucifer.' It is more orange, blooms later and has a nice yellow marking on the lower petal. When It's finished this fall, I may move it into the Ash Bed to stand alone. The lovely soft green behind is Melianthus major. You saw it earlier in the season.



[Crocosmia seedling with Melianthus major]


[Echinops ritro][Bumblebee on Echinops Flowerhead]

Using Robert's automatic camera (a Canon EOS RebelXS) I finally got a good shot of the Echinops ritro in its prime. (If you wanted to dry these flowers, you would actually pick them just before they open this far.) This is such a fun plant and you can entertain yourself for hours just watching the bumblebees work it over. There are a lot of tiny blooms on each flowerhead. You can see one in the photo to the right...he's probably thinking "so many flowers, so little time." The seed sprays seen near it are from the Crocosmia 'Lucifer' that bloomed last month. If left on the plant, they will take on shades of bronze before bursting open to reveal shocking red/orange seeds. My only complaint about the Echinops (other than it's slightly prickly foliage) is that it seeds rather generously. Any takers?

[Gladiola with Agapanthus]

Alas, this Gladiola is about gone now, but wasn't it beautiful? I showed it in its early stages on the July page. The blue flowers to the right are Agapanthus 'Headbourne Hybrids.' They are hardier than the common Agapanthus, although we can usually grow those as well. To the left of the Gladiola are a few sprays from a volunteer Eryngium planum. They make great cutting flowers with their silvery stems and prickly silver-blue flower heads.


[Cardoon flower with Eucalyptus gunnii]

You can't tell from this picture, but the flowers on the Cardoon were over my head. This one is nestled in the leaves of a Eucalyptus gunnii. The Eucalyptus needs severe pruning each year in order to keep producing round juvenile leaves. These leaves are halfway between being juvenile and reverting to adult shape. Time to sharpen up the pruners!


On a recent trip to Eagle Hardware with my family to get a new shower for the basement, I spied these displayed out front. I miss having Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in the yard, so bought three plants ('Magnus'). Each one has a bit of variation in the flowers. The one to the left drooped and another one not shown had narrower petals than the one at right, but three times as many. You wouldn't think the colors would work, but there are so many clever things you can do in your color schemes with this combination of mauve-rose and bronze (the cones). Now I just need to think of one!



[Echinacea planted near path]


[Echinacea purpurea - close]

A close-up of Purple Coneflower...just love this! The only thing that would complete the shot would be a nice butterfly perched on top (they adore these flowers), but I haven't seen too many butterflies in the past week.

[Gypsophila 'Compacta Plena']


Not too stupendous all by itself, but still nice that it's blooming! This is my favorite Baby's Breath. It is Gypsophila 'Compacta Plena.' It blooms for a very long period of time (reblooms) and comes back reliably year after year.



This is one of the larger flowered "hardy fuchsias." It is not as hardy as the F. magellanica cultivars, but isn't bad. The name is F. 'Dollar Princess' and it only gets to be about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall. Mine is kind of idling along. It would benefit from some TLC in the way of organics and MORE water than it usually gets! By the way...the deer really seem to like the Fuchsias. :-(



[Fuchsia 'Dollar Princess']


[Petunia 'Blue Lace']

I don't have a lot of Petunias and this one is kind of by itself, but the variety is 'Blue Lace.' I really fell in love with it years ago because it is very fragrant. I had to admit...this plant doesn't look as "blue" or smell as good as I'd remembered. I wonder if it's not exactly the same strain.


Yet another Crocosmia! This cultivar was named 'Venus.' It appears to be a variation of the common Crocosmia blooms at the same time of year, has similar foliage and growth habit. The flowers are more golden/orange in the centers and on the reverse of the petals.



[Crocosmia 'Venus']


[Gaillardia 'Burgundy' Deadheads]


It's time to get out the pruners, but I kind of like the deadheads on this Gaillardia 'Burgundy' (or any other Gaillardia, for that matter). It will bloom better if I remove the setting seeds and this is about the time to do that job. The bluish gray plants in the left background are a nice Artemisia called 'David's Choice.' I like it better than 'Silver Mound.'



Almost 8 years ago, I got this garden Mum from Lamb's Nurseries in Spokane, WA (they are a great mail order source for perennials). It was just called 'Daisy Red.' I haven't always given it the best care, but each late summer and fall it produces a bush of these russet colored blooms. They are particularly attractive against its own bluish tinged foliage. Ever few years it's wise to reset some pieces from this in fresh soil (adding amendments) to keep the plant healthy. Chrysanthemums produce a toxic substance that inhibits the growth of plants, including themselves. That's why they tend to die out in the middle and look better on the fringes.

[Garden Chrysanthemum 'Daisy Red']


[Daylily 'Double Ethel']

A familiar face. This is Daylily 'Double Ethel' and she is still blooming! At the beginning of the season, I didn't see any doubling but it appears she is making the effort now. This plant is situated just south of the Chrysanthemum shown above in the Oak Bed.

For more of August...go to Page 2!

This page last updated on August 31, 1998.