Mid-August Blooms, Part 1
I had a happy reunion with the garden after Judy and I returned from our trip late Saturday afternoon. The first thing I noticed were bright swaths of yellow that seemed to dominate the area in front of the house. Yellow – sometimes clear and light, sometimes golden, or shading into orange.
Overall, the garden had held up pretty well during our two week absence. It seems there had been a good deal of rain while we were gone. Some plants were leaning a bit too haphazardly, or had gotten overgrown. Staking, deadheading, and cutting back occupied a good deal of my Sunday, but I was happy to be so engaged.
It wasn’t all yellow, of course. There were the bright orange Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia grandiflora).
As many of you know, I am besotted by this sun-loving annual. However, I do think it needs to be cut back more aggressively. This year the Tithonia has grown a good 7′ at least, and it is obscuring some of its neighbors.
For example, the fuzzy purple pink flower clusters of ‘Gateway’ Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum) – hardly a diminutive plant in its own right.
Here’s a view from the far end of the Driveway Border. Clusters of Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) stand in front of the Tithonia and ‘Gateway’. The droopy ray flowers are such a bright, clear yellow.
There’s an Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) barely visible in front of the Yellow Coneflower. For the past two years the Agastache and some other plants have been infested with evil four-lined plant bugs in May and June. They recover later in summer but are much less robust than usual.
I have not intervened against the EFLPBs in the hope that natural predators will become numerous enough to minimize their damage. Let’s hope this strategy pays off next year. The Anise Hyssop ideally provides a nice patch of blue to balance the yellows and oranges, but these days it does not have the same kind of presence.
Here’s a view of the grass path between the Driveway Border and the Front Island Bed.
The Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is in full bloom. Like many of the other flowers, it is covered in bees and other pollinators.
Here’s a closer look. The yellow of Cup Plant is just a shade deeper than the Yellow Coneflower. Goldfinches are drawn to Cup Plant as if to a magnet, and they are already starting to feed on seeds from the older flowers.
I’m really very impressed by the staying power of the ‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). It was the first of the Monardas to bloom, and it is the only one of my Monardas to still be blooming in mid-August. It’s also hardly been touched by downy mildew.
Above you can see it blooming along the Sidewalk Border.
Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) is popping up and flowering everywhere, which is fine with me. I move a few plants and pull out many. The plentiful flowers have a hint of orange.
Here’s some Brown-Eyed Susan blooming with ‘Raspberry Wine’.
Prior to leaving on vacation, I was a little disturbed by the paucity of butterflies in the garden. I’m glad to say that two Monarchs were flying around all day Sunday, and I also saw a Black Swallowtail and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
The two Monarchs seemed to be getting rather intimate. I posted this picture of them together on Facebook and was accused of disseminating butterfly porn. Regardless, I do hope there will be caterpillars on my milkweed soon.
I’m going to close for now with a picture of the containers along the front walk, bulging with ‘Orange Profusion’ Zinnias (Zinnia elegans). I’m still not over the jet lag from our 12 hour flight, and to be honest I am fading fast.
To be continued.