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The Waning Summer Garden: GBBD, August 2011

August 15, 2011

Blues and yellows in the August garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Today is a cool, rainy day in Maine, with a weather pattern more characteristic of fall than summer, and I’m aware that summer is on the wane in my mid-August garden. Most of the plants that were blooming so exuberantly in July are gone now. Even some plants that I would normally count on at this time of summer, like the late daylilies ‘Orange Bounty’ and ‘Yellow Pinwheel’, made fewer flowers this year and have already finished blooming.

Blue and pink Platycodon blooming on the back slope (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)As the garden season begins to wind down, though, there are still many blooms to enjoy. One of my favorite late summer flowers is balloon flower (Platycodon). I currently have several varieties in bloom – blue and pink on the back slope, blue in the blue and yellow border, pink in the deck border, and white in the circular bed.
Yellow and white in the circular bed (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The predominant colors of my garden in August are yellow and white, a combination I love. In the circular bed, the yellow blooms of Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Bressingham Doubloon’ glow against the white of Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’ and a white balloon flower that is just opening its first flowers.

In the back garden, there are still several varieties of daylilies blooming, there are a few blooming tips on Astilbe chinensis taquetti, and a double lavender bell flower (Campanula persicifolia ‘La Belle’) continues to bloom. The stalwart pink Geranium endressii and Geranium x oxonianum varieties have been flowering since June, and a sweet little pink Coreopsis rosea has made one flower, all that remains of a long-ago planting. The late summer flowers of Phlox and Liatris have only recently begun to bloom.

Double flower of Campanula persicifolia 'La Belle' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Single sweet flower of Coreopsis rosea (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

White bloom of Phlox paniculata 'David' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) When I designed the fence border three years ago, one of my goals was to make it the happening place in my garden in late summer and fall, and I am not disappointed. I love the look of those tall late-summer yellows (Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ and Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’) and whites (Phlox paniculata ‘David’ and Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White’) blooming against the fence.

The fence border in August (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Rudbeckia herbstsonne blooms profusely in the late summer garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) The tall rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ (Autumn Sun), with its lemon yellow flowers and green centers, is the star of my garden in late summer. It always blooms profusely, its flowers are attractive and long-lasting in cut flower arrangements for the house, and it will continue to bloom until we have a hard freeze. When I leave Maine soon to return for the opening of school, this is one of the flowers I will cut and take as part of a bouquet to help me make the transition back to my Pennsylvania life.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s in bloom in August in gardens around the world.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 10:29 pm

    Rudbeckia is such a lovely flower to take with you…it always makes me smile when it blooms because so much of the late spring and early summer blooms have gone to seed. Your Maine garden is so lovely…you must hate to leave it. Happy GBBD!

  2. August 15, 2011 10:41 pm

    You certainly do still have a few beauties in your garden. The Balloon Flowers look terrific. I love the Heliopsis and Liatris combination, and your white Phlox looks great against those fence palings. Lovely photos.

  3. August 16, 2011 1:39 am

    Love your ‘David’ Phlox. It looks much nicer than mine ever do!

    • August 19, 2011 11:28 am

      Michelle, I do love this tall rudbeckia, and the sturdy flowers travel better than most. I drove back to Gettysburg a couple of days ago, and I’ve been enjoying those cheerful yellows as I get settled in and try to wrap my head around the fact that school is beginning in a few days!

      Bernie, I love balloon flower; they are very easy to grow in my conditions, and watching their buds puff up and pop open is fun.

      Chad, I have this phlox growing in several different places, and this is the one that bloomed earliest and most profusely — which was a bit of a surprise, because this was the plant that also got powdery mildew and lost most of its lower leaves earlier in the summer.

  4. August 16, 2011 8:22 am

    The ‘David’ phlox looks so gorgeous and healthy. Things are looking wonderful in your garden Jean. I always love to see photos with that ‘weathered’ fence……’s the perfect touch in a garden.


    • August 19, 2011 11:36 am

      Diane, I’ve been very happy with the way the fence has turned out. Next year this garden will be three years old. I’m going to move a few things around in the spring, and I’m hoping that it will all be very lush and full next summer and fall.

  5. August 16, 2011 8:27 am

    I love the balloon flowers! I used to have some of these in Maine and must include them in my NY garden at some point. Your fence IS happening! And the yellow and white IS a great combination. Truly love that white liatris with the heliopsis. I am happy to report your tradescantia are sending up new shoots. Hopefully I will be able to post their blooms next season! I have some Virginia Creeper volunteers if you are interested.

  6. August 16, 2011 8:42 am

    Jean such a lovely later summer garden. I too love rudbeckia Autumn Sun and have it in my garden. Wonderful blooms and the fence garden is great. With the recent rain I still have echinacea, monarda, balloon flower, susans, & daylilies going. It has been a pleasant surprise to see them bloom somewhat renewed. I actually hope that with the start of school my work will diminish a bit. My work is crazy busy in the summer. I hope to have a calmer fall. Enjoy those lovely blooms.

    • August 19, 2011 11:40 am

      Kathy, I’m always surprised that more people don’t grow balloon flower. In my garden, the blue are the earliest blooming and the most vigorous, followed by the pink. The white don’t do as well — in part, I think, because they bloom later and get eaten by grasshoppers.

      Donna, Your schedule is the opposite of mine. Summer is time for me to take a deep breath and relax a bit, and then life gets crazy as school starts in the fall. This year I have a killer course combination in the fall semester and am not sure how much time I’m going to have to do much besides work. I’m glad your garden is renewed by the rain and that you have flowers to enjoy now that you will have some time to do so.

  7. August 16, 2011 9:22 am

    I enjoy growing phlox, liatris too, but ‘Herbstonne’ Rudbeckia is still my favorite. It’s so happy here in my garden like it is in yours. I grow it on either side of a drift of Texas Star Hibiscus, both of them being so tall and they bloom together too. Anyways having two gardens in two places sounds interesting to me, good luck with both of them.

    • August 21, 2011 3:36 pm

      Paul, Thanks for visiting. It’s nice to hear from another fan of ‘Herbstsonne;’ I feel as though it as under-valued perennial. Your combination with the hibiscus sounds wonderful.

  8. sequoiagardens permalink
    August 16, 2011 9:25 am

    Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Saturday hinted at spring, but since then we have had the worst cold of the winter, with parts of Johannesburg even reporting snow for the first time in years. We had a welcome 18mm of rain in our area.:)

  9. Matti permalink
    August 16, 2011 11:17 am

    Those Rudbeckia herbstsonne look sweet against the foliage in your garden. Sounds like it’s the plant that just keeps giving. Matti. Happy GBBD

    • August 21, 2011 3:42 pm

      Jack, I imagine snow is a pretty rare event in Johannesburg. Do people respond to it as a wonderful treat, or do they just freak out?

      Matti, Thanks for stopping by. The Herbstsonne plant photographed here is actually growing at the back of the border, up against the woods; and the foliage you can see behind it is eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) trees. The plant does wonderfully in this location. I’ve been less happy with it at the back of the fence border, where it seems to get more wind and to look kind of raggedy and floppy. I cut it back in June this year to produce a shorter, fuller and stronger plant, and that was somewhat effective. I’m going to give it a couple more years to see if it gets works better as it gets more established.

  10. August 16, 2011 2:44 pm

    Jean, I had the same one little remaining flower of coreopsis rosea and two years ago I lifted it and put it in a container planting, since tthen it had multiplied x 100 and fiiled the whole pot and been divided into others.The pots stay out year round no protection I always assumed cold was harming it , but I think it may like drier feet.It had been blooming since June Anyway, the garden looks great.

    • August 21, 2011 3:44 pm

      Cheryl, Thanks for the tip about the Coreopsis rosea. I was surprised to see this little flower in bloom, because I thought the plant was long gone. I like the idea of digging it out and putting it in a pot to see if it does better.

  11. August 16, 2011 5:07 pm

    They are looking for sociologists on Google Plus

    • August 21, 2011 3:49 pm

      Diana, I haven’t had a chance to look at Google Plus yet. So far, I’ve been resistant to most social networking sites, not wanting to devote the time I think they’ll require. Now that school is starting, time is in even shorter supply. (I’m actually writing these replies using a WI-fi connection in a meeting room at American Sociological Society meetings. I get back to PA on Tuesday night, and my new semester responsibilities begin on Wednesday morning.)

  12. August 16, 2011 11:50 pm

    ‘Waning’ is a good description of many of my garden areas right now! How nice that at least your fence garden is still going strong. You mentioned that you liked the ‘Smoky Mountain Autumn’ daylily – Oakes daylilies sells beautiful large clumps, but they’re kind of pricey. I ordered from White Oak daylilies for a significantly lower price (though of course a smaller plant – but I can be patient rather than spend $40 for a daylily!).

  13. August 17, 2011 12:14 am

    Such a bittersweet time of year, isn’t it? The days are shortening, fall is palpable. It really makes a person take a close look at the summer garden and appreciate what won’t be here in a very few months. Your summer liatris, rudbeckias, platycodons are lovely for what they are, and lovelier all the more that fall will bring their season to a close.

    • August 21, 2011 6:12 pm

      VW, In truth, my garden is in a temporary slough and will have another wave of fall blooms. At the time I published this post, two varieties of coreopsis and two species of reblooming daylilies were “resting” between flushes of bloom. The delphinium are just starting to put out new growth for another wave of blooms, and the clematis on the fence may also bloom again. On the right side of the fence, morning glories are just starting to make buds, and both phlox and asters in the blue and yellow border have not begun to bloom yet. As the weather cools, the tradescantia in various parts of the garden may also bloom again, and the platycodon will also get a second flush of blooms. So, although my garden won’t get back to the variety and volume of blooms that make me giddy in July, the fall season can bring lots of delightful blooms.

      James, it is bittersweet — all the more so for me because those waning blooms signal time to drive back to Pennsylvania for the beginning of school. But I do love all those late summer blooms, especially the ones like rudbeckia and heliopsis that will keep blooming until frost.

  14. August 17, 2011 12:57 am

    Jean, the rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is one of my favourite plants, but somehow looks more at home in your Maine garden than it ever did rampaging about in my little plot in England. It’s yellow flowers are like sunshine captured in the petals.

  15. August 17, 2011 7:17 pm

    Love all these late summer blooms…especially that Rudbeckia…such a lovely, charming plant!

    • August 21, 2011 6:17 pm

      Scott, Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is a very charming plant, and I love it.

      Jill, yes, it is a plant that requires a fairly large scale of garden/other plants. It’s size is one of the things that makes it work so well in my garden, where the perennials have to compete for attention with the immensity of the surrounding forest. I suppose that’s part of the reason why it’s a pretty popular plant in Maine. There is one property that I drive by regularly when I am out and about doing errands where someone is growing a whole row of ‘Herbstsonne’ as a kind of hedge.

  16. August 18, 2011 4:09 pm

    Jean, your garden looks lovely this August. I love the dark yellows of late summer, in the light they are so eye catching.

  17. August 18, 2011 7:53 pm

    I know you will miss your garden and the nice Maine weather.

  18. August 21, 2011 6:21 pm

    Marguerite, I love all those cheery yellows in the late summer garden. They make an interesting transition to the golds, oranges and scarlets of fall foliage.

    Karen, I do miss my garden. Happily, I got back to Gettysburg to find several varieties of daylilies blooming in my garden there, along with a big clump of blue balloon flower and two different colors of morning glories blooming on the patio fence.

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