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The White and Yellow August Garden: GBBD, August 2012

August 15, 2012

white & yellow circularWhite and yellow are the predominant colors of my garden in August. That is even more true this year as some of the plants that would normally contribute other colors to the mix have responded to a hot and dry July by slowing down or going into dormancy.

In the Circular Bed at the turn into my driveway, yellow is provided by false sunflower (Heliopsis x ‘Bressingham Doubloon’) and white by balloon flowers (Platycodon) and Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White.’

yellow in b&YIn the Blue and Yellow border, there is little blue because the blue balloon flowers are almost done with their first flush of blooms, but lots of yellow, provided mostly  by Heliopsis helianthoides and a large clump of my favorite Rudbeckia x ‘Herbstsonne’. I love the way ‘Herbstsonne,’ with its lemon yellow petals and green centers, lights up the back of the border. (The butterflies like it too.)

herbstsonne & butterflies
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All this yellow should be accompanied by two large clumps of white Phlox paniculata ‘David’; but about two weeks ago, I looked out one morning to discover that the resident woodchuck had gone on a rampage and reduced my gorgeous big clumps of phlox to a bunch of broken stems stripped of foliage. One stem that somehow escaped the woodchuck massacre has gamely begun to bloom. And I love the way that Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise,’ which was fully in bloom before the woodchuck attack is trying to bloom again against the odds.

phlox bravely bloomming blue paradise bravely budding
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Last daylily bloom in Deck Border The daylilies that were the glory of the July garden are mostly done now. This pale pink unnamed variety in the Deck Border opened its last flower today, and one last yellow daylily bud in the Blue and Yellow Border is promising to bloom tomorrow.
The daylily exceptions are the reblooming ‘Happy Returns,’ which has been persuaded by recent rains to make some new buds and opened the first of those today, and the fall-blooming daylilies in the Fence Border. happy returns rebloom
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fence border august2012 The Fence Border was designed to take its star turn at this time of year when much of the garden is waning; and although it does not yet have the full, lush look of a mature perennial bed, I am happy with how much is going on here. The pink bitone daylily ‘Final Touch’ and the lovely tall ‘Autumn Minaret’ began to bloom the last week in July; and that latest of very late daylilies, ‘Sandra Elizabeth’ is full of buds but will not open its first flowers for at least another week.

final touch_1 autumn minaret blooms

The clump of Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ in this flower bed is looking sickly, mostly as a result of some inappropriate too-much-too-late pruning on my part in June. But the woodchuck hasn’t ventured into this part of the garden, and the white Phlox paniculata ‘David’ is blooming gloriously beside white spikes of Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White.’ Veronica longifolia ‘Blue Giant’ has been blooming for over a month and still has some blue at the tips of its long flower spikes. And there is one lone flower on this unidentified Geranium endressii.

veronica blue giant G endressii August
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My clumps of Geranium x oxonianum have been the true garden stalwarts in this unusually warm garden season. In my Gettysburg garden, these bloom in late May and June and then go dormant when the serious heat arrives. In my Maine garden, they typically bloom from June until frost, so this summer was a test of how they will respond to a warming climate here. I am happy to say that all three clumps have continued to flower all summer long. Right now their blooms are sparse, but they have made large healthy clumps of new foliage and will begin to open more flowers soon.

blue and pink platycodon The other highlights in my garden this bloom day are a new flush of flowers on Spirea japonica x ‘Magic Carpet’ and the blue and pink Platycodon blooming by the back door.
Although they are not flowers, I have been happy to see a number of these “blooms” on the milkweed plants (Asclepias syriaca) that I left to grow here and there on the back slope. monarch caterpillar
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Garden Bloggers’ 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 this month in gardens around the world.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2012 10:48 pm

    My garden is mostly yellow, blue (because of lots of anise hyssop) and rose/purple (because of cleome and Joe Pye.) I love that ‘herbstsonne’ with the butterflies.

    • August 17, 2012 10:16 pm

      Jason, I love Herbstsonne with or without butterflies. It really is a great plant — similar to your cup plant in the kind of statement in makes in the garden.

  2. August 15, 2012 11:30 pm

    The butterflies seem to be partial to your “yellows” Jean. I think I am, too!

    • August 17, 2012 10:17 pm

      Carolyn, There were at least 3 butterflies flitting around that plant, but I could never manage to get all of them in the frame at once. Butterflies are like rainbows — magic no matter how often you see them.

  3. August 15, 2012 11:56 pm

    It seems that yellows are better than other colors at standing up to the heat, maybe because this color has a kinship to the sun! So sorry about your ‘David’ phlox. At any rate, yellow and white is one of my favorite color combinations!

    • August 17, 2012 10:21 pm

      Deb, Woodchuck damage is a fact of life in my garden (although that didn’t keep me from using some bad language when I looked out and saw what had happened to the phlox :-(). You should see the asters growing (or, more accurately, not growing) at the back of this border. I swear that they’ve been eaten every night; it amazes me that they’re still trying to make new leaves.
      I do love the white and yellow color combination; the white cools the yellow down and makes it all seem crisp and cool — a harbinger of the crisp, cool air that usually arrives here by the end of August.

  4. Astrid permalink
    August 16, 2012 11:41 am

    Hi Jean
    The garden looks beautiful!
    I really like the ‘Herbstsonne’ rudbeckia – the downward petals make it unique. The name made me remember my high school German: Herbst = autumn, sonne = sun.
    And to paraphrase Elmer Fudd: “Wasko Woodchuck”!

    • August 17, 2012 10:22 pm

      Astrid, You got the translation; it’s a great name for this plant full of yellow disks that begins blooming in mid-late summer and continues throughout the fall.
      I have to agree with Elmer Fudd about the woodchuck!

  5. August 16, 2012 3:09 pm

    Yellow and white seem to me to be the perfect colors for the August heat. Lovely photos of beautiful gardens…thank you!

    • August 17, 2012 10:24 pm

      Cindy, I like the way the white and yellow takes a collection of plants that are all looking a bit worn and blowsy and somehow turns it into something that looks fresh.

  6. August 16, 2012 7:30 pm

    I guess your garden visitor in the last shot got the memo and knew to dress in yellow and white…it’s somehow a cool and refreshing color combo in the heat of summer.

    • August 17, 2012 10:25 pm

      Ricki, That is a hilarious observation. I am known to be a bit obsessive about color coordination, so it figures I would only have color coordinating caterpillars in my garden. 🙂

  7. August 16, 2012 9:22 pm

    Your garden resembles mine this time of year in our driest summer, but you have so many more daylilies…and a monarch caterpillar…none here yet even though they have laid many eggs, nature has thwarted them…

    • August 17, 2012 10:29 pm

      Donna, When I added the Fence Border a few years ago, I made a point of planting several very late blooming daylilies. I already had all three of these growing in my Gettysburg garden where they bloom through September and sometimes into October. Sandra Elizabeth is a bit risky here because it really doesn’t start blooming until the end of August, and we have been known to get frost at the end of August. So far, though, it has gotten to open all its flowers before being hit by a freeze. (If I’m here, I can throw a cover over it in case of an early frost.)

  8. August 17, 2012 7:24 pm

    I’ve noticed that a lot of fall flowers seem to fall into the yellow end of the spectrum. I had some lovely Rudbeckia in containers, but something managed to mow them down to stubble (they’re inside the deer fence, so I’m not whodunit!). Your ‘Herbstsonne’ really stands out with its reflexed petals. My favorite though is the ‘bloom’ on the milkweed!

    • August 17, 2012 10:31 pm

      Clare, The milkweed kind of got away from me this year because everything was already so far along by the time I got up here at the end of the school year in May — so I’m glad that having so much of it has paid off in the form of several monarch caterpillars.

  9. August 18, 2012 12:43 am

    Lovely! – Later in the season Maximillian Sunflower comes into bloom with its stronger stalks. But, I need more Rudbekia. Love your caterpillar and I think he loves your garden.

    • August 19, 2012 10:59 am

      Gloria, I have been very happy to see lots of evidence of monarch caterpillars in my garden this summer.

  10. August 18, 2012 9:49 am

    Jean, your photos and gardens are lovely, as usual … in spite of the hungry, destructive woodchuck. How fortunate you are to be able to watch the monarchs develop.

    • August 19, 2012 11:03 am

      Joene, The woodchucks are a fact of life here. Fortunately, they are part of a cycle with the fox population. Just about the time I am getting really frustrated with the woodchuck damage, a fox family will move in and start clearing them out. (Woodchuck babies are a favorite fox delicacy, and a family of fox can wipe out the next generation of woodchucks pretty quickly.) Then I have a couple of years relatively free of woodchuck damage, but the foxes also move on to better hunting grounds — until an increased woodchuck population (and woodchuck damage) brings them back.

  11. August 18, 2012 2:59 pm

    Lots of lovely flowers going on. I am always surprised that you aren’t bothered more by deer, which love my phlox. Too bad about the woodchuck.

    • August 19, 2012 11:08 am

      Carolyn, Deer aren’t a big issue here both because the deer population isn’t very large (Maine has actually been worried about declining deer numbers and trying to get property owners to protect winter deer yards) and because there is still lots of wild habitat for them. On the other side of the woods behind my house there are pastures, a hay field, and a clearing running under electrical lines. Those edge spaces are much more comfortable places for deer to hang out than places where they’ll have to deal with unpredictable humans. Of course, if any of those clearings ever get turned into house lots, the situation will change and deer will become more of a problem for me. I was just out at Plainview Farm last week, and they’ve had a big problem with deer damage in their display gardens this year because of development on adjacent property.

  12. August 18, 2012 3:20 pm

    Your white and yellow garden already seems to have some orange in it int he form of butterflies, and it looks like you’ll be getting even more of the color as the monarchs mature. Definitely something to look forward to. Happy belated bloomday!

    • August 19, 2012 11:09 am

      Thanks, James. I do hope some of those monarch caterpillars survive to become butterflies.

  13. August 19, 2012 7:27 am

    I envy your colorful garden!

    • August 19, 2012 11:10 am

      Lula, There is so much green here because of the forest that it is really important to me to have colorful flowers in the garden.

  14. August 22, 2012 2:14 pm

    Lovely blooms…and you’re so right…yellow really seems to dominate at this time of year. Your poor Phlox…at least they aren’t giving up without a fight!

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