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Hints of Fall in the August Garden: GBBD, August 2013

August 16, 2013

august back gardenAfter an unusually wet June and an unusually hot July, August has brought the kind of summer weather for which Maine is justly famous – sunshine and blue skies, low humidity, daytime highs in the 70s (F) and overnight lows around 50. Both the cool morning temperatures and the state of my garden hint at the fall season to come.

herbstsonne 2013The predominant color of my August garden is yellow, a preview of the golden hues of autumn. The star of the August garden may well be Rudbeckia x ‘Herbstsonne.’ Its lemon yellow flowers light up the back of the Blue and Yellow Border, where it blooms against the backdrop of eastern Hemlock trees (Tsuga canadensis).

It’s accompanied by yellow flowers of Heliopsis helianthoides (false sunflower), two different varieties of coreopsis, and a few remaining yellow daylilies.

heliopsis blooms coreopsis blooms
b&y platycodonBlue accents are provided by the flowers of balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Mariesii’).

The daylilies that dominated the July garden are waning now. A few last buds remain on the yellow varieties in the Blue and Yellow Border, and the pink cultivars in the Deck Border are opening their last flowers.

mae graham deep pink daylily

fence border august 2013The exception is in the Fence Border, which has been designed for late summer and fall blooms. There, the pale yellow flowers of ‘Prairie Moonlight’ and the peachy pink blooms of ‘Decatur Elevator’ will last another week or so. The mid-late season rebloomer, ‘Final Touch,’ is only halfway through its first flush of flowers, and the fall-blooming ‘Autumn Minaret’ has just begun to bloom. ‘Sandra Elizabeth,’ a very late daylily that will bloom in September is just now sending up flower scapes.

prairie moonlight & blue companions decatur elevator 2013
final touch blooms autumn minaret 2013

Normally, the yellow flowers in my August garden would be accompanied by crisp white accents. This year, however, the showy white blooms of Phlox paniculata ‘David’, which should be blooming in the Blue and Yellow Border and in the Fence Border, have been delayed by woodchuck ‘pruning’ earlier in the summer.

fence bordeer white & yellowThe one place where the yellow and white August combination is in evidence is in the Circular Bed at the end of my driveway. There, the strong yellows of Heliopsis x ‘Bressingham Doubloon’ are accompanied by the light orange flowers of Hemerocallis ‘Orange Bounty’ and white flowers of Platycodon grandiflorus and Liatris spicata ‘Floristan White.’

I apologize for my relative absence from the blogosphere recently. It’s not that I have nothing to write about; it’s that some big deadline-driven garden projects have left too little time and energy for blogging. (More about those when they are finally finished and I have time to write.) I had every intention of posting for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day yesterday; but after six hours of heavy physical labor in the garden, I found that I just couldn’t keep my eyes open to edit photos and write.

Many other bloggers have been more prompt in posting what’s blooming in their gardens this month. You can find their posts linked at May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this post to the memory of Leslie Land, who died this week at age 66 of metastatic breast cancer. Leslie’s first claim to fame was as one of the original chefs at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California; but she was most well known for her published (and later televised) correspondence with London gardener Roger Phillips, The 3,000 Mile Garden. Leslie was knowledgeable, witty, charming, and generous. (When I mentioned The 3,000 Mile Garden in a post, she followed up with a visit to my blog and words of thanks.) She will be missed.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. bushbernie permalink
    August 17, 2013 12:46 am

    What a naughty woodchuck! Such a cheek pruning out your garden beds like that! The yellow and white combination in the circular bed looks fabulous though. The last of the Dayliles look gorgeous as well. Your summer weather sounds like an exact match to our winter weather last month. Right now though, in our last winter month, the conditions have decidedly warmed up.

    • August 20, 2013 10:39 pm

      Bernie, What a tribute to the differences in our climates that my idea of perfect summer weather is your idea of winter weather! I do love the crisp, cool, hint of autumn look of those white and yellow combinations in the late summer garden.

  2. August 17, 2013 4:12 am

    Well I didn’t know Leslie Land apart from through the 3000 mile garden – one of my frequent rereadable gardening books. She seemed so delightful – I always remember the Minton border. I’m sorry to hear about her death – so early. You could feel her energy and enthusiasm coming off the page.

    • August 20, 2013 10:42 pm

      Jane, Like you, I know Leslie (like so many people do) from The 3,000 Mile Garden. I think it’s time for me to re-read that book and get re-infused with her energy. I suppose it’s because that book was such a personal evocation of her garden that we feel a sense of personal loss even though we never met her.

  3. August 17, 2013 5:27 am

    Hi Jean, you have lots of pretty flowers blooming in the August garden. And I know just what you mean about not having time/energy to blog after digging in the dirt for hours!
    I’m not familiar with the 3000 Mile Garden book – will have to find it. Sounds like a wonderful read.
    I’ll be up in Maine for almost 2 weeks come mid-late Sept for a backroads trip with my brother – what will I find blooming? And will you have fall color then? I’m really excited about this trip. Gin

    • August 21, 2013 10:18 pm

      Ginny, September conditions are very variable in Maine. Weather might bring anything from tropical storm rain to cool, crisp fall conditions. What’s blooming and fall color will depend on whether or not there has been frost yet (which may depend on how far north in Maine you are going); frost is good for fall color, but not for blooms. My favorite September blooms are asters; I especially love the tall, deep purple ones called ironweed that bloom along the sides of the roads. Depending on your timing and itinerary, you might be interested in checking out the annual fair of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in the central Maine town of Unity on Sept. 20-22. You can find more information about it here.

      • August 22, 2013 9:03 am

        Jean, thanks for that info! Always good to hear it from someone who lives there ;-). The fair sounds wonderful and fits perfectly in our plans – I’m so glad you mentioned it, otherwise we probably would not have discovered it. I’m counting the weeks – so ready for time away from work!

  4. August 17, 2013 7:29 am

    Now if that woodchuck would only deadhead he could be of some value. 🙂

    • August 21, 2013 10:21 pm

      Judy, My resident woodchuck seems to be more interested in “liveheading.” My phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ finally recovered enough to begin blooming in early August. The morning after it started to open its first flowers, I came out to find that all the flowers had been bitten off. Aaargh!!

  5. August 17, 2013 2:58 pm

    I love that Rudbeckia in the first two photos. How are your Eastern Hemlocks? I’ve heard that they are under threat by an insect (?).

    • August 21, 2013 10:23 pm

      Cindy, This is the only Rudbeckia I have in my garden. It is so elegant and has such presence. So far, I have seen no sign of Hemlock wooly adelgid on my property, but I fear it is just a matter of time; I have seen some sick and dying hemlock trees in my neighborhood.

  6. August 17, 2013 8:27 pm

    FALL in the air???? Say it isn’t so. Here in Nova Scotia the talk is about putting on winter clothes. I refuse to believe it. The hydrangeas and daylilies and lilies and rudbeckia and monarda are blooming strong.

    • August 21, 2013 10:25 pm

      Amy, This didn’t feel like real fall; just a refreshing preview. I can remember years, however, when we had frost in late August (to the despair of those trying to grow tomatoes, morning glories, or melons).

  7. August 18, 2013 3:04 am

    I always enjoy the photos of your garden, but your day lilies are pretty spectacular this year.

    • August 21, 2013 10:27 pm

      Charlie, The daylilies have seemed to me to last an unusually long time this year. It’s not so much that there’s a big display, but a few flowers opening each day.

  8. August 18, 2013 9:08 am

    Yes I have to admit that autumn is knocking but we are getting the heat back for at least a week…a very dry August. Sadly I have not been in the garden more than an hour a week due to work. Soon I hope. Loving all your blooms Jean.

    • August 21, 2013 10:29 pm

      Donna, I’m back in PA where people welcome the return of the heat and the local weather forecaster was apologizing for the cold weather (70s) last week.

      You and I will both have more time to spend in our gardens next year. 🙂

  9. August 18, 2013 10:03 am

    It’s so interesting to compare a Maine garden to a North Carolina garden in August. Oddly enough, with the cool weather and rain here, we are not as far ahead of you as we normally are. What a shame you don’t know the name of that pink daylily – it’s beautiful, and I’m not usually a fan of pink daylilies.

    • August 22, 2013 11:45 pm

      Sarah, I think the deep pink daylily may have never been given an official name. I bought it from daylily breeder Don Celler one week when he sold off some plants from the seedling section of his daylily field. I think this was a seedling that he decided not to pursue and develop — which is too bad because it’s a gorgeous plant, very reliable, and very vigorous.

  10. August 20, 2013 3:03 pm

    Hi Jean, daylilies were featured on this week’s episode of Gardener’s World in the UK and I immediately thought of you and the ones you have. Glad to see there’s still lots to enjoy, even as the summer begins to wane.

    • August 22, 2013 11:47 pm

      Sunil, LOL, I guess I’ve established myself as the daylily queen. I do love them. And I love having varieties that bloom at different times, thus extending the daylily season well into September.

  11. August 21, 2013 3:46 am

    Hello Jean. They are alien to us except the lilies that we can only grow in a very limited areas of our highlands. We still import them as cutflowers. But i love your blue, maybe because we really lack blue flowers.

    • August 23, 2013 9:44 pm

      Andrea, From what I’ve read, it seems that blue pigments are enhanced to cool temperatures, so it makes sense that tropical climates lack blue flowers. I’m always amazed to see your photos of plants (like Hippeastrum) which can only be grown as houseplants here growing outdoors.

  12. August 21, 2013 8:28 pm

    Your weather sounds wonderful, though my own weather has been cooler and wetter than normal, with many days only into the 80s, with nothing even close to the 100 mark, which is not unusual for August here. But, of course, August ain’t over till it’s over! I love all your golden flowers. Everything here tends to take on a golden tint, too, as summer winds down.

    • August 23, 2013 9:46 pm

      Deb, I’m back in Pennsylvania now, where the weather is definitely warmer. So far, though, it’s only been in the 80s during the day and 60s overnight, a pattern I can handle. It’s the temperatures of 90 or above that make me miserable.

  13. August 21, 2013 8:45 pm

    Hi Jean. I love the white Liatris and orange daylilies together, great combination!

    • August 23, 2013 9:49 pm

      Jason, I’m very fond of the white Liatris, and that plant in the circular bed is really big and well-established now. I have another one in the fence border, but it’s still looking kind of spindly and adolescent. Orange Bounty is a favorite daylily of mine. Not only is it a great color, but it lives up to its name, blooming for over a month beginning in mid-July, with lots of flower scapes and blooms.

  14. August 22, 2013 11:01 am

    I admire the beauty of flowers..its just so much adorable and delightful! The yellow and white August combination is incredible change. The photos above are all too good!


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