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The Season of Summer Phlox: GBBD, August 2016

August 16, 2016

phlox Bright EyesAugust is a month when the garden can begin to look tired and bedraggled. That is especially true this year, when our drought conditions mean that foliage that would normally be green is shriveled and browning, some plants are splayed open at the center (as though trying to get as much moisture as possible into their crowns), and many flowering perennials are blooming sparsely or not at all.

The daylily (Hemerocallis) season in my garden is mostly over. In the entry garden, ‘Mariska’ and ‘Vanessa Barth’ are coming to the end of their blooms.

Mariska last flower Vanessa Barth

autumn minaret flowersMany of my late-blooming varieties did not get enough moisture in July to make flowers. One exception is ‘Autumn Minaret;’ but even its delicate flowers are shorter, earlier, and less profuse than they would be in a more normal year.

Among the plants that are waiting in pots and bags to go into the new side slope garden, two late-blooming varieties of daylily, ‘Southport Delight’ and ‘Olin Criswell,’ are showing off their beautiful flowers.

Southport Delight Olin Criswell

David against fenceEven in a difficult year, the tall panicles of summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) can be counted on to make a beautiful display in the August garden. In the back garden, flowers are fading on the early-blooming variety ‘Blue Paradise,’ but ‘David’ is just beginning to bloom. It’s white flowers make a beautiful display against the fence. The real show, however, is in the entry garden, where three varieties of Phlox paniculata are blooming at the back of the Porch Border.

At one end of the border, Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’ is blooming with cleome by the front entry. Phlox Bright Eyes with cleome

In the center, the flowers of ‘Robert Poore’ are blooming with cosmos. I love the way the rich color of ‘Robert Poore’ pops against the white railing of the front deck.

phlox Robert Poore with cosmos phlox Robert Poore pop
Phlox Miss Pepper The far end of the border is anchored by the flowers of ‘Miss Pepper.’ Because my bedroom has a glass door leading out onto the deck, when I open my eyes on these August mornings, I am greeted by this colorful display of phlox, cleome, and cosmos.

The best-looking part of my garden right now may be the Lavender Walk, featuring plants which are happy in relatively dry conditions. The lavender plants have put up a second flush of flowers. On one side of the walkway, their flowers mingle with those of Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus.’ On the other side of the walkway, there are still a few flowers of ice plant (Delosperma) ‘Table Mountain’ blooming amid the lavender, and sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ is full of buds promising more blooms for September.

Table Mountain flower Autumn fire buds

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is a celebration of flowers hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to join the celebration or to see what other gardeners have blooming this month.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. GARY A ENOS permalink
    August 17, 2016 10:58 am

    Thanks for verifying my observations on my daylilys. The blooms were smaller, and less prolific. Do you think that late hard freeze we had here in Maine added to this poor season?

    • August 20, 2016 10:01 pm

      Gary, I’m not sure we had a late hard freeze in my part of Maine (at least, I don’t remember one), so I hadn’t been considering that as a factor in my plant performance. It seems like, if it did have an effect, it would have been on the early bloomers, but those bloomed for me at pretty much the same time as last year. It’s the mid- and late-season daylilies that took the big hit in my garden, and I’m guessing that’s because they didn’t have the moisture they needed when they should have been sending up flower scapes. I’m noting the profuse and full-size blooms on the late-season daylilies that I just bought to add to my garden — plants that were presumably regularly watered by the nurseries that sold them.

  2. August 17, 2016 3:53 pm

    I’m sorry that you’re still dealing with dry conditions, Jean. The late-flowering daylilies and your phlox are still lovely. The phlox that’s sold here bears little resemblance to the pretty plants you grow.

    I hope that some of the rain stalled down south moves up your way!

    • August 20, 2016 10:05 pm

      Kris, Although we have gotten enough rain to keep our drought conditions from getting more severe, we are still stuck in the pattern of high pressure that gives us lots of gorgeous Maine summer days but forces rain-bearing lows out to sea to our south. I’m focusing on the plants that are doing well (like the phlox) and averting my eyes (and my camera) from those that look pathetic. 😐

  3. debsgarden permalink
    August 22, 2016 4:01 pm

    Hi Jean, I love your beautiful blooms! I especially like your combination of lavender and echinacea. As high heat and humidity are an established part of our summer, few perennials like yours bloom in the summer here. Mostly I rely upon annuals or tropicals for summer color, along with crape myrtle trees, which flourish in high heat and humidity. But I do love lavender and have planted it several times, knowing it is going to be short-lived. I refer to fall as our “second spring” as that is when many perennials and blooming shrubs come to life again.

    • August 24, 2016 7:29 pm

      Deb, This droughty summer has been good for lavender; I keep reminding myself that they may not grow and bloom so profusely in another year with more normal summer weather. I worried that the lavender would be finished blooming long before the echinacea opened its first flowers, but the lavender has just gone on and on. I’m also looking forward to the combination of lavender and Sedum ‘Autumn Fire’ on the other side of the walkway in the weeks to come (the sedum buds are just starting to show some pink).

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