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After the Peak: GBBD, August 2022

August 16, 2022

As quickly as my daylilies burst into bloom when June turned into July, their blooms declined as July turned into August. A month ago, I had dozens of daylily varieties in bloom, with more opening their first flowers each day. In mid-August, only a handful of varieties are still blooming, and each day one or more open their last flowers. The late-blooming varieties still gracing my morning walks through the garden include the orange ‘Invictus’ and ‘Olallie Star,’ the purple flowers of ‘Ripe Grapes’ and ‘Beau Chapeau,’ the pale yellow of ‘Whir of Lace,’ and the lovely flowers of ‘Autumn Minaret’ which float far above the foliage on slender stems. August daylilies 2022

phlox david 2022Normally, the stars of the August garden would be the tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata). This year, however, these plants were eaten repeatedly by woodchucks. Some phlox plants gave up altogether, and others have only a few flowers on short stems. Thank goodness the woodchucks somehow missed the clump of Phlox paniculata ‘David’ growing against the back fence.

front slope august 2022There are still plenty of flowers in the August garden, however. On the front slope, abundant blooms of false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) mix with a few daylilies and two species of beebalm.

Monarda fistulosa 2022 Monarda punctata 2022

It is not just the bees who love beebalm. In addition to a variety of bees and wasps, I have also seen their flowers being visited by at least three species of butterflies, a hummingbird, and hummingbird hawkmoths.

Liatris spicata 2022 blue platycodon 2022

Herbstsonne 2022Elsewhere in the garden, I am enjoying blooms of Liatris spicata, balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus), and the tall rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ that dominates the back of the blue and yellow border in August.

Perhaps the most important blooms of my August garden, however, have been abundant monarch caterpillars – about two dozen a day visible feeding on plants of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa).

monarch caterpillar1 2022 monarch caterpillars2 2022

monarch chrysalis 2022Currently, I am watching two chrysalides in the front garden (although I have no doubt that there are more that I haven’t spotted hidden in plain sight). And recently, I saw this newly emerged monarch butterfly, with its wings still visibly wet, fluttering around the rhododendron by the back door. I hope to see more of these in the days to come.

new monarch

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted each month by Carol Michel at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her website for links to August blooms in many other gardens.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Bear permalink
    August 16, 2022 6:29 pm


  2. permalink
    August 16, 2022 9:57 pm

    Who knew that monarch caterpillars like butterfly weed????

    Janet M. Powers

    “I object to violence because when it appears to do good,

    the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

    • August 17, 2022 10:41 am

      Jan, Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of several species of Asclepias (milkweed) that monarchs use as host plants. I also have some common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) on my property, but the butterfly weed is both more attractive (with bright orange flowers) and better behaved in the garden. Not to be confused with the shrub butterfly bush (Buddleia).

  3. August 17, 2022 2:23 pm

    Kudos to you for attracting monarchs to your garden and supporting their caterpillars, Jean. I’ve seen a distressingly low number of butterflies this year, at least beyond the cabbage whites which seem to be everywhere at the moment.

    • August 18, 2022 2:16 pm

      Kris, the butterflies seem to ebb and flow here. We had a large number of monarchs in 2019, followed by two years in which I saw a few butterflies but no caterpillars. It’s nice to have them back this year.

  4. August 17, 2022 2:37 pm

    Wow, how incredible to have those Monarch butterflies and caterpillars in your garden! Your daylilies are always so stunning, the small patch I have doesn’t get enough sun and water and just looks pitiful in comparison.

    • August 18, 2022 2:19 pm

      Sunil, In my experience, daylilies are pretty drought-tolerant. I do have some that stopped blooming because they’ve been overshadowed by other plants are not getting enough sun. (I actually moved one of those this summer, and I am hoping that it will actually flower next summer.)
      The monarchs are just a treat. This morning, I found another new butterfly drying its wings on a daylily in the front garden, and when I looked down, I saw its empty chrysalis case hanging from the underside of the daylily foliage.

  5. August 18, 2022 12:57 am

    Is Phlox paniculata ‘David’ true to type? I mean, are seedlings of the variety still the same variety? Ours arrived in one of our landscapes only a few years ago. We do not know where it came from, since we know of no other garden here where it grows. (Some feral plants arrive here as seeds from home gardens within the upper neighborhood.) It looks just like ‘David’, although I refer to it only as phlox. It is so perfectly white that I put some in the white garden.

    • August 18, 2022 2:21 pm

      I don’t know the answer to this question, Tony. I have had what looks like a seedling pop up next to a big clump of ‘David’ in my back garden, and the seedling also has white flowers.

      • August 18, 2022 9:51 pm

        Yes, that is what ours does! I am so pleased that it decided to naturalize within one of our landscapes, and has been conducive to relocation to other situations as well.

  6. Pat Leuchtman permalink
    August 18, 2022 1:59 pm

    Your gardens are so beautiful. I love the way you put flowers together – and I am jealous that you are having such a good season. Here in my Massachusetts town it is very very dry, AND watering the gardens is forbidden.

    • August 18, 2022 2:25 pm

      Pat, we’re in drought here, too — although I think not as bad as yours. We’ve just had two glorious days of much-needed rain, which should help a bit. I’m on a well, so I’ve pretty much given up on supplemental watering, except by hand with a watering can for new transplants and emergency rescue for plants that are already wilting first thing in the morning. Because I garden on dry, sandy soil, most of the plants that grow in my garden are species that are pretty drought-tolerant.

  7. mmwm permalink
    August 20, 2022 5:31 pm

    Love the chrysalises and newly minted monarch!

    • August 20, 2022 5:59 pm

      I’ve seen two more newly minted monarchs in the garden this week. In one case, I managed to find the chrysalis the day before the butterfly emerged and was able to watch the process. So amazing!

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