I'm joining Chloris at The Blooming Garden
in featuring my top 10 blooms this August. August isn't a month I usually associate with flowers but, as mentioned in my earlier Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post, judicious applications of extra water this year have had a major input on the floral output. We haven't received our August water bill so I'm not yet feeling as terribly guilty as I'm afraid I may feel soon.
Winnowing down the flowers in my garden to 10 selections wasn't easy. The sheer volume of bloom was a major factor in my choices. The current condition of the flowers was another, as was their photogenic qualities, but ultimately it's an emotional decision.
was an easy choice because it surprised me by making its first appearance of the year by blooming en masse. Roses here usually bloom best in spring before our temperatures soar, if they bloom at all. I had very few rose blooms last year and even fewer this spring after the lowest winter rain levels I've ever measured.
|I inherited 2 'Medallion' rose shrubs with the garden. Of the paltry number of rose bushes I have, these had once been the most reliable spring bloomers but they didn't bloom at all this spring and they lost all of their foliage to a combination of rust and the nuclear heat that hit in early July. They leafed out again after repeated deep watering sessions but I hadn't really expected them to bloom in mid-summer even after I saw a few buds forming. Then I came home from a trip last weekend to find this! This may not be a lot of roses for some of you but it's a mass of bloom in my garden.|
was another surprise. If this tree-sized shrub was blooming a week ago, I hadn't noticed it but now the blooms can't be missed.
|The common name for this plant is Toyon. It's been selected as the official native plant for the city of Los Angeles. This one balances atop a steep slope on our property's boundary line and I estimate it's 15 feet tall. The flowers will be followed by a plentiful supply of red berries. The berries, although toxic for humans, are consumed by mockingbirds, robins, and cedar waxwings, as well as coyotes.|
My dahlias were another obvious choice as a favorite but which one can be said to rule my cutting garden is another question altogether. Each and every one deserves recognition. Could you pick just one?
|'Loverboy' (upper left) is flashy semi-cactus variety. 'Otto's Thrill' (upper right), a dinnerplate variety, has been the most prolific bloomer thus far, although it's quickly being overtaken by the smaller, semi-cactus 'Terracotta' (lower left). Dinnerplate 'Strawberry Ice' (lower right) is new on the scene.|
|But it's 'Punkin Spice' that keeps drawing my eye. I don't remember that it impressed me as much last year but this year every bloom is a glowing orb. It's classified as an informal decorative type but the flowers are as large (or larger) than any in the dinnerplate class.|
The zinnias in the cutting garden also came on with a bang this month but there is one, grown from seed rather than plugs from the local garden center, that impresses me every time I see it.
|This is Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Giant Giant Salmon Rose'. Each bloom is perfect.|
Have I forgotten my Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum
) you might ask? Of course not but, like choosing a favorite dahlia, the Eustomas
that draw my eye shift from one week to another.
|A week ago, it was the delicate green-flowered variety (left) that won my heart. A new variety, 'Mint Cocoa' (right) has been a favorite with commentators and I admit I'm impressed by how well it's performed this year. My biggest issue with it is that its unusual color doesn't mix well with most of the flowers surrounding it. I'll need to find a better placement for it next year.|
|Eustoma grandiflorum 'Black Pearl' wins my thumb's up for late August. It's blooming on last year's plants. Last year I found its performance disappointing but it's a happier plant in its second year. The flowers are tighter and more heavily petaled than most of the other varieties of Eustoma growing in my garden. Its shape and growth habit closely resemble that of 'Mint Cocoa'.|
A number of more common flowering plants make up the rest of my mid-summer bloom list.
|This is the native California aster, Symphyotrichum chilense. I put in 2 plants in 2015 but, if you looked at the bed it's growing in, you might think there were a half dozen or more plants there. It spreads by rhizomes and is a little more exuberant than I'd expected but it's the only aster I've ever considered a success here.|
|Plumbago is VERY common here. From my home office window, I can see a large mass of it in bloom across the canyon. It's blooming up the street and I see masses of the blue flowers along the road every time I leave my neighborhood. My plants, Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue', are better behaved in large pots outside my lath (shade) house. |
|Lantana 'Samantha' is having a banner year. I love the cheerful yellow flowers but the variegated foliage is its main attraction. It makes me think of Ceanothus 'Diamond Heights', a plant I've killed at least 3 times, but in contrast this Lantana is easy to grow and happy here.|
|Gaillardia 'Fanfare Citronella' in the same bed as the Lantana is another current favorite. While the flower stems are annoyingly short, the flowers are prolific and of course loved by bees.|
|I've got as many as a half dozen varieties of Abelia in my garden, all of which I love, but at the moment this older variety, Abelia grandiflora 'Edward Goucher' is what's grabbing my attention. The 2 large shrubs came with the garden and, unlike the varieties I've introduced, there's no variegation in the foliage of these but they do pump out the blooms! I cut the 2 shrubs back hard in late winter and I've been rewarded this year with lots of long flowering stems. When the flowers drop, they leave behind reddish bracts just as pretty as the flowers themselves.|
Could you distill the bloomers in your garden down to just 10 plants? Visit Chloris to find her list
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
Love the photos. My Plumbago is looking great as well. I think you have the prettiest Edward Goucher I have ever seen.ReplyDelete
That Abelia handles conditions in its shady dry corner well, filling in a spot that would otherwise be hard to plant. In prior years, 'Edward' produced mainly short stems of limited use in vases but cutting the 2 shrubs back hard seemed to make a major difference in both stem length and flower production.Delete
I honestly don't think I have 10 plants blooming right now that look good enough to feature in a post. Not outside the cutting garden, which gets regular water every couple of days. I might have to include a few weeds. Your 'Mint Cocoa' Lisianthus is an unusual color. I remember being highly enamored of that old rose pinkish color when I was younger.ReplyDelete
You might be surprised at how much you actually have, Alison. I'm surprised just about every time I wander out to look for flowers in preparation for my Bloom Day posts - I tend to focus on the gaps in the garden rather than what it has to offer.Delete
No, I couldn’t find ten blooms in my garden just now, but I hope to be able to before long. As usual my eye is taken by your Lisianthus. Do,you grow them from seed? I bought some seeds (thinking that if you can grow them there I should be able to) but I’ve read they can be a bit stubborn about germinating. The other flower I really like is Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ which is very interesting. Oh, and the Zinnia whose closeup photo shows fascinating detail.ReplyDelete
No, I tried and failed to grow Lisianthus from seed once. It's said to require serious expertise and attention to get the seeds to germinate. Plugs have become readily available here in recent years both by mail order and in our local garden centers. It may be that some grower has cracked the code to grow them en masse by seed - or they're being propagated by tissue culture.Delete
I never do understand how you manage to grow roses in your conditions. Although having said that mine have had a stonking year given the abundant sunshine (and little rain), ‘Medallion’ is lovely.ReplyDelete
It's now clear to me that the roses want more water than I've been giving them in the absence of any help from Mother Nature, Jessica. I don't have many - just 13 shrubs that I can think of, which may be the maximum I can afford to keep happy through irrigation.Delete
Mt garden looks like a dessert compared to this.ReplyDelete
I'd love to have your beautiful woodland garden, Linda!Delete
Lovely blooms! You have some gorgeous Dahlias! I think I'm going to start mine in pots inside earlier in the season next year because they're taking forever to bloom. I love your peach-colored rose, too!ReplyDelete
My dahlias got off to a later start this year than last year, although I did initially plant some of them in pots until room opened up in the cutting garden. My biggest mistake was over-watering those pots - I lost several tubers due to rot.Delete
Dahlia ‘Punkin Spice' for the win! Although the ‘Mint Cocoa' Lisianthus is lovely too. Oh and yes, ten blooms right now in my garden, definitely...(I think....).ReplyDelete
'Punkin Spice' unfolds veerrry slowly but, when it reaches the zenith of its bloom, it's truly amazing.Delete
Not sure I have ten things in bloom right now - at least not that looks great enough to make a post-worthy photo. Those Eustomas always grab my heart - not sure I could pick a favorite, even if I had to.ReplyDelete
~ Anna K
My own favorites keep shifting, Anna!Delete
Your garden is so full of blooms, it would be a difficult task to narrow it down to ten favorites. Funny, I just drank the first pumpkin spice coffee of the season this morning, not that there's any need to rush that season, and you featured that gorgeous dahlia today.ReplyDelete
Here in the land of the endless hot, dry summer, Peter, we can't wait for autumn's arrival. I feel its slow tentative approach already, though - or maybe that's just wishful thinking.Delete
Love that purple Eustoma. Never heard of it before. I'll have to research of whether it would work in my climate, but thanks for the idea!ReplyDelete
Eustoma is commonly sold as Lisianthus here, Lady. Its foliage has a succulent quality, although it's not classified as one. It stood up to our nuclear heatwave in July when the temperature reached 110F (43C) and got stuck there so it might well handle your summers too. I can't speak about your winter chill, though.Delete
Many of mine are the same as yours. Add Salvias and 'Superb' and the list might be identical. 'Superb' doesn't count? I wish mine would take a rest for their own sakes--but they don't seem able to. Pentas is a gem--are you growing that?ReplyDelete
Abelia is underrated--bees and hummers love the flowers. It's not just a pretty face.
'Superb' is perennially in bloom so I didn't consider it for this mid-summer list - it features prominently on my list of all time favorites. I've got a couple of Pentas ('Nova' and 'Kaleidoscope Appleblossom'), both of which have also responded recently to the extra boost of water they've received. Frankly, the impact of targeted applications of extra water has amazed me - it has me wondering if I've taken my stingy watering too far.Delete
Kris I can believe that you have a difficult time narrowing down your bloom choices. You always have such a delightful variety of blooms to choose from.ReplyDelete
Flowers have been my primary focus since moving here, Lisa, although I really am trying to pay more attention to the landscape as a whole.Delete
I think I might just be able to come up with ten blooms if I tried very hard but nothing as pretty as yours. And the rose is gorgeous. Plants know when the time is right.ReplyDelete
I have to wonder if the roses would have bloomed in spring if I'd given them more water when Mother Nature fell down on the job in delivering rain last winter, Jenny. At the risk of conjuring up a whole other set of problems, I'm hoping we have El Nino conditions next winter.Delete
Thank you so much for joining in with your gorgeous top ten August blooms Kris. I always enjoy seeing what you have flowering and generally there is something new to me. Heteromeles is something I have never seen before and that gaillardia is really unusual.I always drool over your fabulous eustomas, what fabulous colours. And well done for getting your rose to bloom so well. Great selection Kris.ReplyDelete
Heteromeles is something I can't imagine would grow in your climate, Chloris, but it's robust here and offers shade, flowers and food for the birds (and, more regrettably, the coyotes). It's one fault is rampant self-seeding but the seedlings are easily plucked, as long as you act early.Delete
I haven't done a bloom count and, like many others, would be hard pressed to find ten good ones. Instead I am lusting after your Lantana 'Samantha.' The blooms are fine, the foliage is fabulous.ReplyDelete
That Lantana's foliage is fabulous, isn't it!Delete
I am again admiring your flower arrangements and all your blooming plants. It's more than I have in my garden although it rained probably a little bit more than in your place. And I am afraid of the water bill too, so I am careful with watering.ReplyDelete
I like your pink Dahlias. Do you plant them in a pot? I bought Bishop Dahlias this year. First I had them in the bed, but recently I planted them in a pot. They were close to die in the bed. The garden soil is like concrete now.
All my dahlias grow in the raised planters that serve as my cutting garden, Sigrid. I hand water that area more than any other part of my garden. I learned the hard way that dahlia tubers will rot if given too much water before the plants sprout but, once that has happened, they demand a LOT of water. Those I previously planted in my open garden beds never did well because they got too little water.Delete
Your dahlias are perfect - they must love your climate. Love the lisianthus, too. Maybe 'Mint Cocoa' would look well with peachy yellows? Or maybe light or gray greens? It is a real novelty. You'll have to carry a bloom all around your garden to find its spot! I'll be interested to see where it lands. :)ReplyDelete
I originally planted 'Mint Cocoa' in 2 spots based on the color shown on the seller's website. My plants turned out more cocoa than green, making one spot so-so and the other awful. I think I probably need to give them their own special area, away from other flowers - it's easier to mesh their color with foliage than other flowers.Delete