Thursday, August 15, 2019

Bloom Day - August 2019

Following our plentiful winter rains, my spring garden was loaded with flowers.  I unrealistically expected that trend to continue into summer, especially as our daytime temperatures have been relatively mild by comparison to prior years.  Instead, the floral display is on par with last year's.  I probably should reevaluate the mix of plants in my garden to put more emphasis on heat and drought-tolerant summer-through-fall bloomers.  On the other hand, more flowers would require more maintenance and sweating under the summer sun isn't particularly enjoyable.  From that perspective, continuing to focus my summer flower fetish on the more manageable dimensions of my small cutting garden may make more sense.

The summer cutting garden got off to a slower start this year, mainly because the cooler temperatures that persisted throughout the spring months continued into June and July, allowing cool season plants like foxgloves and Delphinium to hang on.  The space they took up delayed sowing of summer annuals; however, I planted my Dahlia tubers on a timely basis and their flowers currently reign supreme.

Dahlia 'Bluetiful' is new to my garden this year.  Although more subdued than some of the others, I appreciate both its form and its blue-ish color.

'Enchantress', also new this year, undergoes the most dramatic changes as she matures

I wasn't enamored with this newbie, 'Hollyhill Karen Lee', when she first emerged but her incurved petal have grown on me (pun intended)

I knew 'Labyrinth' was a winner the first moment she began to unfurl her petals.  The tuber I planted last year rotted.  I'm happy to have 2 healthy plants this year.

'Otto's Thrill' is returning for his third season.  I planted 2 tubers, believing the second was 'Loverboy' because I'd messed up my labels.  The actual 'Loverboy' still hasn't produced a single bud but both 'Ottos' are going strong.  This variety has the largest flowers of any of this year's dahlia crop, followed by 'Labyrinth'.

'Punkin Spice' is also on her third run.  I've got one in a large pot and another in one of my raised planters.  The flower shown is in the pot, which sits in partial shade and isn't blooming as heavily as she has in the past.  The second one was belatedly moved from a plastic pot to the raised planter once room became available and is only now budding up.  My recollection is that, given enough sun, her flowers will show as much variability as those of 'Enchantress'.

'Terracotta' is a semi-cactus type, also on his third run in my cutting garden.  This one is also a prolific bloomer.  In addition to 'Loverboy', 2 other dahlias are missing from this line-up: 'Citron du Cap' and 'Diva'.  Both are new to my garden this year.  'Citron' produced a few blooms earlier but only has buds at the moment.  I'd thought 'Diva' was going to blow me off entirely but it seems she's just living up to her name.  She's now developing buds.


Although my sunflower seedlings are still spindly, my Zinnias are finally taking off and, after pulling several foxgloves, I've planted a few other summer annuals from small nursery pots too.

I planted 3 named varieties of Zinnia elegans and 3 mixes in my raised planters.  They're all mixed up and a good many were removed when I thinned the seedlings so which is which will be hard to say.  I think the two on top in this photo are 'Benary's Giant Salmon Rose' and 'Benary's Giant Wine'.  The bottom 3 came out of a 6-pack, purchased when I became frustrated by the slow progress of my seedlings.

I picked up 3 Amaranthus caudatus in small pots a month ago.  They're growing well and I love their unique flowers.

A few Cosmos bipinnatus have also migrated to the cutting garden in small nursery pots over the past month after I failed to sow the seeds I've had on hand for months.  That's 'Double Cranberry' on the left and 'Prom Dress' in the middle.  The white form came without a cultivar name.


  Outside the cutting garden the flowers are fewer but some are worthy of note.

Amaryllis belladonna (aka naked lady) is having a banner year.  Tammy of Casa Mariposa sent me about 2 dozen bulbs she'd dug out of her garden in 2015.  I promptly planted all of them and, although the foliage showed up in 2016 and every year thereafter, I'd previously only had one or 2 blooms each year.  This year closer to a dozen flower stalks have made an appearance.  That was undoubtedly a byproduct of our ample winter rainfall.

Among the succulents, Cotyledon orbiculata has one of the prettiest flowers

The Eustoma grandiflorum (aka lisianthus) have been a bit of a disappointment this year.  Last year's August post showed the broadest collection of the varieties within this species I've ever had, despite the truly terrible heat wave we had in July 2018.  Admittedly, I planted fewer plugs this year but I've also had more losses among the new plants and fewer returnees from prior years.  Could it be that they want more heat than they've had thus far?  More likely, I've simply paid them less attention this year.

Drought tolerant heat-lovers, the Lantanas are doing just fine this month.  The only one that's not blooming at the moment is the 'Lucky White' cultivar in my front garden but I suspect my delayed pruning set those plants back.

Symphyotrichum chilensis 'Purple Haze', a California native aster, has gone nuts.  I knew that it spreads by rhizomes but in "low water gardens" it was said to be manageable.  It was, while we were in a state of acute drought.  The heavier-than-usual winter rains set it running amok.

Trichostemma 'Midnight Magic', a hybrid of California's native woolly blue curls, is much more well behaved


My perpetual bloomers are still blooming as well.

Clockwise from the upper left: Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', Grevilleas 'Ned Kelly', 'Peaches & Cream' and 'Superb', and Cuphea 'Starfire Pink' (with and without bee) are always in bloom.  The Cuphea and Grevilleas attract hordes of bees and hummingbirds.


Two of the largest blooming plants in last year's August garden burned out earlier than usual this year.  They peaked during the first few days of the month and look a good deal sorrier today than they did in the following photos.

Albizia julibrissin (aka mimosa) bloomed well this year despite literally being cut in half last year when surgery was performed to eliminate limbs infested by shot-hole borers

Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid' surprised me with a mass of blooms in late July.  In my defense, I was distracted by the kick-off of our home remodel.  This tree-like shrub is also a bee and butterfly magnet.


As usual, I've assembled collages featuring the less dramatic blooms August has to offer.

Top row: one of the last Agapanthus, late-blooming Digitalis purpurea, and Platycodon grandiflorus
Middle row: Polygala fruticosa, Salvia canariensis, and Salvia clevelandii 'Winnefred Gilman', finishing out the season
Bottom row: a very purple Scaevola, Tibouchina urvilleana, and Tulbaghia violacea

Top row: late blooms on Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold', Daucus carota 'Dara', and stray flowers on Leptospermum 'Pink Pearl'
Middle row: Leptospermums 'Safari Sunset' and 'Summer Red' and Lotus jacobaeus
Bottom row: Lycoris squamigera, Pentas 'Graffiti Pink', and noID rose

Top row: Abelias 'Edward Goucher' and 'Hopley's Variegated' and Achillea ptarmica 'Peter Cottontail'
Second row: Aloysia citrodora, noID succulent flower, and Gaura lindheimeri's second flush
Third row: Leucanthemum x superbum, Mimulus 'Buttercream', and Myrtus communis
Bottom row: Pandorea jasminoides and Tanacetum parthenium

Top row: Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' and Coreopsis 'Big Bang Redshift'
Middle row: Gaillardias 'Arizona Sun' and 'Fanfare Citronella' and Lonicera japonica
Bottom row: Sedum reflexum and Rosa 'Medallion'


That's it for my August 2019 Bloom Report.  For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, check in with Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party



24 comments:

  1. Oh I could literally cry. I lost all my 12 dahlias to the dahlia mosaic virus and it just broke my heart so much that I have decided to just skip dahlias for the next few years. But your are gorgeous! Actually everything blooming in your garden is spectacular!

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    1. I'd never heard of the dahlia mosaic virus, Angie, but after your heads-up on the problem I'm probably going to be obsessively watching my plants for warning signs. My biggest problem with the dahlias has been properly metering the water they receive to ensure the tubers don't rot before the plants sprout.

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  2. Your Dahlias are gorgeous and you have much more variety than I do. I seem to go for the same kinds of flowers and colors over and over. I like the subtlety of 'Labyrinth.' 'Enchantress' is lovely too. It's always so much fun to see your huge spectrum of flowers on GBBD.

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    1. I made an effort this year to mix up the selection of dahlia tubers to give myself a wider range of flowers, Alison. 'Loverboy' seems unlikely to set buds or bloom this year so I'm missing a strong red in the mix but oh well...

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  3. Dahlias and Zinnias blooming at the same time would be a rare scene in my garden. Cosmos vareity with multiple petaled bloom would be a dream to grow in my garden ...Your flower collages are so rich with exquisite blooms with wonderful color and texture...Happy blooms day.

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    1. That 'Double Cranberry' Cosmos was a spur of the moment pick but I am very pleased with it, Arun. I plan to look for seeds for the variety next year.

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  4. Whew, your garden is quite floriferous. The Dahlias are darling. I like that fuzzy pink thing too. Well, lets just say I like them all. No fussing about not much blooming now. I see that there is plenty abloom. Happy GBBD.

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    1. I'm thrilled with the fuzzy Amaranthus, Lisa, which for some reason I didn't think I could grow here (probably because I never see the plants in local gardens or nurseries). Next year, I hope to try it in different colors.

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  5. Not bad for your 'off' season, Kris. ;) You still have tons of beautiful blooms!

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    1. I did a quick and dirty review of the flowers I included in each of my August Bloom Day posts starting in 2013, Eliza. My findings aren't surprising: the number and variety of flowers has definitely increased over time and planting dahlias really changed my summer dynamic.

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  6. So many great plants. Love, love the naked ladies. They remind me of my garden in Alabama. They flourished there. I'm not sure how they do here in Washington but I think I can grow them. I must get some. The Callistemon is stunning. That mimosa!!

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    1. The naked ladies took their time settling in here, Phillip, but their eventual arrival en masse is rewarding.

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  7. What an extravagant bounty of flowers you have. Everything is lovely!

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  8. You are the floral floozy of Bloomday, well done! (I mean that with nothing but the upmost respect and love).

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    1. I credit you, Gail and Denise for making me more conscious about using foliage - and spiky! - plants but, yes, I'm a flower floozy at my core.

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  9. Always enjoy your lavish Bloomdays! Those Dahlias are a delight, along with everything else.

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    1. Dahlias are making my summer cutting garden again this year.

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  10. I would say there is no shortage of bloom in your garden, especially when I compare it with my "down times" in the early spring and late fall. Isn't it funny how we are perpetually optimistic when it comes to the garden, no matter how many times experience tell us otherwise.

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    1. I do seem to have developed a "more is better" view when it comes to flowers, Margaret!

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  11. Fabulous blooms Kris. Your dahlias are gorgeous. I love them, they get better and better here right until they first frost.

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    1. Plentiful dahlias make one happy gardener, as you know well, Chloris!

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  12. Oh my goodness Kris! You blooms are all so wonderful and the Dahlias are spectacular! Happy Bloom Day!

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