Saturday, August 15, 2015

Late Summer Blooms in the Cottage Garden

If early spring is all about 'firsts' -- first snowdrop, first robin, first blossoms on the forsythia -- what is late summer all about? Sadly, I say goodbye to the last daylily, the last hosta bloom, and the last clematis flower. Many of my cottage garden favorites will soon fade, especially shasta daisy, hollyhock, and phlox. But some long-lasting summer blooms refuse to quit and the first of the fall bloomers gear up to delight me. This is the joy of gardening.

The last hosta to bloom in the shade garden.

There are still a few blossoms on my favorite daylily, 'Chicago Apache,' but my equally favorite 'Anita Davis ' has just one flower remaining. Tomorrow there will be none.

'Goodbye, Hermerocallis Anita Davis'
Hermerocallis Chicago Apache will bloom for a few days more.

I'm sad these may be the last blooms on the clematis this year ...

Clematis x jackmanii

... but oh, so happy to see the last Japanese beetle.

Japanese beetles, rampant in July, disappear in August.

The lotus seed pod, the end result of the beautiful flower I featured in a recent posting that you can read here, has an 'other world' look about it. My grandchildren like to shake it to see and hear the seeds rattle.  But it is not the last; I'm happy to find another bud that will open soon. 

Seed pod of Lotus Nelumbo nucifera

Also, in the pond the water canna will bloom again ...

Spiky buds of Canna x generalis (left side of picture)

The hollyhocks were stunning this summer, and a few blooms still remain. One reached the most amazing height ...

This hollyhock must be twelve feet high.

... and for once I'm speechless!

Late summer is not only about 'lasts;' some of my favorite bloomers peak at this time, including agastache, lobelia, and sunflowers -- all bee magnets:

Anise Hyssop Agastache 'Blue Fortune,' behind echinacea

 Can you spot the bee inside the lobelia flower? ...

Great lobelia Lobelia siphilitica commonly called blue cardinal flower.
Great blue lobelia with snapdragons in the Horseshoe Garden.

My sunflowers are very special to me this year as the seeds were given to me by the children of the preschool class where I volunteer during the school year. The label said 'mini sunflowers'. They dominate the kitchen garden -- I think you'll agree the label was wrong.

In addition to the sunflowers, colorful cottage garden flowers on both sides of the kitchen garden fence attract pollinators including, at last, the monarch butterfly. I'm not seeing them in large numbers, but two or three visit every day now.

Roses, rudbeckia, echinacea, obedience, phlox, zinnias, and marigolds

Looking through my window as I write this, I see three monarchs flitting about the butterfly bush. I love their distinctive 'stained glass' wings. Every morning I check the milkweed for monarch caterpillars -- I'm hopeful!

Monarch on milkweed.

One of H.H.'s bird houses on the cottage garden fence contains the wren's latest brood -- probably her last this season.

Mother Wren scolds us as we walk too near to her babies.
I think there are three babies in the nest.

Finally, a late summer 'first.' One of the surprise lilies my friend Katharine gave me bloomed for the first time this morning! The plant has many common names: surprise lily, spider lily, magic lily, resurrection lily, pink flamingo flower, hurricane lily, naked lily and my favorite "nekkid" lady. The leaves grow in spring, whither in summer, and the fragrant flowers pop out of the ground overnight in late summer. A beautiful surprise!

Surprise Lily Lycoris squamigera

 I am linking with Carol at May Dreams Garden for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, which she graciously hosts on the 15th of each month. Please check out Carol's surprise lilies -- they are very impressive and make me want to plant more.

The late summer garden is gearing up for a magnificent fall. Enjoy!

Pam x


'Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.'
                                                              -- Henry James

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  1. Wonderful images of your late summer garden. My favorites are the sunflowers, but the lobelia is really lovely, too.

  2. Love the sunflowers!
    I am astonished at the height of the Hollyhock
    Great to see the birds, too

  3. You have such a lovely late summer cottrage garden Pam, especially the photo with all those flowers on both sides of the fence is great. And look at that scolding mother wren and on next photo her babies peeping through the door, love it.

  4. Lovely blooms in your August gardens! I also liked the wren pictures! So sweet! I just heard about "nekkid lily" this month as two bloggers mention this name in the August posts! Cool lily!

  5. You still have such a lot of colour in your late summer garden. My tall sunflowers didn't make it this year but the dwarf ones did, they really brighten up a garden.

  6. Your sunflowers and cottage garden are really beautiful Pam, and I enjoyed the wonderful capture of the butterfly on the milkweed. Happy Bloom Day!

  7. Your kitchen garden looks especially great at this time -- and that's a really funny story accompanying it, about the "mini" sunflowers that can be seen to tower over everything else. :-) Thanks for sharing this late summer look at your gardens! -Beth

  8. another blog was asking about her blue mystery flower in her new garden. I wonder if it is your Agastache?

  9. Very nice displays, Pam. I like the fairy garden in the last photo too. Babies in the nest is adorable with a concerned mom too. No Dude again. I always like seeing Dude.

  10. Pam, this was such an enjoyable tour.
    Thank you so much. I loved your sunflowers and zinnias and all the other cottage favorites. I've not seen a single Monarch so far this year. I'm really concerned, but they do arrive here later than other places. I've planted tons of milkweed for their children if only they'll come.~~Dee

  11. We know instinctively that it won't be too long before our gardens turn that corner and enjoy the remainder that we have left of summer.
    You've so many pretty late summer blooms and good to see the Monarchs making full use of what's on offer in your garden.

  12. Beautiful!
    Without a doubt I love your photo down the kitchen garden fence best of all, so much color and interest on both sides. I can imagine the contented buzzing and happy fluttering that goes on in the flowers. The sunflowers really bring height and fun to the whole border!

  13. Pam, your August garden is beautiful and very colourful – loved the surprise lily, I have never seen it before. I had to look it up online as I absolutely love lilies, but I could see it is not actually a lily – and it won’t do well in Britain as it doesn’t tolerate frost at all. We don’t have frost very often here in London, but it does happen from time to time. Do you plant yours every year? Also loved all your wildlife photos, great photos of the wrens :-)

    1. Thanks, Helene. The surprise lily bulbs don't need to be planted each year. They spread, too. P. x

  14. Wow, those are some sunflowers! Your garden is looking gorgeous as always. It's always very nice to say goodbye to the Japanese beetles! Love that lotus pod - my kids would love it too! So great you are seeing Monarchs. I haven't seen any here, but I live a little more out of the way of the flight path I think.

  15. I love the nekkid ladies in my garden, their blue/pink coloring is magical. But that strappy foliage makes me crazy in the spring, it crowds out everything. I just have a prejudice against strappy foliage, it's why I don't grow daylilies. Now don't cry, there are enough daylily lovers in the world to make up for me. Gorgeous garden, as usual!

  16. If those are the mini sunflowers, I would hate to see the giant versions. I can almost hear that Agastache/Echinacea combo buzzing with pollinators. I love Agastache more each year. The scent of the foliage is exquisite - the area around Agastache is always the most well-weeded part of my borders... I wonder why...
    A beautiful post filled with beautiful flowers, although I felt a little sad to be saying goodbye to some of them with you.

  17. What a stunning August garden Pam...sunflowers are just blooming their hearts out...and look at that cottage garden. I love the lotus lower gone to seed and oh my that bathtub garden is magical.