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!
'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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