Lost in a Late Summer Reverie . . .
Out watering containers this morning —listening to the chorus of crickets in the meadow and cedar waxwings in the viburnum— I found myself lost in a late summer reverie. With Dahlias, Summersweet, fragrant Lilies, Garden Phlox and Hydrangea in bloom, ornamental grasses sending up tinted blades and silken tassels, and many other favorites just coming into bud or forming ripe, colorful fruit, August is glorious month in my garden. Sometimes it can be hard to leave here!
For many gardeners, late summer is a time of winding down, cutting back, and dreaming of next spring. But why turn away from garden pleasures so soon? The second act is just getting started! The Turtle Head (Chelone lyonii), Yellow Waxbells (Kirengeshoma palmata), Fairy Candles (Actaea simplex), Monkshood (Aconitum), Windflower (Anemone hybrids), Bushclover (Lespedeza thunbergii) and Asters are just loaded with buds and the Beautyberry (Callicarpa), Dogwood (Cornus species), Cotoneaster, Juniper, Viburnum and Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) are laden with ripening fruit and colorful, shiny berries. Â The big summer party’s just warming up… Won’t you stick around and keep me company? Here are a few of my late-season favorites —currently blooming or covered with berries— to whet your whistle . . .
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata), is a great plant for late season fragrance, color and attracting pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. Control powdery mildew by choosing mildew-resistant cultivars (‘Jeana’, shown above in bud, ‘David’, increasing soil moisture (add compost and a thick layer of mulch), alkalinity (adding lime to the soil in early spring or autumn), air circulation (divide clumps in late summer or early autumn and thin in early spring), and treating foliage with horticultural oil or homemade anti-fungal remedy (click here).Â
Â A Lovely, Late-Season Selection, the Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginians), Can Actually Get a Bit Aggressive in a Perennial Border. Although it is a Beautiful, North American Native Flower —Popular with Pollinators as Well— I Recommend Thoughtful, Wild-Garden Positioning. Pretty in the Landscape and Vase, Obedience is Not One of Her Virtues!
The Honey-Hued Beauty of Goldenrod Lights up Ninebark’s Maroon Foliage an Old Vase: Solidago, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’. Goldenrod is Often Erroneously Blamed for Allergies. Ragweed (Similar Bloom Time and Color) is the Wind-Pollinated Culprit.
Â Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), is a Tall, Back-of-the-Border Plant. A North American Native, it is a Favorite of Monarch and Swallowtail Butterflies, Bees and Many Other Pollinators. It Also Makes a Beautiful & Stately Cut Flower.
Â I’ve Never Been One for Blue Hydrangea —Color Never Looks True to My Eye— But I’m Mad for the Rest. The Late-Summer Blush and Autumn Foliage of the Oakleaf Species Make it One of My All-Time Favorites (Hydrangea quercifolia)
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