Garden in early…

Garden in early August

The tropicals went nuts in mid-July, when it got really hot -- they just burst into bloom. This is duranta, which will also have bright orange (poisonous) berries soon. Will need to move it off the porch where the kids play when the berries show up.

I kind of thought this mandevilla was mostly dead at one point, but this year, the foliage came back, and got nice and bushy (I trim off the really long vines), and then, like the duranta, it went crazy.

This has a little solar-powered fountain in it, that sends up a spray when it's sunny. It makes me happy. We had this on the roof deck of our condo in the city; it was planted with different kinds of thyme then, and a sundial, to make a time garden. Ha ha.

Hibiscus. The flowers only last a day, so you don't have to feel guilty picking them and wearing them in your hair, or decorating a table with them.

My first time growing gladioli; I'm afraid I don't remember which this is, but LOVE the color. Yes, staking them is a slight nuisance, but worth it.

And this Creme de Cassis hollyhock is one my top ten garden plants this year. It's been slowly blooming, one blossom after another climbing up the stem for at least a month now. Maybe two. And it's taller than I am.

The bees love the culver's root, which is a prairie native and extremely tough. It was all over the prairie at Ragdale, and looked awesome in large drifts. I just picked up two more in pale purple.

Oof, blurry photo, sorry, but I had to commemorate that my meadow sage came back, after being transplanted and almost fried with lack of watering. Oops. But that is a tough plant -- give it some time and a bit of water, chop off all the dead bits, and it comes back strong.

I just love Penny Mac more and more. (Sadly, my native Annabelle has been looking wilty for at least a month now, and I have no idea why. It's getting enough water -- I don't know what else could cause that.) Penny Mac starts off blooming in this gorgeous pink...

....then it fades to a clean white...

...and then, in my favorite stage, the blossoms go dark pink and green, and white, and a bit brown, and sort of dry and papery and gorgeously antique-looking. Must pick and dry some for the winter.

Summer beauty allium, about knee-high and cute as a grasshopper. Hardy too, and long-blooming, and an awesome cut flower -- lasted three solid weeks in a vase looking like I'd just picked it.

Summer beauty from above. It's been blooming for almost two months at this point, and is starting to go dry, but still looks great.

These are, oddly, the only blooms on my Quickfire hydrangea. But I do like them, esp. the delicate veining. Hopefully it'll bloom more next year.

Oh, this is a favorite. Meadow rue -- I just added two more to the three I had because I love it so much. Almost waist-high, great for centering a woodland planting with hostas and ferns.

The oakleaf hydrangea blossoms don't dry quite as pretty as Penny Mac, but they're so striking nested within those dark green oakleaf-shaped leaves. Those leaves will turn reddish in autumn, if I'm remembering right.

My summer planting of annuals -- not my most successful, I think. I had some trailing lobelia, in dark blue, which just couldn't take the heat; I should have chosen a different trailer. Cleome, bright pink pentas, and a dark purple one I can't remember (sorry, trying new plants carries risks), but the main thing I noticed is that the cleome flowers are kind of noticeably higher than the other two, leaving an odd gap.

Still, close-up, the blossoms are gorgeous. It's nice to find such rich color in summer flowers -- these powered through the heat, as long as they had enough water.

And the cleome had lovely blossoms too.

Sigh -- someday, all that mulch will be hidden by groundcover and perennials. It's going to take some time. Also, I wish I'd picked a dark brown mulch, more soil-like, instead of the cypress. Next year. At least this does let me see all the plants clearly, which is helpful as I try to figure this stuff out.

This corner is my most floriferous part of the front yard; it gets the most sun, and so I've planted it the most heavily. From left to right, in an inverted U, the blooming plants are: Penny Mac, thistle, culver's root, meadow sage, up near the fence there's some pink phlox barely visible, chives, summer beauty allium, bright pink dahlias, Russian sage behind them, white roses.

Hopefully next year these will all be much bigger and more floriferous. The yard feels so sparse.

Closer to the summer beauty allium, a Miss Kim lilac (not in bloom), pale purple Russian sage, pink dahlia, white rose.

Should I be worried that my redbud is starting to show yellow leaves already? Is it too soon?

This is quiet, but nonetheless charming -- my Ace of Hearts redbud leaves, against the heart-shaped wild ginger below. Thanks, Carmela -- your wild ginger is doing GREAT.

Rose, rose, rose, rose...

I'm still a little stunned that the dahlias came back after overwintering in my basement. I didn't really think that would work.

The bush is smaller than I remember from last year, maybe half-size, but according to the Old Bulbs Gazette, everyone's having that happen this year. "The problem is that dahlias are native to the high-altitude plateaus of Mexico where days are hot but nights are dramatically cooler. When nights stay warm, it's as if they can't breathe well and they almost seem to go into suspended animation, growing very slowly or not at all."

Darlow's Enigma, continuously blooming in tiny clusters (that whole bunch is about the size of my small fist), totally charming, and is about five feet tall now, climbing the arbor nicely and reaching over here to the porch.

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