What Looks Good Now-Early August 2010

Even though we are in the depths of the *Dog Days of summer, a few garden inhabitants are showing off during this hiatus for most everything else. Leading off is this super late Hemerocallis ‘Classic Rose’. This daylily was purchased at Sunshine Hollow several years ago to help extend the season of daylily bloom, planted in the thick of things on the daylily hill. The trouble was that this is a short in stature plant and the non-daylily minions of the hill completely hid it from view. In fact, it had never bloomed, ever. Last fall it was moved to a sunnier, somewhat less crowded spot and is repaying the gardener for the rescue with loads of fat, juicy blooms. Despite extreme heat and drought, the classic good looks have us thinking of a massed planting of just this variety along the wall behind the main house. It would look mighty fine with the Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubrum’ methinks.

Quite contrary to the norm, the containers are looking the best ever, with a strong reliance on…

…Coleus and Calibrachoa of all sorts and colorways. Note to self, don’t waste your time and fortune on anything else for summer plantings for the brightly colored glazeware.

The containers stay outside all winter here, but there is one that will be brought into the greenhouse, not to protect the pot, but to try to overwinter the precious contents, Bulbine frutescens. It seems the hotter and more miserable the weather is outdoors, the more this tropical beauty loves it. There are more blooms right now than at any time since it came to live here in early April. The Bulbine was purchased during spring break vacation in Orlando, Florida, click here-Cherry Mish Mash Monday to read about it.

This is the dawning of the age of Crocosmia, age of Crocosmia, let the sunshine in! (My apologies to James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot who wrote Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In for the broadway show “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”). There have been losses on the Croc front however. Failure to dig and divide the corms as recommended has resulted in no blooms or even foliage from Solfaterre, the one Christopher gave me, Ember Glow and Little Redhead never even showed up, nor did George Davison. Star Of The East has spread and bloomed nicely. Research revealed that it is one that will not disappear completely if not divided yearly. Lucifer blooms much earlier and has spread itself freely but will be dug and rearranged before winter sets in. A few remains of George and Solfaterre were excavated and replanted. A new George was recently purchased, blooming finished, the corms were seperated and replanted as well. The bloom shown above is C. ‘Bright Eyes’. It too will be replanted this fall. I am now aware of what needs to be done and will follow through from now on! Now! (Three times and you own it.)

Something else that is having a banner year and seldom gets mentioned are the Crepe Mytles, Lagerstroemia indica. Above is L. ‘Victor’, one of the first plantings for this property when it was purchased in 1996.

A packet of very small whips was received when we joined the Arbor Society the first year we moved back to Tennessee, 2000. The crepe myrtles were so tiny then. It is hard to believe that they began life so small since they are now at least twenty feet tall. They are totally immune to the heat and drought, showing no signs of stress or pest damage. I love their brightly colored blooms and the peely bark.

Kerria japonica is a spring blooming shrub but there are a few blooms showing now. I walked right past this area without looking for flowers, distracted by other things but the flash of orangey yellow was glimpsed in the corner of vision and the camera raised. Click. What was otherwise distracting us, you might be wondering?

These guys.

See, there are even two! We do love the sweet Buckeyes.

The Joe Pye, Eupatorium var. maculatum ‘Gateway’ is attracting lots of activity. This is a sweet little silver spotted skipper. There are many of these flitting around. Hooray!

But it is the myriad Butterfly Bushes, Buddleia davidii cultivars. that are getting the most hits. They are attractive to humans as well with brilliant cones of multiple flowers and sweet scent. They are the favorite haunt of the flying flowers like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Also…

…There is the distraction of this handsome chap, the Eastern Goldfinch. We are really glad that all of the Echinaceas were not deadheaded in efforts to extend the bloom time. (Please excuse the blurry image. It was breezy and the bird was bobbing and weaving on the moving stem. Plus it was taken through three panes of less than spotless glass from the lazyboy inside the addition. Just sayin’.)

* Wikipediea says:

In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24 through August 24 (or, alternatively July 23-August 23). In many European cultures (German, French, Italian) this period is still said to be the time of the Dog Days.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels.


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31 Responses to What Looks Good Now-Early August 2010

  1. gardeningasylum says:

    Good morning dear Frances, Things are looking bright and beautiful for you now in the dog days! Jealous of the crape myrtles, thinking about those lovely bulbines…

    Hi Cyndy, thanks. The crepes are so ubiquitous here I barely notice them, shame on me. I remember living in PA and wanting to have them too but it was too cold. The Bulbines are amazing. I do hope they overwinter and will give it my best effort, in the greenhouse. I have no clue as to what they need for winter.

  2. james says:

    What a lovely lily flower, wished I had one like that in my garden.

    Hi James, thanks. The good thing about this one is how late it blooms. We have so many, but they sort of get lost in the midst of multitudes. Being the only one blooming has its rewards. πŸ™‚

  3. ellada says:

    The crepe myrtles are gorgeous.

    Hi Ellada, thanks. They really are beautiful trees and totally immune to the heat and drought here.

  4. Donna says:

    The crepe myrtles are gorgeous. We don’t see much of them unless we go further south. At least we have our butterfly bush, but do not get as many of the beauties that you photograph. Here in Niagara Falls we have been having weather in the 90’s. I feel for you guys hitting a 100. Dog days for sure.

    Hi Donna, thanks. I am so sorry about that hot weather for you up north. I know many places do not have air conditioning there either. The crepes love it here, but there are many things we cannot grow that you can, such as Delphiniums and spruce trees. Both struggle mightily with the heat and humidity. That is why we should both plant what wants to grow where we are. Sigh.

  5. Carol says:

    “Note to self: Frances grows plants you can not have. Do not be tempted to try to grow crepe myrtle in Indiana.” Hi Frances! Beautiful, bountiful blooms for August!

    Hi Carol, thanks. With the way the climate seems to be heading, you might be growing crepe myrtles before long!

  6. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, The crapes myrtles are especially lovely this year~I so agree that Coleus and Calibrachoa are perfect for summer color. I’ve been very happy with cuphea in the ceramic containers, too. Wowzer on the daylily that is blooming this late~At first I thought you had labeled it wrong (as if) with the ‘Classic Rose’ script in the photo;)~It’s a good looking daylily. Off to walk and water before our temps go to the 100+ forecast. xxxgail

    Dear Gail, thanks. Do get your walk in before it heats up too much, although it is probably already too late for that. Normally I don’t even notice the crepes here and around town, but they are having a really good year this time. That daylily is soooo late, I had forgotten all about it even being on the daylily hill until I was checking the sidebar page to make sure there were photos for every one listed. That’s when I went and moved it last year, so glad of that! ( And I have been known to mislabel, but thanks for the vote of confidence. )

  7. Layanee says:

    It looks so fresh and lovely in your garden in spite of this heat. I have made a note of H. ‘Classic Rose’ as I was just thinking the other day about late blooming daylilies for the garden.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. These photos might lead one to believe that the garden looks fresh, but we know how pictures can lie! Classic Rose is a month later to bloom than the others here. It is a beauty!

  8. Frances,
    I just bought some crocosmia in pot’s at a end of year garden sale. I was about to plant them until I just read what you said about replanting. Am I supposed to divide them right now, as I am just about to plant them today? Where can I get some good info on this? Love your garden. You are always inspiring me to do more with mine.

    Hi Valerie, thanks for visiting. I am going out on a limb here and say yes, divide them now. That is what I would do. If they bloomed in the pot, they need dividing.

  9. I just got a bit of supposedly hardiest ever Crocosmia from Seneca Hill Perennials. It did not/has not bloomed. Do they sometimes not bloom the first year they are planted?

    Hi Kathy, I would divide them and plant deeply. It also could be corm size to determine if they bloom, but each corm should be seperated and planted apart from one another.

  10. Morning Frances,
    Your container garden looks so lush and gorgeous. My rabbits would find a way to reach those plants and make breakfast, lunch and dinner of them. Although maybe slippery, glazed, taller pots is the answer. Just last night I was watching a tiny baby rabbit jump up into my clay pots and dig to devour more of the roots of the plants it or one of its family had munched completely down earlier. It was a sweet colorful garden. ;>( I love your Bulbine frutescens and look forward to seeing how it does indoors… or will you cut it back? Never have I seen more beautiful Crape Myrtles abloom than in Charlotte, North Carolina this June. The city was ablaze with color… along with fiery heat. I love their bark too. Wish I could grow them. Wonderful photos of your flutterby visitors. So true about the Buddleia … as beautiful as the flowers are, they become more so with these marvels all about them. Lovely post! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. I am sorry to hear about those feasting rabbits. Our pots are large and I would say the rabbits would not be able to reach into them, but the squirrels are notorious diggers. I put chickenwire, sprigs of rosemary, anything I can think of to keep them out but still there will be destruction and a walnut growing later on. Chock full o’ plant does seem to discourage them. For now.

  11. steve says:

    Man, those Romans knew their business. How hot is it? LOL, nevermind. Looks like we are headed for the 100’s here in Louisville. As always, your garden is incredibly lovely. The Crepe Myrtles here have also gone spectacular on us – just stunning color and fullness. Muggy, hotter than heck with a ton of sun and rain each, this has been a gardener’s paradise of sorts.

    Hi Steve, thanks. That flew right over my head, but I am sure it was hilarious! Today is the worst in memory for heat and humidity, sad to say, but the Crepe myrtles don’t seem to mind. Nor the butterflies. Wish we had a ton of rain, the plants would be so much perkier. The gardener as well. Stay cool! πŸ™‚

  12. kimberly says:

    I really like bulbine…and you’re right – they LOVE the heat! Your butterflies are precious as is the sweet little finch.

    Hi Kimberly, thanks. If I lived where it was hardy like you do, my garden would be filled with bulbine! πŸ™‚

  13. Good advice about the containers. I think I’m going to stick to Coleus, Callibrachoa and Angelonia. Those three make a good mix for the Thriller, Filler, Spiller. Those Buckeye butterflies are pretty cool.

    Thanks MMD. I just ran out and got some Angelonia for the wheelbarrow to replace some flagging Celosia. Thanks for the idea! πŸ™‚

  14. Thanks for the education on Crocs. I don’t have any and they aren’t sold here much. I also haven’t seen them in many gardens so they must be hard to grow. I can’t believe you have to divide them every year. Where would I find the time.

    As for the flying flowers, I wish Buckeyes would grace me with their presence, but I’ll content myself with the other butterflies. Did you know Goldfinches only overwinter here? We never see their brilliant plumage.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks for stopping by. The Goldfinches winter over here as well, but they turn brown during the winter. That is the very best sign the spring is near, when the males begin to turn brilliant golden yellow. The crocs are going to be more work than I normally am willing to put forth, but for blooms this time of year, it is worth it. I must make it part of the routine and be diligent. The Buckeye catts feed on plantain and Gerardia, whatever that is. I have been pulling the plantains like mad, must remember to leave a few in the outer limits.

  15. Rose says:

    Love those crape myrtles! I had no idea they bloomed during this late in the season. Not a lot of new blooms here, though I’ve been thinking about adding some late-blooming daylilies, too; a trip later this month to our daylily farm may rectify that. But I do share your fluttering “blooms”–the butterflies are certainly in abundance this year and don’t care whether blooms are fading. Great job on capturing the goldfinch! While sunshine is nice, we could do with letting a little rain come in:)

    Hi Rose, thanks. The crepes are slow to leaf out in spring and slow to get going in bloom, but will last until frost. They have beautiful fall foliage as well. I hope you can find some very late bloomers at your farm. They are so welcome. Yes, let the rain come in should be the lyric! πŸ™‚

  16. nancybond says:

    Frances, your gardens look so lovely. Those butterflies look like beautiful blooms themselves…and I love that orangey-red calibrachoa!

    Hi Nancy, thanks. We are so happy to be seeing more butterflies this year. I just went and bought a couple more of those same Calibrachoas for the wheelbarrow. They had three left! Hooray! πŸ™‚

  17. Your container choices are perfect and I hope you can overwinter your bulbine. Too bad that your crocosmia didn’t return. I pulled up some of the ‘Lucifer’ yesterday to control it. I do wish it came in pink!

    Hi Cameron, thanks. My fingers are crossed on the Bulbine. I will do some research about watering, cutting back, etc. Lucifer is good about returning, but I have made sure to thin the corms of it each year. Seems that needs doing on them all. I wish there would be pink ones too. That would be beautiful with the coneflowers. πŸ™‚

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have a Crepe Myrtle that is blooming for the first time. I just love it. Yours are so pretty. I love those colors. I have seen a bright red one around here that I like too. I might have to seek out these beauties. I can’t believe you have a daylily blooming now. Wow. She is a beauty too. The Dogs of Summer are barking here too. UGH…

    All right, Lisa!!! Way to go on the Crepe! I have some named varieties and the free ones from the Arbor Society. All are doing especially well this year. That daylily really surprised me. Boo to the barking. πŸ™‚

  19. TC Conner says:

    Ahhh Joe Pye, kind of a harbinger for Jack Frost’s upcoming appearance. Leaves are falling here too. And we’re still waiting on our tomato harvest!

    Hi TC, Joe Pye is the beginning of the end, isn’t it? The river birch leaves have been falling all summer, giving me lots of good stuff for the compost anyway. So nice to see you. πŸ™‚

  20. Frances…you did it again! My wish list just grew by one bulbine. I have an Arbor Society crepe myrtle that has yet to bloom, but the autumn color is wonderful. I was expecting the Peptol Bismol pink flowers, but maybe I will get lucky and it will give me the red.

    Hi Ricki, thanks, and sorry! HA We lucked out and got the very dark pink for the three at the top of the hill behind the knot garden. I was hoping they were all the same kind up there. It was several years before they were large enough to bloom. There is a light pink, the one in the photo that is in the front island by the street. There was a white one that we moved and killed. We moved the light pink too but it came back after we thought it was dead. Hope you get what you want! πŸ™‚

  21. Victoria says:

    Your garden is looking gorgeous, Miz Frances. I love your bright containers. I have trouble with Crocosmia too. In some gardens, it seems to spread like a weed, but in mine, it takes a lot of effort to establish it. I’ve had good results with Lucifer, but George Davison went awol. I now have Warburton’s Gold which is a much more reliable yellow variety. I’m trying Solfatare for the first time this year! It sounds like it might be a bit temperamental…

    Hi Victoria, thanks, so nice to see you here! Lucifer has been the easiest. I had Solfaterre for a couple of years and didn’t divide it and now it is a no show. That taught me to be proactive! I love the yellows with all those oranges. They all look good with the purple foliage in the black garden at this time of year. I want George D. Hope this last ploy works. πŸ™‚

  22. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m glad you finally got yourself some bulbine, Frances.

    I owe it all to you, Pam, like so many other things. It has far exceeded expectations. Now to keep it going over the winter. I was going to ask you for advice about that. Do you think I should cut it back when bringing it inside the greenhouse? I will be in touch about it. πŸ™‚

  23. VW says:

    Stunning shot of the daylily! I love all the colors in the blooms. And I’m so jealous of crepe myrtles – perhaps there are some zone 5 hardy cultivars somewhere, but I haven’t found any yet. Yours are beautiful – how great to have them be so sturdy, too.

    Hi VW, thanks. Having a daylily that blooms so late is wonderful, this year anyway. I would love to spread it around for more of a mass show but am not sure it is large enough. As for the crepes, I know they have been working on getting more hardy varieties for years. We could not grow them in PA when we lived there at all. I tried. Maybe the breeders will find the magic genetic material some day! πŸ™‚

  24. Barbara says:

    You have the most amazing photographs! Gail and I have mentioned a field trip to Missouri Botanical Gardens – are you in?!

    Hi Barbara, thanks. I would love to visit Mobot with you guys! πŸ™‚

  25. That finch is amazing!

    Hi Jenn, thanks. Those birds are so brilliant right now in their plumage. They visit the echinaceas and the tall Rudbeckias regularly, but are hard to photograph since the stems bob so much from their weight. I love seeing them from the lazyboy where it is cooler and often use the binoculars to do so. πŸ™‚

  26. It’s nice to look after less hardy stuff such as that wonderful Bulbine frutescens. What I mean is all the careful over wintering and then new growth and posititoning in pride of place the following spring is a labour of love.

    I love Kerria. Every May they just put on the most superb show.

    Still think ‘flying flowers’ is a great butterfly description by the way.

    Hi Rob, thanks so much. I do so hope the Bulbine will live through the winter to give delight again next year. My track record for that is not good at all. The Kerria spreads a bit here, but is planted in a spot where that is okay. What a surprise to see blooms now.

  27. commonweeder says:

    I don’t think I ever saw, or impossible to imagine, noticed, crocosmia before the trip to Buffalo, but I bought one at a plant sale this spring. Thanks for the tips! A clump of crocosmia certainly provides some drama in my garden.

    Hi Pat, thanks for visiting. Glad you got some information you can use here. The Crocs fill a need for perennial color in the late summer garden, they just need to be split frequently. So glad you found one, they can be difficult to locate sometimes. Good for you! πŸ™‚

  28. John says:

    Your garden has plenty of color this time of year. You can always count on the crepe mytles to do their part.

    Hi John, thanks and welcome. The photos are deceiving about how much color is out there right now, but the crepes are definitely putting forth. πŸ™‚

  29. debsgarden says:

    How wonderful that you have so many butterflies visiting your garden! I still get a thrill, every time I see one. I love butterfly bushes for this reason.

    Thanks Deb. We get a thrill as well. Nothing attracts them like the butterfly bushes either. πŸ™‚

  30. Catharine says:

    Hello Frances at Faire Garden. Can’t imagine that you can have time to read so many comments! Love leaving one on colour, loved glimpse of your delectable plants and LOVE the Shoes!

    Hello Catharine Howard and welcome. We make time to read every comment and answer them as well. As with all bloggers, we LOVE comments. Thanks for the kind words about the garden and shoes. It was the color that led me to the display in the shoe department. πŸ™‚

  31. Pam/Digging says:

    Frances, I just came back by and read your question about overwintering the bulbine. I wouldn’t cut back the fleshy leaves, just the flower stems. At least, that’s all I ever do for mine. After a while they need dividing, but that’s about it. Of course, they stay in the ground here, but yours should be the same, even brought indoors for the winter. Good luck with them!

    Thanks so much for returning, Pam, and giving that good advice! I really appreciate it! I will not cut the foliage, as you suggest. That is what I was wondering about. The plant has really grown, I might divide it next spring, if it survives the winter in the greenhouse. I might even put some in the ground if I knew there was a mother plant available to winter over. I LOVE bulbine! πŸ™‚

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