August Bloom Day 2010


Those lazy hazy crazy days of summer are in full swing. The brightest and bestest blooms can be found this Bloom Day, courtesy of bright-eyed Carol of May Dreams, on the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ and the annual Cosmos sulphureus ‘Cosmic Orange’. The Cosmos are blooming machines, thanks to ceaseless deadheading. We have been watching to make sure they don’t try to grow eight feet tall while our backs are turned with careful pruning as well. Click here-Cosmic Cosmos Confusion to find out more about the giant Cosmos.


Rosa ‘Altissimo’ now has the rusted metal clothesline pole in the white/yellow garden all to itself. Originally that choice spot, near the path and near the hose spigot, oh so important in droughty times, belonged solely to Rosa ‘Moonlight’. When the addition was built to join the main house with the garage, the arbor plantings of various Clematis and the single flowered red rose were relocated to appropriate beds. Altissimo would give the white flowered Moonlight some pizzazz, it was thought. The outcome was that the Hybrid Musk climber completely engulfed the lesser red, smothering the foliage with its own rampant growth. There were hardly ever more than one or two flowers a season. But sadly this Moonlight, there are still two others growing here in other spots, was infected with the dreaded Rose Rosette disease, click here to read Nan Ondra’s post about it on Gardening Gone Wild, and had to be removed. Instantly, Altissimo perked up and has put on new growth and flowers. There may be a happy ending to the saga after all.


The little Polyantha Rosa ‘Fairy Queen’ in the same white/yellow bed has been the opposite of difficult. It blooms non stop for many months, often well into December. I whack it down from time to time to keep it from stretching out and snagging passersby on the old steps behind the garage and it grows right back with even more flowers. You have to love a plant like this, and the fact that it is a rose is nothing but good.


Nigella grows with abandon here, scattering seed in paths and beds. The big bloom is in spring with sporadic flowers throughout the growing season. We love those serendipitous surprises.


Bronze fennel, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’ is another seed thrower. There are babies of it growing in the gravel paths. We haven’t the heart to pull them for the taproot prevents transplanting to better sites. We will simply walk around them. The best patch grows safely in the white/yellow bed. The spent seed heads will be allowed to stand until March, giving winter interest. They are the favorite food source for the beloved Tiger Swallowtail butterfly larvae here, even though we also offer dill, parlsey and Queen Anne’s Lace for them to munch upon.


The species Phlox paniculata, given to us as a passalong from good neighbor Mae, was stuck in the back corner of the property when she bestowed a clump to us early on in the garden creation here. No water, no attention, no nothing was given it. The next spring, we wondered what that healthy looking plant was growing behind the Hemlock trees and remembered, guiltily. The stems were dug and spread about on the daylily hill and in front of the deciduous Azalea walk. The bloom was incredible, tall and stout, beloved by insects and hummingbirds, the tall garden Phlox is treated with the respect it deserves now. It seeds and runs and is nearly indestructible, which is fine by us. Those traits are necessary to survive in the Fairegarden, there is no coddling of weaklings.


Verbena bonariensis is yet another self sower. The seedlings seems more likely to come up in the gravel than the beds however. The babies are carefully dug and planted en masse at the end of the Fairelurie bed that backs the pink Muhlenbergia capillaris along the driveway. This is another flower sought after by butterflies and bees. This year it has been deadheaded to shorten its stature and prolong the bloom, with care taken to not remove all the flowers at once to leave food for our pollinator friends.


Passion flower, Passiflora incarnata, is slow to return each summer. Often it pops up away from the vines that were allowed to grow and flower the year before. Whether it is by seed or root, most are pulled or we would be overrun with it. A few are welcome, however. This plant is the larval food for the Gulf fritillary butterfly, but we have not seen any for a couple of years now. Maybe this year will be better, for we love the bright orange wings and even the orange with black spiked catt.


Flat leaf parsley, Petroselinum crispum var. neopolitanum is grown for culinary delight, added to carrot and potato dishes, used in pesto and just about any savory treat. We are hoping for a large group of seedlings like offspring Semi has in her garden from the one plant shared with her years ago. So far it has not happened. We must not be holding our mouth right.


Nasturtium ‘Yeti’ has been a resounding success. In times past, the sowing of these large seeds has either produced nothing at all, or leaves with no flowers, like the batch along the wall, N. ‘Spitfire’. It must be that this location is perfect for them, hot, dry and sunny. This will be the spot for Nasturtium sowing from now on.


The white flowered Phlox subulata is confused about blooming time. The heat must have gone to its head.


I thought this was Nicandra physaloides ‘Splash Of Cream’, that was the name on the seed packet, but the flower is not the same as shown online and there is hardly any creamy splashing, mostly green leaves, but there is some. Does anyone know what this is? A weed? There are three plants of it in a container where the seeds were sown last year. (Added: the leaves smell like mint and the flowers do look mint-like.)


Helenium autumnale has been disappointing. There were several promising seedlings from a packet sown last year and a couple of purchased plants. We did a post about it that can be seen here-Helen’s Flower. This year, after a colder and wetter than normal winter, all are dead except this one. You might notice that one stem of it is also dead, to the left. I had high hopes for this but now will not replace this when or if it goes by the wayside. Bad luck.


Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ has large fragrant blooms every August. This is a plant that was brought to this house from my other Tennessee garden and planted the day we closed the deal. It has been spread far and wide, given away, chopped, cut and diced and still returns. It is unkillable, but who would want to? When the foundation was dug for the addition by The Financier, we repeatedly dug this hosta from the space. It kept coming back and is probably still growing underneath the room, just waiting for some daylight and a little water.


Sometimes a photo makes us smile even though it is out of focus. This image of Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum just coming into bloom backed by marigold, Taegetes patula ‘Lemon Drop’ conjures up a mighty fine salad dressing, garlic and lemon.

I hope you enjoyed these blooming images. There are other plants in bloom right now, but most look less than stellar. The next couple or three months should have us sitting pretty however, for by then it will be …

October 9, 2009 016 (2)
pink Muhly time. (October, 2009 image)

Frances

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24 Responses to August Bloom Day 2010

  1. Carol says:

    Serendipitous surprises? Or is it the work of the garden fairies? And I do understand what you mean about how “holding your mouth right” makes a difference sometimes in the end result. Someone should study this phenomenon!

    Great showing of blooms!

    Hi Carol, thanks. You may be right! Surely a mouth holding study would reveal the truth about this happening, maybe even exposing those garden fairies! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Frances,

    Lovely photos, and I cannot wait for the Pink Muhly! Wow, amazing, never seen/heard of it before!!

    Hi Liz, thanks so much. The pink muhly is a big deal around here, lol. I think you will like it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden is chocked full of blooms Frances. So glad to see all your pretties. Happy GBBD.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. If you could see it in person, you would see that is it soooo not chock full ‘o blooms! lol The slope is nothin’ but green. A very happy GBBD to you as well. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  4. Donna says:

    Morning Frances,
    You are just in time for my cup of tea. Beautiful images to start the day here at 664, but another hot one. Pink Mulhy? Need to look that one up. It has a baby’ breath appeal, but I bet it is a grass instead, even looks to spread. Very delicate display and pretty siting.

    Hi Donna, thanks. I love tea! Hot here as well, of course. The pink muhly is a grass that blooms in the fall. I have been spreading it for years, but it does seed a little bit.
    Frances

  5. Hi Frances! You’ve got some lovely bloomers there! I want to tell you to not give up on Helenium. Mine has always grown by leaps and bounds and blooms fabulously, but this year, I lost some of it and the rest looks less than robust. It’s just a bad year for it. I’m hoping it will be back to its wonderful self next year.

    Hi Kylee, thanks, so nice to see you. I don’t want to give up on the Helenium, thanks for the pep talk! It is used extensively in the Piet books, the reason I got it. The time of bloom makes it desirable, besides my mother’s name was Helen. I will give it more time. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. What a joyful display, Frances! I’m sorry about the helenium. It might not be moist enough for it where you planted it; I have some of mine in a particularly moist area and it thrives. I’ve added a couple of new varieties this year but i have to mark them carefully as I’ve been known to mistake the early foliage for goldenrod and pull them out, except the big yellow ones in the back where I’ve had them for nearly ten years.
    Can’t help with your mystery plant, as there are just too many mints out there, but I agree with you that it probably is one. Definitely not nicandra!
    You just HAD to bring up the pink muhly grass, didn’t you? You just had to incite an advance case of Muhly envy in me…:-) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    You also remind me that I have a bag of nigella seeds upstairs in my suitcase. I must go get them and throw them around the garden. I miss not having waves of nigella the past couple of years. One of my favourites.
    (still envying your lovely muhly grass. Can’t wait til it blooms for you. Seriously.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. I don’t really have any moist spots here, but the white yellow bed is close to the hose spigot so gets more watering because I am lazy and want to just sit in a chair and hold the hose! lol I need those big yellow ones you have! I was thinking about the poor showing of blooms at this time of year and looked at some of last year’s bloom day posts when we stumbled upon the muhly. My heart lifted! Your Muhly envy makes up for my (insert dozens of plant names here) envy! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. So much to talk about with this wonderful post. First, I showed Bear your Muhly grass, and she said it was awesome and could we have some? Maybe I’ll get a gardener yet. I hated to tell her it was hardy at RDR. I have ‘Altissimo’ and ‘Fairy Queen’ and love them both. I once thought ‘Altissimo’ would make a beautiful fence ornament only to discover it grows straight up like its name. Now, three plants grace the east side of my house. They are such mannerly climbers they can be easily overwhelmed. About the rosette disease, I have it now, and it’s killed one ‘New Dawn’ and one ‘Zephirine Drouhin’. It makes me sad, but I replaced each with some other than a rose. As for self-sowers and passalong plants, what would a gardener do without them. You are such a great gardener, and one day, I’m coming to visit. πŸ™‚

    Hi Dee, thanks, you are too kind! I would love to have you come visit, the door is always open! You will for sure have a gardener there if she is even looking at plants at all! It might take a few years, but it will happen. Such a wonderful bond to have with the offspring, it makes life worth livin’. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Love, love, love the passion flower. I’m also wild about love in a mist. It blooms in spring, sporadically throughout summer as with you, and again in fall. And the foliage is evergreen! AND I never water them ever. Love them!

    Hi Monica, thanks. I love that Nigella as well. What an easy and beautiful plant. I do nothing to ours either. That reminds me, I need to go scatter some of the dried seed heads in a new bed. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. lotusleaf says:

    The Nigella is so pretty .It must be wonderful to find such a pretty volunteer here and there!

    Hi Lotusleaf, thanks. It is wonderful to find all the volunteer plants. The Nigella is one of the best, and most prolific! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. I’m eager to hear what others think of your potential “Nicandra physaloides” because it looks a lot like the weed I pull by the armload. I’ve never identified my weed either!

    As usual, I have my notepad with me, making lists of flowering plants I ought to add to this garden area or that. My gardens owe much to your website!

    Hi Jill, thanks for that. I am so happy to help others find worthy plants for their gardens. There are so many out there! I have that weed you are talking about too. The flower is similar and I checked them together to make sure it was not the same one. That one is what we call born pregnant. As soon as you see it, it has already thrown seed. I think the one in the pot is some kind of mint, the scent is quite strong. I just don’t know how it got there. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Beautiful blooms Frances! This is quite the savory post… love the garlic shot and your alluding to dressing. Good luck with the parsley. I did not have to dead head my Verbena B. for the wabbits did it for me… all the way to the ground. Your rose close up is stunning… the light and texture amazing really. My nikon would never capture red in that way. I would say you mostly hold your mouth right … for your garden is so lovely and lush… even with all the heat you endure. Gorgeous Passion flower shot too! I would say that is a type of mint … but no other help there I am sorry to say.

    Hi Carol, thanks so much. You can always tell when I am hungry while writing, food will be mentioned! HA I have a lot of trouble photographing reds as well, the mouth was in good position that day. I am sorry to hear about the rabbits eating the Verbena. I would wrap it in chicken wire, it is worth going the extra mile to save for the butterflies it brings.
    Frances

  12. John says:

    Hi Frances, Some beautiful things going on in your garden. I’ve never seen pink Muhly grass before, it looks like pink fireworks in the background. I won’t see your post for the next week, I’m off to yellowstone for a week. Thanks for your post.

    Hi John, thanks. Do have a wonderful trip to Yellowstone. That is someplace I have never been, but would like to someday. Any posts you might miss will be waiting for you. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Jenny B says:

    Oh that Pink Muhly is breathtaking! I am jealous! Mine did not survive the winter. Must try again though…it is too showy not to. All your garden looks very nice. My poor garden is looking quite brown and crusty no matter how much I water. If you can’t tell, I have the August doldrums. Not to worry, first rain we get will refresh me.

    Sorry to hear about your muhly, Jenny. It must have been a drainage issue? Thanks for the kind words, but you do know that I am only showing the best bits? We have plenty of crispy leaves, and the slope is nothing but green. Hope your rains come soon, and ours too! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Nan Ondra says:

    I’ve been thinking of your tale of the giant cosmos, Frances, because this year I have some ‘Bright Lights’ plants that are already well over 5 feet and showing no signs of blooming yet. Even the heat doesn’t explain these monsters!

    How strange about your mystery plant. It’s definitely not nicandra! It almost looks like peppermint, though I guess it couldn’t be that; surely some other Mentha species, though?

    Hi Nan, thanks for visiting! The giant cosmos sound great, even easier for the butterflies to dine on with more flowers and higher in the air. We have accepted that the Cosmic Orange is never going to be the 12 inches tall as advertised and try to prune it to about three feet once a week. I ordered the Nicandra seeds after seeing it on your blog. There must have been a mix up at Baker Creek when the seeds were packed. It smells so strongly of mint, has some variegation, smooth leaves, square stems. Odd but fun! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Joey says:

    Lovely mid-August garden, Frances. Your passion flower is especially stunning. Enjoy the remains of your summer garden, thoughts/photos we will all hold tenderly come winter πŸ™‚

    hi sweet Joey, thanks so much. These shots do help us get through winter, although our cold season is normally not that long. Who knows what normal is anymore though? πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. Kat says:

    Francis you certainly have some color going on. Don’t you just love the Altissimo rose? I can never understand when people will pass it up because it’s only a single bloom. I can’t think of another rose quite as beautifully red.

    Hi Kat, thanks for stopping by. I love the single roses for their elegant simplicity. The open stamens allows for the pollinators to visit too. It is a perfect red. There is new growth all over it since Moonlight was removed. Hooray! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Larry says:

    I am always quite amazed at your photographs… they are always so interesting and I love the color and composition… L

    Hi Larry, thank you for those kind words! Glad you enjoyed the bloom day shots. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. Les says:

    I am sure you know this, but if your mystery plant has square stems that it belongs in the mint family, that’s the best I can do to help. Altissimo is one of our favorite roses at work, we have one planted in the display garden. We try to tell people how long-blooming it is and disease resistant, but they always screw up their nose and say it does not look like a real rose.

    Hi Les, thanks. It does have square stems and one whiff identifies it as some kind of mint. But I planted seeds from a packet labeled Nicandra from Baker Creek in that container last year. How three mint plants came up boggles the mind. Altissimo is fabulous. Keep singing the praises of the singles, they are so deserving. But I don’t need to tell you that. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Rose says:

    Good morning, Frances. I took a moment to go back and read your earlier post on the ‘Cosmic Orange’ cosmos. Apparently I read it back in 08, because I left a comment, so now I know I have you to thank for my planting it at the back of my butterfly garden. Good thing, because I don’t deadhead or prune mine, and yes, they are 8 feet tall! Originally from seeds from Tina, I was going to plant more of them this year, until I discovered they had re-seeded themselves. They are fantastic flowers, and the pollinators love them.
    Loving forward to seeing Muhly time!

    Hi Rose, thanks for going back. The seeds from Tina may have come from those original plants that were so tall. I save them too, but the best plants are always the ones self sown. I have even seen hummers on them. Muhly time approaches to lift the spirits! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Love the Nigella, and especially the wacky seed heads it leaves behind. Unfortunately, I let it get away from me in my last garden and it is now banned from this one.

    Hi Ricki, thanks for visiting. I know what you mean about the Nigella, it can get out of control, but I would never be without it. We came close to losing it one year in a fit of weeding and clean up. I realized what an important part it plays in the spring garden and afterwards. In fact, I just spread some seeds of it yesterday in a new bed. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  21. Cindy, MCOK says:

    So many lovelies and it’s interesting to see plants like Nasturtium and Nigella still going strong … they bloom in spring for me. Re the Nasturtiums, I’ve always heard that they also want very lean soil: if they get too many nutrients, they’ll grow leaves at the expense of flowers.

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much. The Nigella are really spring bloomers here, the Nasturtiums usually don’t bloom at all! lol I will plant them in the slimmer soil from now on! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. VW says:

    Mmm, I love the foliage colors in the background of the parsley picture. Sweet nigella, cheerful pink phlox, yummy. My creeping phlox is putting out a few blooms right now, too.

    Hi VW, thanks. The background in the parsley pic is Arizona Cypress, a lovely silvery blue tree that is growing quite large. Crazy phlox. Sometimes it will bloom mid winter if there is a break in the cold. That is one tough plant, if confused. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  23. Jen says:

    Frances, so wonderful to see anything looking unabashed by this heat. Your plants look great.

    Love that grass.

    Jen

    Hi Jen, thanks. This summer has been a test for the plants. Some failed, some passed and some got an A+! The muhly is looking good, it should be a nice show this year. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. I have no luck with Nasturtiums. Your
    Nasturtium β€˜Yeti’ looks superb though!

    That muhly always makes for a show stopping post, there’s a lot to be said as we go into Autumn

    Hi Rob, thanks. This is the first time I have had such luck with the Nasturtiums. Hot, sunny, dry and poor soil are the conditions in that raised bed. From now on that is where they will be planted. Funny, because I believe most of the garden is the same as this, but have never had such good luck with them before. Perhaps never again! πŸ™‚
    Frances

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