August 2011 Bloom Day Beauties

August is a month of transition in our southeast Tennessee zone 7 garden. The daylilies are done, the phlox is nearly ka-put and there are but a few flowers of merit blooming as the expectant gardener paces back and forth in the waiting room for the birth of glorious fall. But there is redemption in the garden beds as patience is wearing thin, scorched by heat and drought, the sweet butterflies. Zinnias have needed extra water to help them be able to supply the nectar to quench the thirst/hunger of the little skippers. Ever polite, the one waits their turn at the drinking fountain of yellow in the center of pink petals whilst their friend sups.

The packet of Zinnia ‘Giants of California’, a mixture of colors from Baker Creek Seeds, was carefully planted in a square of the best loam available in the veggie bed on May tenth. That location has paid dividends of colorful blooms when little else is radiating the neon welcome sign to the pollinators. Take note for the journal of the time and place, for this has been the best year in a long time for the zinnias, which laugh at the heat and need just a smidge of water to do well.

One more Zinnia shot before we move on. This butterfly is a pale orange on the upper side of the its wings, but is much more timid than the bold skippers so we feel fortunate to have even this folded wing image to share with you, dear readers.

‘Tis the season of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’. This tall perennial fills the yellow/white garden midsection and provides many flowers for the bees and other pollinators. It is a daily buzzfest of happy song.

To illustrate the height, note that the old clothesline pole is seven feet tall. Lemon Queen stands above the top, and does not need staking, as it is a bushy plant. Highly recommended.

A lone thistle volunteer appeared in the Black Garden. It was allowed to grow tall and flower since it is beloved by pollinators for nectar and by birds for its seed. It has been deadheaded to help it continue to produce blooms and keep it in bounds. Since we are not grazing cattle or horses here, it is not the dread weed that say, poison ivy is.

Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’, with its fluted petals is also tall and joins several other Rudbeckia species to offer some color and interest for the flying friends of Fairegarden.

Dianthus ‘Black Lace’ has rebounded from a dormant period and sports a little spider in the upper left corner.

Volunteers of Cosmos ‘Cosmic Orange’ are welcome and help brighten the Orange Butterfly bed, even bereft of wildlife.

Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’ is in bloom.

The warts and all shot of the home of Gallery Cobra, the raised box planter where this one Dahlia has overwintered two years. It seems to be sprawling some and it is wondered if it should be divided next spring, this fall, at all, or left alone. We certainly don’t want to jinx the yearly return of it by doing the wrong thing. Any advice from out there in the blogdom?

The first stop when out and about in the garden with the camera looking for butterflies is the stand of Verbena bonariensis growing in the lawn/meadow. The mulitple lavender flowers on tall waving stems can make photography difficult when there is even the slightest breeze, but the flutterbies don’t seem to be as camera-shy as they are riding to and fro. Life is full of compromises…

…Like sharing the Echinacea seeds with goldfinches rather than saving the dried heads to scatter for more plants.


Do be sure and check out all the bloom day posts from around the globe from the site of the originator of this marvelous sharing experience on the fifteenth day of each month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


This entry was posted in Garden Bloggers Bloom Days, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to August 2011 Bloom Day Beauties

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden is quite lively even at this time of year Frances. I enjoyed seeing all the blooms, birds and butterflies. Love that Rudbeckia. Those rays look like sunshine itself. Happy GBBD.

    Thanks Lisa. The flying creatures do make it more exciting, even if the plants and flowers are sort of eaten and beaten up! Happy GBBD to you, my friend!

  2. I agree Frances about the zinnias. They are flourishing on the south side of my home where each year I have struggled to keep other plants alive. My daughter has a Lemon Queen that is about nine feet high, mine is pruned in the spring to remain shorter because of where it is.


    Glad to hear it, Eileen, on both counts. The Zinnias appreciate good, enriched with compost soil, it seems. Now we know and will make a better effort to give them what they want. Lemon Queen is not a knockout, but it certainly makes up for it with size and quantity of blooms. It adds so much, this time of year.

  3. iheartbees says:

    Just beautiful critter captures, especially the BEE! Colorful blooms too!


  4. sequoiagardens says:

    Some lovely shots! Zinnias are a favourite here too – but African butterflies are either quicker or shyer: I have NEVER taken a good shot… I would leave the dahlia for another year or two if it is multiplying happily, although I’m no expert.

    Thanks Jack. I would love to see some of your African butterflies! I will be leaving the Dahlia alone unless someone says it MUST be divided in some way. I don’t want to mess up a good thing.

  5. Les says:

    I too am singing the praises of Zinnias this month. I am at a point I can’t imagine a summer garden without them. Happy GBBD!

    Happy GBBD, Les. I had a poor showing of Zinnias the last couple of years and had to figure out how to rectify that. Now I know, they need a richer soil with compost, full sun, a little support and some water. Can do.

  6. Your skippers are darn cute. They are new to my garden and I am not sure why. They seem to prefer just about everything. I see them on the farm, but first time this year in my garden.

    Thanks Donna. Hooray for your skippers! I would guess it has something to do with the larval food available. Weeds, wildflowers and trees all offer something for the many types of skippers. Some years we see more than others. This is a good year, so far.

  7. My Kids Mom says:

    I’ve never seen more goldfinches than I have this August. My echinacea still has a few blooms, but is happily providing food for them right now. I’m happy to share. Last year someone (the goldfinches perhaps) planted seeds in several other parts of my garden. A bit of summer purple has been welcome almost everywhere it was put. I’ve been out deadheading Shasta daisies. I hadn’t seen anyone enjoying their seeds. Think I should leave them put for wildlife too?

    It is a good year for them here, as well, Jill, the goldfinches and the butterflies. Lucky you, not only did you get free plants, they did the planting for you. I deadhead the Becky shastas, have never seen anything on them and they look atrocious.

  8. There is so much beauty to behold in your garden–from the zinnias to the butterflies to the birds. What a pleasant visit I had. Happy GBBD!

    Thanks for stopping by, Sage Butterfly. Happy GBBD to you!

  9. Leslie says:

    My zinnias are a bit of a disappointment as they bleach out so badly in the sun. Next year I will try a different variety in hopes of avoiding that. I’d say the dahlia is happy because it is in the raised bed. The tubers can overwinter here with no problem unless they get waterlogged, in which case they rot. I vote for letting it ride!

    Thanks for the Dahlia advice, Leslie. I needed to hear from someone who gardens where these special tubers can overwinter in the ground. That is not normally us, but this one has been a success, so far. I agree, it is the drainage of this raised bed. It is the only place I seem to be able to grow the Eremurus, too, same drainage issues. Try the California Zinnias next year, they are named for your state, anyway.

  10. Linda says:

    Sorry…….I’m new in here…..What does GBBD stand for?
    Lovely photos!
    I have a question… the subject of skippers and drought defyers………
    I have a visciously agressive ryzome, choking out my roses and hastas. Is solarization, the best idea, to rid the garden of this prolific pest?

    Hi Linda, thanks and welcome! GBBED is Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, and event hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens, the link to her is at the end of this post. The 15th of each month, bloggers from around the world are all invited to show what is blooming in their gardens, even during the winter. The reason I started blogging was to participate in GBBD. As for your rhizome problem, it sounds like the best bet it to keep digging it out. Remove the hostas, get as much of the rhizome as you can, and replant. Some plants are really thugs. Good luck!

  11. Frances, you have an enviable display of colour and blooms! Really beautiful.
    Happy GBBD 🙂

    Thanks Christine. Happy GBBD to you!

  12. commonweeder says:

    I can hardly imagine August without zinnias. They are so dependable and cheerful. Yesterday I did a big tall arrangement of pink phlox, artemisia lactiflora, pink echinacea, a deep gold yarrow, goldenrod, tansy, hop and grapvines for a memorial service. I worried that it was a little wild, but when I walked in two of the daughters yelped because they said it was just the kind of ‘bouquet’ that would have come from the garden of their mother’s dear friend.

    That is the sweetest story, Pat, thanks for sharing it here. Zinnias certainly add color during this time of mostly green (and brown in drought times). Artemisia lactiflora ‘Gizhou’ is on my wish list.

  13. Lola says:

    Oh the beauty of the late bloomers. Giving their all before going to sleep, trying to save some energy for the long winter.
    I have some volunteer zinnia from last yr. Strange color but pretty. Will plant more seeds next yr.hoping for more beauty. I too like to watch our little pollinators trying to store some sweet nectar.

    Thanks Lola. The Zinnia volunteers are not reliable here. I have better luck with new seeds, and get more color variation. The pollinators like bright colors, is my excuse for buying seeds. HA

  14. Raji says: colorful your garden even at this time….i have noticed that the yellow and orange flowers takes center stage in peak summer time….it has been raining here almost everyday here as if it’s fall already..

    I wanted to have a bed of oriental poppies ..have been thinking about it for long..everytime either i will be late in seeding them..any ideas?

    awesome goldfinch

    Thanks Raji. You are right about the orange and yellow of summer, hot temperatures and blazing sun need strong color to stand out. Rain sounds delightful, but I know the lack of sun can get wearing. I have not had success in growing the oriental poppies from seed, only the annual breadseed ones, which we sow here in September. The goldfinches are like flowers, so beautiful. Good luck with your poppy bed!

  15. Ronnie says:

    Thank you for sharing your garden on GBBD. lovely pics


  16. Zinnias are such troopers! The butterflies just love them, too. Goldfinches feed on my zinnias, agastache, liatris, coneflowers…. they think it is ALL for them! LOL

    You mentioned waiting for fall…. I’ve been thinking about focusing on spring and fall and forgetting about summer except for annuals in the cottage garden. The rain has brought relief and cooler temps, low humidity. Gardening today was actually a delight for a change!

    Enjoy your garden and let’s hope the good weather stays.

    Thanks Freda. Your idea of annuals for summer is a good one, it is difficult to have the whole garden look good here in late summer. Spring and fall and wonderful and much easier since we get more rain then, too. The cooler mornings are a pleasure!

  17. Love the first photo with the skippers, we’ve been a lot in the garden, and I love watching them flit from flower to flower. Those Zinnias are lovely, I order vegetable seeds from Baker Creek often, but I’ve never ordered their flower seeds. I really should check them out more closely next spring. Yours is the second Henry Eilers I’ve seen today (I think the other was over at Gail’s C&L). I must admit, I’m really quite taken with his petals.

    Thanks CV. Baker Creek has quality seeds, a beautiful catalog and seems to be just the sort of business I want to support. I try to order many seeds from them, veggie and flowers. Henry Eilers is quite interesting with those fluted petals, Gail did feature him as well, give him a try!

  18. Greggo says:

    the finch is my favorite.

    Thanks Greggo. He is a cutie.

  19. Loved your photos as usual and the descriptions. I especially like ‘Lemon Queen’, I lost her last year but I still grow the species and it’s doing fine, Don’t know what happened she just passed away on me…..but I’m going to replace her next year, it’s nearly fall and I miss my Lemon Queen already……Look foward to seeing your garden in September…….Take care and have a nice week…..

    Thanks Paul. I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Lemon Queen, that would be a tragedy here. I divided it last year to spread the wealth, maybe that helped for it is a fast growing perennial. Fall is a good time for the garden here with grasses, asters and mums in abundance, hope you agree. You too, have a great week.

  20. Dreamybee says:

    I love all your wildlife! I have been trying to document the growth of some swallowtail caterpillars in my yard, but they keep mysteriously disappearing from my orange tree–there one day, gone the next. As always, I love all your beautiful flowers too!

    Thanks Dreamybee. I know about the disappearance of the catts, there one day on the bronze fennel, then gone. But soon there are black swallowtails flitting about, so I figure they did their metamorphosis thing and all is well.

  21. gailae says:

    Frances, Such loveliness in your garden~ The butterflies and bees make it worthwhile to garden in the heat and drag the hose around to thirsty plants! Lemon Queen is half that tall in my garden~but this is her first year and she’s in high shade. She’s a gorgeous color. I planted dahlia tubers in the Susans’ Bed~They are sort of surviving, but not blooming. It was a experiment. They seem happier in containers (my version of a raised bed) where I can feed and water them more. Happy belated Bloom Day! xxoogail

    Thanks Gail. I predict that your Lemon Queen will grow by leaps and bounds, mine was much smaller the first year. The Queen requires no extra watering either, a major plus since dragging hoses here involves the steep slope and just isn’t done as much as the plants would like. Happy belated GBBD to you, my dear.

  22. I see no warts at all. Just a beautiful garden, filled with flowers and winged visitors. Happy Blooms Day, Frances!

    You are sweet to say so, dear Helen, thanks. Happy GBBD to you!

  23. Scott says:

    Lovely post…that Helianthus is a winner, for sure…gotta love a big plant that doesn’t need staking!

    Thanks Scott. Lemon Queen is massive and can even stand up by herself, such a rare combo!

Comments are closed.