Changing of the Garden: Part I, Early August
Introduction & Hibiscus
With every passing day the garden landscape subtly changes but as the months change the garden changes are more dramatic.I have written about gardening in sand which unfortunately is what I have in my garden.Of course I add to the sand to enrich it and this year used a local mulch called Dynamulch to keep the weeds down and enrich the soil.“Dynamulch™ is a unique blend of natural wood mulch and nutrient rich compost” says Croswell Enterprises. But, I digress.When the garden starts out in early June plants are small and some spring plants still linger.July brings new blooms and flowers and so does August.I entitled this hub Part I because right now I am writing this is about early August. I will do another about late August and call it Part II. July establishes your summer garden but it is often August that brings out the more colorful blooms.
In my early August garden the impatiens continue to bloom and flourish as do the portulaca.Marigolds are now in their glory as are Echinacea.These blooms are loving the warmth and care late July has given them and early August continues.Early August pushes other flowers into full bloom, some not seen in June or July, others seen during those earlier months but they were much smaller then.One long awaited August flower is the hibiscus.Though the hibiscus was native to warmer climates there are varieties that will now grow in the northeast and they are perennial.Like so many other flowers there are choices in perennial hibiscus with the perennials being bushes, not just small flowering plants. They do not grow into trees like their tropical counter parts, but can become very large bushes. Hibiscus are of the same genus as the rose of sharon which also blooms in August. One of my hibiscus is what they call “dinner plate” because the flowers are dinner plate size, probably about 12 inches across.They are huge.Fortunately this dinner plate hibiscus is red - humming birds love red flowers and so love my red hibiscus!My other hibiscus is white with a pink edge, just a dainty and beautiful flower.If you want to grow hibiscus make sure they get plenty of sun, lucky for me they like a well-drained soil but should still be mulched.They can be pruned in spring and if the plants become too woody you can prune them back to encourage new growth.If you have severe, very cold winters it’s a good idea to cover them with mulch before winter or at least put some mulch around the bottom of the plant for added insulation.
Black Eyed Susan
Black Eyed Susan
Black Eyed Susan is at its best in August.They start blooming in late July but really come into their own in early August. In warmer climates they may bloom in June and start the season off sooner than here in the Northeast. They grow prolifically. Being a self-spreading plant, they’re almost like weeds popping up everywhere. They are biennials which means they live for two years but they are such spreaders (self seeders actually) that new plants grow in each year leaving you with year after year of Black Eyed Susans. It can be an invasive plant because of it's spreading habits so be careful where you plant it.
Their bright yellow-orange flowers brighten up any spot in the garden and are a favorite of many. Like so many other flowers there are different types and colors of Black Eyed Susan with the best or most common being the goldsturm which is what I have. They can grow to over three feet tall.
They are also called Brown Eyed Susan, Brown Betty and Brown Daisy...regardless of their name they have their 'black eye' in the center. Butterflies, bees and even flies love the Black Eyed Susan, she will be one of the busiest plants in your garden as these insects come for nectar.
Autumn sedum also called autumn joy is starting to really form it’s flower heads.They are still green but large and getting ready to change color.It’s a great plant that’s easy to grow because though they love sun they will do well in light shade too.While most people don’t think of it, the green flower heads make a nice addition to a bouquet or cut flowers.
As August progresses the green flowers on autumn sedum will start out pale pink, then turn red, then coppery, then finally a deep maroon.They truly add interest to the late summer and fall garden.They love sun but will do well in light shade.
When autumn sedum is done and the flower heads start to die, the birds will feed on the seeds of the dried out flower heads.This is really an all ‘round plant!The best quality is they are drought tolerant and additionally very easy to grow.
Butterfly Bush and Catmint
Butterfly Bush and More
My butterfly bush did very well this year but I’ve seen it have more flowers.Maybe its energy went into the growth of the bush. In spite of the lack of flowers, though it does have flowers and the butterflies are still feeding on it.The butterfly bush starts blooming in July and will carry through till late August or even September in mild weather.There are many different colors to choose from including white, pink, blue, purple and some bi-color.This is another plant that likes sun but it also likes moisture.Here in the Northeast the butterfly bush dies back to the ground each winter and grows back bigger and stronger each spring.
I also have a butterfly weed, which is of course different than a butterfly bush.The butterfly weed bloomed in early July.I cut all the dead flowers off and now I see it is beginning to form new flowers!They are supposed to be orange but mine is yellow.Butterfly weed is a milkweed which butterflies love. Butterfly weed is yet another plant that likes well drained soil and tolerates drought.(I am so lucky to have found so many sand loving plants.)Humming birds are often attracted to butterfly weed as well.
My catmint is doing well but getting very leggy and flopping over.Phlox is blooming but not too well because I believe it is in a spot that is too shady for it’s liking. Other flowers doing very well by early August include coral bells which are in bloom (though some types have bloomed earlier), toad lilies, salvia and not to be ignored, summer mums. Salvia, cosmos and portulaca have been blooming since mid-July but continue to add their color to the garden. Though morning glory vines have been growing and getting bigger all summer they start their bloom in August.
I am including lots of pictures so you can get a true taste of my early August garden.Changing of the Garden Part II will bring more info and more pictures. Remember to grow your garden the way you want it to please your eye because you’re the one that will be looking at it every day. Find the flowers that grow best in your area, care for them properly, then stand back and watch them grow!
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The August GardenClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Changing of the Garden Part II
Changing of the Garden Part II takes up where Part I left off. Many hints on preparing your autumn garden for winter.
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