Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, August

Hello friends! I’m actually making it to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day this month on the actual day! I think it’s the first time this year. Go me!

Tiered borders with Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm,' 'Becky' shasta daisies and 'Bright Eyes' phlox is blooming with abandon from all the rain.
Tiered borders with Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susans, Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ shasta daisies and ‘Bright Eyes’ Phlox paniculata are blooming like crazy from all the rain. Thank goodness for black-eyed Susans! They knit my entire summer garden together.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is sponsored on the 15th of each month by Carol Michel of May Dreams Gardens. Hop over there to see what’s blooming in other people’s gardens all over the world.

Rain again fell on Little Cedar today. We had several pop-up showers that didn’t last long, but when I went out to take photos, it was so humid my camera lens kept fogging up. Then, I came inside and realized all my pictures were black.

Arrrgh! No, I did not forget to remove my lens cap. I have no idea what happened, but it’s all fixed now. I ran back outside and took more photos as thunder boomed all around me. I was quicker than a frog sliding into a lily pond except I hopped back inside.

You know I have to include a photo of my favorite rose, 'Carefree Beauty,' a/k/a 'Katy Road Pink.' If this one ever gets Rose Rosette, you'll find me in the closet having a good cry.
You know I have to include a photo of my favorite rose, ‘Carefree Beauty,’ a/k/a ‘Katy Road Pink.’ If this one ever gets Rose Rosette, you’ll find me in the closet having a good cry.

We didn’t get any rain in June and July, but August has been a different story. I think over three inches fell on my little garden, and that makes my heart glad.

Trying to achieve the ever-elusive symmetry.
Trying to achieve the ever-elusive garden symmetry. Nothing in life is perfect. It’s not supposed to be.

I returned from GWA’s annual meeting in Buffalo, NY, last week, and I’ve been playing catch-up in and out of the garden ever since. I filed two columns with two different editors today and last week. I also harvested a ton of vegetables in my potager and cutting garden. I did a little live video on Facebook of the harvest.

As for blooms, because of the rain, we’ve got some. I wandered my overgrown ornamental garden this morning, and I feel rather bad about my neglect of it. After the garden tour, I lost all interest in these beds and borders.

Perennial garden doing its thing. Tightwad Red crapemyrtle in front. Purple crapemyrtles behind.
Perennial garden doing its thing. Tightwad Red crapemyrtle in front. Purple crapemyrtles behind.

I can hear you clucking. I’m sorry. I just worked so hard in it that I lost myself a little. I tried so hard to make it perfect that I forgot why I even garden.

Do you ever do that?

After the tour, I ran off to Garden Bloggers’ Fling and wandered other people’s gardens on tour, grateful that they weren’t mine. When I returned home, I was still tired. I overworked myself, and there’s a lesson, or as my friend, Mary Ann, of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West, would say, a pony in there somewhere. Maybe stop working so hard and trying to be so perfect? Maybe?

(Click on the photos to make them larger.)

I’m happy to say my vegetable and cutting gardens saved the day and me in July. They just seemed to ask for nothing, which isn’t true of course. I worked steadily in them too before the tour. However, they were ready for harvest, and harvest I did. I still have tons of tomatoes on the vine. I’m going to write another post on the cutting and vegetable gardens as soon as I catch my breath. Anyway, they made me remember why I garden.

Why you ask?

Because I simply must. I’m a writer and a gardener, and I must garden and write if I am to breathe. And, in these trying times, we must all remember to breathe.

Luckily, the ornamental beds and borders, while as wild as western mustangs, are somewhat contained by their formal edges and straight lines. I’m lucky ornamental gardens are forgiving. I just wish the Monarchs I’ve been seeing would get with it and lay some eggs. I’ll bring their caterpillars inside and raise them for a new generation if they do. I have tropical milkweed and perennial Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, planted in many places–wherever it’s sunny. Oh, and if you live in Oklahoma don’t feel guilty for using tropical milkweed. It’s not going to kill your caterpillars. It dies all the way to the ground each fall so no worries. I’m saving seed this year to grow my own. I like A. curassavica ‘Silky Gold’ better than the orange one. Not being from Oklahoma State University, the University of Tennessee or the University of Texas, my favorite color is not orange.

I do, however, like a soft orange bloom, and some flowers are exquisitely beautiful in various shades of orange. Take agastache for example. Agastache Kudos™ Ambrosia is growing in a container on the deck. I never could grow agastache in my garden. The plants always rotted about Midsummer no matter how I prepared the soil. In a weird moment of buying plants online in a snowstorm last winter, I ordered two agastache plants. When they came, I was horrified and told my friend, Faire from Fairegarden. She calmly suggested I grow them in pots since it worked for her in Tennessee. Faire is a gardening guru in my book so I tried it. When it worked so well, I bought two more. I plan to bring these inside my greenhouse this winter and keep them for next year. I just used good potting soil, but if you’re worried, you could work in some sand too. The hummingbirds and I are very happy.

Agastache Kudos Ambrosia.
One bloom spike of Agastache Kudos™Ambrosia.

Another plant that’s really pleasing the butterflies and me this year is Stachytarpheta ‘Nectarwand Red’, red false vervain, a Bustani Plant Farm Introduction. Isn’t it beautiful? How about this Pipevine Swallowtail? Be still my heart!

Special thanks to Leslie Kuss of Growing a Garden in Davis, and the Moth and Butterfly Identification Forum on Facebook for their help in identifying this butterfly.

This is why I garden. Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

20 Replies to “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, August”

  1. You seem to have had a wonderful year in your garden, Dee. I have also even though the weather hasn’t always cooperated. I’ve had quite a lot of monarchs, too, but no caterpillars yet. Your photos are stunning. P. x

  2. My camera did the same thing this week when I went outside to take pictures. It was so humid it fogged up immediately. Rushing back inside to clean the lens felt like I was walking into a refrigerator. Thanks for trying again and getting fantastic pictures so you could share. I appreciate it!
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  3. Your garden is looking beautiful this month Dee, perfect for your Blooms Day visitors. I loved finding the Rudbeckia growing wild after the Fling. Sadly it looks like the Susans are going to be a short lived Perennial in my garden, so it’s a real treat to see yours ?

  4. I’m glad you had a chance to step back and think about why you garden. I couldn’t imagine giving up gardening either, but sometimes we let the tail wag the dog and start to feel overwhelmed by what should give us pleasure. I loved seeing your garden today. Thanks for the visit.

  5. Your photo of the pipevine swallowtail is magazine cover material–just beautiful, Dee! Your garden always looks so lovely, Dee, no matter the time of year. But this time it was your words that really reached me. Knowing that even an expert gardener like you loses interest or motivation at times makes me feel so much better, because that’s the way I usually feel this time of year. Sometimes I think it’s good to take a break, forget striving for perfection–not that I’ll ever get there, ha!–and just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor for awhile. And I meant that “fruits” figuratively, but come to think of it, maybe that’s why my tomatoes ripen in August:)

  6. Hey Dee: Your photos of the Swallowtail butterfly are dreamy! It was so nice to see you again at the GWA conference. I know what you mean about overworking and trying to make everything perfect (although I always fail when that’s the goal), and then simply stopping. That’s when I try to enjoy it all despite the imperfection. My garden is a mix of fading ferns and bright, beautiful blooms–definitely not perfect, but that’s OK. Yours looks exceptional. Happy belated Bloom Day. 🙂

  7. Your garden is beautiful and looks so well-loved; that’s what matters, isn’t it? 🙂 I am oohing over your agastache. I tried two varieties the first summer here in the desert and both failed miserably. Since then I’ve been told it doesn’t last long here (at best), but I’m still intrigued… As there are a lot of different types and even species, I keep wondering whether I could find one that would work. Any thoughts on how to select one that might succeed in 118 heat? I guess it’s a pretty long shot no matter what!

    1. Amy, I don’t know. I’m not expert in these plants, and while we have occasionally gotten up to 114 in Oklahoma, we don’t have that kind of heat normally. As for well loved, yes, my garden is loved so much by my whole family. Thanks for helping me remember that.~~Dee

  8. I had my first ever group of strangers visit the garden this summer and know what you mean about wanting it perfect. I tried, but there are so many ‘in progress’ areas that I decided early on you get what you get and that’s going to have to be good enough. You’re always your own worst critic!
    That pipevine swallowtail is amazing. I wish my pipevine were a little more attractive to them 😉

    1. We are always our worst critics, and truly, most visitors are so kind and sweet, I love having them here. I just overwhelmed myself. Thank you so much for coming by and visiting. They are such beautiful butterflies.

  9. I know just how you feel after a garden tour. I have had them in the past and after the second one I decided that I wouldn’t ever have the garden work me over like that again. People just have to accept my garden as is. As it is most of the time people are complimentary and do appreciate what you do in your garden. There is always one tho… ha… I am so happy you garden. I very happy that you write about it. I always feel like I have had a nice conversation with a fellow gardener when I read your posts.

    1. Lisa, I’m with you. I’m not ever doing that again. It was foolish on my part. People will need to accept my garden and me as is too. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad I get to garden and write about it. I’m grateful for you and your blog too. It makes me so happy.

  10. Hey Jenny! Some phloxes, as you know, are spring flowers. P. divaricata and P. subulata come to mind. Also, ‘Minnie Pearl’ is more of a spring performer. My mainstay P. paniculata plants are at their best in summer. Of course, everything is different in Texas. Can’t wait to see what’s blooming where you grow. Heading there now.~~Dee

  11. How gorgeous everything looks and such an amazing variety. I always think of phlox as being a spring flower but your photos tell a different story. And that butterfly-what a beauty. He has found a lovely garden in which to flit.

    1. Carol, one of the best Augusts I’ve ever had. It’s quite humid, but I went outside this morning and worked for a long time. It made me happy. I feel quite content.

  12. Your garden is so magnificent and joyous. It is a treat to visit a garden like yours for education and exaltation. I am at the point in my life that I no longer look for perfection. I haven’t the energy, but I concentrate on pleasure in my new, much smaller, garden.

    1. Well Pat darling, if you’re ever down this way, you know you have a standing invitation to visit my garden. I love yours too. I hear you on the perfectionism. I don’t know what I was thinking. I just got caught up in it because I wanted the daylily people to like my garden. Some did. Some didn’t. I need to think more about pleasure these days. Love ya! ~~Dee

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