Did you ever wonder where the term, the “Dog Days of August” came from? Do you suppose it refers to hot weather and a general malaise? Well, sort of. The Romans named the days from July 23 through August 23 for the dog star, Sirius. Romans feared these days so much that they did some vile stuff to appease their gods.
I won’t go into that here. This is a garden blog where we want sunshine and blue skies. Right?
In years when June and July are too hot, August just seems to be summer’s exclamation point. However, the summer of 2014 was good to my garden. I raise my hands to the heavens in thanksgiving for this unexpected blessing. We gardeners never know what we’ll get do we?
I returned from the Garden Writers Association symposium in Pittsburgh to find a garden that is beautiful if chaotic. Fences need mending, and I have four new plants to get in the dirt. I’m always a sucker for a Hydrandea paniculata or an Echinacea. I’m replacing my Double Knockout Rose that succumbed to Rose Rosette Virus (RRV) with H. paniculata ‘Limelight,’ and I’m truly excited by E. ‘Cheyenne Spirit.’ I grew some of the latter from seed, but I found more I liked at my local nursery’s August sale. Now that I’m home from traveling–thank God–I can closely watch and water any plantings.
Don’t plant stuff in August if you can’t watch it carefully. Plants will succumb to heat and drought. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is a seed strain of coneflower in shades from Apricot to dark maroon. The ones I bought are on the peachy side. They also grow in a variety of heights.
Eutrochium purpureum syn. Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’ is one great pollinator plant every garden should grow. It’s a lot smaller than its rakish cousin. I’m not seeing very many pollinators this year even though I set out the welcome mat for them. I hope this isn’t a trend, and that they’re just somewhere else feasting on pollen and nectar.
Below are another couple of plants you can start from seed, ‘Versa Lime’ coleus and Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’. The blooms on the rudbeckia are pretty faded. It’s time to cut them off. Another chore for tomorrow.
My garden helper, Kari, has her own stuff to do so I don’t think she’ll be by for a couple of weeks. That means I’ll need to spend some time out there every morning to tidy up and remove the summer weeds that threaten to overtake the paths and garden. Such is a gardener’s life.
One quick note about the symposium–Red Dirt Ramblings won the Gold Award for blog writing. In late winter, I submitted three posts that I thought were the best I produced last year. In case you want to read the posts I chose, they are: Some Days Are Diamonds about my battles with RRV; Plants of the Cherokee about a trip I took with my husband through the Cherokee lands around Tahlequah, Oklahoma; and Bulb Forcing Experiments. Those of you who write for online outlets may notice that two out of the three posts don’t have good SEO (keyword) titles. Sometimes you just have to write what you feel instead of what the experts suggest.
Having my peers recognize my work is very gratifying. I started this little blog in October 2007 with a post called “Why a Blog?” right after I was inspired at the GWA meeting in Oklahoma. It’s been seven years, and I want to thank all of you for reading my ramblings on garden, life and love. You’re the best.
Now, let’s get back to the flowers!
From the photos in this post, it looks like my garden is robed mostly in white. However, it’s not really. It’s actually full of color from the foliage plants like the coleus I grow. We’re in a bit of a bloom cessation period before the big explosion of fall. Mums and asters are gathering their strength to burst into bloom.
The landscape or shrub roses really take over during this time. Since I wrote last week, I found another rose with RRV and possibly one more. This frankly makes my blood boil, and yet, I keep reminding myself that it’s more opportunity to put some four-season color into the garden when I take those roses out. Gotta find a sliver lining somewhere from this dreadful disease. I still have tons of roses in the garden so I promise not to update you every time I find another one with RRV. At least, I’ll try.
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is sponsored by Carol Michel at May Dreams Garden. Go visit her to see even more August blooms, and don’t let those dog days of August get you down.