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.
Robin Ruff Leja says
I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking that I never know what I’m going to get in my garden from one year to the next. I’ve lived here for ten years, and I still don’t know what kind of summer is normal! It’s been a bit cooler, with plenty of rain, so I guess I’d call that a normal summer. But in the past, I always figured that the hot and dry summers were normal! No wonder I’m confused.
Dee Nash says
Yeah, me too Robin. It’s hard.
Charles Bale says
Congratulations on the award, it was well deserved. Your garden is so lush and gorgeous this year…Love the photos.
Carol Michel says
Congrats on the gold award from the Garden Writers Association. Well-deserved.
Garden Walk Garden Talk says
Your garden looks great, Dee – those blue chairs and roses are Wow. Congrats on your award for your blog. Recognition, well deserved. I have seen many pollinators this year, after our recent “drought” years previously. Sadly though, I can’t find much evidence of egg laying or caterpillars. I guess bees are doing fine since we get a good selection of native bees, but even though we have had adult butterflies, no real caterpillar damage seen. The Joe Pye Weed is a good stop for the Monarchs on their way south here.
Donna Brok says
Your garden looks great, Dee – those blue chairs and roses are Wow. Congrats on your award for your blog. Recognition, well deserved. I have seen many pollinators this year, after our recent "drought" years previously. Sadly though, I can't find much evidence of egg laying or caterpillars. I guess bees are doing fine since we get a good selection of native bees, but even though we have had adult butterflies, no real caterpillar damage seen. The Joe Pye Weed is a good stop for the Monarchs on their way south here.
Jane Scorer says
Congratulations on your Award – well deserved !
Love the Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' and the Coleus together.
The season sweeps on apace, and I can here Autumn beginning to cal , here in the UK.
Dee I was ecstatic when I read you had won as I love your blog and remember those posts. So I wish you congrats as it is well deserved! I also don’t follow the experts and write what I feel now for both blogs (I started a new one). And your garden certainly gave you a most hearty welcome home. Joe and Susan are shining in my garden now too.
Deanne Fortnam says
Great post Dee. That Echinacea looks like a winner. Bummer about your fence but there is always something to attend to in a garden isn't there? I love 'Bright Eyes' such an enduring beauty.
the blonde gardener says
Very nice! What a strange summer we’ve had but I m loving all of the flowers in bloom. I was wondering about the herb ‘cat whiskers’. What do you use it for?
Dee Nash says
Hey BG! I don’t use it as an herb. It’s a medicinal one. I just grow it as an ornamental because it’s so pretty.
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: August http://t.co/UiSM7EPz10 #garden
Beth @ PlantPostings says
Congratulations on your award, Dee! I liked what you said about SEO: Some people live by it, but it doesn’t always work. Writing from the heart is generally more effective. I’m going to have to try to remember Eutrochium (did I spell that right?). All these shifts and changes with the Latin names are making my head spin. 😉