Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hot August Garden

 I know August is supposed to be hot, but I admit that I'm growing weary of the humidity this year. It's difficult to get much work done without frequent breaks. Luckily, late summer gardens don't usually need much except for deadheading. Unluckily, late summer also brings pest and disease to the garden. The blossoms I'm showing you here are captured at their peak, with all the rough spots cropped out. You know I'm not going to show the full story, right? 

Cut and Come Again zinnias

Lemon Queen zinnias

Endless Summer hydrangea

Firelight hydrangea

Marigolds guarding the veggies

Goldenrod and Major Wheeler honeysuckle

Surprise lilies mixing with hydrangeas

Living wall around the patio

Messy border filled with plants! 

Container gardens often grow weary by the end of the summer. I'm definitely not ready to replace them with fall annuals yet, so I guess I'll just try to tweak them for now. Don't you love the blue of this morning glory? It is indeed called Heavenly Blue. I tried growing it from seed before, and it didn't bloom until October, so I had never tried again. But I happened to see it as a plant back in the spring, and thought I'd give it a try. I plopped two spindly plants into this container, and waited. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the wait! I had to set a reminder on my phone to do a beauty check and bloom count each day. Below that, you'll see some containers that have continued to perform well, or have been tweaked to cover bare spots. 

Heavenly Blue morning glories

Heavenly Blue morning glories
Patio pots of celosia and strawberries

Porch pots, caladiums, callibrachoa and impatiens

Sunbeckia Alicia

Mango Mojito portulaca


Shade combo planter

Some areas of the yard can be highlighted, while other parts can be ignored because they aren't behaving themselves. The path to the front door was overgrown, so we removed 5 huge arborvitae and replaced them with three small boxwoods. I made sure to choose a variety that won't grow too large, but they will get bigger than this. As of now, it looks a little bare. The hydrangeas nearby are stellar this year, but that's pretty normal for the tall Firelight hydrangea. I haven't had much luck with the Endless Summer hydrangea over the last few years, it has barely bloomed. You see, I'd prune away the "dead" sticks in early spring, even though I knew this variety bloomed on both old and new wood. This year I decided to see if those sticks were indeed dead, and left them in place. I was rewarded with a shrub covered in blooms! Lesson learned, even for a master gardener. 

Little Lime hydrangea

Firelight hydrangea

Endless Summer hydrangea

Black and Bloom salvia

Unknown dahlia

Unknown rudbeckia

Unknown dahlia

Picotee mix cosmos

Unknown dahlia

Unknown dahlia

Tie Dye clematis

Duchess of Albany clematis seedheads

I still raise monarchs here in Robin's Nest. It was a slow start this year, I'm behind, and have only released 25 so far. But it never gets old, and I treasure each one. In case you are curious why there are caterpillars pupating inside our car, it's a funny story. I took them along on a road trip, and some escaped. It took me awhile to notice there were some missing, and this is where they ended up. I had to leave the chrysalides in place for a day or so, so they'd be firm enough to move. So there we were, driving our chrysalides around town! When they firmed up, I moved them safely into cages. Once they emerged as butterflies, I gave them all car themed names, in honor of their temporary home. I'm still chuckling about it. 

Of course other butterflies visit here too, that's the point of the whole place. I've gotten so accustomed to seeing monarchs, that these non-monarchs generally draw my attention even more. 

Viceroy butterfly

Dion skipper

Tiger swallowtail

Variegated Fritillary

Clearwing hummingbird moth

Hobomok skipper

Red Admiral

Pearl Crescent

The roses don't generate much attention at summer's end, although they do usually put on a second show in September when the weather cools. But they'll put out random displays, and I try to take notice when they do. I made it a point to treat them for blackspot and fertilize regularly, and it has made a difference. The plants themselves are getting bigger, and there are fewer lulls in blooming. I am SO not a rose expert, but I do enjoy them in bloom. So I've tried to care for them a little better this year. 

Don Juan climbing rose 
Don Juan

Funny Face

Oranges and Lemons

At Last

Abraham Darby



Sunny Knockout

We all love sunflowers, am I right? It's like sunshine, only in flower form. I don't have as much space for them as I'd like, but I do squeeze them in here and there. Sometimes they plant themselves, and that's okay too. It's hard to say which are my favorite. The pale yellow ones are Lemon Queen, they have a classy look. But I also plant Autumn Beauty, all the mixed colors you see here are from that batch. Next year, I want to try those fluffy Teddy Bear sunflowers, just for fun. I planted a few of the mammoth ones, but they didn't come up. 

I know, sunflowers are showy, and a universal favorite. But I'm also crazy about zinnias. I grow a few different varieties, and try out new ones each year. However, the multicolor zinnias you see in my photos are always Cut and Come Again, because once I started growing them, every butterfly in town started showing up. They'll always have a place in my garden. 

Queen Lime Orange

Zinderella Peach

Queen Lime Orange

Green Envy

Queen Lime Orange

There's another variety of zinnia that has earned its place at the top of my esteem, and that's Oklahoma Salmon. It's only the third or fourth year I've grown them, and I have fallen in love. This is a must have for me. I actually planned my whole color scheme around them this year. They're great in a vase too, and last a long while. It turned out to be fortuitous planting them next to this salmon colored hyssop, because it was a match made in heaven. 


The veggie garden was producing like crazy until mid August, then it just petered out. Remember the pests and diseases I mentioned? They LOVE my veggies. I just can't bring myself to spray food crops. So we enjoy the veggies while they last, and remove them when they give out. This display was one of the good days, and I spent a lot of time prepping all of it. There was spaghetti sauce, salsa, pickles and zucchini bread made, and veggies chopped and diced for the freezer. The four tiny strawberries were inhaled by a certain strawberry loving hubby. And that peach cobbler you see? Just a summer treat that I had to try. You see, I don't eat dairy foods, so it can be difficult to find decent recipes for such things. If you are interested, I made this one, and it was delicious, especially with coconut milk ice cream on top. 

My craft projects take a back seat to gardening this time of year. I don't crochet much in the summer, the heat makes it uncomfortable to hold on my lap. But I did try those Diamond Dotz projects you may have seen. It's really quite zen, as you concentrate on placing each one of those dots. I haven't figured out yet how to frame it, but I certainly will. As for the bowl of flower petals and herbs, they were dried and put into that yellow cup as a kind of potpourri. Once the scent fades, I can always add essential oils. 

Thanks for stopping by to visit Robin's Nest. I often think how the posts must look similar from year to year. But this blog is my garden journal, and I like to see how the garden progresses over time. I'll close as usual with some stormy summer sunsets. I can tell already that the sunsets are swinging away from my front porch view as summer fades. But I love every one of them!