There’s a lot of flitting hither and thither in August with so many things to get done while it’s warm and dry (mostly): Summer holidays with the kids; making the most of the sunshine in and out of the garden; big home projects; harvesting veg and fruit … and then actually using them (although I am currently delegating that somewhat by supplying the village with windfall cooking apples and plums!). It is also true that as we head towards the end of the month things are beginning to slide into a certain ripeness and decay. There’s heavy dew on the grass each morning. Spiders and their webs are much more visible. Sadly, I spent yesterday morning stripping the tomato plants of their leaves as I spotted the first signs of blight and the courgettes have been transformed into white mountains of mildew. The flower garden has been a bit overlooked of late.
I wasn’t sure that I had ten top flowers to offer up for Chloris’ monthly recording of favourites, so I was aiming for five. In fact, now that I count up the photos, I do have ten, even if I have included a couple of herbs and a fruit.
Anyhow, in no particular order here are my August favourites:
Gomphrena ‘Strawberry Fields’. I grew these from seed and they were looking so lovely in pots before I planted them in the garden, but then the rabbits got them, nipping the tops off most of them. So I am waiting to see them flower in profusion (as per the packet picture), but you can already see that they are sweet little flowers.
I know that these are simple white flowers, but I love the patches of garlic chives that I have growing in the raised beds. They look so fresh at this time of year and are covered in bees and minature hover flies. The little stars catch the sun when I go for my early morning stroll around the plot. How can I resist them?
I’ve grown this particular cultivar of morning glory (‘Black Knight’) for the last few years. In fact, I know that I have an established seed reservoir of them in the ground, ready to spring into action, below the arches, but I still save some seed annually anyway. The form of the flowers are endlessly fascinating, both in bud and as they open a close daily.
Ah, a seed purchase from Special Plants (following a talk by Fergus Garrett last autumn). I adore the colour more than I can say. I will be definitely growing them again!
I finally got round to buying Geranium ‘Rozanne’ after resisting for a long while, based on price I am afraid. I shouldn’t have waited! This plant has been performing its heart out for months already. I really love it.
I grew this Black-eyed Susan for the obelisks at Wimpole, but I also have it growing over the archway in our vegetable plot with the Ipomoea ‘Black Knight’. (Once they meet in the middle I am hoping for some nice effects). Not all the Sunset shades are so wonderful, but this one is stunning.
OK, so here is the other herb in the list, Salad burnet, Sanguisorba minor. You have to look quite closely at the flowers, but the whole head is like a musical carousel, with spikey pink fireworks above and dangling anthers below. I have more garden worthy cultivars of Sanguisorba, but they are now finished, while this one is having a second flush.
I am very fond of purple flowers and this new ‘Vampire’ chilli that I am trying is wonderfully ornamental. It has dark, slightly mottled purple leaves, cute (or maybe glossy, poisonous-looking depending on your view point) purple star-like flowers and fantastic shiny black chillies that hang down like fangs. The tasting experiment will come soon.
Ignoring the fact that the reproductive bits in the centre of the flowers of Althaea cannabina initially look like brains, this is a beautiful, light and airy plant that is continuously covered in small hollyhock-like pink flowers from June till the frosts. In the wind the swaying branches appear to be host to hundreds of fluttering butterflies.
My final favourite has to be the Foxglove tree that I am growing to give an exotic feel to the patio. I cut it right down in the spring, to a stump of about a metre, and now look at it! It’s shot right up to the second floor. Its leaves are suitably huge and covered in downy soft hairs. Of course, if I keep coppicing it, I won’t get the flowers, but frankly who cares when it looks so dramatic this way?
I wonder what your favourites are? Meanwhile, I suggest that you head over to thebloominggarden to see Liz’s glorious selection for August. If you are like me, you will no doubt want to go out and buy/grow some of them for yourselves.