As I mentioned in the last post, I haven't been spending as much time outside, the past few weeks-- mainly avoiding the unpleasant heat and humidity-- but I've spent at least 15 to 20 minutes outside every day of August so far (for a grand total of three days). I'm pulling weeds (always more of that to do), moving a few pots around, making sure potted plants have enough water, deadheading, and collecting seeds (on the few plants where they've already begun to ripen).
When I took the "garden survey" photos, I was surprised to see that the double purple rose of Sharon had been blooming. The sneaky thing waited to flower until my back was turned. I wonder if certain varieties of these large shrubs/small trees always bloom earlier/later than others or if it's a reflection of the plant's age/health/settled-ness in a location. For whatever reason, the single-flowered white and pinky-purple roses of Sharon started flowering much (months) earlier than any of the double-flowered ones did, this year.
The purple coneflowers are mostly drying out and going to seed, but there are still a few newer flowers, here and there.
Last summer, Mom gave me a clump of perennial rudbeckia/black-eyed Susans from Granny L.'s garden. (I think she'd accidentally pulled it up.) It wasn't the best time of year for transplanting, but worth a try. So I planted it, cut it back (saving the seedheads), and kept it watered. It didn't look very happy, but a few leaves hung around.
This year, that plant has come back and flowered. Not profusely, but hey! Flowers! There are also a few new plants growing around it that must have come from the seed I scattered. At first, I thought it was strange that those seeds sprouted, while the ones I reserved for sowing in pots didn't do a thing-- but now I suspect that they need a cold treatment, which the ones in pots didn't get. If I collect seeds, this year, I'll try winter-sowing them so there's no need to fuss with stratification in the fridge.
None of the new plants have flowered, yet, and may not do so until next summer.
This lantana came from Mom. I'm pretty sure it's the annual type, but it may be possible to take cuttings to keep over the winter... The pastel pink is much more subdued than the perennial lantana growing in front of the garage. (It's forbidden from the yard because its berries are poisonous, and I was afraid the dogs could possibly try to eat them. I'll need to keep an eye on this new lantana. If it makes berries, they'll need to be cut off, just in case...)
The 'Little Lime' hydrangea blooms are aging to a very faint pink blush. Pretty!
This is another type of rudbeckia-- Rudbeckia nitida or Rudbeckia lacinata 'Autumn Sun', a.k.a. 'Herbstonne', sometimes known as "cutleaf coneflower. This plant is new to the garden this year. It can grow up to seven feet tall, though I think the flowers of mine are "only" somewhere around 5 or 5.5 feet, so far this year.
'Autumn Sun' can take hot, humid summers, but it's not supposed to be particularly tolerant of drought, so I need to remember to keep it watered during dry spells. It seems fine with the care I've given it, so far, which included watering every few days without rain. Mine is in a fairly dry, sandy soil, though it would be even happier in moist soil.
I'm not sure if it comes true from seed, but I'll try to save some to winter sow. If nothing else, I'd like to divide it (once it seems big/settled enough) and try a piece of it in the heavy clay soil of the front yard.
Coreopsis 'Mercury Rising'.
Dragonfly on salvia 'Pizzazz Purple'.
'Lady Margaret' passionflower.
These took a while to get started, but they've covered their trellis pretty well, now, and are meandering along the wire fence, too. I've read that the best time to take cuttings is spring and fall, so I'll give it a try, some time later this year. Apparently some types root easily and others are reluctant, but it can't hurt to try. (After all, the vines are going to die back to the ground in winter, anyway.)
August is off to a hot start, but first thing in the morning, it's really not that different from how it felt back in mid-June.