August Anthems

The mid-August garden is still awash with colour.

Backlit garden border mid-AugustThe light is changing slightly as summer draws on; towards the end of the day the shadows seem deeper and flowers glow vividly in this early evening caress. Many of the same hard-working flowers continue to bloom in the midst of this month: penstemons; salvias; hardy geraniums; froths of gaura and alchemilla; purple clouds of Verbena bonariensis; Knautia macedonica continuing to push up neat crimson buttons; and the swell of sunny-faced shasta daisies forming a glorious backdrop to some of my favourite flowers.

Eryngium planum 'Blue Glitter' with teasels, leucanthemum and scabious

Leucanthemum with scabious, Verbena bonariensis, Echinacea purpurea - and a Small Tortoiseshell butterflyButterflies feast on all these open flowers; Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks, all seeming to favour Verbena bonariensis, although the Buddleia has also opened its first flowers this month and attracts its share of visitors.

Peacock butterfly on Buddleia

Phlox paniculata in mid-August

Clumps of Phlox paniculata in dusty mauve and vibrant cerise are in full bloom, close examination rewarding you with their sweet scent.

August blooms: Ammi majus and Dahlia Chat Noir, Dill, Nicotiana sylvestris, backlit Knautia macedonica

The borders are punctuated with the airy umbels of white Ammi majus and yellow dill. The small trumpets of Nicotiana alata in the new border are echoed in the taller form of Nicotiana sylvestris; a walk through the garden at dusk entwines you in the heady scent of these glowing white flowers.

Japanese anemones in mid-August

The Japanese anemones have also begun to bloom, the delicate tissue-paper petals of A. x hybrida ‘Robustissima’ and A. x  hybrida ‘September Charm’ kissed with pink, while buds bob on the later varieties.Roses in bloom mid-August; in yellow, pink and whiteThe old roses that we dug out of the original garden and kept in containers for a couple of years before returning to the ground last year are all putting on their display, with another mix of delicious gentle fragrances.

Campanula: chimney bellflower in blue (with Monarda) and white forms

The chimney bellflowers, Campanula pyramidalis, are glorious; particularly the Alba form which have formed taller multi-stemmed towers of white stars.

Nearby, the red crowns of Monarda Cambridge Scarlet are beginning to flatten and turn brown, but have been joined around the garden by their purple, white and pink siblings. I have earmarked one or two of these plants to be brought forward in the autumn, as they are somewhat lost towards the back of the borders.

Cosmos 'Tall Sensation'

Sidalcea: prairie mallow

Cosmos are beginning to sparkle through the garden, and the stand of prairie mallow, Sidalcea malviflora, is another popular choice for bees and other pollinators.

Dipsacus fullonum: teasel flowers

Allium sphaerocephalon, drumstick allium flower

Dusty pale purple teasel flower heads emerge from the sea of shasta daisies, with stronger purple from penstemons and the lovely drumstick allium flower, Allium sphaerocephalon, which are planted in clusters of three about the borders. Both are again beloved of the bees.

Papaver somniferum: deep plum coloured opium poppy against daisies

One of the last of my favourite deep plum-coloured opium poppies is also flowering among the daisies; elsewhere around the garden the poppy petals have fallen to leave characteristic seed heads ripening in the sun.

Crocosmia Lucifer with purple Verbena bonariensis and Geranium sanguineum

A familiar figure in many gardens at this time of year – and deservedly so – Crocosmia Lucifer has been ablaze for a month, its vivid red flowers in a sea of purple Verbena bonariensis and Geranium sanguineum. I added these plants last year, an offshoot from my Mum’s plants accompanied by a couple of corms from a magazine offer.

The common, mostly orange, form of montbretia had been colonising the garden over many years before we arrived. When I dug out the borders by hand last year to plant, I disposed of bucketloads of congested corms that had stacked up beneath the surface, but I left some up by our small terrace, and one or two others have evidently escaped me through this area. Although sometimes tentative about adding orange to the garden, they do form a wonderful contrast with the blues and purples, and give a real depth to the display, and I love the strong shape of their foliage through the year.

Crocosmia (montbretia) in the borderAnother mid-month bloom day – and again there are still countless other plants in flower that haven’t had the chance to creep into a picture or my words. I can’t quite believe how well the garden is performing, it continues to thrill me each time I slip outside and wonder at how much is contained in such a modest space. I must stop there, before this post becomes unwieldy, though I shall leave you with a shot of the deep blue Agapanthus which stands sentinel beside the greenhouse.

Agapanthus flowering with red and pink pelargoniums

Thanks to Carol for hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again; do visit her blog for more blooms around the world.


19 thoughts on “August Anthems

  1. Your garden is beautiful, you must be so happy that it looks so mature when you only planted most of it last year. I love your colour combinations but most of all I love the fullness! Christina

    • Thanks Christina, I can’t believe how full it looks, I’m really happy. We are lucky to have had lots of rain to keep the plants lush this year.

  2. Hi,

    It has been strange this year – all those months of rain and here we are rewarded with plants still blooming later than normal, and summer blooms meeting late summer and early autumn plants. It is making a stunning specticle!

    Your garden is looking beautiful – and so many are similar to my own 🙂

    • It’s a relief isn’t it, how determined the garden is to put on a display regardless of foibles in the weather?
      Thanks, I look forward to catching up with your latest beautiful photos too – you have a great taste in plants 😉 !

  3. Love these shots of your lovely garden. What a treat to visit South Wales this morning. Well, it is afternoon there now but here, the day is dawning. Cheers!

  4. Gorgeous flowers. I was too busy yesterday to get any photos of mine and how it’s chucking it down. Oh well. I adore that dark coloured opium poppy. Stunning.

    • Thanks, the flowers do make me smile, even in the rain. Looks like I was lucky with the weather taking my pics in the sunshine before today’s showers. The plum-coloured poppy’ ancestor self seeded into blocks of rubble and concrete while the place was a building site – I collected the seed and grew some the next year and they’ve come back again, though each year more ‘intruders’ slip in, red and pink… The dark ones are still my favourite.

  5. Sara, I feel quite emotional seeing how gorgeous your garden is now, remembering how far it has come in such a short period. A glorious display of flowers, and they blend together weaving a tapestry of colour and shape. Wonderful. You should feel really proud of what you have created.

    • Thank you Janet, I am thrilled and a little proud, though the plants have come into their own – taken my ideas and run with them to exceed my humble imaginings. There are still a few holes to fill – thank goodness, or where would I fit more plants? 😉 – and things earmarked for moving or dividing…

  6. beautiful words and photos Sara, your garden is looking stunning and it must be a hive of activity and loved by the little creatures, can imagine some lovely perfumes too, it’s so nice when things work out and wonderful when they exceed expectation, Frances

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