The mid-August garden is still awash with colour.
The 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.
Butterflies 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.
Clumps of Phlox paniculata in dusty mauve and vibrant cerise are in full bloom, close examination rewarding you with their sweet scent.
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.
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.The 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.
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 are beginning to sparkle through the garden, and the stand of prairie mallow, Sidalcea malviflora, is another popular choice for bees and other pollinators.
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.
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.
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.
Another 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.
Thanks to Carol for hosting Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again; do visit her blog for more blooms around the world.