Wow...it's the middle of August already! It's definitely high summer here in Portland, although our weather has been atypically overcast and muggy the past few days. While I always welcome cloud cover, the humidity is not especially pleasant!
Hands-down the pollinator favorite at the moment is Agatache 'Blue Blazes'. Bees, bumblebees, hummingbirds and butterflies all jostle for a spot at this beauty.
A summer classic, Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'. It may be common, but I still love it...and few flowers say "summer" like those bright yellow discs of gold. Of course, add the tiny, bead-like blooms of Panicum 'Shenandoah' and you have summer magic!
Even though I ripped them out by the millions this spring, several Impatiens balfourii obviously escaped me...and are now in full bloom. I have to admit, they are wonderful at filling in gaps in the garden. I'm already dreading all the weeding I'm in for next spring.
Geranium 'Rozanne' is one of the hardest-working plants around. She's been blooming for at least 3 months without a break...and will go on like this until frost. She is constantly swarming with bees...as are the Knautia macedonica. I've discovered that while they will survive without supplemental summer water, the ones that DO get water flower all summer...while the ones in the parking strips that don't get water only bloom sporadically until the fall rains return.
One of the first plants I bought, years ago, Crocosmia 'Orangeade'. Sadly, the expanding Sumac above them is starting to crowd them out...and they'll have to be divided and moved this fall...if anyone local wants a division, let me know :-)
Probably THE defining plant in my garden from July onwards is Eutrochium 'Gateway'. It's size, structure, and now, blooms, make it an extremely versatile and invaluable plant...one of my top ten favorite plants EVER!
The Epilobium, which were so tall and upright for months, start to twirl and curve as summer heads into fall. The bees still love them...and they are swarming with Ladybug larvae...reason enough to keep them around, as the aphids are especially bad this year.
Without a doubt, the longest-blooming plant in my garden is Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve', which thrives on TOTAL neglect...I'm talking NO WATER ever. It's been blooming for 12 months straight! I always had trouble with my Helenium flopping, but the key seems to be to plant them and leave them be...don't water them and they stay much shorter and don't flop...yet they still bloom continuously for months.
The clumps of Agastache 'Black Adder' are much diminished this year...perhaps because I don't water them...some Agastaches DO seem to want some summer water. They still bloom, however, much to the delight of the bees.
Another classic late-summer/early-fall combination, Echinacea and Sedum, in this case, Echinacea 'Magnus' and Sedum 'Matrona'. I love how the colors compliment each other...they seem to smolder in the front parking strip. As wonderful as the fresh, bright blooms of Echinacea are, I like them as they start to fade even more...they take on warm, peachy tones that so gracefully usher us into autumn.
A new Echinacea I'm trying this year, to much success, is 'Showoff', which I love due to it's gracefully reflexed petals...and the delightful ombré coloring of its petals (I know, ombré is SO 2012...but who cares)!
While Macleaya cordata is grown mostly for it's lovely powdery-blue foliage, the frothy flowers are pretty cool too. Echinacea 'White Swan' adds a cool pop of white to the front border...I do love it's crispness.
The last of my Lilies to bloom, I believe this is 'Sarabande', which, happily, is nicely perfumed...and beautiful!
While the coloring of Agastache 'Purple Haze' isn't as intense as some of the newer varities, I really like how it contributes a soft, well, haze of cool color to a border. A bonus is that it's habit is reliably upright. Selinum wallichianum is just undeniably graceful in form and flower.
I can never get enough purple...and Lobelia gerardii delivers in that department!
While it's lush, golden foliage is the main attraction early on, the cerise, bottlebrush flowers add wonderful, airy strokes of color to the scene.
I'm a bad gardener, I almost never dead-head flowers anymore, mostly because I like the way they look as they fade on the plants...and also, because I never seem to get re-bloom anyway. One exception seems to be Astrantia 'Star of Fire', which I just planted last month. Echinops blooms are utterly fascinating to me...I love how they are perfect, pointy spheres...and bees go INSANE for them!
I was pretty excited last month when I realized that some Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carrota) had seeded into my garden. Time will tell whether I should have been afraid instead. Even more exciting are the colors of Panicum 'Cheyenne Sky'!
Salvia 'Amistad' still thrills me...those inky purple blooms are to die for!
This is the best year ever for Rudbeckia triloba in my garden...I have several that have seeded around and all of them are blooming...love their sprays of smaller golden blooms.
This Agastache ('Liquorice Candy') was a gift, and a wonderful gift it has turned out to be!
I transplanted these poor Vernonia missurica 3 times this spring...I couldn't decide whether I should give them away (they flopped badly in my shady garden last year) or move them to the sunniest spot possible. Well, I kind of just plopped them where I had room, and they are much happier...and starting to bloom with intensely red-purple umbels of flowers.
Verbena rigida 'Polaris' continues to add soothing light lavender flowers to the path leading into the backyard, and Agastache 'Blue Boa' still pumps out blooms, even though it's now dwarfed by the Panicum 'Northwind'.
While I almost never seem to have my camera at the ready when the hummingbirds are around, yesterday morning I lucked out! Here, it's feasting on Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'
Let's wrap up with the wide views...here we have the north border looking from west.
The same border looking east.
Looking over the north parking strip into the corner of the garden.
Here's the north border from above.
Here's the front garden looking north.
The front garden looking south.
Here's a view into the back yard coming up the driveway (shed on the left).
Here's the backyard looking north.
And the backyard looking south.
And we finish with a look of the whole shebang! Join Carol at May Dreams Garden
for more Bloom Day posts...and I hope your summer is going well, as we look with anticipation toward autumn!