Mid-August Morning in the Garden

There’s just five weeks of summer left … time to enjoy every possible second of warmth, sunshine, and bloom. This morning in the garden I had a photography accomplice, my 5-year-old granddaughter who loves to tour the garden to see what’s in bloom.

Avery’s favorite this morning … like her Mum-mum, she favors different flowers on different days … a just-opened tropical hibiscus which Avery wanted to capture in the camera.

The mid-August bloom of tropical hibiscus in a Connecticut garden.

The mid-August bloom of tropical hibiscus in a Connecticut garden.

The red-orange of the hibiscus bloom blends with the warm shades of zinnia and canna flowers.

Yellow is the predominant color in the wild edges outside the fenced-in area where Oenothera biennis, common name evening primrose, thrives in poor soil.

Oenothera biennis, a Connecticut native.

Oenothera biennis, a Connecticut native.

This Connecticut native wildflower grows as short as 3 feet and as tall as 8 feet along the outer fence edge. Japanese beetles flock to it when first emerging from the ground in June, leaving oenothera’s first leaves and early blooms beetle-chewed, but the plant still manages to send out tons of lemon-yellow flowers later in the season. Below, Oenothera is skirted by Black-eyed Susan. It’s a lovely combination that nature designed with little help from this human gardener … all I had to do was allow the plants to grow.

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) with a skirt of Black-eyed Susan.

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) with a skirt of Black-eyed Susan.

Years of gardening in a deer-laden region taught me when nature provides such lovely native blooms that deer don’t decimate, you let them grow… free flowers that attract native pollinators and add a cheerful glow to the woodland edges.

Avery, my morning in the garden accomplice, wants to pick many of the natives for an inside bouquet, but she’s beginning to understand that some flowers are best enjoyed on the plant where they can mature, and self-sow into next season’s delights.



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3 comments for “Mid-August Morning in the Garden

  1. Jim
    August 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    As a gardener in Hamden, I can truly relate to gardening around the deer. While I do spend plenty of financial resources to combat the deer, none have really worked this year. I tried a new product (couldn’t find my norm in the store this year) and either my timing was way off all season or it didn’t deter the deer at all. But, the black-eyed susans are beautiful right now, as are any remaining coneflowers, lobelia and phlox (which are late bc the deer got them earlier). I’m trying to learn to let nature take its course, let the reseeding happen (and pull where you don’t want it), and even if the deer eat “this plant or that plant”, the next crop for Fall is coming out. While I won’t have to worry about the deer with my hardy mums, the asters are another story. I’m hoping they don’t go ga-ga over aster oblongifolius bc of the aromatic foliage. They love some of my other asters. I’ve got to be vigilant though!!!

    • August 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Jim, first off … thanks so much for visiting. Regarding deer repellents, I no longer use them. They are expensive, cutting deeply into my gardening budget, and rarely work for long. In the non-fenced sections of our property I plant deer-resistant plants, though many touted as resistant are not to the deer in my neck of the woods. I surround all new, and young, tree plantings with a welded wire cage until the bulk of the tree branches are out of deer browse reach. I’ve found that any nursery-purchased plant – resistant or not – will be browsed. Deer seem to sense the fertilizer used in nursery-grown plants and chomp away specifically during the first growing season or year.

      I, too, find that deer munch Black-eyed Susans early then leave the second growth to flower. I rarely get coneflower blossoms on the plants outside of my fenced gardens. Phlox must be in the fenced beds. If you really want to see any asters bloom, cage them from deer browse. Deer always seem to munch just before flowers open. I’d hate to see you disappointed.

  2. August 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Joene, Oenethera biennis has been blooming on the edges of of my garden, too — providing a softer yellow accent to go with the stronger yellow of its companion plant, goldenrod.

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