Friday, August 14, 2009

Strange Days

What a goofy summer! Things that should be done blooming are just starting, and things that should be in full bloom are finished. It's garden mayhem! I guess that's what happens when summer starts in August.

And it does finally seem to be summer and, I can't believe I'm saying this, we need some rain. I found myself watering my Japanese painted fern and astilbe for the first time in ages. Regardless, things are looking pretty in the sunshine!

Here is that tall coreopsis (C. tripteris) I mentioned in an earlier post when my camera was malfunctioning. It's blooming about a month later than it has in the past two or three years. See how the flowers have brown centers, rather Susan-like? Despite the existence of a Coreopsis lanceolata (which is actually sitting near this guy to the upper right), I think this species truly has the lance-shaped leaves, which resemble bamboo on lanky stems with deep green color. But that's just my opinion.

(Here's a closer look at the flowers)

The unusual bloom time may actually turn out to be a good thing. This coreopsis is right next to my smooth blue asters (Symphyotrichum laevis), and I've always been disappointed with how their flowering times miss each other.

(OK, not actually blooming but a preview for next month's Bloom Day.)

Usually the coreopsis is long finished blooming when the light blue flowers of the asters get going. I just might catch a nice color combo this year, thanks to the weird weather. That is, if the asters don't die. The photo above is of the control aster from my milk/oil experiment, and it's developing some foliar spots now. Also, these plants are about 2 feet shorter than usual. I think last year's mildew, the unidentified foliage problems from this year, and the lack of sun have caused some serious issues for these plants. (Side note: the plant sprayed with the milk solution is looking better than the one sprayed with oil and soap. But that's another post...)

In other aster news the big-leaved species (Eurybia macrophylla) still has one plant in bloom...

(Sorry for the blurriness.)

...and my Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum) is the toast of the town as far as the local bumblebees are concerned.

(Click to enlarge and get a better look at the bees.)

There are about 5 or 6 bumblebees that have taken up permanent residence on this plant. I find them crashed out on the flowers at night and in the early morning, and all day long they go about their pollen harvesting, only leaving to enjoy the nearby great blue lobelia and goldenrod as side dishes.

(Here's a fuller view of the Joe-Pye. I don't show many full-length shots of this plant because it's right by my front door, and I'm weirded out about showing a close photo of the entrance to my house on the internet. But I assure you, this plant is 5' tall and gorgeous.)

Speaking of those plants, my goldenrod (Solidago lost-the-plant-tag) is also blooming earlier than usual, but it's creating that blue-yellow color combo with the great blue lobelia (L. siphilitica).

I'm a big fan of yellow and blue contrasting near each other, can't you tell? Other random blooms right now include my coleus, whose purplish panicles looked much better last week...

...and this one dianthus flower, which is the only part of the plant that is reblooming.

(A shy reblooming dianthus.)

Also blooming but not pictured: Salvia nemorosa 'Plumosa', which is really on its last legs and turning brown and faded.

I hope everyone has a lovely Bloom Day and weekend! For more Bloom Day excitement, see Carol at May Dreams Garden to check out what's blooming across the country!


Rose said...

It has been a strange summer, weather-wise, indeed; no wonder our gardens are a little confused. I really like this coreopsis; is it a native? And I like the blue and yellow combos, too; I have one in my garden, purely serendipitous:)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I love that Coreopsis! Those flowers are just fantastic. Must find a place for it. After seeing your Lobelia syphilitca with the Goldenrod, I realize that I need to move mine to a more visible location. It's lost in the back of the garden & deserves a more prominent place. Yellow & blue is a wonderful color combo.
I'm also lamenting the lack of rain. My lawn is now brown and crunchy, as are a couple of Astilbe. Don't you just love August?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's been ridiculously dry considering how wet it was a couple of months ago. I've broken down and started watering, but what I'm really looking for is a nice rainy day.

I have many of the same plants blooming, although my asters (big leaf and white woodland) just started blooming a week or so ago. And just like you saw, the bees go for the Joe Pye before the blue lobelia, even though the latter was last year's bee favorite.

healingmagichands said...

What a great selection of blooms. my garden has become confused by the weather too. I'm about to start wondering what is the matter with me. I have planted eupatorium three times and it is supposed to be native here, it is growing all over the ditches and it just doesn't do worth beans here.

I read your post and thought, "oh my gosh, I've been posting photos of my front door on a regular basis for years. I wonder if I've been a total dummy for being so trusting?" I sure hope not. I grew up in a time when we could play in the streets and walk to school safely, and I guess I just assumed the internet was like the real world was for me.

Have a happy bloom day, Rose.

Diana said...

Rose -- I'm like you, I like blue and yellow together, too, but I like all the hot colors in there, even the oranges that you are not so fond of. I really like purple and orange with blue and yellow all together! Happy GBBD.

garden girl said...

Hopefully we'll get a good soaking with rain in the forecast this week.

You've got some beautiful blooms in spite of the weather.

Hope you're having a great weekend Rose!

Diane said...

I didn't realize they renamed the big-leafed aster. I can't keep up!! I should plant some Joe-pye... I have a Helianthus that needs some tall friends because it looks rather silly right looming over the garden by itself.
Love your flowers! Happy Bloom Day!

Ramble on Rose said...

Rose--Yes, the coreopsis is native. I'm glad I finally have pictures of it to share!

MMG--I will save you some seeds from the coreopsis, provided I can gather them. Last year I collected a good amount but mistakenly wet stratified them, and they literally disintegrated! My lobelia is also lost in the back of a border. Luckily the border is narrow enough that I could get some good pictures, but in reality it deserves a better location. I overestimated its height, and now the Joe-Pye weed is swallowing it!

LSC--I've been watering, too! I feel spoiled now by all the rain earlier this summer.

HMH--Are you planting the eupatorium in a very dry site? I bet they're doing well in ditches because water pools there. I've noticed mine droops in drought, so maybe try it again in a soggier location?

Diana--Riotous color is good too! Orange fits in those situations.

GG--Thanks! I'm watching the skies right now and hoping. I'm about to go try a rain dance out there!

Diana--I was very surprised by the renaming of the Aster genus. It just seems unnecessary to me, but I'm not a taxonomist at heart, I guess! I definitely would try the Joe-Pye with the helianthus; I love purple and yellow together almost as much as blue and yellow!

Gail said...

Lucky you to be able to grow lobelia because it does look wonderful with the goldenrod. Joe Pye surely is a wonderful native plant for its looks and feeding the bees. It's still weeks before the native asters will be blooming....your big leaf is lovely...gail

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