Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Looking Back...

Actually, I'm not so sure I want to look back at August! It was hot. It was dry. Very hot, and very dry. It was all I could do to keep up with watering the things in pots and the few ferns I had managed to get planted early in the summer, but general weeding and gardening was pretty much impossible. The Hillside was hard as a rock, no weed came out without serious efforts with large tools and/or explosives... the Sampler Garden was full of slightly wilted things I really didn't want to know about, and planting anything new was just a short cut to a dead something new. So it was a month just to endure; come to think of it, that's not so unusual for August.

Let's look on the bright side, of course there was one. August is Daisy Month, no question, and Daisies are Yellow Flowers, also no question, so I put together a mix of Yellow Daisies just to enjoy their variety. A lot of these are seedlings from a long-ago package of Rudbeckia seeds. The variety was called, if I remember rightly, 'Cherokee Sunset'. The flowers were supposed to be yellow/orange and double but I got no doubles and very few straight yellows. But the seedlings still appear all over the place and I like the different shapes, sizes and colours. I threw in a few other daisies just for fun.
yellow daisy collage
Nothing exotic here, just dependable performers. Do you know them all?

One curious thing, which I had not noticed before, is the way Rudbeckia fulgida flowers nod at sunset. Every evening when I left the Studio to go back to the house I went past several clumps of these in the Herb Garden and it really looked odd. Every morning they were brightly upright again.
Have they always done this and I never noticed? Or is it something to do with the dry summer? This is the one that was so popular a few years back, called 'Goldsturm'. The books don't tell you, but be warned, it seeds around like the dickens.

Coneflowers, Echinacea species, seemed to actually like the dry weather. My yellow one, E. paradoxa, bloomed it's head off, more flowers on the plant than I've ever seen before. I grew a few seeds from it last year, and they finally bloomed. I expected more yellow Coneflowers but what I got instead was a bit humorous. I got dingy pale buff pinkish flowers shaped like E. paradoxa, that is, with large drooping petals, and colours somewhere between the purple of the purple Coneflowers and the yellow. Luckily some of the other plants in the patch were quite lovely, including this pale pink one.
echinacea purpurea pale pink daisy

My E. tennesseensis bloomed for the first time. Every plant had flowers that started out with a 'crook' to their necks, then straightened out. The flowers (and the plants) are much smaller than E. purpurea, and more delicate. The colour is a rich pink-violet.
My Sand Hill garden was a mess. The Horsetails and the Coreopsis (daisies again) and the grasses spent the summer in mortal combat. I'm not sure if anybody won. It actually looked not too bad, but the part of me that insists on weeding felt tired just looking at it. Surprisingly, a lot of small Delphiniums came up in between all the 'weeds', as did a lot of brown Foxgloves. Yes, brown. This was Digitalis ferruginea. It is a narrow spire of brown and pale cream flowers, long-lasting and actually quite attractive. It mixes with grasses very happily.

Had enough pinkness and yellowness and daisy-ness? Here's one of the small Delphiniums as a palate-cleanser:
Now let's forget August and look ahead to September and, hopefully, eventually some rain.

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