August is the month of Rudbeckia in the rock garden . . .and Cosmos at the corner . . .These Cosmos self-seeded from last year’s plants in the same space. I transplanted several of the volunteers in the terrace garden, where I am still waiting to see blooms on the very bushy plants:This is Cosmos ‘Pink Sensation’:And this is ‘Pink Pop Socks’:Coming in at over six feet, Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium ‘Little Joe‘, has exceeded its expected height by two feet, and is just starting to bloom. The butterflies and bees will love this plant once the buds open fully!Even taller than Joe Pye, the self-seeded sunflower in the middle of my vegetable garden gave all indications of a fabulous show to come in mid to late August, but its multiple bud heads just got too heavy for it, and, on the very day I brought a stake to the garden to support it, I found it bent right over, its stem too torn to recover:Not all was lost; another branch of this same plant remains upright and intact and will sport more than one blossom:The vegetable garden Zinnias (I think they are ‘Fruit Smoothie’), direct sowed late in June, should start to flower by mid-month. There will be vegetables in the vegetable garden as well! My basil, planted even later than the zinnias, started slowly, but seems to be waking up now. Most of it is destined for pesto sauce, which I like to freeze in ice-cube trays for use through the winter. We are particularly fond of tortellini with pesto sauce.
Throughout August, I will pick beans, both green French filet and yellow wax, at least three times a week. These heirloom ‘Triomphe de Farcy’ bush beans are the earliest to mature: They are long, thin, crisp, and delicious! My favorite way to prepare them is to steam them whole, then briefly sauté them in a small amount of olive oil and butter, with a clove of garlic, minced, and a sprinkle of oregano.
In spite of some Septoria leaf spot, there will tomatoes as well, perhaps soon. I can’t wait to make another gigantic Caprese salad with these and some of my fresh basil leaves!The jalapeño peppers, which I grow with great success in pots, are nearly ready to harvest. I want to make jelly with these; it is nice on a cracker with a little cream cheese or fresh mozzarella!I hope to harvest some cucumbers as well, and will plant some spinach and lettuce around the 15th for a fall harvest.
Last year I had good luck growing Caladium from bulbs, so this year I decided to try Canna Lilies. Soon after the first leaf unfurled, I discovered that Japanese beetles LOVE Cannas! It was too late for the first couple of leaves, but I began to spray them regularly and hope to see them flower before August ends. Apparently, the red-leafed Canna is less tasty to the beetles than the green!My impulsively purchased ‘Chihuly’ rose had a lengthy bloom, but seems near the end, with only two buds yet to open. I really hope to see it develop a new flush of buds by the end of the month for an autumn show!The cluster rose in the rock garden has several new buds, so I think there will be pink roses in the garden for my birthday in two weeks! I do so love pink!Aster ‘Peter III Blue’, planted near the pink rose late last fall, is well budded and will surely show its violet-blue blooms before month’s end.At the other end of the rock garden, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ will end the month blanketed in pale pink before darkening to burgundy in September. Some of its tiny buds already show the faintest tinges of the color to come:Finally, up in the lasagna garden, the Turtlehead (Chelone ‘Hot Lips’) is getting ready to bloom. It is thriving in nearly full shade, and the deer have displayed no interest whatsoever in it!At the end of the month, I plan to do a bit of revision in the lasagna garden, moving a few plants to spots within the bed where the light conditions will be better for them, or where they will show up better. For example, early in the summer I planted a Cardinal Flower in the sunniest area of the bed, and it is clearly unhappy there, as indicated by its drooping bright red head at the left of this picture:I will move it several feet over to the right where it will get more shade and stay moister. I also plan to move some one or two of the Heucheras from the back of the bed to that sunny corner; they can withstand the exposure and extra heat of that space, and they will be more visible there.
Thus August will be, in my ever evolving, works-in-progress gardens!