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How did it come to be late August already? It seems just the other day, summer was at its beginning, the gardens were green, and optimism abounded! I’ll see if I can get you caught up with my gardens in just six entries today!

I. First, the Horrible Awful–roughly three weeks ago, a woodchuck made an incursion into the vegetable garden! I literally sat down in the middle of it and cried for a few moments when I saw this:

The ‘Fruit Smoothie’ zinnias had been full of buds and promise . . . There will be no sunflowers in my garden this summer, either.
It seems the woodchucks like bean leaves, but not the beans themselves. I was able to harvest my favorite French beans and the wax beans.
One of the entrance/exit holes. My husband filled it in, but to no avail. Dirty cat litter was of no help, either!

The basil has remained unscathed, so there will be pesto sauce!

I thought my tomatoes were going to be safe, but the damn rodents are plucking the green tomatoes off the vines and eating them! They’ve also destroyed the cucumbers, which my husband had particularly been looking forward to.

Last summer, we had no such encroachment and the garden was beautiful and productive! I had such high hopes for this year! So next April, or perhaps even this October, we will have a project, digging deep down along the border of the garden to bury some wire fencing as extra protection.

OK, on to more positive things!

Tithonia ‘Torch’

II. The three tithonias in the back corner of the vegetable garden are beautiful and attracting many bees and butterflies! They are over six feet tall and loaded with flowers and buds. The first flowers opened before the end of July this year; often I don’t see one until early August.

Tithonia ‘Torch’, which I started from seed indoors at the end of March
Why I plant tithonia!
Joe Pye Weed, very happy in this moister area of our yard

The Joe Pye Weed that grows just behind it, outside of the garden fence, is doing equally well and attracting its fair share of pollinators. Eutrochium dubium ‘Little Joe’ is not so little, towering well above my head! It started opening in early August.

‘Little Joe’ is literally abuzz with bumblebees!
Tithonia and Joe Pye Weed together

III. I’ve had some very good luck with some of my containers this summer. The coleus, begonias, impatiens, and Swedish ivy have thrived by my front door! This area gets sun only until about 10:30 in the morning. I water these every three days or so. The coleus is quick to tell me it’s time to hydrate!

Coleus, begonias, and impatiens, oh my!
I was quite taken by lime green foliage at the garden shops this spring!

Here are a few pretty details from these containers:

A spotted begonia leaf.
I love the scalloped edges of this coleus.
Cute speckles on the delicate lavender double impatiens
And how about the deep, dark, dramatic foliage of this begonia? Swoon!

IV. It’s purple season in the Terrace Garden, with the Russian sage, obedient plant, and butterfly bushes all blooming at once!

A wide-ish view of the Terrace Garden–slightly organized chaos!

The pollinators flock to these plants!

Giant bee on obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana ‘Crown Rose’)
Viceroy on butterfly bush (Buddleia). You can tell it’s a Viceroy and not a Monarch by the thin black band on its rear wings. I did not plant the butterfly bushes in my garden; they came to me from the neighbor’s beds.
This fritillary (maybe Meadow?) on the other butterfly bush never stopped fluttering its wings!
I admittedly am too lazy to try to look up an ID on this one! Does any one of you know?
Hummingbird moth on butterfly bush

Bumblebee on Russian sage

V. I am very happy with my lantanas this year! This is the first time I’ve grown any in the ground, as opposed to in containers, and look how well it’s doing! It’s in a sunny, hot spot and has been quite dry most of the summer.

I can’t find the tag for this, so no ID beyond ‘lantana’! Sorry! But how about that bright pink!

I love the progression of colors in the lantana blooms as they age:

Looks like it may be just pink, doesn’t it?
But no, there’s yellow, and orange in there too!
A kaleidoscope!
Pure pink at full maturation! These flowers will fall soon.

I’m growing Lantana ‘Samantha’ in a pot on my sunny, hot back deck. I bought her not for the solid yellow flowers, but for the variegation in her leaves.

‘Samantha’s’ flowers are pure
yellow from start to finish. Please take a moment and appreciate those leaves!

VI. Finally, I have been privileged to visit several other gardens this summer. There was a garden tour in my county in early July, and three of my gardening friends (now known as the Plant Posse!) traveled from an hour away to go on it with me. We came away with some good ideas and inspiration.

Snapdragons in a cutting garden on our county-wide garden tour
Beautiful purple astilbe in another garden on the tour

We all visited a day lily farm the following week, and later in July, we went to a day lily festival somewhere else!

In early August, one of the Plant Posse joined me for a flower show in Scranton’s Nay Aug Park. There were several pretty pretties there!

I loved this tiny begonia in a container garden.
This entry won Best in Show.
This beautifully designed pot won first place for container gardens.

We were very excited about our mid-August visit to fellow blogger Pamela Hubbard’s English cottage style gardens! She was most hospitable and just a fount of knowledge!

I loved Pamela’s pond and gorgeous water lilies!
Zinnias, phlox, and cleome in the cutting garden
Her brand new wildflower meadow is a haven for pollinators!
Two bloggers worth following, Pamela and Frank (sorta like suburbia), discussing the virtues of the wildflower meadow

You can read Pamela’s blog here: Pam’s English Cottage Garden I promise you won’t be sorry to click on it!

Most recently, my husband and I visited Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island, New York, just a few days ago. Oh my goodness, the beauty! I really should do a separate post dedicated to just that! Here are six of my favorites:

I have fallen in love with this rose. It is supposed to be hardy in my zone . . .
Within the walled garden
It’s Dahlia season–this is ‘Crichton Honey’
Hibiscus ‘Summerific Perfect Storm’ (Rose Mallow)
Sneezeweed–Helenium autumnale
Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Secret’–alas, not hardy in my zone!

Yes, I definitely need to do a separate post on this garden! Choosing just six to show you now was, to say the least, difficult!

Thanks for reading and getting caught up with my summer! I hope you’ve all had your share of joys, successes, and adventures this summer, too. Thank you also to The Propagator for hosting this weekly opportunity to share what’s happening in our gardens!