Catching up in late August


In recent weeks this journal has devoted much space to bees and bugs, and given scant notice to all but a few plants in the garden. Despite August’s stifling heat and humidity, there is much in bloom and more to catch up on. P1012217

As the calendar turns to September there are flowering trees (Franklinia, Seven Sons Tree, crapemyrtles, some fading blooms of Sourwood, and a stray blossom on Jane and evergreen Alta magnolias), shrubs (paniculata and macrophylla hydrangeas, abelias, above, and caryopteris), and many late Summer blooming perennials.P1012310

Several weeks ago it was noted that the sturdy, useful Liriope muscari ‘Cleopatra’ was blooming ahead of the other liriopes. Following soon after were variegated Liriope (above), another staple of the southeastern garden, and its somewhat troublesome cousin, Liriope spicata (below).P1012285

The muscari liriopes are mannerly clumpers, seldom straying far, but spicatas, particularly the green (variegated Silver Dragon to a lesser degree), spread more aggressively. Some care should be exercised in placing the spicatas so as not to overrun less sturdy low growing perennials, but they are well suited for difficult to grow areas with dry shade and shallow tree roots. P1012338

My wife is not hesitant to bemoan my use of Liriope spicata as she pulls clumps from between the path stones on the front walk. She hasn’t caught on to the aggressive tendencies of another late August bloomer, Sweet Autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata, above). Thus far she has accepted my explanations that the sprawling vine climbing through the tall threadbranch cypress was well planned. After blooming, the entire mess must be pulled down and next year pruned to cover the wrought iron fence under the cypress.P1012082

I have little doubt this will be quite a challenge for my wife to handle. I have no patience for such trifling chores, preferring that things run amok until disaster is imminent. For good measure, I transplanted the hardy Passionvine (Passiflora, above) to a nice, sunny spot by the garden pavilion from its confinement in a container that prevented it romping about the garden.

In the Spring I will rig two heavy wires from the base of the pavilion’s corner column to the top, and then across the edge of the roof to the far corners. If she is diligent I’m certain the result will be splendid. If not …… well, we’ll presume that she keeps after it properly so  that we need not abandon the lower garden.P1012378

I have been neglectful in updating the progress of the Drift groundcover roses in the garden, planted in late Summer a year ago. I remarked in late Spring that I was more impressed than expected by the lush growth and heavy blooming, particularly with the Coral Drift (above). The Red and White have stayed fairly disease free, and have bloomed well, but Coral alone is superb, blooming nonstop for months.

And now we are nearly caught up with the goings on of the past month, so we’ll end today with the newest blossom in the garden, the Abyssian Gladiolus (below). I forgot what had been planted in this spot near the front pond (happens all the time), and had to track it down from last year’s bulb purchases. The foliage was nearly like crocosmia, but more upright, and not until the flower appeared was I able to track it down.

P1012399Later in the week we’ll explore the coneflowers and toad lilies, and then goldenrod, and Joe Pye weed will be blooming, so we’ll keep busy for a while.

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