August is a mixed bag in the garden, with parts of the garden exuberantly bulging out of bounds while other areas grow threadbare. Bocconia and tetrapanax share the award for most frequent dropping of big, yellowing leaves, and the melianthus has typically thinned out by August too.
Thank heavens for summer-blooming aloe, ‘Cynthia Giddy.’ (Also blooming is Aloe elgonica. Aloe ‘Kujo’ is without blooms for the first time in months.) Lilac-pink blooms almost out of frame belong to a valerian, Centranthus lecoqii, from the Huntington plant sale a year or so ago.*
I prefer this color to the muddy red of Centranthus ruber, and it seems to reseed less too.
A NOID Kelly Griffin hybrid aloe has been reblooming at the path’s edge all summer, with Verbena bonariensis.
Max Parker’s splendid gift of Passiflora ‘Flying V’ has kindled an interest in these vines that love Southern California. I’m partial to the “bat-wing” leaf types but willing to explore all kinds, particularly nonrampant varieties that aren’t touted in catalogue descriptions as “perfect for quickly covering a chain-link fence.” No thanks. ‘Anastasia’ gets great reviews, and I’m also leaning toward P. holosericea (Max blogs at hook and spur.) ‘Flying V’ has been blooming all summer but is looking particularly fine now in August, more lush and with larger leaves.
Rudbeckia triloba is an August garden’s antidepressant.
Bursting through the passionflower trellis.
And crawling on the ground when it eludes support.
Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ is crowding Aloe ‘Hercules,’ which I’m hoping gains enough height soon to soar out of harm’s way. In the meantime, the grevillea was tied back a bit to give the aloe more elbow room.
That’s Stipa ichru arching its blooms over gaillardia. The tally of yellow daisies in my garden this summer include this Gaillardia “Mesa Peach,’ Berlandiera lyrata, and Anthemis ‘Susannah Mitchell,’ the latter slowing down in August. The chocolate flower, berlandiera, really loves the heat of August.
Succulent-leaved Crithmum maritimum, the Rock Samphire, really starts surging in July. I recently saw this cliff dweller featured in a vertical garden design. It’s that tough of a plant.
Lavender ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ and Ruby Grass are starting to pick up the pace in August.
Ruby Grass, Melinus nerviglumis, really is the perfect size for a small garden. When I read in The Bold Dry Garden that Ruth Bancroft also liked to use this grass among her succulents, that was all the validation I needed.
Tall and lanky Amicia zygomeris has a typical pea flower, yellow in color, but the purply stipules and lush, healthy foliage are more the attraction.
Also thinning out are the flowering wands of the bog sage, Salvia uliginosa, but still with enough presence to continue bringing in the hummingbirds.
Anigozanthus flavidus turns out to be the perfect partner for supporting the bog sage. The kangaroo paw’s yellow flowers were aging and browning, so I snipped off only the flowers and left the stems to continue supporting the sage. This goes against accepted wisdom to cut the entire bloom truss of kangaroo paws down at the base for best rebloom, but I will attend to that later in fall.
The vine Solanum valerianum ‘Navidad Jalisco’ has been thinning out and dropping leaves, and in this case it’s a relief to clear it back and off the lemon cypresses as blooms fade.
The stock tank cutting garden doles out a few blooms every day, like Dahlia ‘Twyning’s After Eight.’
The gesneriad from the Denver Botanic Garden plant sale, Chirita flavimaculata, has been surprisingly floriferous, planted at the base of the tetrapanax.
Two of the four trusses of Eryngium pandanifolium are still deeply colored, while the first two to bloom have faded to a buff color.
Not pictured but deserving of notice, Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ is a summer mainstay, as are the calamints. For more August reports, head over to the host site for Bloom Day, May Dreams Gardens.
*(Edited to note the subsequent removal of Aloes ‘Cynthia Giddy’ and ‘Kujo’ due to aphid infestations, something I’ve noted seems more problematic with hybrid aloes. ‘Moonglow’ has this tendency as well and may possibly be managed by thinning out leaves and branches periodically and spraying with insecticidal soap. The aphids literally suck the vigor from the plant, killing off entire leaves, reducing flowering, etc.)