bloom day hack august 2018

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The ‘Mesa Peach’ gaillardias seem to be this year’s answer to my craving for a low-growing summer daisy that fits in nicely among the permanently resident aloes and agaves. Similar water and light requirements, not too extravagant in summer growth size. So I went out in search for more last week to strengthen the narrative of intermittent golden clumps among succulents, shrubs and grasses to carry the garden through with some verve to November.* (Anthemis ‘Susannah Mitchell’ seemed like a contender in soft buttery yellow but is truthfully quite sprawly and inclined to smother neighboring plants. And the last clump died without any cuttings taking root, so that’s that.)

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At the nurseries there were some red gaillardias available but no ‘Mesa Peach.’ Not the color story I wanted to tell. But there were a couple Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar,’ a dwarf selection entirely new to me. Curiosity prevailed.

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Hello, little friend! From Jelitto, propagated by tissue culture. Perfectly grown nursery plants brought home in August is the quintessential garden hack. But then August deserves a good hack, doesn’t it? Fortunately, we’re having a temporary reprieve as far as high temperatures, dipping into the 80s for the week, so planting now is not the complete and utter madness it would seem. We’ll see if they make it to September bloom day. (And don’t even think of planting stuff like Calif. natives now.)

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The chocolate cosmos project 2018. Too many previous failures to count, but its deep color on small, perfectly formed daisies, luscious scent and long, swaying stems never fail to incite another desperate trial. Full sun, free draining potting soil this summer. It always fails in garden soil for me. I grab them when they become available at nurseries in August.  (Edited:  Flowered until January 2019!  The pot definitely helped extend the bloom — cold, wet soil shuts this cosmos down fast.)

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Using a metal shop stool to elevate the pot keeps the chocolate cosmos at nose and eye level and allows the dark red thunbergia, possibly ‘Arizona Dark Red,’ to spill down the sides. No aeoniums were harmed in the making of this project.

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Coleus ‘Inferno’ and ‘Henna’ were also brought home. Above is ‘Inferno.’

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The grevilleas are now the ever-blooming anchor plants of the garden, both ‘Moonlight’ and this one, ‘King’s Fire.’

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Aloe elgonica is joining in with other summer-blooming aloes.

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Lots of tillandsias sending out blooms.

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Several Bilbergia ‘Hallelujah’ are in bloom.

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As with last month’s report, solanum, salvia, anigozanthos, verbena, abutilon, valerian, leonotis, calamint, gomphrena are all still in bloom. Garden bloggers can file their bloom day reports on the 15th of every month with May Dreams Gardens.

*Succession planting –keeping the pace going and filling gaps in the garden until the end of the season, and we have a long if very dry growing season here in zone 10 — is more associated with vegetable gardening in the U.S. but also has vast ornamental implications. One of its most famous examples is the garden at Great Dixter, pioneered by Christopher Lloyd, powering on under Fergus Garrett. Lloyd’s book published in 2005 “Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure” lays out the general principles and is worth a read if you’re interested in this subject. Basically, it’s geared to hard-core plant lovers. And, obviously, the size of your garden, length of growing season, climate and rainfall play into how effectively one can exploit these ideas, but even just adding a pot of chocolate cosmos to the August garden or plugging in some rudbeckia among succulents falls under the umbrella of succession planting. Bloggers at The Lower Left Corner and Digging have each just returned from separate visits to Great Dixter and have photos with vivid examples of the results of this intensive, unflagging style of planting that leaves little ground uncovered.

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8 Responses to bloom day hack august 2018

  1. linda says:

    That Coleus ‘Inferno’ makes me reassess my not liking Coleus .

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m loving your chocolate cosmos at near nose level — perfect for getting through the dog days of summer, at least that’s what they are here in Austin. I’m ready for our 2nd gardening season to arrive (early October). Thanks for the shout-out for my Dixter post too.

  3. Excellent August hack! I’ve done similar here, although by just sinking a few things (nursery pot and all) into the dense ground level foliage. If it cheers me up that’s all that matters.

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Hack away, it all looks fabulous! After deciding not to grow coleus for a while, ‘Inferno’ changed my mind this year.

  5. Kris P says:

    I love ‘Hallelujah’!

  6. ks says:

    Well I have to say a Coleus was not something I expected from a Denise post. I’ve come full circle and have many this year. I have a cyclical relationship with Chocolate Cosmos-it comes in and it goes out and so on.I will have a spot for it again next year , though it will not be at eye level like yours !

  7. Hello Denise,
    Hmmm… I’m having similar feelings about Coleus as those other commenters. You may have just sparked a trend. Those Rudbeckia are drool-worthy, too.

    Your hack is a very clever move, and I like how you connected it to Succession planting — Aha! So true! And I really, really appreciate the call out to my post. Thank you! You literally singlehandedly tripled my blog’s traffic. I have to say it’s such a cool experience to also read up on Pam’s reaction to Great Dixter (and see her pictures in sun on a different day). Food for thought about gardens and the impressions they make on people. And now I really need to get my hands on a copy of Christopher Lloyd’s Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure.

    have a great August! (And let’s hope it stays cool).

  8. hb says:

    Your posts always offer food for a gardener’s thoughts. Thank you!

    In my garden in August Lagerstroemias save the day–or rather the month.

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