The August garden sags a bit. My plants look as if they have spent too long at a cocktail party and they are having trouble staying upright. They loll about, leaning on each other and they have all taken their corsets off and let their hair down. I am constantly running round with drinks of water and trying to tidy them up with string, stakes and secateurs. They are probably singing bawdy songs and behaving improperly when I’m not looking. But I shouldn’t complain as there are plenty of blooms to enjoy.
Just like last month and next month, my number one bloom is the dahlia but I shall leave it off the list today because I want to feature my exotic garden in a future post. So I shall start with glorious agapanthus. They are all huge headed and grown from seed, I grow them on my beach round the shed.
I have so many new plants coming on from seed that I shall have to think of new ways of displaying them. Maybe I will line them up either side of the garden path in the front garden. I have them in shades of blue and white.
Most people love umbellifers and I have a shrubby Bupleurum fruticosum which blooms for weeks with yellow flowers which are always covered in insects. The foliage is blue-green and leathery, a bit like an olive tree. This shrub comes from the Mediterranean so it needs a sunny spot. It looks good with blue agapanthus or feathery, blue Perovskia atriplicifolia. So far I haven’t managed to strike any cuttings but I keep trying.
Every year I write about the gorgeous hollyhock which isn’t quite a hollyhock, xAlcalthea suffrutescens ‘Parkallee’ which I adore for its lovely , pale coffee cream coloured blooms with ruffled curly centres and lilac anthers. The flowers are sterile so they bloom for weeks. They get bigger every year and need to be firmly staked. They have lovely healthy blue green leaves with not a trace of rust. I have written about its history here so I won’t go into it again.
This year I thought I would try seeds of an ordinary hollyhock, Alcea ‘Creme de Cassis’ and it has terrible rust so next year it will probably have to go, although it is pretty.
My Solanum ‘Creche ar Pape’ is fabulous and sprawling all over the fence with its white flowers delicately shaded with lilac. It is so much prettier than the earlier flowering Solanum crispum which looks like what it is- a potato plant. Some nurseries try to make the name more grammatical by calling it ‘Creche du Pape’ but it comes from a garden in Brittany called Creche ar Pape’. You see it a lot in France.
August is hydrangea time but Suffolk is a bit too dry for them to do really well. I never used to like them much because they reminded me of seaside bungalows. So I don’t really grow them. But I fell in love with beautiful Hydrangea ‘Ayesha’ when I found it growing in my previous garden. It has beautiful flowerheads with incurved petals and it is slightly fragrant. Hydrangeas are easy from cuttings so it came with here me. I also brought the oak leaved ‘Hydrangea quercifolia and Hydrangea villosa. Well, they didn’t cost me anything.
And then a few years ago my son bought me a nice blue and white striped hydrangea in a pot which I planted out when it had finished flowering . It is pink now as I don’t have an acid soil but it looks lovely with Persicaria amplexicaulis.
And then I thought I would like the snow white Hydrangea ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’ so I have that too. Only it is not snow white, is is decidedly pink. Perhaps it was wrongly labelled.
And then who can resist the enormous white heads of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’? Not me.
And I have to admit there are some lovely new Hydrangea paniculata hybrids. ‘Pinky Winky’ is my guilty secret. A plant with a name like that has to be hidden away. It’s hiding behind a rather lush Forest Pansy. Maybe with a bit more water it wouldn’t look more wishy -washy than ‘Pinky Winky’.
So it seems that without really meaning to I do have some hydrangeas but they don’t grow big and lush like they do in Cornwall.
I can never make up my mind about Hibiscus syriacus. It is so late coming into leaf that each spring I wonder if it is dead. But then in August it is covered in such beautiful flowers that you forgive it. Mine was a gift many years ago from Ivan Dickens who used to be the chief propagator for Notcutts Nursery. I can’t remember if he named it. I love its lilac flowers with red centres.
People warn about the terrible thuggish suckering of Clerondendron bungeii but I think it needs damper soil than I can provide to roam as it doesn’t spread much in my garden. It has heart shaped leaves which smell a bit foxy but they are quite attractive. I have a variegated one called ‘Pink Diamond’ which is very pretty. The clusters of flowers are very showy and sweet scented.
Modern echinacea hybrids come in some edible colours and I have wasted money on quite a few irresistible ones in recent years but they never survive the winter, so now I content myself with pink Echinacea purpurea which is pretty enough. It looks wonderful growing with grasses. In fact it looks wonderful anywhere and it seeds about so I have it all the way down the border.
Ok, yet again I have been tempted by a couple of new ones. ‘Fatal Attraction’ was bred by Piet Oudolf so I am hoping it will be more reliable than some of the transient beauties which have tempted me in the past.
I also bought Echinacea ‘Sensation Pink’ which is rather pretty too.
I can never resist daisy flowers and now we have the first Michaelmas Daisies in bloom. And of course we have to remember to call some of them Symphiotrichum and some of them asters and others something entirely different. This is my first one in bloom and I can’t remember its name. I think it could be Aster frikartii ‘Wunder von Strafe’.
Aster x frikartii ‘Mönch’ is just coming out and it goes on blooming for weeks. Beth Chatto thought it was the very best aster and I tend to agree. And it doesn’t need staking like many asters do.
And now for something completely different. I just love the bell shaped flowers of codonopsis. I have the rare white Codonopsis grey-wilsonii ‘Himel Snow’ which blooms in July.
This year I am enjoying the large flowers of Codonopsis lanceleolata growing up a tripod of sticks in my gravel garden. I can’t remember where I got it from, I have a feeling it may have been a gift from a blogging friend, if so, thank you to whoever it was and sorry for being so ungrateful as to forget who gave it to me. It has exotic looking bell shaped flowers which are lined with purple. They look like pixie caps.
These are my ten but I have left out so many other beauties so here is a gallery of a few of the omissions. Do join me and link up with your Top Ten August Blooms.