August Top Ten Blooms.

This is going to be my last monthly Top Ten Bloom post. I have been doing it for several years now and it is getting to be a bit repetitive. Right now I would rather be writing about my Mediterranean garden or my Henri Rousseau garden or beautiful foliage. The other problem is that sometimes at the beginning of the month there is something stunning that I would like to write about and then by the 23rd it is past its best and so I never do get round to it.

Anyway, I shall try and avoid plants I have mentioned in previous posts, I don’t want to repeat myself year after year. And I shall keep this short; I won’t be rambling today or sneakily fitting in far more than ten blooms as I usually do because I am writing with only one functional eye. The other is black and blue and swollen after coming off worse in an argument with a vicious, pointy branch of silver birch, Betula allbosinensis ‘Pink Champagne’. Actually, it wasn’t an argument, it was an unprovoked attack.

I love daisies of any kind so this is where I shall start. Echinaca purpurea is reliable and the clumps get bigger every year. It seeds around too.

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’

I’m only at number one and all ready I am popping in a few extra blooms. This year I broke my rule of not buying any fancy new echinacea hybrids because so far they have never survived to see another year. But I couldn’t resist ‘Tomato Soup’.

Echinacea x hybrida ‘Tomato Soup’

And then this one with a topknot caught my eye; ‘Eccentric’ is a good name for it.

Echinnacea x hybrida ‘Eccentric’

And then as I was really getting into buying echinaceas I thought I would throw in this pale pink one too. I have hardly bought any plants during this plague year so a little over-indulgence in echinaceas of doubtful hardiness is allowable.

Echinacea ‘Pink Top’

I love rudbeckias too and usually I grow some from seed but this year I didn’t get round to it so I bought one. It has the ridiculous name of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Happy Smiley’. I nearly gave it a miss because of its ridiculous name but it is so pretty. You can also get ‘Laughing Smiley’ or ‘Giggling Smiley’ if you can bear to possess plants with such silly names.

Echinacea hirta ‘Happy Smiley’

I persist in growing hostas despite the constant battle with slugs and snails. But if I ever gave them up I would always keep Hosta plantaginea or one of its family because the flowers are so pretty and most importantly they have a delicious scent. I have Hosta ‘Guacamole’ in a cast iron urn so it never gets attacked by slugs and I pick the flowers because they make the room smell lovely. This gorgeous hosta is a sport of ‘Fragrant Bouquet’. It has shiny, apple- green leaves streaked with dark green so it is pretty all summer long, but it is the fragrant flowers that I grow it for.

Hosta ‘Guacamole’

Each year I grow a few different cosmos, they are so quick and easy from seed and they are lovely for cutting. This year my favourite is Cosmos ‘Cupcakes Blush’. I love the shape of the flowers and the pinked edges to the petals.

Cosmos ‘Cupcakes’
Cosmos ‘Cupcakes’

But I also like the ruffled flowers of Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’.

Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’

I seem to be straying into more than one for each bloom, so for the rest of my August selection I will confine myself to just one. It is a shame to miss out Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ or ‘Limpopo’ and ‘Hellfire’ or dainty ‘ Golden Ballerina,’ but never mind I can show you another time. Today I am featuring Crocosmia’ Fire King’ because it was a new one last year. It looks lovely with the jolly French Marigolds ‘Flamenco’. I think these are rather fun, I might put some in a pot next year. How times change, a few years I would have been appalled at the idea of growing French Marigolds. Now my Henri Rousseau garden has opened me up to a whole new world of colour.

Tagetes patula ‘Flamenco’

Nearby I have a little species dahlia called ‘Dark Desire’ which looks good with the stripey Tagetes patula ‘Jolly Jester.’ on the right there are the orange pouches of Calceolaria ‘Kentish Hero’

Whoops, I’m digressing again. Back to the crocosmia which is contributing to the bonfire effect in my exotic garden,

Crocosmia ‘Fire King’

I love white bell- shaped flowers and I love white flowers and Galtonia candicans ticks both boxes. It is a bulbous perennial and as it produces plenty of seeds it is easy to grow on and I always have some to give away or put in a pot. I also grow a green- flowered one called Galtonia viridiflora.

Galtonia candicans
Galtonia viridiflora

If your idea of gladiolus is the large- flowered, (dare we say vulgar) flowers that Dame Edna Everage used to pelt her audience with, then I think that the elegant Gladiolus ‘Papilio Ruby’ will astonish you with its sophisticated charm. It grows in my gravel garden and I hope it will survive the winter, I am not quite sure of its hardiness.

Gladiolus ‘Papilio Ruby’
Gadioolus ‘Papilio Ruby’

I love the pixie cap flowers of the climbing plant, Codonopsis lanceolata which is happy with a couple of bamboo sticks to scale. It dies back each year after flowering. I grow it in pots although I have found that it survives outside in my gravel garden too. It has delightful bell -shaped green flowers which are marked with rusty purple inside. I believe the roots of these plants are eaten in their native Korea and they have medicinal properties. But I’ll stick with carrots. This plant produces plenty of seed so you never need be without it.

I have another codonopsis with pure white flowers called Codonopsis greywilsonii ‘Himel Snow’ which blooms a little earlier in July.

Codonopsis grey-wilsonii ‘Himel Snow’

I shall finish with my Chaste Tree, Vitex agnus- casti. Last year I saw this growing wild around the ancient site of Mystras overlooking Sparta in Greece. We should be going there next week but this year I shall just have to enjoy it in the garden instead. The Ancient Greeks grew it round temples because they thought it helped to keep women chaste whilst they were in frenzied worship during rituals celebrating their virgin goddess, Artemis. Pliny wrote of them ‘They made their pallets and beds with the leaves thereof to cool the heat of their lust’. Centuries later, I believe monks made tea from leaves of the plant for the same purpose. Nowadays, it is a useful plant for late summer blooms. Like Hibiscus syriacus, it comes into leaf late in the year. I am told the leaves are similar to those of cannabis. I have never seen cannabis growing but I have seen it recommended as a handsome foliage plants in old gardening books. I am not very keen on buddleia but although the flower spikes of this are similar, I think it is much more attractive.

Vitex agnus-castus.

So there we have ten August blooms with just a few digressions. It could be worse, if I hadn’t got a black eye I should probably have gone off at a total tangent into the cult of Artemis in the Peloponnese which I find fascinating. And there would be more flowers. As it is I am saving my beloved dahlias for another post and here are a few more in a gallery.

So that is the last of my Top Ten Blooms. It would be lovely if you would share some of your August favourites.

From now on each month I shall feature either whatever is looking good in the greenhouse or I shall choose something a bit rare or unusual. I haven’t quite decided which. I would appreciate a little input, which would you prefer; monthly greenhouse plants or something unusual?

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39 Responses to August Top Ten Blooms.

  1. Catherine Doran says:

    I enjoy all your posts Chloris, you have a fabulus plant collection, but I especially enjoy the posts about your greenhouse as I am trying to grow some of the more unusual bulbs in pots myself. If you had time to put in an occasional hint or tip regarding your plants in pots it would be much appreciated.

  2. Catherine Doran says:

    I forgot to say that I hope your eye gets better soon !

  3. I can never get tired of looking at flowers and I would like to see both.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    ‘Ruby’ Gladiolus papilio is RAD! Someone sent me my first Gladiolus papilio two years ago. I am very pleased to grow perennial gladiolus. I only recently became aware that there are a few cultivars of them! What I have now is more than enough, and I need not add more color, . . . but I could in the future. I still like the vulgar hybrids, but they are not perennial here.
    Crocosmia is interesting too. It is such an aggressive weed here that I never considered trying any of the cultivars. I was aware of ‘Lucifer’, but could not understand why anyone would intentionally plant it. I saw a naturally occurring colony of yellow crocosmia when I was a kid, but did not bother to get any of the bulbs. I probably should have. I would not have minded adding them to an area that is already overwhelmed by the common sort.

    • Chloris says:

      I love Gladiolus ‘Ruby’ too. Some of the new crocosmia hybrids are not aggresive spreaders.

      • tonytomeo says:

        The common aggressive crocosmia is still my favorite (and my least favorite) because it is familiar. They are too easy to grow for me to crave others. The gladiolus are appealing because I had never experienced them before. I do happen to enjoy the fancy hybrids, but they are not much more than annuals.

  5. Tina says:

    I’m miss your tribute to the tens, but certainly understand that the commitment of a monthly meme drags a bit. I enjoy all your posts and will continue to do so. You have some real beauties this month, but I love the Cosmos ‘Cupcakes’–it’s a cutie.

  6. bcparkison says:

    Oh goodness. A black eye is better than losing your sight. Bless your heart and I do hope you are better.We never know what awaits us in the great outdoors.

  7. Jo Shafer says:

    That’s one reason I prefer write and post something weekly into of an all-inclusive monthly report. Gardens constantly evolve. Tomatoes ripen (eventually) while cucumbers babies dry up and fall off the vine and waste no time about it. And a gorgeous rose one week may be eaten alive by aphids the following week. Oh, well.

  8. bittster says:

    I’m so sorry about your black eye. I can only imagine the tempting stories which you’ve considered telling when asked about it, but thank you for the one which sounds legitimate. For safety I will keep a good distance between myself and the little albosinensis in the side garden.
    August looks wonderful in your garden and I can’t wait to see an update from the tropics… but on the other hand your greenhouse is far more of a mystery than it should be and that’s where I’ll put my vote!

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Gosh, you’re going to need to wear protective goggles in order to garden safely! Sorry about your mishap – sounds nasty. I’m glad your eyeball wasn’t harmed.
    I always love to pore over your bloom posts, Liz – you have the most unusual and lovely plants!

    • Chloris says:

      I think you are right, I should wear goggles when I am messing about with trees. Thank you Eliza, I am glad you like my flower posts. There will always be flowers, but not always on the 23rd of the month, it was becoming a bit of a bind.

  10. Kris P says:

    I hope your eye improves quickly! I understand how you feel about repeating yourself as I feel that about my mid-month Bloom Day posts (and my quarterly wide shots) too but the photographic record is useful so I persevere. I suspect your readers aren’t at all perturbed by any repetition, especially given the breadth of your plant collection. There’s always something that catches my attention in your posts, even if/when I sadly have to accept that it’s something I can’t grow. I expect that I’ll enjoy whatever you choose to feature in future blog posts, although as I don’t have a greenhouse to grow in, I’d probably get more out of posts focusing on unusual plants.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Kris, my eye is better now. I shall still write about flowers of course, but I would like a bit of flexibility about what I write about and when.

  11. alison41 says:

    I always enjoy your posts so whatever you feel like writing about is fine by me. Another comment said: I can never get tired of looking at flowers – me too! You gave us some vibrant colours in this August selection, particularly the Jolly Jester – aptly named. The colour of Papilio Ruby was gorgeous. I like the idea of a themed garden but on the other hand, the plants in Greece sound wonderful – I suspect some of them grow here in Cape Town too, as we have a Mediterranean type climate here on the southern tip of Africa. Hope your eye has healed – ouch.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Alison, my eye is better now. I am so glad you enjoy my posts. Gladiolus ‘Ruby’ is a stunner. Lucky you having a Mediterranean type climate.

  12. Heyjude says:

    Trees have a nasty habit of poking you, fortunately I only have bruised arms after tackling the contorted Hazel, I’m now thinking goggles are not a bad idea! Like other people have mentioned I just love looking at your beautiful blooms, but I also would like more of your ‘gardens’. And an occasional visit to the greenhouse so I can have greenhouse envy!

    • Chloris says:

      I am going to wear goggles from now on, I only narrowly missed my eye. Thank you, I realise that by concentrating on monthly blooms I never do any long shots of the garden. And I shall be visiting the greenhouse soon.

  13. All absolutely delightful. I especially like the shape of cosmos cupcakes. Sorry to hear about your eye though. You are the second person I know in the last few months to suffer this injury and it is all too easy to do. Hope you are recovered soon. BTW did you know that RHS Hyde Hall are running a rudbeckia trial this year, with ~80 varieties planted out or thereabouts and a People’s Choice vote (till end September). Your Happy Smiley is great, in spite of it’s name (bit like the Dahlia ‘Happy Wink’). Your posts all have interesting snippets and tales, so whichever you choose will be fine with me!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you, my eye is fine now. Yes, my gardening friends visited Hyde Hall and told me about the rudbeckia trials. I do love any sort of daisies and rudbeckias come in such gorgeous colours.

  14. Pauline says:

    So sorry to hear about your eye, I hope it is healing up nicely, Gardens can be very dangerous places as I know to my cost! I will miss your interesting posts, you always have such unusual plants that i can’t grow in my heavy soil, you mentioned foliage, that would interest me, I miss the foliage posts that I used to join with.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Pauline, my eye is fine now, I am very clumsy and always hurting myself in the garden. I have just posted a foliage post as it occured to me that I hadn’t written about it for ages.

  15. Cathy says:

    I really wouldn’t mind at all what you write about Chloris as reading your posts is always a pleasure and often amusing whatever the subject! You have such wonderful plants (with wonderful names!). I am with you on the Echinacea front and have planted quite a few this year hoping at least some will be hardy and return next year. Tomato Soup is one I nearly bought, but I went for another orangey red one called Julia instead. Love the look of the Cupcake cosmos. I hope your eye isn’t too uncomfortable and your lovely garden can distract you from it. 😃

  16. Cathy says:

    Well, there you go Chloris, it is clear that you can write whatever you want and we will all lap it up because you are both knowledgeable and entertaining – I hope you can cope with such a commendation! I would welcome more posts on your greenhouse, as I am still looking for ideas on what to fill it with. Like Kris, I find some sort of a monthly record useful, so I shall probably still post some highlights, but not necessarily on a fixed date.

    As always you have given us a varied mix , with new ideas to take on board and the ridiculous naming of rudbeckias! I shall look into Vitex agnus-castus and am sorry you are not able to visit Greece this year as planned. Hope your eye heals promptly

    I realise I have forgotten to include any eucomis in my post, but here it is anyway:

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Cathy, you are very kind. I don’t want to stop writing about what is in bloom but it is the fixed date which I found a tie. And sometimes I felt like writing about something else entirely. I shall write about what is looking good in the greenhouse soon.
      Thank you for sharing your August blooms.

  17. snowbird says:

    Oh, you poor thing, I hope your eye gets better soon. I got stabbed in the eye with a plumbranch once and was shocked when the world turned pink due to it bleeding. I would like to see alternate posts about the greenhouse and unusual plants. Talking of which you have some lovely unusual plants here, I love them all, especially that cosmos and hosta, I must look out for them and Eccentric. I wonder if five year old came up with Happy Smiley???xxx

    • Chloris says:

      Trees are dangerous. Well, gardens are dangerous for clumsy people like me. Even worse for the Pianist who only has to step outside to get grabbed by a rose thorn or step on a rake. I am going to write about what is happening in the greenhouse sometime soon.

  18. Anna says:

    Oh that eye injury sounds nasty Chloris. I hope that you heal quickly. Your posts are always a joy to read whatever topic or plant you are writing about. Look forward to whatever you decide to focus on. By the way does codonopsis smell unpleasant or am I confusing it with something else?

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