Garden Update: July turns to August

The garden was looking great in the middle of July.  I was worried that it would all be over when our visitors arrived at the beginning of August. I should have had more faith.  The later flowering plants excelled and the garden continued to look good.

I took these shots one early morning near the end of July.

Early morning silhouette of tall verbena

Early morning garden


verbena silhouette

verbena silhouette

I can’t believe how tall my verbena have grown. This is the first time I have tried them and they must be at least 8 feet! I wish they had put the same effort into their flower heads though, as these have not been so impressive. I was a bit disappointed to learn, from Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden, that these need to be treated as annuals up here in Scotland, but as least that gives me the opportunity to group them together next year as she has done. I think they look more impressive like that. A friend of mine recently suggested that it could be our long days that makes everything grow so tall here.

My Ladybird poppies, however, have not done nearly so well this year as last. I mixed some of my own seeds with those of a new packet as I didn’t want to risk an area with no poppies at all.  Some even came up nothing like Ladybirds, even though they were very pretty. I’m blaming the packet seeds for those anomalies!

strange ladybird poppy

strange ladybird poppy

They did look lovely in the early morning light though….

Early morning poppies

Early morning poppies

. . . as did the Persicaria,

Persicaria Red Dragon

Persicaria Red Dragon

the Cosmos. . . .

Cosmos 'Sonata White'

Cosmos ‘Sonata White’

and the newly opened Heleniums.

Heleniums 'Moerheim Beauty'

Heleniums ‘Moerheim Beauty’

One of my favourites at this time of the year is a herbaceous potentilla – I think it may be ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’. It is such a vivid red that the photo doesn’t really do it justice. I have had this plant for many years and it always does well even when split and moved.

Red potentilla

Red potentilla

Another plant that has been incredible this year is the Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ – see top banner.

There are a lot of other yellow plants in the garden too.

yellow flowers

Santavitalia ‘Cuzco Compact’

This has been beautiful all summer. It is not totally hardy, though, so I am not sure what I am going to do with it over the winter. I am considering buying a frame to keep a few things in over winter.

Delicate flower heads of Inula

Delicate flower heads of Inula

This Inula is a lovely splash of colour in my shady garden round the side.

There are a few other combinations that have worked well.

Lobelia and mesembryanthemum

Lobelia and mesembryanthemum

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' and Echinops

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and Echinops

Penstemon (unknown) and Physostegia 'Snow Queen'

Penstemon (unknown) and Physostegia ‘Snow Queen’

The top of the long border is looking better than the rest at this time of the year.

Top of long border

Top of long border

Here you can see, from left to right:

  • Blue geranium  ‘Roxanne’
  • Orange Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’
  • Orange Gaillardia ‘Goblin’ – at front
  • White cystus (finished)
  • Silver leaves of Helichrysum ‘Icicles’ (not fully hardy)
  • Blue Geranium (finished)
  • Variagated Eleagnus (against fence)
  • Red geum and poppies (just couple of flowers at front)
  • Yellow Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar’ – a great small version.
  • Orange Erysimum ‘Apricot Delight’
  • Red leaves of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ at front.
  • Yellow Coriopsis ‘Moonbeam’
  • Dark leaves of Lobelia cardinalis
  • Red potentilla dotted about (though you will probably only see it if you click on the photo to see the larger version!)

Some of you may have been wondering what happened to the eggs on the Persicaria.  OK, I know you have probably long forgotten about my eggs, but I am going to tell you anyway!

Well I watched and I watched, and then they started looking a bit darker in colour. Finally, one day I looked at them and they had clearly hatched. Half of the leaf had been eaten and there were a few minuscule caterpillars on the leaf.  If you get your magnifying glasses out you can just make out a few.

eggs hatched

eggs hatched

I watched the caterpillars for a while and they seemed to be acting very strangely. They seemed to be crawling to the edge of the leaf and then disappearing. After a bit of careful detective work, which involved holding my hand under the leaf, I deduced that they were just launching themselves off the edge!  Can anyone explain this behaviour? Clearly the ones that had hatched earlier had managed to eat part of the leaf, but there were no signs anywhere of any larger caterpillars.  Oh well, another garden mystery remains unsolved for now.

Elsewhere in the garden the wildlife has been helping with general maintenance:

moss blackbirds

The blackbirds have been assisting in moss removal from the front lawn


and hundreds of wasps have been cleaning the front path of aphid honeydew from an overhanging tree.

They did get a bit distracted from their work when we had a barbecue, so we had to give them a treat of saucers of jam to keep them in the right part of the garden!

Well that is  how my garden was looking a few weeks ago.  I think Autumn has arrived since I started writing this, but that will be the next post. . . .

Next Garden Update: Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day: Space Invaders

22 thoughts on “Garden Update: July turns to August

  1. Lovely; lots of beautiful things in bloom. You have done well. I find the second half of August quite difficult, specially after all the high winds we have had. September is better for me.

  2. Catching up Annette. Your August garden looks superb. Your long border is a riot of colour.
    Was thinking only today of moving my P Red Dragon up to the top border and your picture has confirmed it for me. I wasn’t sure the foliage would clash.
    Glad to read your visitors had a good time. Ingenious way to keep the wasps distracted, I’ll be using that I’m sure!

    • Thanks Angie. I am thinking of moving the Persicaria back just a little so trying to decide where at the moment. We are never happy to leave things are we?
      The wasps were very worrying though as there were so many of them – we got through an awful lot of jam and still one person got stung. It could have been a lot worse without my sister’s good idea though. We had to put up barriers on the path to stop people walking into them! Couldn’t find the nest anywhere either, but I suppose they will just go soon once it gets colder.

    • I first saw them on a local garden visit and fell in love with them. They should be much larger than mine were this year; I really don’t know what went wrong either. They are well worth trying though as you just sow directly into the ground. They are certainly stunning.

    • Well to be honest, many of the photos were taken at the end of July. My garden still has quite a few flowers, but the taller ones are all looking rather battered. My tall verbena looks decidedly drunk! I also have half my beech tree (twigs, leaves and nuts) all over the garden so quite a tidy up operation required. I do wonder whether that is the end of the summer for us, but it did start early I suppose.

  3. I think it is a good idea to review the month a couple of weeks after rather than on the 30th or 31st, looking back at photographs I’m always a bit surprised, as I have a different memory of how things looked. I should think that the caterpillars were dropping into the soil for the next part of their life cycle, maybe to over winter.

    • We have been away so much this year that I have found it difficult to stick to any routine for GBBD and End of Month View, but they have been there nagging at me to get the photos taken. Thank goodness or the year would have rushed by without any record of it.
      Maybe that is what the caterpillars were doing, but they were so tiny – I hope they found something else to eat first.

  4. Pingback: Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day: July | My Aberdeen Garden

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