The month of August seems to have flown by with not much gardening getting done, due to the heat. The small amount of rain that we have had, has made no difference at all to the overall look of the garden, it just looks very dry in places. One border that is quite happy is the bog garden, so obviously our underground stream still has enough moisture in it to keep my plants happy. The other area is the Bee and Butterfly border up the drive. The plants here look happy and the flowers are bringing in the bees and butterflies as I hoped. Even so, there are certain areas that need improving and I think I will use this End of Month Review to monitor the changes here over the next few months. To start with, this is the view from the gateway.
I am very pleased with the planting just inside the gateway, the Agapanthus and Rudbeckia go so well together, the bees enjoying both of them and the butterflies enjoy the rudbeckia.
Next to them, flowering at the same time is this Kniphofia, but once again, the name slips my mind! The bees love it and I have seen wasps crawling up the tubes, but it wasn’t planted for them! These stems have finished now and been cut down, but 3 more are now emerging, the stems form good verticals amongst the other plants.
Next comes a pot of lilies, Lily Longiflorum, which are not reliably hardy, so the pot comes onto the front porch for the winter. These flowers are enjoyed by all sorts of flying insects and by me, I just love the perfume!
Throughout the border, Verbena bonariensis seeds itself around and is a really good plant for both bees and butterflies.
Next comes an area which is in need of improvement. The montbretia has put itself here, that can certainly go, along with the Alchemilla mollis and behind are some michelmas daisies that have seeded here too. I think this area would be a lot better if I repeated the previous plants that are further down the border. I already have some Rudbeckia and Agapanthus that I can bring from elsewhere, the lilies could be divided as they are pot bound by now, which just leaves some more Kniphofia to buy, not necessarily the same variety, but I do like the one I have.
Next comes a large clump of Penstemon Garnet. I have already taken a few cuttings so that eventually we might have 5 groups along the border. Penstemons provide nice tubes for the bees to crawl into.
Next in the border is a pink Buddleia which the butterflies and bees love. There are also blue and purple buddleias in this border, but the pink one is the one that everything seems to prefer, this has a Tortoiseshell butterfly visiting at the moment.
By the Buddleia is a large clump of wild michaelmas daisies, they have put themselves here and I have left them for a while as the bees and hoverflies love them, each day they are literally covered with them. I think though, that maybe I will move them to the back of the border next spring as they are obviously so good for the wildlife and repeat the agapanthus, rudbeckia, kniphofia and lily combination. It will be more interesting for me to look at anyway!
At the back of the border is Eupatorium purpureum, last year with all the rain we had, it was huge, at least 8 or 9 ft tall and the flowers were about 10 inches across. This year it is between 5 and 6 ft and the flowers are much smaller. The flowers aren’t quite out yet, still in bud, but last year this was the plant everything preferred to all else, it was a feeding frenzie! Hopefully it will be the same in a short while.
Behind the eupatorium, I found these crocosmia, goodness knows how they got there. Maybe they were with the eupatorium when my friend gave it to me. Anyway, they would look much better at the front of the border with some more agapanthus, kniphofia and lilies, don’t you think?
Another plant that self seeds through the border, although only a few are allowed to stay, are the evening primroses. Bees enjoy visiting, but then in late autumn and winter the seeds are loved by Goldfinches and I love watching them digging the seeds out.
The border is quite deep all the way down, maybe 10ft, and all that I have been describing is in the front half of the border. The back half is totally different, planted for winter and spring interest. At least now I have decided where I think I can improve the front half for next summer and will see how it looks next month, will I have done anything? Maybe not, because I think that all plants that flower now, shouldn’t be split or moved until the following spring, that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
Thanks must go to Helen at the Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month Review, do pay a visit to see interesting gardens from round the world.
Penstemon Garnet is a nice color Pauline. I am finding Penstemons quite useful in the garden and perhaps this would be a good one to try. Your Agapanthus and Rudbeckia make a happy combination. I agree with your sentiment, “Where has August gone?”
I like Penstemons too Susie, they are so easy to increase from cuttings. We have quite a few different ones in other borders and this is the time to be taking the cuttings, so maybe tomorrow…?
I’ve planted both agapanthus and rudbeckia in my mum’s garden this year, Pauline, but not together, and now you’ve given me a good idea, at least for one of her borders. At the mo, the agapanthus are with pink and white cosmos (planted by my sister), lavender, dianthus and stachys at the front and yellow coreopsis – a bit of a rainbow in fact! The rudbeckia is in front of orange crocosmia with white ox-eye daisies behind.
I have enjoyed reading your end of month view and particularly now want to look up how to take penstemon cuttings – it’s a plant I love and there’s plenty growing up at Capel Manor gardens for the students to take advantage of!!
Caro, your mum’s border sounds very colourful and also very good for bees and butterflies!
Lucky you having Capel Manor to raid for cuttings! Just cut off the top 2 or 3 inches from a side shoot of Penstemon and remove most of the leaves, even the ones that are left, I sometimes cut in half otherwise they wilt. The roots will be formed where the leaves joined the stem – easy- lots more plants for free, that’s what I like!
I agree the Rudbeckia and Agapanthus is a great combination. I admire your fabulous border. Even with hot August temperatures and little rain, it looks great.
I like parts of it Deb, but other parts leave a lot to be desired. Too many things have seeded around and they need editing! I think repeating what works will hopefully be an improvement.
Looking at your lovely photos Pauline makes me think that perhaps I should have added mine separately – it just takes so long for an EOMV post! It is really intriguing to see what is flowering elsewhere – the yellow kniphofia is lovely and nicely late flowering, must look out for that one, and that’s a lovely yellow crocosmia! Your eupatorium is lovely – but huge! I am hoping my recently acquired E ‘Baby Joe’ is equally lovely, but not huge! The agapanthus is stunning, isn’t it?
The yellow crocosmia was a surprise Cathy, when I went round the back of the border, must bring that forward so that it can be seen, it will contrast with the agapanthus. My friend gave me the eupatorium because it grew too big for her garden ( I think the crocosmia came with it) and it has plenty of room where it is, I’ve read that E. Baby Joe is a lot smaller so you should be ok. I don’t think you can have too many agapanthus, I love them!
It looks very good to me now, even before you begin your improvements! I love the clear yellows they really bring a light into the border. I look forward to reading about the shrubs at the back of the border.
Thanks Christina, yellow is so cheerful isn’t it! You have seen the trees and shrubs in the past forming winter interest at the back of the border, you will recognise them when they are wearing different colours!
I love that border with all the insect-friendly plants! I think the golden crocosmia will go well at the front. I also have a few evening primroses popping up… mostly they can stay as they do smell so lovely and the hawk-moths love them. Yes, August flew by, but was a lovely month – cooler than July. I’m currently enjoying the brief period between summer and autumn where there is nothing that needs to be done in the garden… yet!
At the moment Cathy, I just have to keep up with the deadheading, especially the buddleia, so that more flower spikes open for the butterflies. At last, the weeds seem to have stopped growing, so it’s time to just enjoy the garden in all the sunshine.
It’s difficult to know when to move things isn’t it. I’ve decided to bite the bullet and do it now, so I hope winter doesn’t strike us too early this year!!
You could be right Jessica, at least I can get rid of the things I don’t want anymore, then we can see how I feel about moving things from elsewhere. At least, having told you all, now I will have to do it!
That Agapanthus/Rudbeckia combination is stunning, with the cool yellow Kniphophias and Lilies adding elegance. The yellow Crocosmia should look great there, too. I agree with your idea of adding more clumps of the same combinations that are already working well. My pink Buddleia always attracts more butterflies than the other colours, too. Maybe it has more nectar. It will be great to see this same border in a year’s time and compare.
I’m getting so that I like more of the same Lyn, rather than lots of different plants. This is what I’ve done to other borders and I think they look better. When I first started gardening, I just wanted one of everything, but then, over the years, decided they looked a bit bitty. Also, as I get older, it makes dealing with the border easier, as everything gets done at the same time.
I do like your yellow and blue combinations. I think the pale yellow pokers are so much more attractive than those red and orange ones. Your agapanthus are fabulous. Mine are still in pots and dont flower that well so I am wondering if I should bit the bullet and plant them out, dont think I will have much to loose.
Thanks for joining in again this month
Hi Helen, I’m like you , not very keen on the red/orange kniphofias and was so pleased when I found the pale yellow one, now I just have to try and remember where I got it from! Are your agapanthus deciduous? If so, they should be ok, although I think you have colder winters than we do, maybe a good mulch would help. Usually it is the evergreen ones that aren’t hardy.
The Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium) is in full bloom here. Sadly, we are short on butterflies because we’ve had so much rain! Your pink butterfly bush is very handsome. Even without rain, the garden looks full and thriving.
Hi Marian, the Eupatorium that I have is a hybrid which grows larger in all its parts! I do have some of the wild one, here and there, and they are just as attractive as my special one.I’m finding that the buddleias with the most perfume are the ones that the butterflies like best, my next post is about butterflies and the white one which is an all time favourite with them!
I’m a fan of penstemon ‘Garnet’ too Pauline having just bought one as a replacement for one I had some years ago. Unfortunately it’s still too small for cuttings material but maybe next year 🙂 Your yellows and blues are a such a cheerful combination and I can see your crocosmia fitting in with that group too. Look forward to reading about how the border develops and what you decide to change.
Your penstemon Anna, will soon grow and put out lots of side shoots, you will be happily taking cuttings from next year! There are flowers in this border from January with some snowdrops and hellebores but I think I need to add more!
Your bee and butterfly border is lovely – and I’m interested to see the flowers the bees and butterflies are enjoying. I’m going to plant some Agapanthus for next year and more Rudbeckia – two flowers I love at this time of year. Evening Primroses are welcome here, too, although they usually spring up in the wrong place. But I adore the scent and, as you say, they are great winter food for the Goldfinches.
Wendy, the Agapanthus and rudbeckia go so well together, I think I’m going to repeat them in other areas of the garden as I like them so much. I can remember my Mum asking me why I had left the dried stalks of evening primrose in the border, then before I could reply, a charm of goldfinches landed and started to eat the seed, I didn’t need to say any thing after that! I think once you have them, they will always be there, I hope so.
A really beautiful garden!
I love all the blue and yellows!
Have a wonderful week!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Lea, glad you like the colour scheme!
Pauline, is this the other part of the cornus and betula papyrifera at the beginning of your driveway? Well I loved that part in spring and I’m loving this second part in late summer. I totally approve the changes you have in mind, that kniphofia is really something, I love its creamy green, and it goes perfectly with the electric blue agapanthus! Repeat that combination and you’ll have a great border, I can picture that!
Alberto, you’ve guessed – yes, you’re right! Thank you for your lovely comments about the border, I like the way it changes totally in autumn with the burgundy leaves of the cornus then in the winter with the red stems of the cornus and white bark of all the betulas.