I thought I would post a different flower I have come across daily for 30 days – these can include perennials, annuals, wildflowers, vegetable flowers, greenhouse flowers…I’m not sure how it is going to work here, but I’m going to give it a try. As it is August, these are late summer into fall blooming flowers. Most of the photos will be by me, but I have a neighbor who takes photos of my garden flowers which are beautiful, so I might use some of hers. I’ll give her credit when they are hers.
Day 1 August 10
Echinacea purpurea or purple cone flower. It is a perennial, but it also generously reseeds itself. On top of the flower is a red admiral with very torn wings! I wonder how it became so ragged? The purple cone flower is a sun loving flower and a member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 2, August 11
Petunia x hybrida or petunia. It is a member of the solanaceae family so that means it is related to tomatoes, peppers, and deadly nightshade! Petunias are an annual and they prefer sunshine. There are hundreds of varieties, but they are categorized into four groups: Grandiflora, Multiflora, Milliflora, and Groundcover (spreading). This eye catching basket is hanging outside of a popular coffee shop!
Day 3, August 12
Aster macrophyllus or large-leaved aster. This is a perennial wildflower that I found blooming on the Superior Hiking Trail, which follows the North Shore of Lake Superior. Its heart-shaped basal leaf (bottom leaf) can be 4-8 inches wide. Although the leaves are rough to the touch, this plant is also known as lumberjack toilet paper! A member of the composite or daisy family, its purple flowers bloom on stems 1 to 2 feet tall from late summer into fall. Aster is Latin for star.
Day 4, August 13
Helenium autumnale or sneezeweed. It’s much too beautiful to be called sneezeweed so I always call it Helenium, much prettier. This perennial is a valued late summer bloomer because it adds some needed color in the garden at this time of the growing season. To give some perspective on the flower size, look at the bee on the bloom on the left side of the picture. Growing in clumps in full sun, the stems reach 3-5 feet in height. It is a member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 5, August 14
Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ or big leaf golden ray or possibly elephant ear – I have only called them ligularia. This plant is one of the few shade loving perennials that puts on a show of bright yellow flowers! Making a bold statement even without the flowers, the plant is a mound 3 feet high and 3 feet wide with leaves that are greenish bronze on top and purplish on the back. It can take sun but seems to thrive more in the shade with a moist soil. It is a member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 6, August 15
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ or black-eyed Susan. If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, the black-eyed Susan is the happiest flower on earth! How can you not smile when you see this flower blooming in your garden? A perennial which loves the sun, it is probably one of the easiest flowers to grow. Grown in clumps, it reaches a height of 24-36 inches and blooms from late July through October or until you have a killer frost. A member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 7, August 16
Asclepias tuberosa or butterfly flower. This flower is the new kid on the block in my garden and so far we all want to be its friend, especially the butterflies and the hummingbirds. I planted it about a month ago, the buds that were already on the plant bloomed, I thought that was it, but it put out another whole set of buds and continues blooming and blooming! A native perennial, it loves sunshine and will tolerate poor, dry soil. It will bloom from mid-summer to late summer on its 8-10 inch stems. A member of the asclepiadaceae or milkweed family.
Day 8, August 17
Phlox paniculata or garden phlox or tall phlox. Many a garden has this perennial tall phlox blooming in it from July through September. Who wouldn’t want the big bright blooms on the 2-4 foot stems? My original phlox plant was white and then a few years ago it reverted to this lavender-rose color. I found out that when allowed to self-seed, cultivars may revert to this more vigorous plant with this coloring. Interesting! This sun and partial sun loving plant also comes in coral, pink, red, lavender, violet. It is a member of the polemoniaceae or phlox family!
Day 9, August 18
Hibiscus moscheutos or hardy hibiscus or rose mallow. I think this particular variety may be called Plum Crazy! These are the most amazing garden show stoppers with blooms from 3 inches to 12 inches across, depending on the variety! A perennial that can be grown in zone 3 with winter protection, it starts blooming in mid-summer and continues into late summer/early fall. Preferring a sunny location, the flowers only last one day, however, the herbaceous bush is usually loaded with buds ready to supply a steady display of blooms. This particular plant was spotted in a public garden where there were also varieties of white, red, and bi-color pink and white hardy hibiscus blooms attracting many cameras. The hardy hibiscus in a member of the malvaceae or mallow family.
Day 10, August 19
Sagittaria latifolia or broad-leaved arrowhead. It’s always exciting to spot a bright white wildflower blooming toward the end of the summer, (usually at this time of the year everything is yellow, golden, or lavender) so, when I saw the white sparkling in the sunshine on the edge of the wetland I was driving by, I stopped to get a better look. An aquatic plant, you will find this perennial wildflower on the shallow edges of ponds and wetlands. Its tuberous root buried in the mud is a favorite of muskrats and porcupine, and although its nickname is duck potato, the tuber is too deep for ducks to retrieve. It is a member of the alismataceae or arrowhead family.
Day 11 August 20
Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’ or red prince weigela. It’s been a good year for weigela in our part of the world. We had a mild winter, so this blooming bush, which can be grown successfully in zone 4 but is marginally hardy in zone 3, had very little die-back, and it actually reached its height of 5-6 feet. Although known to flower in late spring and then again in late summer in its recommended growing zones 4-8, this has been one of the few late summers where it has really put on another show of blooms! The humming birds are ecstatic! It is a member of the caprifoliaceae or honeysuckle family.
Day 12 August 21
Lycopersicum esculentum or garden tomato. My garden tomatoes are still blooming, are yours? Flowers on the tomato will set fruit when night temperatures are 55 – 75 degrees, so while our night temps. are getting cooler, I think there is still some hope for more tomatoes. If you want to hasten the harvest of your current tomatoes, you can prune back the new blooms. The bigger concern, in my opinion, are those early light frosts soon to come, so be sure to cover your tomatoes when the potential for frost is predicted. The tomato is a member of the solanaceae or nightshade family.
Day 13 August 22
Impatiens capensis or spotted touch-me-not or jewelweed. This woodsy annual is typically found where it is cool and moist. It is a lovely flower – like a jewel dangling perfectly balanced on its slender stalk. You usually find it growing as a bushy cluster of stems 2-3 feet tall. When its long seed pod is ripe, just a tap will cause it to spring open and shoot the seed as far as four feet away. Many swear that the juices from the stems and leaves not only relieve the itch of poison ivy but also cure it. It is a member of the balsaminaceae or touch-me-not family. Imagine that.
Day 14 August 23
Tansy vulgare or common tansy. When I think of the North Shore of Lake Superior, I think of the tansy blooming all along it in the late summer and early fall. So it is surprising to learn that it is not native, rather it is a naturalized perennial which is indigenous to Europe and Asia. Apparently because it was at one time a highly valued medicinal and culinary herb, it was brought over early on by the colonists. Unfortunately, because of its very invasive nature and the fact that too much ingested can lead to poisoning, it is no longer favored in landscaping. It is a member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 15 August 24
Digitalis purpurea or foxglove. When I think of foxglove, I think of Beatrix Potter’s story of Jemimah Puddle-Duck, with her sitting on a stump surrounded by foxgloves, and then being approached by the sly fox, whose house was also surrounded by foxgloves! Beware of this beautiful biennial flower as it is deadly, just like the fox! The first year it will produce a rosette of leaves and the second year it will produce a spike of flowers in mid to late summer. In most cases, the plant is done after two years, but it can readily reseed itself and naturalize in some areas if conditions are good. All of the plant – leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, pollen can be poisonous – some people reacting from it more than others. Having been used in the past (and maybe still currently?) in small amounts for heart medicine, it quickly can become deadly if too much is consumed. It is a member of the plantaginaceae or plantain family.
Day 16 August 25
Solidago sp. or goldenrod. I honestly don’t know the species of this particular goldenrod as there are 45 species in our state alone. It didn’t quite fit the descriptions of the limited number of species I looked up in my field guide book. Anyhow, perennial goldenrod provides a lovely show in the ditches and fields in the late summer and early fall. It is unfairly blamed for hay fever as it is the showiest of flowers blooming at this time of year when in fact it is ragweed (Ambrosia sp.) that is the culprit. Spreading through rhizomes, goldenrod can become invasive and that prevents it from being a favored flower in the landscape, although it can be purchased through some nurseries. It is a member of the composite or daisy family.
Day 17 August 26
Salvia nemorosa ‘may night’ or perennial salvia. As you can see from the photo, several of the spikes of blooms are spent and what are blooming are shorter this time of year. This wonderful perennial starts to bloom in June, along with the iris and lupines, and with deadheading, it will continue to bloom throughout the summer, although in my experience the blooms aren’t as tall and showy as the first ones. Reaching from 18 to 30 inches in height, this plant does well in sunny, well drained soil,the bees and the hummingbirds love it, and is deer resistant. It is a member of the lamiaceae or mint family.
Day 18, August 27
Chrysanthemum x morifolium or garden mum. Traditionally autumn means that the mums are starting to bloom. This one, however, is considered a mid-season bloomer and started flowering several weeks ago and has hundreds of buds to go. I read that some of the newer cultivars don’t need to be pinched, something that you regularly do up until the 4th of July on the older cultivars of mums, so I have been pleased that this plant is one you do not need to pinch. I was amazed as the plant started to set buds early in the growing season and how many buds it has set. I don’t know the cultivar or variety of this mum – it had no name marker, but I was assured by the garden center that it was winter hardy, and it has made it through a couple of winters so far. It is a member of the asteraceae or aster family.
Day 19 August 28
Celosia argentea or celosia or plume plant (plumosa) or cockscomb (spicata). This is an interesting annual – it blooms as a plume, or in spears, or in a shape that is reminiscent of a rooster’s comb, coral, or the brain. Sometimes it is gorgeous, other times it is just weird. In any case, it draws interest to the garden. If you are not familiar with it, look it up – the pictures are worth looking at. This plant is a member of the amaranthaceae or amaranth family.