First, let's enumerate the reasons for hating the month whose sole job is to hint at the end of summer. I am the gardener who espouses excess in a garden bed.
Flashback: Sometime in April
|Lilies emerging from the litter.|
|Recovering from the bunny brunch.|
Any color other than brown, or dirty snow is welcome in April. It's the month your patience pays off, when tender stems and buds draw you out each day after donning rubber boots, warm gloves and the ugliest, warmest hat you own. On warm days you can skip the gloves in favor of a cup of coffee that can be carried in one hand while the other holds a stick to brush back the dried leaves so you can see what's going on.
The Present Reality: A Day in Early AugustAs glad as you are in April that you planted spring bulbs, it's hard to believe that just four months later you can't imagine planting, or even ordering anything that would force you to deal with the exuberant chaos that is now your garden!
|Would you want to wade into this mess?|
|Franklinia alatamaha with two flower buds!|
And did I mention the mosquitoes? Suffice it to say they're out there in droves from noon to 4 pm and in whatever-is-more-than-a-drove all the other times. What's a lazy gardener to do in August? I scavenged for a glimpse of hope on a day when the mosquitoes weren't too bad. And I found several glimmers!
|Hibiscus 'Cherry Cheesecake' prepares for its close-up.|
The most obvious because of its proximity to the deceased tomato plant is the Franklinia alatamaha, a rare tree that's been surviving in my garden for several years. Not thriving. Surviving. Which is about all I can ask considering it couldn't survive in its home environment.
|Hibiscus 'Cherry Cheesecake' from last year.|
I must be desperate. I'm even rooting for the hardy Hibiscus (or rose mallow) 'Cherry Cheesecake', a plant group I've never gotten excited about. In fact, I'm surprised it's still in my garden. Anyway, the foliage is relatively unmarred by Japanese beetles, and there is a bud about to unfurl its pink petals.
Last year, I got a photo of the only bloom that opened without beetle damage. It's a gorgeous flower with plenty of substance, and even after fading, doesn't detract as much as some others.
I've been practicing my Army crawl, but haven't mastered it to the point where I can scuttle and
inhale at the same time. The little plant is pretty to look at, though, and appears whenever it feels like it, usually right after I think I've lost it.
The pineapple lilies are still in varying stages of bloom (or not); the one that makes me glad I went outside today is Eucomis montana, which I purchased from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.
|Eucomis montana is just beginning|
Its leaves aren't necessarily stand-up, but the flowers are very waxy. I'm pretty sure this Eucomis will keep me entertained most of the month.
Although I really don't remember which poppies are blooming right now. I know they're corn, or Shirley poppies, which more accurately are Papaver rhoeas, an easy from seed species with several hybrids available.
Because of their lackadaisical appearance, it's likely they are volunteers from last year's sowing. But on a somewhat colorless August day, I'm not complaining.
In one respect, August in my garden is not unlike April. There is not enough color, and the temperatures can be uncomfortable, but there is always something waiting in the wings to provide my required quota of enchantment.