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Posts Tagged ‘agastache blue fortune’

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What an amazing transformation. By the end of summer, the bare earth, newly released from its cover of winter snow in April, is unrecognizable. The mature garden is verdant and lush. Here’s a snapshot of one section of the September riot, a triumph of prolific summer growth.

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To the right is the fountain grass ‘Redhead’ (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Redhead’). It may be my favorite grass. Its fuzzy seedheads have a pretty blush color, and when backlit by the sun, they’re absolutely breath-taking.

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Behind ‘Redhead’ is a hyacinth bean vine. This is the first year I have tried this annual. It has yet to flower, but the vine itself is impressive. It is clambering up a ladder, but the vine is so rampant, the ladder is no longer visible through the leaves!

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The tall yellow flowers near the center belong to rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstsonne’, or Autumn Sun rudbeckia. Autumn Sun is an apt name for this tall, brilliant yellow flower.

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These airy seedhead sprays belong to the switchgrass Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’. Thundercloud is the tallest of several switchgrass varieties in the garden, but at 6 feet it is dwarfed by the Giant Silver Grass (Miscanthus giganteus) growing behind it, which will reach 11 feet.

Playing supporting roles to their taller neighbours are an assortment of phlox, coreopsis, and a tumbledown hollyhock that seeded itself here. Pictured below is agastache ‘Blue Fortune’.

Tomorrow, we will be leaving the garden to its own devices for a couple of weeks as RailGuy and I head out on vacation. To celebrate RailGuy’s retirement, we are taking the train from Toronto to Vancouver and spending a few days on the west coast. I’ll have pictures to share when we return!

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Wow, the middle of August! Hard to believe, although we can’t complain that we haven’t had plenty of hot summer weather this year. My garden is at its peak in July, when the 140 varieties of daylilies are in bloom. There are just a few late daylilies blooming their last blooms now.

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Here’s Flaming Wildfire, so brilliant and intense it seems to glow. And below is Cameroons, a 1984 Munson introduction, showing off the washed eye pattern shared by many of the Munsons.

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By August, there are hints of autumn as the ornamental grasses begin to put out their seed heads and the bright gold of rudbeckias dominates.

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Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ is in full bloom. Named Perennial of the Year way back in 1999, it is a very reliable standard for the late summer garden.

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Here’s Goldstrum anchoring a planting with its taller cousin, Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstonne’ (Autumn Sun). Behind Herbstonne is the very tall grass Miscanthus giganteus, Giant Maiden Grass. To the left of Herbstonne is a tall switchgrass, Panicum virgatum ‘Thundercloud’. Between the Goldstrum clumps you can see the reddish seedheads of Redhead Fountain Grass (Pennisetum ‘Redhead’). At the right of the photo are stems of Willow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus salicifolium), which has yet to bloom.

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My Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) has really matured this year and is putting on a terrific display. Some of the stems are drooping, which allows you to see visiting pollinators. The sprays of yellow flowers are mostly held so high, well above my head, that it is hard to admire insect activity up there.

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Silphium is a native plant and quite appreciated by pollinators.

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This spring, I split a clump of Lemon Queen sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’), and thought it would take a year or two for the new clump to take hold. However, it apparently loves its new home and the hot summer we’ve experienced, and has filled out enthusiastically. Here’s the newly-established clump, just coming into bloom, embracing a bird house post with Phantom Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium ‘Phantom’) in the foreground.

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Another brilliant gold bloomer is Golden Dwarf Goldenrod (Solidago ‘Golden Dwarf’). It has taken me a while to get used to seeing goldenrod in the garden. It is a prolific native wildflower (aka weed) in these parts, and I have had to suppress an urge to yank it out of the garden every time I pass! It is actually quite well-behaved and its brilliant yellow is set off by an assortment of pink and purple phlox plants.

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Here’s a newer phlox, just introduced to the garden last year. In addition to pretty flowers, Phlox paniculata ‘Nora Leigh’ offers interesting variegated foliage.

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Phlox produces a wonderful blaze of colour that sets off other perennials beautifully. Here’s a hollyhock backed with phlox.

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And here’s Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ set off by phlox.

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Geranium ‘Rozanne’ was chosen as Perennial of the Year in 2008 and is a deserving winner. It has proved drought resistant and hardy, and blooms over a long period with no attention from the gardener. Here’s Rozanne tumbling over the edge of a path.

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Kniphofia ‘Shining Sceptre’ was new this spring. It settled in well and wasn’t disturbed by drought conditions. I was a bit surprised and pleased to see this attractive preview of the future clump of sceptres I’m hoping for. This winter will be its first test for hardiness.

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Most of the echinaceas have been in bloom for a while, but Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’ is just hitting its stride now.

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I’m very fond of the agastaches, mostly because they are beloved by pollinators of every stripe. Unfortunately, I haven’t found many of the varieties I’ve tried to be very hardy here. The sturdiest has been Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, shown here with Coreopsis ‘Sweet Dreams’ in the foreground and Echinacea ‘Prima Donna’ to the left.

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They’re not flowers, but I couldn’t resist including the showy berries of this pokeweed (Phytolacca acinosa).

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I don’t really think of hostas as flowering plants, but their wands of mauve or white flowers can be quite attractive. Here’s a clump of a small, unidentified hosta with violet blooms, backed by Hosta ‘Ryan’s Big One’, with an hydrangea bush in the background.

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Thank you for visiting the Willow House garden! If you would like to tour other gardens, visit May Dreams Gardens for more August Bloom Day links.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) visiting Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’.

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The garden is beginning to wind down from the height of its July glory into its autumnal display. It is still attracting plenty of visitors. When I walked through the garden this weekend, it was alive with butterflies. The summer drought has made for a difficult growing season, but it seems to have been good for butterflies. There were white Cabbage butterflies and some Monarchs and Viceroys, but mostly there were Painted Ladies. Every flower was decorated with one of these beauties and I couldn’t resist photographing a sampling to share here.

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Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) are cosmopolitans. They can be found across the continent and throughout much of the world. Their huge range includes Europe, Asia and Africa as well as North America.

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They are not winter-hardy, and most northern residents perish. In the spring, Painted Ladies from southern areas and Mexico fly north on warm spring breezes and recolonize much of North America by summer.

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Painted Ladies nectar at a wide variety of plants, but particularly enjoy thisles. They are also adaptable in their choice of host plants for young caterpillars.

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Here is a selection of photographs of Painted Ladies visiting Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum), Persicaria polymorpha, Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstonne”, hydrangea, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum, and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium spp).

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