Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The last of the lilies: color returns to my August garden

The finale of the lily season comes with the species lilies--lilium speciosum rubrum (pictured above) and lilium speciosum album (pictured below). The flowers are not as spectacular as the Orientals and the fragrance nowhere near as overwhelming but they come at a time when my garden desperately needs something fresh and colorful

My Magic Lilly (sometimes called a Rain Lily) made its always brief appearance. The reason it's called a Magic Lily is that its leaves appear in Spring and then disappear without a trace. It’s easy to forget about it until the flower stalk suddenly appears as if by magic.

It is also peak season for Rudbeckia Herbstone. It’s so easy to grow, some folks consider it a weed, but those fresh lemon yellow flowers which bloom for about a 5-6 week period (unusually long for a perennial) blend well with my usually abundant phlox.

Unfortunately this year some creature—not sure which predator—destroyed most of my phlox and the rainy conditions made what was left susceptible to fungal disease. But at least some survived:

And then my crape myrtle finally bloomed. I think it’s the last crape myrtle in the Delaware valley to bloom.

Probably the reason it’s so late is that we cut it way back each year to control for size. Earlier this year I was beginning to regret planting so many shrubs and trees—I had less and less room for perennials.

But after this year with many of my perennials eaten by garden predators, I think I made the right decision. A deer or groundhog can easily lay waste to a bed of phlox but they can't do that kind of total damage to a woody plant—at least it hasn’t happened yet to my shrubs!

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