Late August beauties…

August 31 already? Whatever happened to summer? The kiddos went back to school last week, which is a definitive sign of the dark ages coming back. Somehow I feel a little cheated. I had grand gardening plans for this summer, but with a few notable exceptions, they all fell through. Or rather, got pushed forward into infinity. Sigh… Oh well, there are still a few things to be happy about out there.

There is something really stupid about having a small garden and STILL buying plants that have the word 'Giant' in their names. Oh well - I'm stupid. Could not help it when i saw Pittosporum 'Ebony Giant'. Too cool for words...

There is something really stupid about having a small garden and STILL buying plants that have the word ‘Giant’ in their names. Oh well – I’m stupid. Could not help it when i saw Pittosporum ‘Ebony Giant’. Too cool for words…

There is also something rather unintelligent about bringing home a frigging tree fern (Dickinsonia antarctica) when you KNOW it's not hardy, and you are going to have to find it winter shelter, or face living with its death on your conscience for the rest of your life. This did not bother me either.You should know, I pet those fronds regularly.

There is also something rather unintelligent about bringing home a frigging tree fern (Dickinsonia antarctica) when you KNOW for a fact it’s not hardy, and you are going to have to find it winter shelter – or face living with its death on your conscience for the rest of your life. This did not bother me either. You should know, I pet those fronds regularly.

A little annual that has won my adoration - Gomphrena globosa. Here, it is planted with Sweet potato vine, and Silver bush. The green leaf is all that's left of a Japanese bottlebrush - Sanguisorba obtuse.

A little annual that has won my adoration – Gomphrena globosa. Here, it is planted with Sweet potato vine, and Silver bush. The green leaf is all that’s left of a Japanese bottlebrush – Sanguisorba obtusa.

This dark pink Celosia and red Dracaena are part of the same arrangement as the Globosa. It is part of this year's pledge to battle my aversion to the color pink - a pledge that arose out of the search for answers. See especially the comment section in this post from earlier this year, where I wrote about stereotypes in color.)

This hotΒ pink Celosia and red Dracaena are part of the same arrangement as the Globosa. It is part of this year’s pledge to battle my aversion to the color pink – a pledge that arose out of the search for answers. (See especially the comment section in this post from earlier this year, where I wrote about stereotypes in color – pink specifically.)

Here is another planter that was assembled in my attempts to make myself like pink - this time pale baby pink. I think it probably could be rather pretty - if only the darn things would humor me by blooming at the same time! The only pink blooming right now is the baby's breath, and it is only blooming sporadically. I'm at the ready with the camera, but I have a feeling it's going to be a long wait...

Here is another planter that was assembled in my attempts to make myself like pink – this time a combination of white, silver and pale baby pink. I think it probably could be rather pretty – if only the darn things would humor me by blooming at the same time! The only pink blooming right now is the baby’s breath, and it is only blooming sporadically. Most of it is done blooming. Anyway, I’m at the ready with the camera, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a long wait…

Speaking of silver - here is another annual I wouldn't want to live without. Love its lax, draping, elegant nonchalance, as it cascades over the edge of the pot.

Speaking of silver – here is another annual I wouldn’t want to live without. Love its lax, draping, elegant nonchalance, as it cascades over the edge of the pot.

This one, I'm excitedly keeping my eye on. The Formosa lily blooms from seed in its first year! I got one lily blossom this year. Hopefully there will be a few more next year!

This one, I’m excitedly keeping my eye on. The Formosa lily blooms from seed in its first year! I got one lily blossom this year. Hopefully there will be a few more next summer!

This time of year, I am the designated kitchen-compost-taker-outer, as no one else in my family fully appreciates the industrious endeavors of our resident spiders. I quite enjoy watching their shenanigans.

This time of year, I am the designated kitchen-compost-taker-outer, as no one else in my family fully appreciates the industrious endeavors of our resident spiders. I quite enjoy watching their shenanigans. Here, one of them has caught, and pretty much cocooned a bee.

Evidence of spider activity is everywhere. Here, two seed heads of Boutleia 'Blonde Ambition' have been flawlessly linked.

Evidence of spider activity is everywhere. Here, two seed heads of Boutleia ‘Blonde Ambition’ have been flawlessly linked.

The lovely flower of Anisacanthus - also known as Hummingbird bush, is putting on a show.

The lovely flower of Anisacanthus – also known as Hummingbird bush, is putting on a show.

The hardy Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) looks a little scragglier this year, but is still blooming its heart out. I really don't appreciate this plant enough. From spring until frost, it performs tirelessly, without any pampering whatsoever. Remind me next time I forget - this is a Rockstar plant!

The hardy Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) looks a little scragglier this year, but is still blooming its heart out. I really don’t appreciate this plant enough. From spring until frost, it performs tirelessly, without any pampering whatsoever. Remind me next time I forget – this is a Rockstar plant!

Those red bells look good against the dark leaves of Chocolate Eupatorium.

Those red bells look good against the dark leaves of Chocolate Eupatorium.

A rescued Lobelia tupa surprised me by putting out buds, even though it's still only about knee high. Normally, this plant towers far over my head. It must have been really happy to get out of its little cramped nursery pot...

A rescued Lobelia tupa surprised me by putting out buds, even though it’s still only about knee high. Normally, this plant towers far over my head. It must have been really happy to get out of its little cramped nursery pot…

The flowers are gone, but the foliage of Parahebe perfoliata continues to delight!

The flowers are gone, but the foliage of Parahebe perfoliata continues to delight! A Little Bluestem stalk is flopping across it.

The starry little flowers of Eryngium venustum still light up the side bed.

The starry little flowers of Eryngium venustum still light up the side bed.

Santolina 'Lemon Fizz' and Iris pallida have fared this summer better than the Carex 'Evergold' and the sad-looking stunted Amsonia hubrichtii with the toasted leaf tips.

Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ and Iris pallida have fared this summer better than the Carex ‘Evergold’ and the sad-looking stunted Amsonia hubrichtii with the toasted leaf tips.

Although it is often the beneficiary of the dinner dishwashing water, I wonder if it is the hot drought conditions that have caused the leaves to look like this on my Cotinus 'Golden Spirit'.

Although it is often the beneficiary of the dinner dishwashing water, I wonder if it is the hot drought conditions that have caused the leaves to look like this on my Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’. Or, maybe it just always looks this way…?

The Hot Cocoa rose has such wonderful color fluctuations. It starts out that fabulous orangey red. I've seen it fade to almost blackish red on the edges this summer. I wonder if the heat had something to do with that... As it ages, it assumes this old-fashioned pink. It really goes through quite a nice range of color before it calls it quits.

The Hot Cocoa rose has such wonderful color fluctuations. It starts out that fabulous orangey red. I’ve seen it fade to almost blackish red on the edges this summer. I wonder if the heat had something to do with that… As it ages, it assumes this old-fashioned pink. It really goes through quite a nice range of color before it calls it quits.

I had hoped for a hotter orange on this one. Instead it has this nice, ephemeral, somewhat translucent - almost gelatinous - jellyfish quality to it. I'm still trying to figure out quite what to do with this one. I might just throw it in the pot with the other Plant Swap goodies for our upcoming Swap. If any of you locals read this - let me know if you're interested in giving it a good, forever home. It could really use one...

I had hoped for a hotter orange on this one. Instead it has this nice, ephemeral, somewhat translucent – almost gelatinous – jellyfish quality to it. I’m still trying to figure out quite what to do with this one. I might just throw it in the pot with the other Plant Swap goodies for our upcoming Swap. If any of you locals read this – let me know if you’re interested in giving it a good, forever home. It could really use one…

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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20 Responses to Late August beauties…

  1. mattb325 says:

    Still so much in bloom for the late summer garden.
    The Dicksonia might surprise in zone 8. I know in the US it is classed as a zone 9 plant…BUT…if you want it to survive it must be under a tall evergreen tree or shrubs. Here in the Blue Mountains they grow under towering Eucalypts and tall sub-storey shrubs which stops their roots (which are exposed on the trunk) from freezing (and from drying out in summer). If they are grown in the open, they will perish in 20-25F, but under evergreen trees can skate through 10-15F. While it is young, it might be best to move it under a veranda for the winter
    I love the gomphrena, it is such a delight!

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh – thank you Matt, for the encouraging words about the Dicksonia. I don’t have a veranda, but it is still in a pot. I think this winter, it will have to survive the winter in my unheated shed – as long as I remember to water it… And next spring maybe I could plant it out under my giant Magnolia – it’s the only towering evergreen I have. Worth a try for sure… πŸ™‚

      • mattb325 says:

        Definitely worth a go as long as it faces south and is protected from the foul North and (I assume) North Easterly weather. It will need a lot of compost though, as they are very hungry plants πŸ™‚

        • annamadeit says:

          Keep all the good info coming, Matt! I will follow all of your advice. I live near the river, so we get beastly Eastern winds coming down the Columbia River Gorge. I tend to put my most vulnerable plants on the south of west side, or inside my little unheated greenhouse space. You think it would survive there?

          • mattb325 says:

            I think while it’s still a baby, if you overwinter it in an unheated greenhouse, it should be OK. Once it gets a trunk, it should survive the occasional PNW freeze. A lot of the older ones here died this winter if they were grown in the open…but being established, they may actually come back once the weather warms.

          • annamadeit says:

            Thanks Matt – I’ll take that to heart. I’ll give it a try… πŸ™‚

  2. FlowerAlley says:

    I am declaring you Queen.

  3. Anna, I can’t believe how incredible it all looks. OK, I CAN believe it. Why have I never seen your garden in person?? πŸ™‚ Hint hint….Also, is that where the last baby’s breath at the nursery got to? πŸ™‚

  4. My Dicksonia has survived for years in a container. It spends summer out back by the shade pavilion but come winter it moves up by the back door. When temperatures drop it spends a few days in the basement, then once they’re back up to comfort levels it’s back outside again. Since it’s by the door it’s easy to see and remember…

  5. Alison says:

    It looks like there is still plenty that looks good in your late summer garden. Hope your tree fern survives the winter. I’ve seen a few here in Seattle gardens that have survived at least one harsh winter, so it can be done.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Alison – based on what I’ve heard here in the comments, I think there is hope. So, just because I’ve killed two, I may not necessarily do it again, now that I have gotten some wise advice! πŸ™‚

  6. rickii says:

    Your photos are always stunning, but it’s the wordcraft that arrests my attention so often. “…lax, draping, elegant nonchalance”: I rest my case.

  7. I applaud your continued efforts to find goodness in the color pink. I really like the Celosia/Dracina combo. And if it’s any consolation, I too have a fairly small yard but insist on buying plants that get large. I call it my “spacial denial” and I run with it. πŸ™‚ Great post!

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Grace! When that one with Baby’s breath finally all blooms together, it is going to get its own blog post. I thought long and hard about it, and think it will look nice – as long as the timing is right. Alas – the summer got away from me, so now I’ll have to wait…

  8. Kris P says:

    I somehow missed your earlier post on the color pink but I enjoyed reading it now. I too have mixed feelings about pink, which makes it all the more surprising to me that I have so much of it in my garden, a fact brought home when I started putting together collages of flowers by color for Bloom Day posts. As a child, whenever given a choice, I avoided pink and, while there’s some in my wardrobe, it doesn’t dominate there and never has that I recall. The comment in your earlier post about wanting to avoid stereotyping hits home with me. As a teenager, before goth was fashionable, I seriously contemplated dying my hair black (which would have given my mother a heart attack) in reaction to the dumb blonde stereotype, although now I admittedly cling to the remnants of my blondness with the help of my hairdresser (but that’s an age thing more than anything else). In any case, I used that Celosia in my own garden a year or so ago (hey, it’s relatively drought tolerant) and may do so again.

    • annamadeit says:

      I’m starting to get to the point where I really enjoy even baby pink in the right company. That little Baby’s breath is truly adorable. I was so bummed when I missed most of its blooming. I couldn’t get the pot put together because I was so darn busy. When I finally had time, most of it was over. The funnest hair color I ever had was navy blue. When I had kids, I cut my long hair off, and all of a sudden felt I could get away with anything, so I had it dyed blue – complete with a bleached streak first, so it would really show up on my brown hair. Surprisingly, it looked really good. At the time, I was moonlighting as an English teacher in a Swedish school. My 9th graders looked at me, and one of them said: “Wow – I thought only young people did that!” Still makes me laugh… πŸ˜€ And, I won’t EVER judge you for putting that Celosia in your garden!

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