Heating Up

As we head into August, the heat waves drive many of us indoors. In the gardens, the heat spurs on an incredible season of growth (as long as we keep up with irrigating). As I watch annual vines clamber up the trellises, it can feel like even the sky is touchable with their green tendrils reaching up, up, up. The morning glory cultivar ‘Split Second’ is an impressive climber that performs no matter how hot it gets. You can find it on the arches in the Garden of Hope.   

Morning Glory ‘Split Second’ (Ipomoea purpurea)

Nearby in the Idea Gardens, many lotus have come into bloom. That same late July heat was just what their sacred blossoms needed to open. We have over a dozen cultivars of lotus ranging from the very small tea cup varieties to the large and in charge blooms that spend their winters in our small pond. I have blogged about the lotus previously, so check out my posts here and here for more information about these amazing plants. 

a honeybee peaks out from one of our lotus blossoms

The gardens serve as a constant reminder that there is a season for everything. Just when the heat has taken its toll on us and I would give almost anything to fast forward to September, I look around and see butterflies and hummingbirds more active than ever in the gardens. Many of their favorite flowers are coming into bloom.

The Harlequin Glorybower (Clerodendrum trichotomum) is one such plant. Situated atop the corner of the North Garden, this suckering shrub wafts its sweet fragrance on the breeze sweeping over countless flowers, visitors, and weddings. The flowers have just come into bloom and the butterflies have celebrated by flitting and floating on the air above the Glorybower’s blossoms all week.

The North Garden is also home to my current favorite dahlia. Dahlia ‘NTAC Eileen’ greets every visitor with its sunny face. It has a soft yellow glow washed with a deep apricot on the petals and a matching yellow and pink collarette. This is an open type dahlia that makes it very attractive to pollinators. (For more information about pollinators’ favorite blossoms, see my last post here.) If you are an avid reader of this blog, you may recall that we trialed another in the NTAC series of dahlias in the Rose Garden last year. We still have that one (NTAC Eliza) and have added Eileen (in the North Garden) and Shelly (in the Rose Garden, featured in my last blog).

Dahlia ‘NTAC Eileen’

I will end with one other plant that both the hummingbirds and I have been appreciating this week (and look forward to appreciating well into September and October): Salvia ‘Amante’. The tender perennial salvias are the heartbeat of the late summer and fall gardens. Having trialed many different varieties over the years, I was eager to test out ‘Amante’ with its dark calyxes and bright magenta flowers that had me transfixed ever since I first saw it in an online catalog. 

Salvia ‘Amante’

What are your favorite midsummer blossoms? Has the heat kept you inside or have you been able to find time to enjoy the summer garden? I hope by the time this blog reaches you, we have some respite from the extreme heat. 

Blithewold is here for your socially distant walks. It is a perfect place to find some peace and enjoy the gardens and grounds. We are open Tuesday through Sunday 10-5. If you aren’t a member, simply make a reservation online before you arrive. We look forward to seeing you! Happy Summer!