Eleven Flowers of August

Early August is full of flowers.

Flowers in the garden.

Flowers for pretty.

Flowers for food…

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The squash flower: big, yellow, floppy like cloth, rich with potential, and good to eat. Comes in male and female versions. 

In the greenhouse a few days ago, our “MFA” cactus bloomed.

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It’s the “MFA” cactus because years ago the original plant was given to me by one of the curators at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 

Every year we plant tithonia. It’s not a perfect plant in the Wishetwurra garden’s rich soil. It gets big, the branches get long and floppy and the weight can actually pull the branches off the plant. If you don’t treat the picked flowers with extreme care, their “necks” break, and then you can’t use them in an arrangement. But the color!

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Tithonia. The hummingbirds like tithonia. 

We have a mixed-colors planting of gladiolus, descended from a cheapo box of a hundred bulbs we bought a few years ago at a cheapo big-box-store. Some of the bulbs were duds, but others are thriving.

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Purple gladiolus. Christine grew up in southwestern Florida, which for many years was a center of gladiolus growing. She has fond memories of those flower fields, so now we grow glads each year, digging the bulbs in the fall and replanting them the following spring. 

Sunflowers, planted and volunteer, are always in the garden. They bloom all summer long. After the petals fall, the chickadees somehow figure out the exact moment developing seeds are big enough to eat, and tear into the hanging flower heads.

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Sunflower bud. Hairy. How Hairy? Very hairy. 

Cactus-flowered zinnia have risen on our popularity list.

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Cactus-flowered zinnia are shaggy and unruly, but are wicked colorful. We like ’em.  

Four-O’clocks, whose blooms open in the late afternoon and wither away mid-morning the next day, provide mounds of color. They produce lots of seeds which come up the following spring, so unless we want particular colors, we can forget about ever buying seeds again.

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A hefty heap o’ blooming four o’clocks. 

There are just a few tiger lilies left. Not many, not only is it late in the season, but we’ve got so many of those bright red lily beetles that it’s hardly worth growing them anymore. The damage done by both adults and grubs  take the fun out of tiger lilies.

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Police-lineup style shot of solitary tiger lily. So sad. 

Snapdragon seeds are so small that a package of seeds has a second, even smaller glassine envelope inside, to keep you from losing the things. We started the seed last March. It took the seeds a while to come up, and for what seemed the longest time they were just a teensy little pair of leaves. They finally grew up. Now we’ve got snaps all over, and they’re pretty.

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Snapdragon at six o’clock in the morning. 

Much yellower than the snapdragon are these nasturtiums. They were volunteers. The plant has been fairly compact and absolutely covered with blooms all summer.

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The volunteer yellow nasturtium. 

We’ll end this post with a plant that is relatively new to us. The globe thistle, or Echinops ritro. Our plants are relatively puny, but we’re looking forward to seeing how they’ll do now that we’ve moved them from crappy dirt to somewhat decent soil. They’re tolerant of drought, butterflies like to feed from the flowers, and deer don’t like to feed on the plants. Around here, that’s a likely recipe for success.

The fresh blossoms are spherical, geometric, and alien-looking.

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Echinops ritro. 

Up close, they’re a big like a blue fireworks explosion.

We like ’em.

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