Six on Saturday | August

August is a strange month in the garden. The days are in equal length to those in April, but in April plants are awakening from their winter slumbers and putting on new growth, leafy buds are bursting out and the garden is clean and fresh and green and early spring bulbs add colour. In August most of the perennials and annuals are beginning to look a little tired. Flowers are going to seed and trees are looking dull. Most of us don’t have plots large enough to plant for an all-season garden so there may be areas that are now looking neglected and uncared for. August mostly feels like we are heading into Autumn and this month has been no exception.

But I have found six things in the garden this week that are still giving me pleasure and plenty of colour.

  1. Dahlia ‘Edge of Joy’ – is one of the four 50p tubers that I bought at the end of April. The only one of the four to actually grow and produce flowers. Lots of flowers! One other seemed to be doing OK, but part of it rotted away. I am still hopeful for at least one flower bud. Another the ‘Bishop of Llandaff‘ keeps getting munched by S&S and the fourth didn’t do anything at all, but when I went to throw it away I could see some roots starting so I have left it alone.  I won’t bother with Dahlias in the future. Apart from having to protect the young shoots from S&S, the flowers appear to be nibbled by earwigs and tiny black beetles. Although I do admit the amount of flowers this little one has produced is impressive.
  2. Justicia Carnea Jacobina – or the Brazillian Plume Flower / Flamingo Plant should be an evergreen shrub with a rounded habit (like a hydrangea) and inflorescence of tubular vibrant  pink flowers in the summer. Mine has grown too tall and the leaves are falling off all the time so I think I have had it in too much sun. After it finishes flowering I am going to cut it right back to about 10 cm and see what happens. It is a tender plant (from Brazil) so overwinters in the unheated conservatory. And if it survives I may put it in the shady courtyard next summer.

  3. Less exotic, but equally colourful is my new Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ which I bought to replace the Penstemon that didn’t re-appear. This bears aromatic foliage, dark stems and masses of rich, dark pink-purple flowers from May to October. I have planted it in a gap in my raised bed at the back of the garden, but this bed will be totally cleared at the end of September and replanted. This Salvia may end up in the bee and butterfly bed. It is a gorgeous colour.
  4. Two more clematis have appeared in the woodland border. I have no idea what they are called as they are inherited, but the blue one is very nice. They have both been nibbled by earwigs I think. I’m getting a trifle fed-up of all the munchers and nibblers in this garden.
  5. Another new addition this year are these ‘Rain lilies‘ or Zephyranthes.  I was so happy with my spring bulbs in pots that I thought this year I would try a variety of summer flowering bulbs. So far I haven’t had a lot of success, but the bulbs were fairly cheap so nothing lost. These produce colourful starry flowers late in the summer and bloom in response to late season rains. I planted 25 of these bulbs in a fairly shallow round pot and this month about 12 flowers appeared, died and then another six flowered. The flowers don’t last long but they are rather beautiful with a silky, sparkly texture. I will find a place around my large flat rock for them once the grass-like foliage dies down and hope they naturalise and come back next year. They like full sun, but I’m not sure about Cornish rain…
  6. And finally a plant that I bought late last summer for the Bee and Butterfly bed. Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ provides stunning spikes of scarlet flowers among beautiful, beetroot-coloured foliage. I wanted something that was late flowering and this began to flower at the beginning of the month. It is planted next to a very dark red Helenium and Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ so together they are quite flashy! The paler Daylily is just about finished.

Overnight it has been very wet and very windy, the trees are being blown back and forth as if they are bowing to royalty, shedding dead leaves as they do and the rest of the plants are nodding violently in the wind, but as far as I can tell there is no real damage done. Not so sure about the tall chilli plants I put outside last week. That might not be the case in other parts of the UK. As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world.

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. Sadje says:

    How lovely are these pictures

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Sadje!

      1. Sadje says:

        A pleasure.

  2. I love the colours of the clematis.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The blue one is rather lovely, the pink one has been badly eaten.

      1. That’s a shame – is it those darned slugs and snails again?

  3. I like that red lobelia, very bright! In the last 24 hours, I have lost my two best gladioli (although I have put them in a couple of vases in the house) and the main branch of the apple tree. I am going to make some apple jelly with the apples attached to the branch. So, it could be worse.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I try not to grow tall plants like glads here because we often have strong winds. To be honest the winds on Friday/Saturday didn’t seem as bad as forecast, I have known stronger ones! My only damage was an upside down chicken (not real) and two chilli plants. All now back on their feet 😅

  4. fredgardener says:

    Hi Jude. What a wonder this Brazilian plume flower! I fell in love … did you feed it regularly and what about watering? Is it grown like cannas? Did you sow them? I think that sounds interesting to me for a future purchase!
    Otherwise Rain Lilies are also new to me and they are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing these beauties

    1. Heyjude says:

      Hi Fred. I bought the Brazilian plume flower as a fully grown plant and keep it indoors in a cool conservatory over winter as it is not frost hardy. I think I should have cut it back as it grew a bit leggy in the winter. It is evergreen. As for feeding, I’m afraid I am very bad at remembering to do that!

  5. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    It looks like you have still plenty colour in your garden. I feel we are certainly turning autumnal here:)

  6. You were lucky to pick up dahlia tubers for 50p. They are so expensive here. Lovely gallery, Jude.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The tubers had been £4 but it was late to plant them. I’ll leave these in the garden to do what they will, but I won’t buy dahlias again.

      1. Mine get no TLC at all and they shoot and flower prolifically every year.

  7. Cathy says:

    What a pretty six, Jude, and reminds me that Edge of Joy was one of my new dahlias and I have not had any flowers yet – it’s one of the few not in the cutting beds. Will the lobelia and salvia overwinter OK for you?

    1. Heyjude says:

      The lobelia overwintered OK last year despite a lot of rain! The saliva is supposed to be hardy so should be OK. I may move it to the same bed and then I can cover the whole bed in fleece if necessary, though I suspect it is the wet that kills off the plants here, not the cold. Perhaps I can concoct some kind of plastic tent!

      1. Cathy says:

        I am still working out the winter hardiness of salvias too, Jude – Amistad has never survived, so the rooted cuttings I still have will be kept in the g/h over winter this year, but I have other varieties I am now confident of keeping outside. I really like the colour of Love and Wishes so will perhaps give that a try

        1. Heyjude says:

          I don’t have Amistad but I am sure it is grown in the George V garden and stays out all winter. Of course frost is quite rare this far west.

        2. Cathy says:

          Hard to know if it is the cold or the wet that they struggle with

  8. I am going to have to put Rain lilies on my list of plants to get. That is a lovely looking Dahlia saw well. It’s still raining you here sigh…

    1. Heyjude says:

      The rain lilies are lovely, I think I only paid £2.99 for them.

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    So interesting to read this after my walk this morning. I was thinking how everything was starting to get that overgrown look that I associate with late summer and thinking that autumn is far too close for comfort. Funny you should be mentioning the same thought.

  10. Lora Hughes says:

    I love Queen Victoria but always had a damp spot for it until now. Yours looks wonderful – what conditions is it in, if I may ask? This is my first year for rain lilies & I’m loving them. We’ve not had tons of rain, but mine seem to be more continuous than yours. Hopefully yours & mine will both naturalise, because they are so really beautiful. That salvia may not be exotic, but it’s really gorgeous, too. Hope you get a few more weeks out of all your lovelies before autumn kicks us in the pants.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My lobelia is grown in a shallow raised bed, in quite rich compost and in full sun for most of the day. We get a fair amount of moisture here! How many rain lilies did you buy? And did you plant them direct into the ground?

      1. Lora Hughes says:

        Someone suggested (was it you?) when I posted about them that we’d gotten the same deal of 25 bulbs. That seems a lot, since I stuck them in a trough w/other stuff, but I plan on putting them in the ground this autumn. As to the lobelia, sounds like I’d have to make special arrangements for it to survive my garden. It’s so beautiful, that I might. I do miss Victoria.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Yes, I did buy 25 for I think £2.99? Maybe my bowl was a bit too shallow. I think 19 have flowered, but they don’t last long.

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