The Mood of My August Garden

I didn’t plan it this way, but the predominant color of the native flowers in my garden is a vibrant and cheerful yellow. As I write this in late August, I’m looking out the window at the prolific golden blooms of partridge pea, sawtooth sunflower, woodland sunflower, and gray-headed coneflower. And then there are the first flowers on sneezeweed, and various goldenrods just beginning to bloom — zigzag, stiff-leaved, Riddell’s, and bluestem goldenrod. This is the best part of the growing season in my native garden; the long-blooming sunflowers persist as witnesses to the show, while some plants go to seed and still others are just getting started. I love it.

Sawtooth sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus)

That clump of sawtooth sunflowers is taller than my six-foot high fence, and equally wide. Sometimes I feel like it deserves applause — it’s just fantastic!

Stiff-leaved goldenrod (Solidago rigida), prime hunting ground for an ambush bug

Oops, how did that bug get in this photo? Ha, you know I did that on purpose. Always trying to reinforce the reasons why I planted natives in the first place: to support biodiversity in flora and fauna.

Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) beside my patio

This patch of partridge pea gets bigger every year and I couldn’t be happier about it. At the end of the season I leave it standing long enough for the seed pods to burst open and drop their DNA for next year’s crop, because this is an annual native, not a perennial. This plant gives me pleasure in many ways, and you may remember that I dedicated most of a post to this plant in January (here).

Sunshine on a cloudy day – Black-eyed Susan

And as I write this on a cloudy day with intermittent thunderstorms, the bright flaxen flowers lift the mood, bringing a smile to my lips as my eyes soak up their beauty. The gray skies make the golden petals seem even more joyful.

Of course there are plenty of other colors here throughout the season too: the bright fuchsia of ironweed, the pale lavender of wild bergamot, the soft white of common boneset and Virgin’s bower, and the gray-green of rattlesnake master, to name just a few.

Tall ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) brought from my garden into the sunroom
Wild bergamot, aka bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), earlier in the season
Common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), a crazy pollinator magnet
Virgin’s Bower (Clematis virginiana)

And just look at this Virgin’s bower! Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s a native clematis that climbs on anything it can reach. This one is blooming for the first time and I can’t get over how pretty it is. But it’s trying hard to go over the top of my fence into the neighbor’s yard, so I need to give it something else to climb on. I can just imagine how stunning it would be if I got some kind of free-standing pergola or arbor for it to climb. I’d park myself under it with a book every day! And even better if I had a pond beside it….with a fountain or waterfall…. (My gosh, my garden fantasies are out of control right now.)

Virgin’s bower trying to go over the fence

Each of these plants contribute to the rainbow of biodiversity in the garden, and I enjoy all of them. But right now the yellow flowers are making such a strong statement, whether it’s the view from across the yard of the profuse blooms of sawtooth sunflower, or the up close view of the delicate stems of partridge pea gently swaying in the breeze just outside my sunroom windows. Contrasted with the green of the lawn and other vegetation, the yellows really pop.

I hope you enjoyed this garden update. I just wanted to take time to be grateful for these plants and to acknowledge to myself that I’ve actually made a lot of progress with this garden since I moved here! I’m so impatient to have a lush and long-established garden, but we’re getting there, bit by bit. And maybe my garden is teaching me how to be more patient.

Thanks for stopping by! (And by the way, if you’d like to see all of my native garden updates on one page, hop over here.)

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If you’re interested in more about the psychology of color, here’s an article about the positive and negative effects of yellow.

17 comments

  1. You have a great looking garden full of beautiful native plants. My garden is also pretty yellow right now too. It looks like my New England asters will be blooming soon, to add some purple contrast.

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  2. If you run out of yard…. I know where you can come plant some of these beautiful flowers. love these photos.. You gave me a smile today.

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  3. Wow! I am so inspired by your natives. I am missing ironweed, boneset, and oh my — that Virgin’s Bower (I have some old Sweet Autumn Clematis that needs to go; this would be a worthy sub for it — where did you source it, Kim? I’ve not seen it for sale.). Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden, and most of all, thanks for that sense of encouragement we get reading your words and looking at your beautiful images. Cheers! Cindy 🙂

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    • Thanks, Cindy, so glad it inspired you! I got my Virgin’s Bower from a friend’s garden, but I see it listed on the Prairie Moon website, so you might check there. It’s really so lovely!

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