podcast: bold plants freshen an august garden

aralia cordata flowers
I’M NOT GRATEFUL FOR MULTIPLE WASP STINGS, nor for the latest woodchuck who likes to hang out on the patio between garden-fresh meals. I am grateful, however, for a number of bold-textured or simply large-scale plants, and particularly for some with white in their foliage or flowers that help to freshen up the look of the place right about now, in the dog days. They were the topic of today’s radio podcast—did you listen in? More details:

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You can stream today’s podcast or better yet, subscribe (free!) with iTunes. All my weekly podcasts are produced with WHDD Robin Hood Radio, the nation’s smallest NPR station, in nearby Sharon, Connecticut.

Some of the plants I mentioned on the air today (or forgot to in some cases!) as helping bring at least visual relief to my August garden:

  1. Zach says:

    Thanks Margaret! I will definitely look into these plants – the ‘Rogers’ strain of bottlebrush buckeye sounds interesting…and alliterative. these tips are great and we wish you’d share them at fitango.com – we’re trying to share plans and information. but thanks for the tip anyway, and i hope the info sharing keeps going.


  2. Terryk says:

    I listened today, I try to listen each Monday, it makes Mondays better. I enjoyed the podcast and the blog. Is your white twig cornus growing in a dry spot? It looks so good.

  3. Deborah says:

    Thanks for the great list of plants with presence in August. I haven’t had any luck with aralias, but your page on them makes me want to try again. Meanwhile I keep planting hydrangea paniculata varieties. The Sept/Oct issue of FG shows so many great sounding varieties. Another good doer for me in August is Artemisia lactiflora Guizhou. It can reach 5′ tall, and has purple stems, dark purplish-green leaves and feathery white blooms. Joy Creek Nursery has a decent photo of it.

  4. I never would think of the canna without the flowers. what a novel idea. I just drove by a garden center that had a planting of about 15 brown/yellow leafed cannas in a row. looked fabulous, and no flowers yet.

  5. Sharon says:

    I always seem to catch these late, but I’d like to chime in on this one. After you mentioned the dogwood Silver & Gold, this spring, I searched high and low to find it – at Avant Gardens in Dartmought, MA. I’m using it overplanted in large patio tubs this year for quick show before a wedding weekend. I’m so excited to have beautiful yellow twigs to look forward to, come wintertime. Next season, I’ll take a couple out and put them in the landscape somewhere or hopefully trade one for something else. I cannot thank you enough for spotlighting this gorgeous shrub.

  6. Kathy M says:

    I am in love with Hydrangea “Lime Light” this summer. It blooms in sun or part shade and one I planted has grown into a delightful standard. No pest problems that i have noticed and has tolerated high temps with out flinching. The large white flowers look great in the moonlight too. One great plant!

  7. MMoss says:

    I am sorry about your wasps – just think of us gardeners who are allergic. I have to pull back from so many tasks from August to October.

    1. Margaret says:

      I was just talking about that, MMoss — must be terrifying. I stepped on a nest the other day while I was just walking a path I walk many times a day — they must have just moved in — and got another next while edging. So you never know this time of year what typical action or chore will alarm/enrage them this time of year.

  8. Joann says:

    SPEAKING OF BEES….WAS TRYING TO PULL SOME WEEDS OUT OF A BUSH AND WAS STUNG TWICE BY SOME VERY ANGRY WASPS. THE HIVE IS GONE BUT I SAW THAT THEY ARE INTERESTED IN MY SHED AS A NEW RESIDENCE. Was trimming under my apple trees and there was a beautiful little humming bird perched on a limb…so cute they are!!

  9. Joann says:

    I love all the information and also found your book was very enjoyable. When you live in the country many things can make a person happy…living close to nature is a very good thing!!

  10. Rae says:

    Another very large perennial would be Joe Pye Weed (eupatorium maculatum). I planted one in our condo cul de sac to disguise an electrical panel. It must be over six feet, at least four foot wide and has nice rosy bloom clusters on top. This area doesn’t get water except for rain and shares space with a tamarisk and a hydrangea paniculata. They look stunning together.

  11. Mary Anne Lisac says:

    Margaret, the Limelight is keeping my spirits up during the “dog days”. I wanted to share with you that three members of my garden club (including myself) have been persecuted by woodchucks/ground hogs this summer. We had to rip up a porch and decking to roust him out. The ultimate insult from these furballs when one of them attached themselves to a woman’s car engine. Her car stalled on the highway and a trooper went to help her. A furry little “chuck” was hitching a ride. Here is the link http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/08/31/news/local_news/doc4e5e2a1bc0a9a234596668.txt
    Thank you always for your inspiration and humor

  12. I so miss my variegated red twig dogwoods. They got attacked by something last year and both of them died. I am missing them right about now for the reasons you state in your article about the August garden. I will miss them next winter too. I may replace them if I can figure out what was wrong with them and try to prevent it next time. They got all brown and wrinkly in August last year.

  13. Barb says:

    Multiple wasp stings — I can SO relate. In fact, I’m becoming paranoid. Just uncovered (accidently) a humongous in-ground nest. Now to figure out how to get rid of it so I can reclaim that flower garden!

  14. Nadine says:

    Hi Margaret,
    A Miscanthus has appeared at the far end of my suburban garden, in a very impractical space, probably a seed carried from a location I’ve spotted in a public space nearby. I’d like to move it somewhere else, but when in your opinion is the best time to do that, and in what kind of conditions can it really strive? It’s only 1 year old I think. Thanks as always for the blog and the podcast!

  15. Lynn cavo says:

    Hi Margaret,
    Llast Monday while visiting the Maine coastal botanical gardens in Boothbay, we learned that frogs are not only bug eaters but also worm eaters. A lovely young gardener, Brian Lynch, took time to show me, my daughter and two granddaughters how voraciously frogs will devour worms.. The frogs emerged from the pond in the Giles rhododendron garden and ate the worms uncovered for them like children eating
    spaghetti. The girls will long remember the episode.. One filmed it on her iPhone.

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