Lilies heat up the gardens with color

Published 9:00 am Sunday, August 2, 2015

The July gardens were filled with bright colors while the August gardens will have more yellow colors blooming from rudbeckia and solidago. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

The July gardens were filled with bright colors while the August gardens will have more yellow colors blooming from rudbeckia and solidago. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

The late summer gardens take on a different color palate with the vibrant colors of the summer flowers ending their colorful show. The lilies were absolutely spectacular this year and really heated up the July gardens with so many different colors. This year I have only a few zinnias. They would usually be adding more colors to the August gardens with their bright yellow, orange, pink, red and purple colors so my August gardens will have mostly yellow from the rudbeckia and solidago that will be blooming this year.

A couple of sunflowers were planted by the birds grace the gardens and soon goldfinches will be visiting them to sneak seeds. I love to see them in the gardens. One of my favorite fall shrubs will start blooming this month and that is clethra with lovely pink and white blooms. It will be filled with bees and hummingbirds. Later in the month, as September arrives, the leaves turn a beautiful golden color highlighting that corner of the garden. It really is a multi-purpose shrub and one that I wish I had room to plant more of them to enjoy.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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Hopefully the phlox will continue to bloom until September, adding a lovely purple color to the yellows that are blooming. Once the first flush of phlox has bloomed, I cut the flower heads back so that I can enjoy a second flush of blooms and make sure that it has plenty of moisture to continue the colorful display. The butterflies will cover these plants enjoying the sweet nectar they offer and I will sit back and enjoy the lovely butterflies.

Coneflowers will extend their colors for at least another month and sometimes into September.  I noticed the other day that three of my coneflowers in the oval garden were wilting giving me a reason to be alarmed as to what is happening with them. Aster yellows is a virus that attacks coneflowers, but I am not seeing any evidence of malformed blooms just wilting foliage and flowers. Unfortunately I cannot get into that part of the garden right now with everything in bloom around them. That is one of the disadvantages of having a cottage garden where everything is closely planted. I will just wait and watch for now as the rest of the coneflowers planted further away from these three look just fine. Seems like there is always something happening in the gardens that causes just a bit of worry.

My bounce impatiens have really been beautiful and they should bloom until we get a frost so the shady garden will have lots of color for some time. When I first planted them I wasn’t sure that I was going to be satisfied with them but as they started growing and filling out the container I have to say they are very pretty. When I purchased them the gal at the garden center said they would spread at least 20 inches wide so only plant one in the containers I had.  Being the doubting Thomas that I am I was not really certain about this, but I took her advice and planted a single plant in each container.

I have not seen a lot of butterflies yet so I hope more will visit the gardens as we start the downward cycle of late summer gardens blooming. My gardens are filled with swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, dill and parsley planted just for the butterflies to feed the caterpillar stages and then zinnias, phlox, kiss-me-over the garden gate, coneflowers, rudbeckia and many other flowers that will provide nectar for them.

The days are slowly getting shorter now as we inch our way to the beginning of autumn in September and I am finding I don’t have to water the plants twice a day in containers as I have been doing with the heat and sun of July. The roses will not be fertilized after the first week of August as I want them to slowly ease into the transition of not being in full bloom. The few roses that bloom all summer will continue to bloom in August, but not as profusely.

Soon we will start thinking about mums and asters for colors in the gardens to carry us into the cooler temperatures of fall and decorating with pumpkins as the late summer garden blooms begin to fade away. It is time to deadhead the flowers that are done blooming and enjoy the last of the colors.


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at