Monday, August 15, 2011

August is Pink and Yellow

Swamp Mallow
The August flower garden is filled with pink and yellow in my yard, with lots of mallow type blooms. The Swamp Mallow is a native perennial that dies back to the ground each winter, but shoots up in the spring, with graceful open 6 foot stems and delicate pink blossoms that open in August here in west Tennessee.  It spreads, but not aggressively, and tolerates drowning in poor drainage, as well as the dried cracked concrete that passes for soil here when we don't have rains.

And here is my friend Okra (from the bag garden bed by the sidewalk I spoke of here
more swamp mallow
More of the swamp mallow -- I just love her!  Like a dainty hollyhock.  When we first moved here 14 years ago, the only plantings in the yard were some Norway Maples and hugely overgrown hollies.  The yard was grass existing on hard clay (hardpan I think!), which wouldn't even drain when we got rain.  It was either hard as concrete or so swampy I had to wear rubber boots in the yard for a full week after a rain.  So my first gardening step in this yard was to find native plants that could exist in both swamp conditions and extreme drought conditions, which typifies this area.  Swamp Mallow, perennial sunflowers, rudbeckia, purple cone flowers, compass plant -- all can take the heat and drought, and their extensive roots help to absorb the water when it rains, so now I don't have standing water problems.  Now "experts" (whoever they are) call it a "Rain Garden", and the local government encourage this kind of planting as part of much needed storm water management.
Gulf Frittilary
The Gulf Frittilary lays its eggs on passion vine, another native.  What milkweed is for Monarch Butterflies, passion vine is for the Gulf Frittilary.  Butterflies need the right host plants to lay their eggs on and for the caterpillars to eat, as well as nectar plants to feed from.

Cup/Compass Plant

Tall Compass Plant, also known as Cup Plant because its leaves make a cup where they attach to the stem, creating a water source for birds, insects, and people if need be.  The flowers turn and follow the sun, much like sunflowers, and at 8 or 9 feet in height they are like a drought and flood tolerant sunflower.
And Althea, Rose of Sharon -- not a native, but a trooper in our heat, humidity and alternating drought and heavy rains.
I'm linking to Cielo's Show Off Your Cottage Monday and An Oregon Cottage Tuesday Garden Party

1 comment:

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I don't think I have been here before...what a nice blog. I love both pink and yellow flowers, this time of year yellow seems to predominate in my garden. Love your flag...aren't they fun!