In My Garden – August 2022

If May and June are the season for rhododendrons, August and September are the season for dahlias here on the Northern California coast.

Above are a couple of pictures of the dahlias at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The dahlia garden is a favorite site for weddings in August and September; they are are spectacular with an amazing variety of bloom shapes, colors and sizes. If you ever get to visit the area, the Gardens are a highlight and a must see.

In my own garden, I planted a dozen new ones this year in a sunny spot along the driveway. They are flourishing (unlike the bearded irises that were in the same spot before).

Above are a few examples from my own garden.

Although the dahlias are the stars (and the lawn is now mostly a brown field of dead grass and sand), there are some plants of note.

Red Hot Pokers

Kniphofia caulescens, a variety of red hot poker

We often see the pokers growing wild in abandoned fields. They need no summer water once established and come back each year.


Lilium regale “Regal Lily”

These lilies are scented and the stalks are about 10 feet tall!

Helenium autumnale ‘Red Shades’

Helenium autumnale ‘Red Shades’

I first saw Heleniums at the Botanical Gardens last fall during a nature watercolor painting class, it was love at first sight. It’s going to take a few years to get them established, the clumps form by offshoots ad should become larger each year. They bloom late in the season when everything else is starting to go to seed or become dormant.



Bees and hummingbirds adore Cupheas and they bloom almost non-stop all year. I have several varieties in the garden and they all seem to do well and are fairly drought tolerant after the first year. I think the one above is sometimes called candy corn plant.



The lavender is almost finished but a few weeks ago it was covered in both blooms and native bumblebees, much to my relief. The bumblebees were late this year for some reason and I was worried. But we had a relatively cool spring and perhaps it just took them a bit longer to start their colonies.

The pollinator garden is looking a little wild, lots of grasses right now, I cut back the Shasta daisies so it looks a little messy.

That’s my husband in the second picture putting in birdhouses. We had 4 in various places around the garden already and just put in 2 more. Of the 4, 3 were inhabited in the spring…2 with chickadees and 1 with tree swallows. We’d like to encourage the tree swallows since they eat insects, most specifically mosquitos. Since I don’t use any herbicides or pesticides, the birds are important to keep down the numbers of unwanted insects.

We’ve had lots of beloved visitors this summer, both human and of the canine variety. Here is our friend Marylinn conducting an orchestra of dogs.


I hope you all are enjoying the end of summer. I can’t believe it is already September.

What’s been happening in your garden?


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