At a certain point in August, the garden is swept up in a wave of yellow flowers. This is largely due to what I like to call the Susans, members of the genus Rudbeckia.

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Here’s a view of the house and Front Garden from the street. There’s a sidewalk in there, but from this perspective it is swallowed up by flowering plants. You may be able to tell that the wave of yellow is made up primarily of Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, also known as Orange Coneflower) and Brown-eyed Susan (R. triloba).

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The Susans are cheerful and prodigal self-sowers, and in this way have pretty much take over the late summer Parkway Bed.

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It’s not all yellow these days. The Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) is fading but still has remnants of color. Actually I never realized before what a champion bloomer it is. The Bee Balm started blooming weeks before the Wild Bergamot (M. fistulosa), and maintains some color well after the Wild Bergamot has faded away.

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Also in the Sidewalk Border, River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is starting to get interesting. I have to cut off most of the seed heads before they are entirely ripe, to prevent excessive self-sowing.

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Here’s a view of our front door from the sidewalk, with Brown-eyed Susan in the forefront. You can see that Brown-eyed Susan has smaller but more numerous flowers, and is taller than Black-eyed Susan. Don’t tell the others, but R. triloba is my favorite Susan, though she is also the more aggressive when it comes to self-sowing. This Susan responds very well to being cut back.

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Swamp or Rose Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) can also be found among the non-yellow current blooms. I’d say it is blooming almost a month later than usual this year, and rather sparsely. DSC_0423

Still, I’m glad it’s made a showing. Oh, I just noticed the tiny red and black critters in this photo. Anybody know what they are?

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Here’s a view of the Driveway Border. Yellow blooms are complemented by the blue flower spikes of Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum).

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Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is the champion bloomer of the Driveway Border. It began to flower in mid-July and is still going strong. I would like to propose that this plant be known affectionately by the common name of Clown-nosed Coneflower.

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Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is not as imposing as it has been in past years. It suffered during the cold spring, but its orange daisies are still adding a bit of zing to the Driveway Border.

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Here’s some Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum) growing in the Driveway Border with ‘Italian White’ Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). On the right you can see that the Front Island Bed’s Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is still pumping out a few blooms.

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The Golden Glow (Rudbeckia laciniata) did not respond well to being cut back hard. They’re about half their normal height, and with not nearly as many flowers. Next year I may leave them alone, or cut them back by just a third.

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They are sporting some gigantic galls – at least I think that’s what these are.

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Here’s a look back towards the street from the grassy path in the Front Garden.

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That’s it for now, I guess. Are you riding the yellow wave in your garden?

42 Comments on “Riding August’s Yellow Wave

  1. What lovely combinations! Your pollinators and passers-by have a feast before their eyes.
    BTW, I’ve found Raspberry Wine bee balm to be a real takeover artist. It’s swamped a lot of the surrounding plants, but then bindweed has too!

  2. I added some of those late bloomers to my garden this year. I hope to see them blooming up a storm next summer. I love that happy yellow wave.

  3. Oh, yes, very yellow: Susans, cupplant, and some golden rod, plus a few volunteer sunflowers. Sadly, I didn’t get any zinnias planted this year, so no contrast right now.

  4. Looking fabulous, Jason. I think those insects on the milkweed are rose milkweed beetles; pretty much harmless, although they can take over the plants. Another species (I can’t really see what bugs they are because I can’t enlarge your photo) that is more problematic is the milkweed bug, which eats the seeds and tissues of the stems and the plant. If you want to save seeds, you’ll want to mostly get rid of these guys. Just splash them with a blast from the garden hose–it works. (I always go as organic as possible.)

    • Thanks, Beth! We definitely have a lot of milkweed bugs. Surprised to hear they are so easily controlled, I’ve kind of accepted them as something we have to live with. Now I’ll definitely be taking action against them next year.

  5. Your garden looks wonderful, or as my granddaughter would say ”Oh Wow!”. It is a good reference for me to have the photos with the names of plants and flowers as some are not that well known to me. I hope your neighbours appreciate your and Judy’s garden.

  6. Strong impact. Looks great Jason. I also cut back Rudbeckia laciniata by half this year and it really made a difference, kept it from being so tall and floppy, but it didn’t bloom very well.

    • So your experience is much like mine. I guess it takes trial and error to figure out which plants adapt well to being cut back hard.

  7. Ha! A wave of yellow perfectly defines August here, too, except for my four limelight hydrangeas, which are putting on quite the show. Looks mighty pretty, Jason!

  8. Your gardens look amazing! Can’t wait to achieve that sort of fullness in the new border. I’m also riding the wave, although not as abundantly as you are – various rudbeckia, cup plant (they grew TALL this year with all the rain), sunflowers (some self-seeded!) and now goldenrod are the main players.

  9. That’s what I call a proper August garden! I especially love those Mexican Sunflowers among the yellows and blues — very lively!

  10. I’d guess your red and black insects are either milkweed bugs or milkweed beetles. This was the year I discovered the beetle exists, as well as the bug. Both feed on the plants, and gain protection from the milkweed’s toxicity just as the monarchs do — their colors, which mimic the monarchs, are a warning sign!

    We call your river oats ‘inland sea oats,’ and I just took a photo of some a couple of weeks ago. They’re one of my favorite plants.

  11. Your galls on rudbeckia are probably Asphondylia rudbeckiaeconspicua, a tiny little midge, and possibly a parasitoid wasp that is trying to eat that. If you are interested in learning more Jim McCormac of Ohio Birds and Biodiversity has a post on that and a simple google search of the Latin name and his name should bring you to it.

    You could open up the galls to look at what is inside, but I just leave them for springtime birds to eat.

  12. No golden wave here. It is not a good color scheme for redwoods. We have some yellow violas, but barely a puddle.
    Doesn’t cutting the ‘Golden Glow’ back a third only deadhead them and remove a bit of the flower stems? That would not be cutting them back but just deadheading. Either way, if you did that or nothing, don’t they stay green until the snow anyway? I would be inclined to just cut them back a third like that, and then just clean up the mess when the snow goes away.

    • I mean, I would clean up the mess of foliage that gets killed by the snow. I would not just shear the tops off and then leave the mess.

      • Yes, like just a bit lower than deadheading. Now you have me wondering though. Because we lack snow or harsh winter weather, I am inclined to cut them down farther just to get it done with one foul swoop. They are not that happy here. Now I am sort of wondering if they would be happier if I were not so harsh with them. Foliage is still sort of green when I cut it down.

  13. Jason, Yellow has always been my favorite color, and I like color combinations of yellow and just about any other color, so I always welcome August’s glorious yellow wave.

  14. What a great display near your sidewalk! I really like these late summer/autumn colours an dteh clown-nosed cone flower is particularly striking! 😉 My Tithonia were bigger than ever this year so they obviously love dry ground which surprised me. We also have yellow Heleniums and sunflowers for yellow right now. 🙂

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