An Eastern Pennsylvania Native Plant Garden

August 2011

joe pye

August 3 - the dwarf Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum 'Little Joe') is starting to bloom. Joe Pye Weeds are supposed to be a good butterfly attractor. Regular Joe Pye Weed can grow up to six or seven feet tall, which is too much for my garden.


August 5. A bouquet with Joe Pye Weed, Black-eyed Susan, Helianthus (the lemon yellow one, pictured later - just starting to bloom now), Garden Phlox, Red Lobelia, Purple Coneflower, a litle piece of Trumpet Honeysuckle on the right, and Blue Mistflower (also pictured later, just starting to bloom here).


August 11. Here is the Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'). It blooms profusely throughout August and is great for cutting.

Bees really love them, too.

turtlehead close

The Pink Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) is starting to bloom. Its flowers are said to look like turtles' heads, if you look at them sideways. This is a good plant for moist soil. Bees really like it - a bee was entering or leaving almost every flower as I was taking pictures.



helianthus big

Here's a wider view of the Helianthus. It brighens up the alley by my garage. It does pretty well in the dry soil here in the sun, though it starts to wilt if it goes a while in hot weather without rain. Like the other plants at this corner, I think its roots hit gravel or asphalt.

pond aug17

August 17 - pond overview. That's Black-eyed Susan on the left and Pink Threadleaf Coreopsis blooming at the right front. The pond and its beds were installed in August 2007. The shrubs and perennials have really filled out in their fourth season.

first clematis bloom

August 20. Here is a native clematis, Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana), up on the arbor. This flower was a happy surprise. Someone gave me a little piece of this plant in fall of 2009. It put up shoots in spring of 2010 but every one of them got eaten before it could start to climb. I was going to give up on it but somehow it got some shoots up the side of the arbor this year. On August 20, I noticed the very first flower on top where the sun hits it most.

more clematis

August 26. More flowers are opening up high on the Virgin's Bower.

(August 30 update - something has eaten them all off!)


August 27. Hurricane Irene was a few hours late arriving so I ran out to take some pictures before the rain hit. This is Blue Mistflower or Hardy Ageratum (Conoclinium coelestinum 'Blue'). I'm not sure if it is related to the one commonly sold as a garden annual. It is taller - 1 to 3 feet high. It's beautiful and butterflies like it. It does spread out from the roots and also reseeds generously. Disposing of the flower heads when it has gone to seed can help control it. The roots are shallow, so chunks can easily be pulled up and inflicted on your friends when it gets too big.

turtlehead overview

Here's what a patch of Pink Turtlehead looks like.







great blue lobelia

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) is another plant that likes moist soil.



sens fern volunteer

The Sensitive Fern on top of the rock was a present from Mother Nature. A spore from the one at the back of the yard must have blown its way here. They are wetland plants, so I'm not sure how well this one would do in a long dry spell. I helped it along during that July sizzling weather by misting it with the hose.


This is Ironweed (Veronia novebroacensis). It is a tall plant, about 5-6 feet.

red and blue lobelias

Great Blue and Red Lobelia together.


small liatris

This pitiful plant is Dwarf Blazing Star (Liatris microcephala). It should have nice upright plumes of purple. I don't think it is getting enough sun.


pitcher plant

I've run out of new flower pictures for August, so here are a few other things. This is the Pitcher Plant that floats on the pond. I showed its flower stalk in May. Its pitchers fill with water and it feeds by digesting the small insects that fall in. It is a bog plant that likes damp roots. It seems to do fine in the pond.

swamp milkweed pods

The Swamp Milkweed is definitely done blooming for the season now, because these are its seed pods starting to form. They'll turn brown and open to disperse seeds into the air. I've found a few volunteers from last year popping up in other areas of my yard.


honeysuckle berry

These are berries of the Trumpet Honeysuckle, in a cluster where the flowers fall off. They turn bright red and get eaten by birds. Unlike the hollies, there isn't just one ripening point. Berries appear and ripen after each wave of blooming.


arborvitae cones

I have two Arborvitae trees at the corner of the house, planted by someone a long time ago. I was surprised to find out that they may be native. The American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) have horizontally-oriented branches, and the Oriental ones have vertical ones (at least, that's what some web site said), so I think this is American. The American one is also called Eastern White Cedar. Pictured here are the beginnings of cones that will later turn brown.

A lot of people trim their Arborvitae into hedges that are square, round, pyramidal, etc. Besides looking stupid, if you keep cutting off the new growth, you won't get the cones. Ditto for Hemlocks.


butterfly weed pods

The Butterfly Weed is putting out its seed pods now, too.









Amer holly berry

Here are the American Holly berries.


viburnum berries

And Viburnun berries, which start out creamy white and later turn pink and then blue as they ripen.


magnolia fruit

The Sweetbay Magnolia puts out this big cone. I'm not sure what eats it, but I bet something does.

I just found a website that says the cones are food for birds including turkey and quail. I'll be waiting for some of those to show up.

winterberry berries

The Winterberry Holly berries are already tinged with pink.



Things are slowing down, but there will be a few new flowers still to come in September.


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