What's Blooming in August

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Posted by @LarryR on
August has turned out to be a good month here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens. Having suffered substantially from heat, drought, Japanese beetles, and moles during June and July, many of our flowering plants are bouncing back with amazing rapidity and vigor. Come on in and see what's blooming and who our lucky winner is in July's mystery blossom contest.

Japanese beetles devouring rugosa rose 'Charles Albanel'

Having defeated the Japanese beetles that devoured our summer blossoms in June and July (photo at right), I am happy to report that Mother Nature has had a change of heart and blessed us this month with rain and renewal.  One of the plant species that fared well, despite the worst growing conditions our gardens have ever seen, is Gladiolus nanus.

I've always been interested in species glads, but had never tried growing them until now.  There are approximately 160 species, most of which are native to South Africa.  They vary in hardiness and cultural requirements, with nanus being among the hardiest.  Some vendors claim that they can be grown in Zone 4 with some protection.  I plan to leave some corms in the ground over winter to see if they survive in our Zone 5 gardens without protection.

Nanus glads come in an amazing variety of shapes and colors.  Below left are some of the ones that started blooming in our beds in late June and continued to bloom into early August.  They're petite in stature when compared with the glads that we're used to seeing and growing.  Planting them in clumps, rather than in rows, is the most effective way to display them.


Variability in G. nanus Species
(Please click photos to enlarge)


Hosta Blossom
July's Mystery Flower


Renewal Comes to our Gardens

Pholx sends out new blossoms, much to the delight of this butterfly.
Alyssum and Dianthus begin to bloom once more.

Winner of the July What's Blooming contest is CindiKS, who correctly identified the mystery blossom as a hosta flower (photo below left).  I asked Cindi to tell us a bit about herself, both as a person and more specifically as a gardener.  Here is her reply.

Gardening is in my blood. Every relative on both sides is an accomplished gardener, but none of them are farmers! I'm the only one in the family who has attempted to turn gardening into a business. As a child and teenager, I collected hoyas and philodendrons. Once I had my own apartment after college, I grew perennials in buckets on my balcony. My house here is on 10 acres, and I spend a lot of time tending more flowers than I really can handle.

Gardening in South-central Kansas is a huge challenge. This year, we've had hail that shredded everything, including the trees, then winds that never let up, followed by week after week of 100+ temps. Last year, we had 53 days over 100 degrees, and I think we'll beat that this year. My plan to sell iris and daylilies at the farmers market was derailed for another season.  We're learning what plants can survive extended drought. Two years ago, I would have sworn my favorite plant was the daylily. I have over 1000 cultivars. This year, I think iris and roses are the winners, as they held up beautifully in the extreme conditions.

I travel quite a bit, and tour both private and public gardens anywhere I can. Plants grow bigger and better in just about every other region. What amazes me is how many people do garden in our challenging environment. We have many gardening organizations in our area. We have clubs that promote daffodils, daylilies, hosta, roses, ponds, iris, orchids, bonsai, cacti and organic gardens. Our Master Gardener group has over 350 members!

Our garden has vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries. We plant some areas for wildlife, and keep a two-acre fishing pond and a smaller pond for water lilies and lotus and other aquatics. Part of the field is clover for our five beehives. Most of the year, it's an archery range and soccer field, though!  Soccer coaching is one of my former hobbies. Now my kids are into triathlons, so I travel to watch them. In addition to collecting plants, I collect gardening books.  Reading, playing piano, sudoku, swimming and playing ball with my dogs are my main distractions--after I read all the interesting threads on ATP and Cubits, of course!

Thumb of 2012-08-05/CindiKS/27e3fd
 Cindi's Favorite, Rosa 'Ketchup and Mustard'

What else do I want people to know about me? Hmm. Last year, we gutted and remodeled our whole house to make it wheelchair accessible because my rheumatologist said my weird rare form of autoimmune disease would cripple me within a few years. My medicine runs $6,000 per month. Yep you read that right. This year, I found research implicating grains in this disease, so I found some good books and a natural grocer, and started a paleo diet. The difference is incredible. I got my life back. The doc isn't ready to stop my treatments, but he's never seen progress like mine from any meds. "Healthy whole grains" were killing me. Now, the future looks wonderful.

The photo I selected is the one on my avatar. It is a rose named 'Ketchup and Mustard.' I bought this rose bare root in California last November and flew it home with me in the suitcase. I bought several roses, in fact, and had to ship my clothes home in a box. Lovey dubby My daughter just graduated and moved to San Diego. She took me to this wonderful rose nursery, and I just couldn't resist. I'm going out there again in September. This rose reminds me of the wonderful visit I had with her. It is as tough as she is.








Culture for this plant is very easy.  It blooms for an extended period through summer and into fall.  Deer avoid it, and it has no serious insect or disease problems, with one exception.  It is a Japanese beetle magnet.  Be sure to click on photo to enlarge.

Scroll down to the forum at the end of this article.  Click on the thread, "July Contest Entries."  (The thread may not appear immediately after the article is published.  If there is no thread by that name, please start one and name it "July Contest Entries" if you'd like to identify the mystery flower.)  Enter the name of the plant pictured at left.  Please include the genus, species and cultivar names.  The winner gets to select a photo of a blooming plant from her/his garden, to be published in next month's What's Blooming article, along with a brief interview.  Check back often to see if the bloom has been identified.  If readers are having difficulty, I may provide a hint.


Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, owned by Larry and Wilma Rettig, South Amana, Iowa, has been featured in local and national publications, on the Internet, and is listed with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in its Archives of American Gardens.  Larry and Wilma grow over 300 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Since 1986, they have maintained a seed bank that preserves vegetable varieties brought from Germany to the Amana Villages during the 1850s. 


Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
We have winner! by LarryR Aug 29, 2012 3:53 PM 0
August contest entries by pmajhan Aug 29, 2012 3:52 PM 1
July Contest entry by maryann Aug 27, 2012 5:12 PM 0
Love the glads! by vic Aug 26, 2012 9:04 PM 4
August contest entries by LarryR Aug 26, 2012 9:55 AM 0

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