The day lilies are almost over. The roses are pondering if they want to give me that great second bloom — possible, but not certain. The larkspur is so over, and my front garden is bleak: it features a weed, Queen Anne’s Lace. The perennial phlox is happy — for now. I figure I have another clove-scented week. The rudbekia hirta (aka Black Eyed Susans) are splendid, filling in the holes that the drooping coneflowers are leaving.
Why the heck didn’t I plant zinnias in May? In my early gardening life I sneered at zinnias, insufferable perennial snob that I was. August in the Midwest is annuals time, when all the classy perennials have wheezed. In the last few years I’ve grown to adore the sturdy prole zinnia that can grow big and tall, or short and silly. The color and size range of the zinnia is incomparable, and God! A cheap package of seeds planted in May guarantees glorious vulgar color in hot dry August. Cheap, tough and flashy: what’s not to love?
I did plant two other annual faves, nasturtiums and cosmos. As with zinnias, you cannot beat them with a stick if your want flowers in your Midwestern garden in August. My beloved Nasties:
Cosmos are magic: so many varieties, all that fab palette from white through all the pinks into deep purple. And they’re tall and tough and have lovely lacy foliage. And geez, they always grow from seed.
If you’re a cheap and cheerful seed buying gardener , or even if you aren’t, you must buy this beautiful book: http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Hundred-Packets-Seed/dp/0374160295 “A Garden From A Hundred Packets of Seeds.” It’s inspirational, poetic, helpful and, heaven help me, cheap and cheerful.C and C repeated for emphasis.