Bloom Day a Bust-Almost

A constant struggle, a ceaseless battle to bring success from inhospitable surroundings, is the price of all great achievements.  ~ Orison Swett Marden


When I read this quote it seemed such a perfect description of my garden from the unpredictable spring into this unseasonable summer.  Constant struggle – yes!  Battling inhospitable surroundings – absolutely!  Great achievements – inevitably!

We had .8 inches of rain so far in August; .5 just Friday night.  It was one of those summer storms we are used to around here, but have not seen all summer.  I call it a ‘darn good window rattler’.  The wind whips up out of no where gusting to 60 mph.  Lightning splits the sky striking close by I fear.  I am like a child with my head under the covers.  Then the thunder starts.  So loud the windows tremble.   The whole house shakes as if it might fall apart and split right down the middle.  I jump at each rumble.  There will be no sleep.  Then the rain starts in loud hard drops that become sheets of water falling heavy and fast, so fast it runs down the driveway like a raging river.  They call it a severe thunderstorm, but I say it is a real ‘window rattler’.

But I know this crazy storm that came up quickly has passed just as quickly leaving debris and .5 inches of rain in its wake.  And I am happy because I know the hard and cracked soil, the brown and drooping plants (pictured here) are rejoicing in the wake of it.  By morning they will be rejuvenated.

But rain or watering of plants is only one way to bring success to my garden.  I have done little watering and still there are blooms and little loss.  There are plants that have decided not to bloom or only bloom a bit.  But the clay soil of my garden likes to reserve the water from snow and spring rains much like a sponge.  That helped the plants some.  But growing plants that are used to clay soil, hardy natives to the area, has also helped to bring success this garden season.  One good drink of water and browning drooping leaves are now firm and standing erect finally flowering.

So when I thought August would not have much blooming, I am finding a garden that is waking and blooming again.  Some plants are long past, others are just starting and many are still blooming weeks ahead.  I am grateful for each and every bloom like the late blooming lily pictured above.  And so I share them now with you for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol@May Dreams Gardens, and Blogger Blüten hosted by Gesine@Seepferds Garten.


The native Susans (rudbeckias) have been faithfully blooming in so many areas of the garden and throughout the meadow.



One of the more unusual native rudbeckias is, Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers‘.  I love the straight petals and the chocolate-brown centers.



Joe Pye Weed (Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus) is a stalwart native that is loved by pollinators and butterflies.  It grows in moist areas in the garden, and loves to volunteer all around the garden.  This is a beautiful flower that I had trouble accepting because of its tendency to seed itself. But by moving it to more open and perfect areas like the rain garden, it has become a gorgeous addition to the later summer garden growing in sun and part shade.  An addition I could not live without now.



I have long thought hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus laevis) was too exotic to be a native.  It is one of the last plants to break dormancy in early summer finally flowering in high summer.  It blooms in wet areas and normal soil moisture as well.



A few sunflowers have braved the drought and flowered but mostly because they were volunteers from last year and growing around and through the new raised bed.  This sunflower is growing through 1 foot of soil in the new veggie bed, and 6 feet tall towering over the beans.    While the smaller volunteer below is a sunny beacon along the fence drawing lots of bees and ants.






This liatris aspera was a wonderful surprise.  I love liatris spicata, but  need to get more of this particular one.  It blooms much later and in more shade.  I love the messy puff ball flowers as they pop out each side of the stem.  The hummers, butterflies and other pollinators flock to this plant.



Sneezeweed or Helenium autumnale ‘Red Jewel’ is about 5 feet tall this year and blooming profusely.  I was so surprised to see it, and have it in several areas of the garden.

This summer has been incredible for my dwarf balloon flowers or Platycodon grandiflorus.  The deep blue-veined flowers have been non-stop blooming through this drought in the hottest, driest area in the front gardens.

Now here is some of the foliage still hanging in there through our dry summer.

I am linking in with Pam@Diggingfor her Foliage Follow Up on the 16th, and Christina@Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for her Garden Bloggers Foliage Day on the 22nd as I show some August green.

Heucheras are not fading much and their stunning foliage is a welcome sight.

Viburnums have wonderful thick leaves, but the berries have been stripped already by hungry birds getting ready to migrate soon.

Hostas that were fading are now reinvigorated.

Northern Sea Oats, a native grass is blooming along with many grasses.  I found this grass volunteering around the garden, and I will move some of them to the meadow and other areas of the back garden.  Love the look of the flowers/seed heads.

All of us could take a lesson from the weather.   It pays no attention to criticism.  ~Author Unknown

Please Note:  There have been several issues of late with reading and commenting on the blog.  I have recently changed the web host and the blog has stabilized a bit more although some of the widgets on the sidebar like the Blogroll are still creating problems.  I thank you for your patience and persistence in reading and commenting even though it has been a frustrating process.


Don’t forget that September 1st marks the next installment of Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned.  Click the link to learn more.  Beth@PlantPostings will be wrapping up this past season with lessons we have learned in our gardens, and I will be setting the stage for next season’s celebrations (fall up N and spring down S of the equator).  What do you love to do in the this upcoming season?  What holidays or rituals make it a wonderful season for you?  How does your garden grow and what favorite plants will be blooming?  I hope you will be joining us.  Just create a post and link in with both or one of us between September 1st and the 20th, and around the 21st we will reveal those lessons and celebrations.


Next up on the blog:  I am postponing my special tree post until the end of the month.  Monday I will be sharing a very special garden book about meadows.  And next Wednesday will be another Simply The Best post honoring a special native plant.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

79 Replies to “Bloom Day a Bust-Almost”

  1. you have got a lot flowering Donna, I can’t chose a favourite as they are all lovely, the storm sounds frightening I’d be under the covers too, glad no serious damage was done and it brought a little rain, I hope it lowered the temps a bit too, Frances

    1. Frances the temps finally lowered this weekend but it will warm up as this week progresses…and it is dry again. Oh well I can still look at some lovely flowers.

  2. Hi Donna, You have a lot of beauty in your gardens. I love the rudbeckias and the Joe Pye weed. Your liatris is unusual and beautiful as well. Thanking God for rain; we have had some as well. We too have clay soil and I never thought of it as a positive, but maybe so…given the right circumstances.
    Blessings and hugs, Beth

    1. Oh Beth I have been trying to find good in this drought and while we have had some rain, the soil is bone dry even a foot down…but soon the fall rains will be here…glad you enjoyed the garden!

  3. You have shared so many lovely blooms, hard to know where to start. I do love the natives in the garden, they perform so much better when weather condititons are rough. I have Joe Pye for the first time ….hoping it blooms for me, but right now it is just a foot high and alive. Minor success. I will look for the ‘Red Jewel’ this is one plant that gives and gives all season long.
    As for the window rattling storms, you could be in the shower stall with our Aussie, Skyler, he knows a storm is coming long before you hear the thunder.

    1. How funny…I would love someone to predict storms. I am sure Joe will pop right up next year and spread his wonders around. You will love Red Jewel too!!

  4. Donna, I love Liatris aspera too. Planted more of it last year and it’s doing extremely well on our gravel hillside. One bloom stalk is on steroids, over 6′ tall. The monarchs love it.

  5. You garden proves that plants can take a range of conditions – from drought to batterings and still come up with beautiful blooms. Not seen or heard of it before but the liatris aspera is as lovely as lilac!
    p.s. I know what a busy person you are so many thanks Donna for taking time to visit and comment on my other blog too. Laura x.

    1. Oh Laura I do love your other blog…I am glad I finally found it. That liatris is a stunner and quite a performer no matter the weather…

  6. It’s so funny; one person’s idea of drought is .8 inch of rain, to me that seems a huge amount. We’ve had no rain since April, and not much then. we’re forecast rain later today and I have everything crossed! your blooms are lovely and I can see they have enough water. ENJOY! Christina

    1. Hoping your garden finally had some rain…it does seem too hard to bear to go so long without water. It is amazing what our gardens can endure.

  7. I feel your pain..we finally got some rain and the pond rose by several inches and I have been so concerned about it..I too have the Joe Pye and the black-eyed susans..thank goodness as most other things are having a hard time..and August is moving on…Michelle

  8. That last quote about the weather not caring about criticism is so true! Too bad it doesn’t take suggestions! You have some nice blooms. I especially love that unusual liatris. It’s such a beautiful color, too.

    1. Holley that liatris is one of my favs and I look forward to August to see it. The weather has its own mind for sure!

  9. Great plants and photos – despite the weather you still have so many blooms! The Liatris is gorgeous – I may try growing that next year. And I never thought of growing Joe-pye weed in my garden. What a great idea! 😀

    1. Joe Pye has moved itself all over the gardens. I have to move him when he is just not in the right spot, but otherwise I give him pretty free reign as he is such a great performer.

  10. Lots of wonderful flowers blooming despite the drought. I am always amazed how most people sleep through these incredible thunderstorms. I will say did you hear the rain last night and they will say no did it rain.

    1. I will sleep through most rain but not these severe storms…the lightning and thunder wakes me ever since the house next door was hit by lighting last year.

  11. Lots to show this month. Lucky the rains came, although they could have been a little longer in duration. Your garden plants look really good for the weather you have been reporting. I like the Sea Oats and it is a nice photo too.

    1. Thanks Donna…I think the clay soil and the spring floods certainly helped many plants bloom…of course these natives can take it.

  12. Quasi impossible to get to this comment box. Made it at last feel as if I have canoed across the Grand Canyon.
    The rain here has made a huge difference to the lushness of the flowerborders.

  13. Your flowers are just lovely. The sunflowers are one of my favorites. I would love to have the red jewel in my yard, it is gorgeous. Great post and photos.

  14. There is so much beauty in your garden. Everything looks happy. Hope no damage came from the storm. They’ve been very tricky this summer.

  15. Your liatris is spectacular. It’s wonderful to see all your flowers despite the drought. I love the pop of color from your black-eyed Susans and hibiscus.

  16. Hi Donna, i love your flowers, especially the blue one, what is it, Platycodon? I heard it just now, and your hibiscus are lovely. Your rains at that magnitude of 0.7in is so small compared to what flooded Metro Manila and nearby towns. Many places here are still flooded and another typhoon is here so chaos and problems. We have around 50mm of rain in 24 hrs, and it didn’t stop for 13 days! But please don’t worry about me, as I and my family are safe.

  17. Lovely blooms, Donna! I am sensing a theme to the Bloom Day posts as I just begin reading them this morning–while last month we were all in survival mode, this month seems to be one of rejuvenation with an appreciation for the rain, however meager it has been. Your garden certainly looks happy, especially those Susans. Your Joe-Pye week also looks great; I’m thinking mine needs to be moved where it will get more moisture.

    Love the opening quote–so true for this gardening season!

    1. Rose indeed I think we are all grateful for whatever rain we are getting…Joe definitely loves moisture and part shade/sun and I have some that likes the sun and drier conditions…pretty hardy plant.

    1. I would love to have your company as we stroll through the gardens…perhaps we will one day visit each others gardens…pure wonder!

  18. Beautiful, Donna! Sunflowers are my favorite late-summer flower that I don’t have in my garden. If I had a big, sunny spot, they would be there! I remember seeing the Sea Oats on your blog last year–a very nifty plant! Wonderful post, and I wish I could just drop on over and hang out in your garden with you. 😉

    1. Oh Beth if you are ever this way I would love for you to hang out…I am so glad I have sun in this garden just for those sunflowers.

    1. Thx Janet…I have been enjoying your new garden…commented but I think they may be going to your spam…looking forward to more views and plans of your gardens!

  19. The more I read about them, the more I love Joe’s.

    Despite the rain, your garden is lovely. I think we have had no rain for ….ever. They were on and on about it on the news.

    Your garden is lovely.

    Jen @ Muddy Dreams

  20. Heucheras and hostas tend to melt away in the Texas heat, so I especially enjoyed seeing their lovely, fresh foliage on your post. Thanks for joining in for Foliage Follow-Up!

  21. I certainly understand about the lack of rain, and I’m so sorry. I hate seeing plants with heat and drought stress. It makes me sad. Hang in there. Fall is coming, and with it, I hope–the rains will come again.~~Dee

  22. Hi Donna,

    Lovely blooms! I’m glad to hear you got some much needed rain; today we’ve had some although our garden wasn’t suffering even a fraction as much as yours. But after three weeks of next to no rain I imagine the plants will be very happy to have a good drink. Tomorrow we’ll be back to dry, sun, cloud, warm weather but nothing too hot or scorching.

  23. Your garden is lovely despite this summer. I am sure that the rain was welcome, despite the window rattling. I rather miss the thunder storms here in the Northwest. We get so few of them. I really like your liatris aspera. I must have some. I do love giant joe pye weed, but my new yard is too small to grow it here. Hoping that you have a great weekend.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

    1. Yael I hope you are able to get some of the liatris for your garden. I so like the window rattling storms too, but we have few of them these days.

    1. Paula how lovely to have you visit. I noticed the smaller plants or lack of blooms too but every one has been so welcome. Glad you liked the pics.

  24. Despite the drought, I think your garden is looking lovely. The Rudbeckias of course are always great at putting on a show when everything else seems to have run out of steam. Here we’re lucky to get any rain between early May and the end of October. That’s just the normal part of our weather cycle, but it does make the garden here look quite parched this time of year, and almost completely devoid of blooms (except for some sturdy weeds). Your garden, compared to mine at the moment, looks like a veritable oasis!

    1. Wow Clare not sure I would like that parched look for that long…good thing we have some reliable natives for color through those tough times.

  25. So glad you got some rain…and your tough plants are indeed rejoicing! It’s so funny you mentioned Joy Pye reseeding. I’ve had mine for years, and never seen a single seedling…but this year there are dozens all over…I wonder what the difference was?

    1. How odd Scott. Mine started seeding after year 2. I wonder if you cut them back before they had a chance to seed perhaps…I love the volunteers…they show up in the most interesting places.

  26. dear donna, congrats, what a lot of loveliness you have to show for your efforts. I’m afraid the weather is only going to get more unstable and unpredictable, and that wil be the new normal. So we are going to need lots of resilience – like our plants. The brilliant blue of the balloon flower is stunning. I particularly love the native grass, that will be a real survivor no matter what I imagine. cheers, catmint

    1. You are so right and why I am replacing many of my non-natives with natives that can stand up to the changes. That native grass has sent up volunteers that I am moving around. At least the balloon flower loves the heat and dry conditions.

  27. Donna, Even after the ravages of this summer, your garden is so lovely. Your experiences with Joe-Pye weed show how important it is to get the siting correct. It can be trying at times when the spot we think a plant should grow is not the spot it wants to grow in. As usual, Mother Nature lets us know who’s in control of our gardens!

    1. So true Debbie. I think Joe Pye is a great native but one must know the plant they are about to put int he garden…if it seeds freely, cut it back before seeds set or just accept the volunteers…I prefer working with Mother Nature…so much easier.

  28. Hi Donna

    Amazing, are those lillies really in flower now? It’s been a crazy year. Here everything is only just starting to look it’s best, things are about 6 weeks behind I reckon. Nothing like a good rain drenching when it’s been dry!

    1. Claire yes indeed those lilies are blooming finally with some rain…interesting how our gardens are just growing at their own will at this point.

  29. I, too, have felt like this summer has been a struggle, even from the beginning thanks to my vole and other critter issues. We’ve had a decent amount of thunderous rain storms lately, but I feel I still don’t have a lot of blooms this year with the heat and voles. Thank goodness for Rudbeckia! What a great native workhorse!

    1. Oh Indie so sorry to here about critter damage…i have voles too who do damage along with some other pests…add to that heat and drought and it makes the gardener frustrated…hoping you find some peaceful times in your garden.

  30. Glad you got some relief from the dry weather. Your flowers look great. I like the color of the Helenium autumnale ’Red Jewel’ and also, look the image of your hosta.

  31. Joe Pye is not the flashiest plant in the garden but it makes a strong background, fuss-free & hardworking at the end of August. This is our first year beekeeping and Joe Pye is covered with bees most of the day. Butterflies too but bees, all kinds, are all over these plants. I’ve had a stand of Joe Pye enough years I don’t remember the cultivar but it’s about 6′ with morning shade, afternoon sun, little water. It doesn’t stray for me, nor does it throw offspring. It does bend down at the end of its time in the sun, generally when it’s full of seeds & rain, but most of the time it stands tall without difficulty.

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