Garden Photo of the Day

Harriet’s swimming pool garden in Maine, in August

Going along the far side of the old pool takes one along the hot border, planted in yellows and reds most of the season. The heliopsis is finishing now but the yellow daisies have been a presence for about 2 months. It needs deadheading several times a summmer so that it won't take over the entire garden with its seedlings. Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' is now out. Unfortunately another red helenium that bloomed earlier and was a great red presence has died. The phlox here is 'Fuji' (in the distance it is 'David'). 'Fuji' blooms earlier but usually becomes a moldy mess. I don't know if the rain washed any mildew away before it could set in or if several applications of an organic concoction of baking soda, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap did the trick. The lower purple flowers are various sedums including 'Vera Jameson' and 'Ruby Glow'. The rudbeckia (black eyed Susan) is terribly aggressive but when it blooms I like it. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

Today’s photos are from Harriet Robinson in Otisfield, Maine. We’ve visited Harriet’s garden before. Remember, she filled in her swimming pool and turned into an amazing garden? We’ve seen daffodil, daylily, and peony moments in her garden, and today Harriet’s sharing August, a completely different scene.

Another walkway runs along what used to be the pool shallow end. Chyrsanthemum ‘Clara Curtis’ (foreground) is starting to open and will be a cloud of pink soon. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

She says, “Mid to late August isn’t usually prime perennial time, but I have been pleased by how things look this year. Maybe it’s because of all the rain in July, and certainly it helped not to have a repeat of last summer’s hot temperatures that pushed things along.

Walking along the old pool deck, ‘Blue Paradise’ phlox is still blue (turns magenta as the day warms) to the left, and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is barely starting to turn pink. On the right, Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’ is a favorite of mine, planted in many places because it looks great all season long. Phlox, liatris, and echinacea are dependable in August. ‘Goldenglow’ is the yellow flower in the distance. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

“I also have tried to include perennials for a season long bloom sequence. The peonies keep a wonderful presence with their foliage. The daylily leaf dieback isn’t so nice but shows that the fall foliage is coming. All these pictures were taken on the morning of August 28, with the exception of the echinacea close-up, taken in August.”

My latest blooming daylily came in an order as ‘Royal Robe’. It most certainly is not that. I think it is ‘Apache War Paint’ and I love it. I am not sure of the name of the bright colored phlox; I dug it from my mother’s garden. The cement walkway is barely visible next to the rudbeckia near that phlox. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

Gorgeous, as usual Harriet. Thanks for sharing! *****Lots more info in the captions, and stay tuned, because Harriet’s sharing her vegetable garden tomorrow!*****

Here Phlox ‘Bright Eyes’ does very well. ‘Eva Cullum’ is a nice contrast but not as vigorous. A little Verbena bonariensis is coming along. I start it from seed since I can’t depend on it self seeding in time to flower. The one last yellow daylily is ‘Whir of Lace’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

This is prime time to take some photos in your garden. So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

In the actual planted pool, Sedum ‘Matrona’ is now blooming. Liatris, phlox, and ‘Frosty Morn’ sedum are also in bloom. The dianthus’ blue green foliage and the structure from the peonies are nice even if the daylilies are looking ratty. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson
Sedum ‘Black Jack’ is doing well. I am trying to establish it elsewhere in that border but haven’t had luck yet. The huge june-blooming baptisia has nice foliage the rest of the season. It was deadheaded to keep it from spreading about. Gaillardia is usually the season-long red in this border, but only a few plants came back this year. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson
This photo, taken a couple of weeks ago, shows the liatris looking fresh along with echinacea and Agastache ‘Black Adder’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Harriet Robinson

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/29/2013

    Wow, Harriet, your August garden is awesome. It must be almost indescribably delicious to see everything in such bountiful bloom. All your concrete walkways are so nicely softened with the low creepers spilling over and looking just as you, I'm sure, hoped they would. Your deadheaded Baptisia has such a handsome form...I'm envious because I have one that always looks scraggly 'cause it's not in full sun. And,sedum, Black Jack, is quite a looker...good luck with spreading him around.

  2. tractor1 08/29/2013

    Harriet's swimming pool is the best... I could never fathom why folks living in a cold clime would bother with an outdoor swimming pool. Turning that pool into a garden was a stroke of genius. I like all the photos but I like that last one best, with the coneflowers and gaylords against the cedar? fence as a background... I see the turkey wire, is it high enough to deter the deer... I'd raise it about a foot, would also make it much less laborious to mow and weed at the fence bottom. I'd like to see some conifers for winter interest, also makes fine homes for wintering song birds. Now I can hardly wait to see the veggie garden, thank you, Harriet.

  3. Quiltingmamma 08/29/2013

    Love your gardens, Harriet. The red Helenium is quite lovely...well, really, all of it is; but that specimen in a nice addition.

  4. bee1nine 08/29/2013

    Oh my- Don't seem to see a butterfly in sight! How could this be, ( not enough sun, maybe?) Hard to imagine with such
    beauty with enticing and delectable flowers to choose from.

    Thanks again for your pool garden loveliness, Harriet!

  5. mainer59 08/29/2013

    Thank you for your comments. meander1: I do have linking stakes around the baptisia. Perhaps that is why it is holding its form. Tractor1: the wire is really for the free ranging chickens although it keeps wild turkeys out. My son raised it enough to make weedwacking easy, and when he did that, the chickens got in under it. The older girls are now penned since they do damage in all my gardens (especially the front of the house). The baby chicks free ranging days will end soon as they are getting under the fence on a regular basis. Deer aren't a problem for me this time of year. I think there is plenty for them to eat in the woods and fields. They nibble on outlying shrubs in the winter and early spring and I try to remember to install wire towers around them in the late fall. bee1nine: the yellow swallowtails were numerous early in the season. Right now I have an small orange brown one. I am not sure why there aren't more around right now. Maybe they are starving the way the honey bees are. We are actually feeding the honeybees with bags of sugar water, unheard of for this time of year. The state beekeeper says the nectar flow was way off this year because the flowers shut down the July nectar flow as a preservation tactic when it got hot, and the rest of the time it was rainy and they couldn't fly. The bumblebees are active in less ideal conditions.

  6. annek 08/29/2013

    Harriet, I so enjoy the information you've added underneath each photo. The details, comments, plant names and growing tips are immensely educational. (Of course, it takes me quite awhile to tear my gaze away from the photos to even read the captions!)

    All the photos are beautiful, but that last!

  7. GardenersWK 08/29/2013

    Lovely August garden! I am envious for all the phlox you have! Can't wait to see your veggie garden!

  8. GrannyMay 08/29/2013

    Harriet, you certainly could give lessons on the art of planting perennials to ensure successive blooming. It looks amazing all the time! Congratulations! I know I rely on shrubs and grasses to provide interest and continuity as my perennials can leave huge gaps as they come and go.

  9. priscanello1 08/29/2013


  10. GrannyCC 08/29/2013

    What a beautiful garden especially well planned for all seasons. I love all the oranges and reds for this time of year.

  11. caroldt 08/29/2013

    Just gorgeous! I, too, am very grateful for descriptions, plant names and other information provided under each photo. Thank you for the butterfly and honeybee information. I love the long distance vistas in the background of your garden "meadowland". I got sidetracked at breakfast lingering over your photos this morning. My Fuji phlox succumbed to fungus a few years ago, but my David is like a cumulus billow even as shade is beginning to overtake it. What are the proportions for your organic spray?

  12. janeeliz 08/29/2013

    Your autumn garden is delightful, Harriet. Such a lush collection of happy perennials at this time of year! Very interesting , but sad, info. you shared about the honeybees. I seem to have lots of bees -esp. on anemones, but have seen few, if any, monarchs, so far. I'm hoping they are just a bit late this year.

  13. sheila_schultz 08/29/2013

    You've got the best looking pool ever, Harriet! Your August garden is great... so many flowers to cut, I'm envious.

  14. mainer59 08/29/2013

    Thank you, everyone! It is so nice to share my garden with such a positive group! For anyone who hasn't, do send Michelle your photos! Caroldt:
    I combined 2 recipes I found on line. One calls for 4 tsp baking soda and 1 Tbsp horticultural oil in a gallon of water. Another calls for a Tbsp each of of baking soda, dishwashing liquid and vegetable oil in a gallon of water. What I do is use the TBSP amounts and use horticultural oil and insecticidal soap (since I have both ingredients) rather than regular oil and dishwashing liquid. I mix it in a gallon milk jug and then put it in a handheld sprayer. I read on line about using milk, but haven't tried that. I think that one needs to be proactive. Humid weather seems to bring it on. I think this was just a good year in Maine and powdery mildew wasn't rampant.
    JaneEliz: let's hope the monarchs are just late this year. If I get a chance, I like to look for the caterpillars on milkweed. The schoolchildren frequently put a monarch caterpillar with leaves in a jar and watch it make the chrysalis. It is exciting to see it turn from green to black on the day the butterfly emerges and then release it when the wings have fully opened and dried.

  15. tractor1 08/29/2013

    For an insecticidal spray I mix Murphy's Oil Soap with water; 1 Tbls to 1 pint.

  16. bee1nine 08/29/2013

    Hi Harriet, Thank you for clueing me in about your lack of
    butterflies and your state honeybee dilemma too.
    We have seen the yellow and black swallowtails here on the Cape. Had monarchs come in, in July (last year) to lay eggs
    on my butterfly weed but, no signs of them to speak of yet,
    this year.
    As for bumblebees, too many to count!..And lots of folks are
    complaining their hummingbird feeders are inundated by them.
    It's been a strange season!!

  17. cwheat000 08/30/2013

    The more I see this garden, the more I like it. It is so impressive it looks so good this late in the season. You have tons of color in every season. Love it! Thanks for telling us about frosty morn sedum. It sounds great. By the way, my gaillardia rotted or disappeared over the winter too. Also,love that mum. Aren't true perennial mums fabulous? I have Sheffield pink and it is one of my top 10 favorite perennials.

  18. debrees 08/30/2013

    Love the combination of the echinacea and Agastache 'Black Adder' together. Very pretty!

  19. caroldt 08/30/2013

    Thanks for the organic spray recipes, mainer59 and tractor1.

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