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Garden Dairy: August
August has been a month of extremes. We’ve had temperatures of over 30C that left the garden parched, followed by torrential rain that flattened some of the taller plants. Fewer species started to flower in August than in the previous months but there were compensations. Some of the faded flowers are now forming seeds in a rather spectacular manner.

For instance, in fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) each tiny seed is attached to a small fluffy parachute that makes it float through the air.

 photo 1. vliegzaden wilgenroosje_zpsp0fdvr8k.jpg

In many species, the capsules are just as striking as the flowers.

 photo 2. zaaddozen vingerhoedskruid primula akelei_zps1vq7yczy.jpg
Seeds of the foxglove (left) emerge through a tiny crack in the side of the capsule, whereas capsules of primrose and columbine open at the top, leaving a beautifully shaped pointy collar.

 photo 3. zaaddozen koekoeksbloem judaspenning kardinaalsmuts_zpsaxuo5oos.jpg
Red campion (left) with one mature, open capsule and three others still in development. Honesty (middle) has these transparent seed pods and the fruit of the Spindle tree (right) shows why this species is called ‘Cardinal’s hat’ in Dutch.

 photo 4. lijsterbessen amp wingerd_zpstojvxij8.jpg
Some of our shrubs and climbers are now forming berries: the Rowan tree (Sorbus) and the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus).

Writing about all these different types of berries, pods, capsules or whatever you call them has been quite difficult. I know what I would say in Dutch but in English? Going to Wikipedia wasn’t much help because scientific botanical terms differ from those used in everyday life. Well, the pictures at least show what I mean.

 photo 5. merel op platje amp hortensia_zps8toyh59w.jpg
The Virginia creeper has woven its way through the wire netting around my small balcony, creating a sheltered space where I sometimes see sunbathing blackbirds. There’s also just space enough for a potted Hydrangea.

 photo 6. Verbena amp achtergevel comp_zps3mxo87rs.jpg
Behind a patch of tall verbena (Verbena bonariense) you get a glimpse of the back of the house, where my hobbity buddy is quietly smoking his pipe.

Insects of all kinds are still finding our garden paradise.

 photo 7. bij op marjolein comp_zpslyak9t78.jpg
Bees (or is the left one a wasp?) visiting the Marjoram plants.

 photo 8. sedum composite_zpsjhc556jf.jpg
Sedum telephium also attracts lots of insects. Wikipedia tells me this plant should now be called Hylotelephium telephium (the systematists keep changing plant names, grrr). It also has many common English names, such as orpine, livelong, frog's-stomach, harping Johnny, life-everlasting, live-forever, midsummer-men, Orphan John and witch's moneybags. I’ll go for life-everlasting because we have had it in our garden for decades.

Pictures of the other species that started flowering in August:

 photo 9. paarse amp roze kattenstaart_zps9g4qslcw.jpg
Purple and pink loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).

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Black-eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).

 photo 10. springbalsemien composite_zpsdcxfvyba.jpg
Different color varieties of the Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). This species is also called ‘snapweed’ because the seed pods snap open when you touch them.

 photo 12. spirea struik amp stokroos_zpstsw2ootg.jpg
Japanese spirea (Spirea japonica) and hollyhock (Alcea).

 photo 13. gele speren amp leverkruid_zpsnpxlvnkb.jpg
Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum).

 photo 14. ijzerhard_zpswkvymlyt.jpg
And finally, the common vervain (Verbena officinalis). The flowers have a beautiful, very delicate pinkish-purple color that I could not catch on picture. My autofocus camera also refused to focus well on the flower. So, I think it’s time to start saving for a better camera!

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Your garden is gorgeous in all its stages, and you've done a fabulous job with the translations, imho. :)

Thanks you, Addie. Taking the pictures, selecting the best ones and writing the text for these posts have all added to my love for our garden.

You really do have a garden paradise! Thank you for sharing it with us.

I'm glad you like the posts, SB. Sharing what I see makes me love my garden even more.

Love your stunning photos. fireweed is called Rose Bay Willowherb here or simply willowherb.

Edited at 2015-09-01 01:17 am (UTC)

Thank you, Linda. OK, so it's willowherb where you live. That's actually similar to the Dutch name, which is wilgenroosje ("willowrose").

your flowers are so varied and beautiful but you got a photo of that bee? even with a zoom i wouldn't. don't. like. bees.

whenever you start looking for your new camera, let me know. :-)

Thanks, lady. The bees are harmless. All they think about is drinking the nectar from the flowers.

I'm seriously looking for a new camera. The one I have now is a Pentax WG-1. I love that camera. It's waterproof, easy to use and small enough to carry around in the pocket of my jeans. But it has one disadvantage: I can't focus manually. The autofocus works well when there is enough contrast in the picture but sometimes it just refuses to focus on the right spot.
So. I'm looking for a camera with all the advantages of my Pentax but with a manual focus option.

Beautiful pics, thanks for sharing! :-)

Thank you, Jane. I'm glad you liked the pictures. It's part of the fun to share them. :-)

I love your descriptions to go with the photos. They add so much. I think we have a number of these plants but I haven't always know what they were called. Thank you, Ambree. :)

Finding the correct name of a plant is part of the fun. I usually know the Dutch name and can get to the English name through Latin. We should all still be grateful to Linnaeus, who gave us the system of Latin names.
I'm glad you liked the post, Mechtild. Thank you.

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