Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2008

– Posted in: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

This post is now available at Hayefield:

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Ewa In The Garden August 15, 2008, 4:23 am

I love the grass garden shot ๐Ÿ™‚ it so light, fairy and amusing… great impression. Thanks for sharing,

Thank you for visiting, Ewa. It’s a good thing I took the pictures yesterday, because after the thunderstorms we had last evening, the grasses are looking rather battered and droopy at the moment.

perennialgardenlover August 15, 2008, 4:46 am

Everything looks fantastic. I love the wideshot of your garden. Great combinations of color & texture. I like the ‘Golden Moon’ torenia and all the deep burgundy foliage you have planted.

Isn’t that torenia cute? Such a great pairing of yellow and deep purple on the same plant, it works well with many different partners.

Frances August 15, 2008, 7:34 am

Hi Nan, you have blown my hair straight up with these combinations! I have never seen anything like them, genius, brilliant, there are not sufficient words to describe the beauty. You are the supremo, number one…..I have to comment on the Ondra nicotiana, it looks just like Tinkerbell that reseeds in my path each year. It doesn’t grow in the beds, just in the path. I love it’s sweet little green flowers, they used to have pink insides but now come up green. I will call them Nan. ;->

Silly Frances. Funny you should mention ‘Tinkerbelle’, because I almost posted a picture of that too. It’s been reseeding here for a few years and has consistently been a brownish pink for me. The “Ondra’s Green Mix” came about in my old garden, from seedlings that came up the year after I grew ‘Lime Green’ (with relatively large, pale green blooms) and Nicotiana langsdorfii (with smaller, intense yellow-green blooms) in the same bed. The offspring had the good color of the species but the larger flowers of the hybrid, so when I donated them to the HPS/MAG Seed Exchange, I called the “Green Mix”. When someone else donated them the following year, they called them “Nancy Ondra’s Green Mix”. But really, I suspect similar plants can pop up pretty much anywhere nicotianas have been self-sowing for a while.

Les August 15, 2008, 7:46 am

Fantastic shots. I particularly like the Coleus/Spiraea/Zinnia combination.

Those are some creative bird pecking at your Sunflower.

Hi there, Les. I’m glad you like that combo too. And yes, there are some mighty clever birds around here. I can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next.

wiseacre August 15, 2008, 7:48 am

All nice of course but the ‘Fan Burgundy’ lobelia caught my attention. I’ve had Cardinal Flower on my mind lately and yesterday I went hunting for the wild ones. (no post yet – I have to get all the fungus out of my camera first)

I like the โ€˜Violettaโ€™ artichoke too. I love the ‘violetility’ and the similarity of the blooms to thistles. I don’t know it it’s the form or color but bees, bugs and butterflies are really attracted to them.

I agree: The color of that lobelia is wonderfully rich. I bought the plants specifically for the leaves, which were speckled with white at the time. The variegation has disappeared, but with flowers like that, I don’t miss it.

Good luck with your camera!

Dee/reddirtramblings August 15, 2008, 7:53 am

Ah, Nan, what amazing color combinations. I loved the Zinnias, pink and yellow coleus and ‘Mellow Yellow’ spirea. All of the combinations are stunning though. I could learn a lot from you.~~Dee

Hi there, Dee! Another vote for that zinnia/coleus/spirea combo. Sure wish I could take credit for planning it, but it was one of those things that just happened.

Gail August 15, 2008, 8:47 am


I think Frances used up all the good words to describe your garden! It is brilliant knockout combinations and fabulous color! The Chocolate Morning Glory and the limelight Four O’clock are both wonderful. Tell me more about Throatwort, which looks perfect paired with Crocosmia! Its purple reminds me of Ironweed.
Thank you for a wonderful tour!


A mini ironweed, indeed! This is the first time I’ve tried the throatwort. I had some idea that it had clustered flower heads and supposedly made a good cut flower, so I picked up a four-pack of seedlings when I spotted them at a greenhouse this spring. Now it’s near the top of my must-have list for next year too. ‘Lake Louise’ has black stems and long-lasting deep purple flowers. The site they’re in is shadier than they’d like, so they’re not very full, and they’re only 12 to 18 inches tall, but they’re still pretty, and it looks like they’ll be blooming for quite a while yet. I hope I can collect seed from them.

Ann August 15, 2008, 9:10 am

Ahh. So gorgeous! Thank you for the stunning images! I am especially jealous of your pineapple lily and crocosmia. Two plants that I have in the garden but have never bloomed for me (yet?).

Thanks, Ann! I can’t take much credit for the crocosmias; I bought them as started plants this spring. We’ll see if I can get them through the winter and to blooming stage again next year. The pineapple lily has been very good for me. I dig ‘Oakhurst’ every fall and leave the bulbs in my basement for the winter, because I don’t want to take any chance of losing it. But I’ve left others outdoors all winter and still had them flower. I hope you can find some that will bloom for you too!

Nancy Bond August 15, 2008, 9:12 am

Everything in your garden is SO vibrant and beautiful! I love the sunflower in the first photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi Nancy! This is my most favorite time in the garden. Until around late July, I maintain the illusion of control, and things generally perform as I expect them to. But around early August, the plantings start doing what *they* want to, and I love the surprises they give me.

Dave August 15, 2008, 9:27 am

You have a very nice variety of blooms to show! I especially like the shot of your ornamental grasses mixed in with the other flowering plants. The variegated caryopteris looks like a must have for foliage and blooms. A great show!

Thanks, Dave. ‘Snow Fairy’ really has been a good performer: a bit of a late riser in spring, but it looks fantastic by late summer. In this photo, the blue flowers are from an annual browallia, but the caryopteris’ own flowers will be rather similar.

Meryl August 15, 2008, 10:11 am

Love that sunflower–very creative idea!

Thanks for visiting, Meryl. I can’t remember where I first saw that idea, but I’ve been having great fun with it since the sunflowers have started this summer!

Kathy J. Washington Gardener August 15, 2008, 10:57 am

Truly Wonderful! Once again reminding me I need to add more ornamental grasses to my mixed beds.

Thanks so much, Kathy. I’m sure you didn’t need any reminders about the glories of ornamental grasses, especially at this time of year!

Blackswampgirl Kim August 15, 2008, 12:54 pm

WOW! I love all of your combinations, but I think that the throatwort (a plant which I have never seen before) and crocosmia combination is my favorite.

I do like the statice and gaura combination, too, though… I think I might like it less, though, if you couldn’t see those wide statice leaves for contrast. What is it that you’re not sure about with these two plants together? (Asking because I’m trying to learn more and train my eye a bit…)

You’re right about the broad leaves of the statice helping that combination. The first photo I took was a closeup without the leaves, and it was just messy-looking. I think maybe I’d like that combo better if it had something else with a bold or grassy texture to balance the fineness of the gaura foliage and statice flowers. I could see putting a clump of ‘Fireworks’ purple fountain grass behind this pairing. The grass has both deep red and white (and a bit of pink) in its leaves, iso t would help to link the two strong colors while adding a welcome contrast of texture.

ICQB August 15, 2008, 1:11 pm

I could only wish that my garden could be as lovely someday.

Yours is lovely, thanks so much for sharing.

If you believe it can be beautiful, then it will be. You already have some lovely flowers to start with. Congrats on your second Bloom Day post; may there be many more!

Pam/Digging August 15, 2008, 1:57 pm

I think your late summer/fall garden is my favorite, Nan, though it looks gorgeous in all seasons, even winter. Your combinations of color and foliage are stunning. I especially like those orange and purple/burgundy combos. Ka-pow!

Thanks, Pam. August is pretty good, and I still have September and October to look forward to. I’m glad you enjoyed the combos; I think you and I have very similar taste in colors!

Marie August 15, 2008, 3:35 pm

Scabiosa atropurpurea with purple pennisetum looks wonderful. I am sometimes suspicious of pennisetum, can’t say why – but this combination is lovely. And I have a very soft spot for green nicotiana…some lovely pictures.

I’m curious to know what worries you about pennisetums, Marie: Do you think it’s the self-sowing? This one isn’t hardy here in PA (or in NY), and it doesn’t seem to set viable seed, so I think it’s pretty safe. Now, that dark-plumed ‘Moudry’ fountain grass, a cultivar of Pennisetum alopecuroides, is another issue: seedlings everywhere. I definitely won’t plant that one again!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter August 15, 2008, 6:02 pm

I lost track of how many times I said “Ooooh!” reading this. I must have sounded like I was watching a fireworks display. While I like your grassy garden, I was absolutely smitten with the dark Alternanthera, Coneflower, Sambucus ‘Aurea’ combo. I’d love to compare the color of Lobelia ‘Fan Burgundy’ with Lobelia ‘Sparkle DeVine’ and Lobelia ‘Ruby Slippers.’ Can you tell I like those dark Lobelias? Angelonias are my new favorite annuals. They are such troopers & yet look so delicate. I’ll take a pass on the Solanum, though. That looks too dangerous for my garden.

Oh, cool – I really like that echinacea/alternanthera/sambucus combo too. The echinacea really ought to be in my side garden, color-wise, but with these partners, I don’t mind having it in the hot-color area. I admired your own lobelia shot, and I agree it would be interesting to try the various dark ones for comparison. The ‘Fan Burgundy’ ought to come true from seed; I’m not sure the others would. And yes, angelonias rock! They are a new top favorite for me too.

jgh August 16, 2008, 5:14 pm

OMG I’m in combo heaven! and really intrigued by the green tobacco flower. I have some “home fragrance oil” by that name and am wondering what the real flowers smell like? Very pretty photos.

Thanks, jgh, and welcome! I know some of the flowering tobaccos have great fragrance, but I don’t think the green ones have much scent. I’ll sniff them tomorrow and report back. Update: Nope, no scent!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens August 16, 2008, 9:51 pm

What wonderful combo’s. I need to bookmark this post and come back to it as I try to figure out how to make August a better month in my own garden.
Thanks for joining in for bloom day, in a very big way.

Thanks, Carol. Bloom Day is the highlight of my month!

Lynn August 17, 2008, 11:12 pm

whoa! impressive and inspiring! So many interesting things and then great old favorites, too. I think the statice+red gaura looks great btw. Thanks for showing a newcomer what’s possible ๐Ÿ™‚

Hi there, Lynn! Thanks for visiting. I’m glad that you enjoyed seeing what’s in bloom here in PA!

ricki August 18, 2008, 1:39 pm

I, too, am bookmarking this page for future reference in building knockout combinations. What zone are you? It looks like you have many of the plants that thrive in my zone 7, but others are new to me.
I’m with Pam in appreciation of the orange/purple/burgundy combos: one of our local plant gurus calls it “Blood & Guts”.
Thanks for the inspiring post.

Blood and Guts? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that one. By any name, it’s certainly a dramatic color combination! I’m in mid-Zone 6, by the way.

Kris at Blithewold August 19, 2008, 7:03 am

Nan, Your pictures and combinations are droolers and “why didn’t I think of that?” envy inducing. I loved seeing some Blithewold favorites (like Snow on the mountain, Gomphrena and Trachelium) in new-to-me pairings. It’s a great reminder that there are infinite possibilities – and we need to bust some of these great mixers out of cutting garden jail!

Thanks to you, Kris, for reminding me that I should plant extras of some of these specifically for cutting. I’d like to snip a few now and then but don’t want to spoil the garden combinations.

kerri August 23, 2008, 10:09 am

Nan, I can always count on seeing something new and different in your garden, and some fabulous combinations! I too am a big fan of the coleus, zinnia, spirea, sweet potato combo. Wow!
The crocosmia and throatwort are wonderful, and two plants I haven’t tried…and would like to.
That torenia is terrific!
You have some fabulous blooms. Don’t you wish we could extend summer and enjoy them longer? I sure do!

Hi Kerri! It’s a good thing I got the shots that included sweet potato vines when I did, because the voles around here have suddenly decided that all sweet potatoes and morning glories are irresistible, and the plants are getting destroyed systematically. Sniff. At least there are other flowers to enjoy still, which I’m prepared to enjoy as long as possible. (It sure would help if we’d get some rain….)

meems August 25, 2008, 9:19 pm

Hi Nan, a little late here but OMG! This is by far THE BEST GBBD post EVER! YOu are a master at this gardening thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just kept oooohhhh ing… ahhhhhh ing… so many wonderful colors, textures, heights, borders, combinations… such a pleasure to stroll through with you. I can only imagine it has to look 50x’s lovelier in person if that’s possible.

Wish I could duplicate. But alas, most of these beauties wouldn’t like our humidity and 24 hour heat. I will just have to keep coming back here for a look at yours.
Meems @Hoe&Shovel

And gee, Meems, I’m even later in responding to your lovely comment! I’m not sure the garden is even a fraction as pretty as the pictures. With a camera, it’s so much easier to focus on the good-looking stuff and ignore the ugly bits.

Lisa at Greenbow August 27, 2008, 7:45 pm

I had a smile as big as your sunflower just looking at all of these lovely blooms Nan. Wow.

Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad you enjoyed the sunflower and its buddies.

Sherry April 28, 2010, 8:27 pm

Hi, you have a beautiful garden! I was wondering in the picture that shows the wider shot of your grasses, what is the pinkish upright grass on the left? It’s so beautiful!

That’s feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’), Sherry.

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