Many plants are signaling to me that the end of summer is coming. Fall isn’t here yet but the advance scouts, some of the late blooming flowers, are starting to show up.
One of my favorite August blooms is the Surprise Lily, Lycoris squamigera. Some people call them Resurrection Lilies because the foliage comes up in the spring, dies back, and then about the time you’ve forgotten about them, up pops the bloom stalks.  Another common name for Lycoris is Naked Ladies, presumably because there are no leaves when the flower is in bloom.  I got my first Surprise Lilies as passalong plants, dug up in the spring when the leaves were present, but you can also buy bulbs for them.

Lilies signal the beginning of the end of summer.

The Surprise Lily foliage comes up in the spring.

Out in the vegetable garden, the picking is good. I’m enjoying green beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. I hope soon to be picking an eggplant or two.  People ask me what I do with all the produce. I eat some, I freeze some, and I give some away.  There is definitely plenty of produce to do all three this summer, which is a blessing. We’ve had a lot of rain and the vegetable garden, for the most part, is the better for it.

‘Gladiator’ tomatoes are ready to pick.

There is food for all coming out of the garden.

I’ve been planting more native flowers in my garden. Isn’t everyone these days? One of the most striking native flowers right now is the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. The name comes from the way water collects in the leaf axils, providing a place for birds and small animals to get a drink on a hot summer day.  I try to cut the flowers off before they go to seed because cup plant is a big plant and I don’t want seedlings taking over my little garden. It’s a perennial, so it comes up every year without having to self sow about the garden.

Cup plant flowers are good for the back of a flower border.

Water collects in the leaf axils of cup plant.