August - What’s in Lisa's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Lisa Colburn regional reporter photo

Lisa Colburn is a crazy gardener, great cook
and author of the Maine Garden Journal.

My garden is at its best in August. This year, we’ve had especially warm weather and reliable rain, so everything seems to be remarkably verdant. Plants in my many containers are mature. Leaves of tropical plants are large and lush. Annuals in sunny, street-side beds are blooming with abandon. Under shade trees, hostas, large and small, chartreuse, emerald and blue are knitted together. Black-eyed Susan, perennial and annual, have made their way into almost every part of the yard. It all creates a traffic-stopping “Wow Factor!”


Wild, self-sown, perennial black-eyed Susan in a front walkway.

Annual black-eye Susan ‘Indian Summer’ lights up the back yard.  

My mother loved bold color, especially hot colors like orange, red and yellow. As a teenager, I was sometimes a little embarrassed by her choice of clothes, home décor and flowers. I saw it as a bit gaudy and flamboyant. Well, guess what? I’m turning into my mother!! If I’m going to have flowers, I don’t want to waste space on cool blues, dark purples or pale pastels. When I look around my yard, I see loud, outrageous, unapologetic, flashy flowers! Several of my large containers are good examples of the glitzy colors that get attention. They’re filled with huge orange, red, fuchsia and yellow tuberous begonias dripping with decadent color. Mom would be so impressed!

Orange tuberous begonia

Flowers don’t get much brighter than this begonia


Like me, hummingbirds love red, and they’re naturally attracted to a few bold plants in my yard. Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, in the gladiolus family, has three-foot tall strap-like leaves and long tubular flowers on branched stems. It adds architectural interest, and the flowers are genuine hummingbird magnets! Bee balm surrounds a small sitting area in the back yard. Most evenings in the summer hummingbirds entertain us with their acrobatics – zipping and buzzing about, as we finally relax with a drink after another satisfying day in our little piece of paradise.

Unusual Crocosmia flowers

Brilliant bee balm