My traditional gardening friends complain that they have no flowers in bloom in August. They obviously don’t grow Black-eyed Susan. (Rudbeckia speciosa var. sullivantii)
View out my front door. This week a Great Spangled Fritillary landed on my front porch stair post–alas, I didn’t get a photo. Great Spangled Fritillary are notably attracted to Black-eyed Susan, so it was in paradise.
There were very few butterflies early in the summer, but they are much more abundant now, so I will mention which ones are especially attracted to the plants I discuss.
My front sidewalk: Showy Black-eyed Susan, Prairie Baby’s Breath (Euphorbia corollata), Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum), Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolis heterolepsis), and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) in bloom this week. That’s Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) in the distance.
Preview of Coming Attractions
Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera) will start to bloom mid to late August and continue through September. The rosy-purple flower tufts spill out of large cups arranged around the 1-3’ stem (some of mine have started to bloom–from the top down, as all Blazing Stars do–and some have not.) In the wild, it is found in dry prairie or sandy Black Oak savanna. Rough Blazing Star is one of the top butterfly-attracting plants. Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Wood Nymph, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, and Silver-spotted Skipper will readily nectar on the Liatris genus. This picture was taken at my house 9/6/2009.
In light shade in dry or gravelly soil, combine it with Ohio Spiderwort (Trandescantia ohiensis), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Prairie Baby’s Breath (Euphorbia corollata), Starry Campion (Silene stellata), Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) for a May through September picture. You can plant this garden anytime now through September this year and have a show that will begin to bloom at the end of August and last through September and into October.
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa) is, well, showy. Its erect, cylindrical, golden plumes glow at the top half of 1-4’ stems in bloom from late August through September. It does seed itself about, but, in my opinion, one can never have too many Showy Goldenrod. It, too, is a top butterfly attractant, especially alluring to Sulfur, Monarch, Red Admiral, Viceroy, and Gray Hairstreak. 9/17/07 my house.
Another garden on my west parkway, 9/5/2010. Rough Blazing Star, Showy Goldenrod, and Little Bluestem were planted; then Showy Black-eyed Susan and Prairie Baby’s Breath appeared.
While Little Bluestem is, indeed, blue-green in the summer, in fall it turns to copper that lasts all winter. Rough Blazing Star and Litle Bluestem are a stunning combination, as you can see. While butterflies don’t nectar on grasses–all grasses are wind pollinated–they are host plants for Skippers, Common Wood Nymph, and Little Wood Satyr . This photograph was taken at Morton Arboretum, 9/06/09.