Tuesday View: The Tropics 08.30.16

It’s Tuesday again and time to join up with Cathy at Words and Herbs to take a look at the Tuesday view.  I’m going to guess that the purple leaved cannas are at full height and full bloom now and things are about as close to a peak as I can imagine 🙂


The Tuesday view this evening.  I managed to get the pictures just before dusk, and finally for once the photos didn’t come out all blurry and overexposed.  I can see why photographers enjoy this time of day and may have to reconsider my strong commitment to doing nothing at these closing hours of the day.

I’m not thrilled about the sun being lower and lower in the sky each week, but the low evening light hitting the canna tops really highlights their bright little blooms.


The garden has become very popular with the hummingbirds as they go from verbena to canna to salvia to everywhere in between. I wonder if they are local youngsters or just birds starting to work their way south.

In case you’re wondering most of the dahlias have been staked.  It was a struggle but since the spool of twine has been sitting on the walkway for days now I figured it was time.  Hopefully the dahlias can bloom in peace and sway gently in the wind with their reassuring support system… although now it’s the overhanging canna leaves which threaten their happiness…


I can’t help but put in another photo of the sunflower which came up near the fence. It’s got some doubling in there but I think the dark anthers poking through around the center are what really make it stand out for me. 

As long as I’m just putting in gratuitous plant pictures I might as well show my absolutely favorite canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ again.  It’s practically stunted in comparison to the others but gardeners all know that the show is always going to be better next year.  I’ll just have to get something taller to go with it since right now it matches perfectly with the verbena bonariensis… but that won’t be the case net year if it sprouts up to six feet (which it should have no problem doing).

canna Bengal tiger

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ with the purple of Verbena bonariensis.

Speaking of plants which are sprouting up, the banana ‘Bordelon’, which spent last summer potted on the deck, has finally recovered from a neglectful winter in the garage and a tough spring with a rough crowd in the back of the bed.  I hope this winter I can do better with its care and avoid this setback since I used to be able to just throw the stem with a few roots into a basement and they would survive just fine.  Something’s changed though since lately they’ve been just plain struggling.


Banana ‘Bordeleon’ rising up above the verbena and knock out rose.  It’s still got a few more weeks before being dug up, so I hope it keeps going strong.

Actually I don’t even want to think about overwintering anything yet, so before I go I just want to point out one of the most enjoyable late summer events which occurs around the tropical bed this time of year.   Just across the grass path you’ll find a nice patch of hosta in bloom.  I received it years ago as an incorrectly labeled plant but I believe it’s hosta ‘Royal Standard’ and it completely fills the evening and nighttime air with a sweet tropical fragrance which reminds me of gardenias minus the mustiness I sometimes get from them.  I love the scent and the plants are indestructible and even if they’re as old as dirt compared to all the new, fancy hybrids I would never consider getting rid of them.

hosta royal standard

Hosta ‘Royal Standard'(maybe).  Full sun and drought fried the tansy to the right of it, but the hosta just trudged along with a small bit of leaf scorch and yellowing. 

That’s about it for the view.  I was beginning to think there wasn’t much new going on anymore but once you start poking around there are always a few surprises.  Hopefully I can keep it up a few more weeks.  As usual thanks to Cathy for hosting!

28 comments on “Tuesday View: The Tropics 08.30.16

  1. johnvic8 says:

    A great report. Does your verbena seed itself around? I have read that it can be a pest in its favorite circumstances, and I have avoided it because of that.

    • bittster says:

      Well that’s odd. I seemed to have lost my first reply…
      The verbena self-seeds vigorously onto any bit of open soil, paver joints, and sidewalk cracks, but the thinnest mulch will completely smother the seedlings and prevent sprouting. When I mulch heavily in fall ad winter I need to be careful I have enough seedlings around to fill them in to all the spots I want their airy presence. I bet they might be a short lived perennial for you as well.

  2. You picked the right bed to follow for this meme. It is just spectacular! And thanks for putting in a good word for that hosta. I think I have the same one–it came with the house and I didn’t have a clue. But mine is blooming right now and looks about the same as yours.

    • bittster says:

      I wonder how my bed would have looked if I didn’t follow it all summer? being ‘on the spot’ each Tuesday goes a long way in keeping me on my toes!
      I really enjoy this plain old green leaved hosta. The flowers are really something I look forward to and it’s the only fragrant one which does so well for me… considering I’ve killed its parent twice already -the beautiful hosta plantginea does not like my garden.

  3. Pauline says:

    Fantastic view, love your Cannas and their friends. The hosta is looking really good too.

  4. Chloris says:

    Your tropical garden is superb, yes the evening light on the cannas is gorgeous. I do like the stripey Bengal Tiger. Royal Standard is a plantaginea seedling, they are the only fragrant hostas. What a beautiful clump you have. You have a stunning late summer garden.

    • bittster says:

      Thank you Chloris! I’m worried that I may be developing another case of banana-canna-elephant ear mania. Once infected I hear it’s much easier to have another relapse than it is to infect a new gardener. Fortunately I have nearly stopped acquiring new dahlias, but the other tropical foliage plants keep calling me back. We will see how the opinion goes once things get cold and everything needs to be dug. That usually has a sobering effect.

  5. Cathy says:

    That view is simply stunning now Frank. A fabulous mix of colours and lots of wonderful foliage. Every week that verbena surprises me, as it fits in so well with the tropical reds and purples and adds a kind of airy effect. I hope it all keeps looking this good for a few weeks yet!

    • bittster says:

      I am also hoping for at least another month and a half, but there’s something about this time of year that makes me care less and less about the garden. I think deep down inside I like the cleaned out, trimmed back look, and feel a surge of relief when things are put to bed for the winter and I have no pressing to-do list. But… dahlias are yet to come and the salvias have only just started so there are hopefully still plenty of surprises to come!

  6. Christina says:

    You must be thrilled Frank, I looks fabulous, Great when a plan comes together.

  7. AnnetteM says:

    Your tropical bed is stunning. I love the combinations of red and green foliage and the way you have arranged the planting is just right. Yes, it is always best to take photos in the golden hour – one hour before sunset. Of course you could always do one hour after sunrise if you preferred!

    • bittster says:

      Well I will just let you go ahead and believe the results come from a brilliant planting plan. If you were here to see things going into the ground I’m sure you would think otherwise. I was kicking myself for weeks when I realized there was far too much red foliage, but fortunately the sunflowers and a few other surprises have brightened the whole look up quite a bit and I think it has a nice balance finally.

  8. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Something about late summer gardens that appeal to me, the fullness, the rich colors, the hint of the next season…yours is stunning!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Laurin! For as lush a look as this is here in PA I bet it’s nearly every street corner down in your neck of the woods! At least we don’t have canna leaf rollers though. That’s a huge advantage when growing them so far North!

  9. Well, isn’t that just absolutely gorgeous! Well worth the wait, I would say! And I can’t wait to adopt some of your extra Canna tubers for next year! *Maybe* this weekend I’ll be able to see it in person.

    • bittster says:

      That would be great if you could get by here. I have to take the kids to bowling Saturday, but that’s probably the only plan… even though I don’t even know the exact time but I can let you know. I think you can guess who keeps the schedule straight around here lol

  10. pbmgarden says:

    Looking great. Didn’t realize hostas had any fragrance at all, but seeing Chloris’s comment I see you are a lucky owner.

    • bittster says:

      Did you see her comment about Hosta plantinginea? It has larger blooms and is the source of all the scented hybrids. I love it, have grown it twice, but have killed it just as many times. I think our winters are too much for it and even though better care might compensate for this, it really is a hosta for further south.
      ActuallyI think it’s one of the two most heat tolerant hosta species, but I can’t even remember where I heard that bit of maybe unsupported opinion!

    • bittster says:

      Thank you Kevin, but I bet you could find better and lusher along nearly any neighboring street. At least our nighttime lows are much more comfortable up here 😉

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