Skip to main content



The Buttonbush ( Cephalanthus occidentalis) is an unusual shrub with curious white pincushion flowers. It is found in the wild all over the United States, usually in swamps and moist areas.  Growing up in rural Alabama, I remember seeing it in the woods behind our house.  It doesn't garner much attention until the blooms make their appearance.  Sources vary on the size of the plant. In the wild, it can get to 20 feet but in gardens, most likely under 12 ft. In my garden, it is about 4 feet tall after five years in the ground. It is located along the back fence in an area that doesn't get much supplemental water although I am working on the area and watering more often this year. The flowers have a slight honey-like fragrance. Bees love this plant! Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day for August 2017

August has always been my least favorite month of the year. I have to say though that August in the Pacific Northwest is nowhere near as bad as it was in Alabama. We just got over a long hot spell (about a week of 90+ temps) but it is now back in the low 70s. Yesterday was overcast and cool, the weather I really love, and I spent most of the day working on the monster English Laurel hedge along our border. 

I hope the hot weather is gone but we are having more insulation put in our ceiling this week in an effort to cool our house a bit better. We do have AC but our house is not shaded yet and the poor unit runs non-stop on those hot days.

The flowers for August, despite the heat and drought (we have also had 55 days with no rain whatsoever) look great and I am amazed at what all is in bloom. Michael has been really great about weeding and keeping the containers fertilized. The Pan statue (right) took a while to get going good but it now looks great with petunias, sweet potato vine and King Tut grass. The white flower on the ground is Nicotiana which looks great one day and awful the next. It always looks really dreadful after the sprinkler gets it but it always bounces back.

More blooms from the garden -

Geranium 'Rozanne' - I have planted clumps of this perennial outside the fence along the street and it is really doing well.

Also along the hell-strip area is Verbena 'Homestead Purple' and Dwarf Fountain Grass 'Hameln'
Pennisetum alopecuroide)

California Fuchsia
(Zauschneria septentrionalis 'Select Mattole'). This is a new plant for me. It seems to thrive in hot, dry weather. It is planted in the terraced area. The hummingbirds love it.

Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum'

Crape Myrtle 'Dynamite' (Lagerstroemia). They are a bit of a novelty here and are catching on. They seem to perform okay here (I think some varieties are better than others).

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers')

Dahlia and Baby's Breath (Gypsophila 'Bristol Fairy')

Coreopsis 'Red Satin'

Dahlia 'Lollipop'

Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius × rectus 'Winton Fanfare')


Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboretum)

David Austin Rose 'Lady of Shallot'

Latest rose acquisition - 'Climbing Iceburg'

Fuchsia 'Garden News'

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) - growing this successfully for the first time!

An annual vine called Lophospermum 'Lofos Red Wine'


Strawflower 'Mohave Orange'
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted by May Dreams Gardens. Check out what is blooming in other blogger's gardens around the world.  

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. For not having any rain for 55 days your blooms look great. You have some blooms I am not familiar with. Fun to see. Happy GBBD.

  2. Your roses are beautiful! I admire them in others' gardens, since I don't grow any myself. I may change that next year, we'll see. I'm sure after living in Alabama our heat wave was a piece of cake for you.

  3. Dahlias, Fuscias and Roses, oh my! Looks gorgeous considering the temps and lack of rain.

  4. "Back to the low 70's"? I didn't realize you were so much cooler than us. Yesterday was in the mid 70's here, as was Sunday, but now we're back in the 80's. which of course feels much cooler than the upper 90's we've been experiencing.

    Love the Lagerstroemia, and I'm seeing them all over town now, they've definitely arrived!

  5. Lovely blooms and fantastic photos, Phillip! It's hard to believe the heat and lack of rain you have had; that's not what I think of when I think of the PNW. Your garden is looking beautiful in spite of it all.

  6. Looks wonderful Phillip. You and Michael are really starting to settle in there. Yes, August in PNW has to be better than the South. Happy Bloom Day.~~Dee

  7. Beautiful blooms all and so well photographed!

  8. You prove that August CAN be beautiful.

  9. I loved your roses. They are beautiful, well, everything is great!
    I hate August also, but hate February (bitter cold, dark, nothing growing) even more.
    Thanks for sharing on GBBD.
    Jeannie @

  10. Outstanding photos of outstanding flowers--maybe August isn't so bad now?

    The statue is beautiful.

  11. Love your Rozanne. Sadly, she hates me. I am zone 8b & near to the Gulf Coast so don't know why.

  12. Everything is just beautiful Phillip! You two are really making your new home your own!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts