The month of August is a month of change. At its beginning, the deep greens and bright blooms of midsummer glow with the vibrance of the growing season. Water lily pads explode in size with a final push of growth. Big, bright hibiscus unfolds and reaches for the sky. Then, somewhere in the middle of the month, things begin to shift. Reds and pinks give way to yellows, oranges, and purples as native wildflowers overtake the landscape. Vegetable gardens yield bountiful harvests of peppers, okra, and tomatoes. The first acorns begin to fall, and the sun sets noticeably earlier than it did at the month’s beginning. It is still distinctly summertime–still hot, still green, and still humid–but August’s end ushers in the first whispers of fall.
A water lily pool in the Swift Family Garden is flanked by coneflowers and zinnias. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
A ‘Mascara Snake’ daylily blooms in the Jenkins Daylily Garden. Photo by Claire Cohen.
Globe thistle is a late summer bloomer beloved by pollinators. Photo by Tom Incrocci.
Turtles young and old sunbathe on the bricks containing the sacred lotus garden. Photo by Tom Incrocci.
Droplets settle on a rose after a gentle rain. Photo by Tom Incrocci.
Yellow and purple blooms thrive in the sun of the Kemper Demonstration Gardens lawn. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
Elephant’s ear and other tropical plants thrive in a humid St. Louis August. Pictured here is the variety Caladium ‘Moonlight.’ Photo by Tom Incrocci.
An Egyptian white water lily blooms in the Swift Family Garden. Photo by Mary Lou Olson.
Night-blooming water lilies open overnight and remain open into the morning hours. Pictured here is the Nymphaea ‘Rosa de Noche.’ Photo by Cassidy Moody.
A monarch butterfly visits blazing star on a sunny afternoon. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
Deep red hibiscus blooms surround the Piper Observatory in the Victorian District. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
The strikingly strange purple passionflower is native to the Southeastern U.S., including southern Missouri, where it typically occurs in sandy soils, low moist woods and open areas. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
Senior Nursery Manager Derek Lyle removes a water lily pad that has passed its prime. The water lilies are regularly fertilized, deadheaded, and measured for growth throughout the summer. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
The gargantuan Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ and Vicotoria cruziana lily pads regularly reach a 6-7 foot diameter at the Garden each summer. The largest water lily pad ever recorded at the Garden reached 91 inches across (about 7.6 feet) in the summer of 2019. Photo by Tom Incrocci.
Canna is a genus of about 10 species of tropical and sub-tropical plants with large, paddle-shaped leaves and tall flowers that bloom in summer. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
A colorful display of annuals provide a bit of container garden inspiration. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
A family feeds the koi and ducks from the Koi Bridge in the Japanese Garden. Photo by Mary Lou Olson.
A canna lily bloom reaches for the sky. Cannas bloom in a range of warm colors including red, orange, yellow, pink, and creamy white. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
Water lilies, Chihuly’s Walla Walla Onions, and the Climatron© make the Central Axis one of St. Louis’ most iconic summer scenes. Photo by Cassidy Moody.
With their large, showy blooms, hibiscus make a stunning addition to any garden. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
A tropical water lily, Nymphaea ‘Moon Beam,’ blooms with a Chihuly Walla Walla Onion sculpture in the background. Photo by Tom Incrocci.
Red and green summer plantings under a bright blue sky make for a cheery summer scene in the Formal Garden. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
House leek grows in a small stone trough bed in the Bavarian Garden. Its name comes from the once-common practice of growing it on the roofs of houses to ward off lightning strikes. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
The fruits begin to emerge on a papaya tree. Several of these trees were grown in the Kemper Demonstration Gardens this year. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
Tropical water lily Nymphaea ‘Suwanna’ blooms in the reflecting pools. Photo by Mary Lou Olson.
Another tropical water lily blooms in the reflecting pools. Photo by Mary Lou Olson.
Delicate meadow rue blooms in the shade of the Stumpery. Photo by Kristina Schall DeYong.
Nymphaea ‘Wanvisa’, a hardy water lily, blooms in the lily pools. Photo by Mary Lou Olson.
Kristina Schall DeYong
Digital Media Specialist