I have loved hydrangeas for years, even though we didn't live in a place where we could grow them for most of those years. I'm not sure anything else besides dahlias can give as much bang for the buck. Some of these things have held the same blossoms for more than 3 months! Their color starts off pale, then darkens, then turns rusty as autumn approaches. If we leave them alone, the blooms will dry and stay on the shrub most of the winter.
The David Austin roses I planted this Spring continue to impress me. "The Generous Gardener" seems to never be without pale-pink blooms, and "Gertrude Jekyll" has the strongest, sweetest fragrance of any rose I've ever grown. I'm out there every week trying to keep them tied to the fence and arbor. I cringed when I paid for them, but they've been worth every penny!
Mostly, August was so hot that I didn't do much beyond mowing the grass and hand-watering the shrubs that I transplanted in early July. I have never been able to take the heat, and it's really a toss-up between which is worse: the over-100 temps with dry air but constant wind, or the over 90 temps with shade, a breeze and high humidity. Much as I love garden season, I always look forward to wood stove weather!