Friday, September 30, 2011

My Garden in September

Hard to believe it’s the last day of September. This summer flew by. And what a weird summer it was weather-wise. My garden didn’t know what to think with a heat wave, then a record-breaking rainfall in August which seemed to continue through September. September didn’t seem as colorful as usual, but here’s a few things that were happening.

In the late summer purple morning glory vines take over my arbor in my flower garden every year. I never planted it, but it reseeds and takes over. This photo was taken late in the day, so you can’t see the tons of purple flowers that cover it. It really is pretty, but kind of a pain because it overtakes the climbing Hydrangea on the left side of the arbor.

Arbor in the flower garden.

Here’s a close up of the pretty purple morning glory flowers.

The subtle purple shades with the magenta center really are pretty on this morning glory.

I really like the green colors and different leaf textures of this grouping of plants in the flower garden. Left to right: Coleus, the leaves of Columbine, and the spikey leaves of a bearded Iris. Aw, look at the bunny statue.

Some of the roses continue blooming off and on during the summer, including this pink shrub rose.

Pink and white roses in the flower garden by the shed/workshop.

Sedum is a staple of the fall garden. Here’s some along the path in the flower garden.

Winnie looking down on some sedum.

I have another variety of sedum with dark purple leaves in another area of the flower garden. The leaves aren’t all purple, though, which is a bit disappointing. I had bought it specifically for the purple foliage. The bees sure do love the sedum flowers. Looky here, there’s a bee right now!

A bee on the sedum.

One of the plants that did especially well this year for some reason was my Phlox David. This white variety of Phlox is known for being more resistant to powdery mildew than most other Phlox varieties. However, usually it ends up with at least a little powdery mildew and I spray it to keep it at bay (with an organic spray, of course). This year I didn’t have to spray it once. Maybe the rain prevents it???? You would think the opposite to be true. I have this planted in two areas of my flower garden. In this spot it’s next to Plumbago Larpentiae, which blooms one of my favorite shades of blue. The buds start out reddish, which is really cool. And the foliage turns mahogany in the fall. It’s a very reliable ground cover in the garden and I have it planted in an area in front of the shed, as well.

Blue Plumbago and white Phlox David.

I really didn’t plant a whole lot of annuals in the flower garden this year, but this Lady in Red Texas Sage was one of them. I planted two four-packs in the early spring. They bloomed all season, but were thin and not all that wonderful until September. Then bam! There they were looking full and gorgeous. Red is not a color I use much in my garden. I think the only other red flower I have is Pineapple Sage which hasn’t bloomed yet (it’s a fall bloomer). I have this red annual to thank for bringing back the hummingbird. For the past three years I’ve had a hummingbird that would visit every morning in August. I thought it wasn’t going to come this year because I never saw it until late August hovering around the Lady in Red Texas Sage. I saw it several times after that. Hmmm...not sure how long hummingbirds live, so maybe it’s not the same one every year. Whatever the case may be, the hummingbird is always a welcome visitor.

An annual called Lady in Red Texas Sage - a hummingbird magnet.

In the area in front of the shed I have this turtlehead Chelone Hot Lips. Some bug usually gets the best of it every year (I think it’s slugs). This year it did quite well. It added a touch of color in this area that doesn’t see a whole lot of color this time of year.

You can’t beat the name Chelone Hot Lips.

I have always coveted Japanese Anemone. I saw this variety called September Charm at my local nursery recently and just couldn’t resist it’s “charm.” The flowers are soooooo sweet, aren’t they? I love the dark stems, too. Japanese Anemone add good fall color. I love the yellow and gold flower centers and the delicately curved petals. It’s a new favorite of mine.

Japanese Anemone September Charm.

In my bog garden pot (which also has my carnivorous plants in it) I have a type of orchid called Ladies’ Tresses. It bloomed beautifully in September. Much better than last year. The tiny little flowers on this spikey plant really did catch the eye by the back porch steps.

Spiranthes Ladies’ Tresses are in the orchid family.
You can see the Pitcher and Venus Flytrap plants here, too.

The Kitchen Garden started to look pretty sad in September from all the rain. I have several green tomatoes that just won’t ripen due to too much rain and lack of sun. I still got some plum and grape tomatoes in September, but my large, red Brandywine tomatoes just didn’t ripen. I tried planting some Toy Bok Choi, Romaine, and Lettuce seeds to get one last crop. However, they too suffered from lack of sun and did not germinate (they are what’s under the white row covers in the picture below). Makes me sad to see summer go.

Purple Hyacinth Bean vine on left and Brandywine tomato on right.

One thing that really is flourishing in the late summer Kitchen Garden is the Purple Hyacinth Bean vines. I have two and they are going to town. I absolutely LOVE the purple seed pods and the interesting shape of the bi-colored flowers. Too bad they are all the way in the back of the yard because they really are too striking to hide back there. These are growing on the green obelisks that Brian and I made earlier this summer.

Purple Hyacinth Bean vine.

Another thing that still looks great in the Kitchen Garden is the Alaska Variegated Nasturtium. These were slow to get started when I planted the seeds in early spring, but once they got going they REALLY got going. I love how they trail over the gravel path.

Alaska Variegated Nasturtium in one of the u-shaped raised beds in the Kitchen Garden.

Here’s a close-up. The variegated leaves look like someone spilled paint on them.

Alaska Variegated Nasturtium with Garlic Chives.

Drum roll, please...I finally got some decent sized carrots! It felt like it took forever, but here’s some colorful Kaleidoscope carrots that I had planted from seed in the spring. Too bad this was all there was to the carrot bounty! I also had Detroit Dark Red Beets that I had also planted from seed in spring.

Kaleidoscope Carrots.

As I say goodbye to September, I already get nostalgic for the earlier glories of the garden. Reflecting back on all the hard work I put into my new Kitchen Garden with its raised beds and gravel paths, I can’t help but feel satisfied and pleased with what I was able to do. The biggest thrill of all was to finally be able to direct-sow seeds and get full-grown vegetables out of them. The raised beds and row covers allowed that to happen. All of the home-grown veggies have been fantastic. Looking back on my flower garden, this year it looked it best in the early spring and in late June/early July just before I left for Oregon. A garden is always a work in progress, though. Each year brings new ideas and new joys. I’m already plotting my plan of attack for next year. My grand scheme for next year will be to try to clear out the overgrown area on the left side of the back yard. It’s overwhelming because it’s probably about 13 feet x 20 feet or more - full of overgrown honeysuckle, ivy, wisteria, poison ivy, and other invasive vines. But think about the potential for that space!!!!! I’m thinking mostly easy to care for plants such as evergreens and conifers to add privacy and some flowering shrubs. There’s a patio in the future, but probably not for next year. We’ll see, though. Oh the possibilities... A gardener never gives up gardening. Now if I could just get the neighbor in the back to put up that fence he promised a year and a half ago! The never-ending Fence Saga.

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