Saturday, September 29, 2012

Award Winning Zinnias and Other Accolades

My zinnias won a second-place ribbon at our local fair, earlier this month. I was so excited -- this was the first time I'd entered anything. I put them in the "floor-display" category under the theme "Tea Time." I interpreted the theme with an English display incorporating the London Olympics and the Queen's jubilee.

This was such a special year for England and my display made me feel I had a little part in it. Not as good as being in London, though, for the festivities.

Some of my coronation memorabilia enhanced the theme.

Zinnias are a 'must have' in my garden. They are one of my favorite annuals. I grow them from seed every year then plant them in tubs and among the vegetables in the kitchen garden.

I am choosing zinnia as my ninth signature plant for Elephant Eye's meme "A Dozen For Diana." I am enjoying creating a virtual garden that incorporates plants I would choose if I 'did it over again.' I encourage you to visit Diana's wonderful South African garden and see her lovely choices.

Zinnias and marigolds in my kitchen garden.
I won a couple more ribbons at the fair. I am proud to say my red beets took a first and my chocolate mint took a second place ribbon.

Burpee's Organic Beet, Detroit Dark Red

Also, I have been given some blog awards by fellow bloggers. I am embarrassed that I haven't acknowledged them sooner. My thanks (and apologies for the delay) to Lee of A Guide to Northeastern Gardening and Helene of Graphicality-UK. Lee and Helene each nominated me for the 'One Lovely Blog' Award. I am so honored! Lee and her husband live on the South Shore of Long Island, New York, and Helene gardens in East London. I love reading their great blogs.

At the beginning of the year, Jayne of Green and Serene gave me the Liebster Blog Award. Jayne gardens in Texas and like me, she is a former Brit. Liebster is German for 'favorite' so I was delighted to receive this award from one of my favorite bloggers.

 I don't follow the rules when I'm nominated for blog awards, but I am really grateful, and I encourage you to click on the links and pay Lee, Helene and Jayne a visit.

Another nice thing happened to me this year. I received a certificate from PennState Master Gardeners recognizing my garden as being pollinator friendly.

Lots of monarch cats in my garden this year.
Any Pennsylvania gardener can apply for this certification by following four steps: 1) provide nectar and laval food sources, 2) provide water, 3) provide shelter, and 4) safeguard habitat by removing invasive plants and reducing pesticide use.

Nectar food for the monarch butterfly.
Milkweed provides larval food for the monarch caterpillar.
For more information go to PennState's Center for Pollinator Research site. I'll write more about this wonderful program in a future posting.

It was too cold for me to work outside today; fall has definitely arrived. I took the following photo through the kitchen window. While many plants are going to seed, there are still blooms to enjoy. It is hard to believe summer is over, but autumn is a beautiful season.

View across the fishpond.
Wishing you joy in your garden whatever the season in your part of the world.

Love, Pamela x

Zinnia's in the Kitchen Garden last year.
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

September Blooms

Clematis terniflora, 'Sweet Autumn Clematis'
 It's officially the last weekend of summer and it feels like autumn in my garden with a cool wind blowing. I didn't go outside to take photographs for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day because I have an eye infection and the wind is bothersome. But as I haven't blogged for a whole month, I can't let Bloom Day go by without recording my September garden.

The sweet autumn clematis makes a strong statement in my fall garden. It grows on the trellis at the back of the rose-bed and fills the cottage garden with its fragrance.

Roses continue to bloom both in the cottage garden and in the border along the kitchen-garden fence.

Rosa, 'Pink Knockout'

I never did find out the name of this yellow one.

Rosa, Unknown

My favorite is the famous peace rose bush, a tea rose with beautiful cream-pink color and exquisite perfume.

Rosa, Peace

The cottage garden is looking somewhat overgrown. The echinacea, purple cone flowers, have gone to seed, but cleome is still blooming.

Cleome, spider plant, self-seeded all over the garden and continues to bloom.
I leave the seeds of the purple cone flower for the goldfinches, but this year we needed to remove some of the plants because they developed aster yellows disease. Echinacea with aster yellows have secondary flower heads emerging in a cluster from the primary flower head. They're cool-looking actually, but have to go.

Echinacea, Purple cone flower, with aster yellows.

The disease is caused by the aster yellows phytoplasma, a bacterium-like organism that is spread by insects. It is imperative to remove infected plants, so H.H. dutifully dug out all the problem ones and burned them.

I love plants with blue blossoms, and some of my autumn ones are spectacular at this time, especially blue mist shrub. It is a bee magnet.

Caryopteris, Blue mist shrub

Of course, at the end of summer black-eyed Susans come into their own.

Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan and Achilllea ptarmica, yarrow 'The Pearl'

I've added a couple of new plants to my garden recently. Along the ugly pasture fence I placed tubs of perennial sunflowers. I need to plant them before winter comes and I need to think about a suitable spot, because I hear they can be aggressive, but the birds and bees love them.

Helianthus microcephalus, Perennial sunflower

I'm not sure how successfully I am disguising that ugly fence ...

I added a small flowerbed to anchor our new house-number sign. The sign was required by local law, and had to be a specific height, so many inches from the road, etc. I didn't like it, but H.H. saw it as another post on which to hang one of his birdhouses. After he put the birdhouse on the back of the sign, we placed a rock at the foot of the post. I chose a rock with a nice dent in it, suitable for planting sedum. I placed plants in pots around the rock.

We have since removed the grass to make a flower bed, planted the sedum and liriope, and mulched. I'll take a photograph of the finished project soon, and you'll see why I am so pleased with it. I'm not showing you the birdhouse because we don't want to publish our house number on this blog. There are four different sedums here; I love them all.

Sedum spectabile, 'Brilliant'

Here are a few more blooms this Bloom Day:

Annuals in the driveway

Remnants of white blossoms on the goose-necked loosestrife
Hummingbird moth on phlox
Dragon-wing begonias, lamium and varigated grasses in the stone garden

The September kitchen garden

Before I close, I must introduce you to my new gardening buddy. A fawn orphan is a frequent visitor. He (or she) comes to the pond to drink, is very inquisitive about my plants, but so far hasn't eaten any. He stays near me as I work, although he bounds away if I get too close.

He's very inquisitive, but doesn't eat the herbs.

He poses for a picture while eating the fallen pears under the pear tree.

Wishing all of you a beautiful, bountiful autumn, and a happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, with thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting my favorite meme.

Pamela x


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