Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 2013 GBBD

Just one more week of summer. In the United States and the rest of the northern hemisphere, the first day of the autumn season, known as the Autumnal Equinox, occurs on September 22. Fall, however, seems to have arrived very early here! The lawn is covered with fallen leaves, the wind is keen, and the sun has gone into hiding. Amazingly, there are plenty of blooms to share with you on this chilly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, so let's take a stroll through my garden. 

In the shade garden, Turtlehead Chelone 'Hot lips', bloomed late but profusely. The picture above is the view from my favorite chair in the garden room. This year, I am really enjoying this unique native plant.

Turtle head Chelone glabra 'Hot lips'
Turtle head does well in heavy wet soil, but mine is thriving even though I planted it in a rather dry spot. My shade garden is a raised lasagna garden (click to read how I made it) so it drains well and remains dry. Usually, I use the soaker hose frequently, but this wasn't necessary this year with our cool wet summer. Incidentally, turtle head will grow in sun or shade.

This perennial native gets its name from the shape of its unusual flowers, which resemble the heads of snapping turtles ...

Little else is blooming in the shade garden, except for some insignificant heuchera blooms, but there are some wonderful foliage combinations.

Bottom left: Coral bells, heuchera 'Key Lime Pie' w/hostas and lamium

Walking through the arbor into the cottage garden, there are two striking blooms --  the perennial sunflowers that I planted in containers on each side of the arbor, and the sweet autumn clematis climbing the trellis at the back of the rose bed.

Perennial sunflower Helianthus microcephalus 

Sweet Autumn Clematis Clematis terniflora,

I featured both of these plants last year in my September 2012 GBBD posting, and it is fun to look back and see how different they are now. Comparing the garden from year to year is one of the reasons I like to participate in this wonderful meme. I am grateful to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting it on the 15th of every month -- please check it out if you aren't familiar with it.

Visitors to my garden want to know why I planted perennial sunflowers in planters and not in the ground. Two reasons -- first that particular area of the garden does not drain well and becomes like a wet sponge after rain. The arbor is secured with concrete, because we lost the last one during the hurricane, Sandy. I also lost two English boxwoods there last year when their roots rotted. The second reason is that perennial sunflowers are very aggressive, and planting them in pots curtails their spreading instincts. Just click on last years' post to see how much they grew!

Perennial sunflowers with sweet autumn clematis nearby

All my roses are enjoying their last flush, and the Lichfield Angel is at its best ...

David Austin rose Rosa 'Lichfield Angel'
Blue mist shrub Caryopteris 'Dark Knight' blooming left front of picture

The butterfly bushes are still blooming, although there are not too many butterflies to be seen in today's cool weather.

Butterfly bush Buddleia (top), perennial geranium 'Roxanne' (middle) and lambs' ears (bottom right)

American swallowtail

Cleome is still gorgeous ...

Spider plant Cleome
Bee on cleome
Aster 'Wood's Light Blue' and Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Asters and sedum 'Autumn Joy' create a strong feeling of the season's change. Both these plants are new to my cottage garden. I had hoped the aster would be a truer blue, but it is still very pretty ...

I planted three of these asters along the picket fence border. I like their contrast with the white yarrow 'The pearl' ...

Yarrow 'The pearl' and aster 'Woods light blue'

On the other side of the fence, the kitchen garden is still ablaze with zinnias, but today I will feature my marigolds which have shades of autumn in their red, yellow and orange blooms ...

Marigolds in the kitchen garden

Behind the parsnips, in the kitchen garden, I planted a 'giant' sunflower. It didn't grow very tall, and after it's flower faded, it branched out and produced many more blooms. I'm sure there is a logical reason, but it amazes me, and makes me smile.

Amazing sunflower

Finally, the corn in the lower field is more than 8 feet tall ...

... and one more look at the sweet autumn clematis on the far side of the pond.

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."
-   Elizabeth Lawrence

Wishing you all a happy GBBD! 

Pamela x

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Pam-your gardens are full of color and I enjoyed the lovely photo of the swallowtail on the butterfly bush! seems like fall is arriving early this year here as well. It should be interesting to see what happens in the upcoming month. Happy GBBD to you!

  2. Lovely garden!
    I especially like the sunflowers growing in pots beside the arbor - beautiful!
    Happy GBBD!
    Lea's Menagerie

  3. Beautiful garden. It looks like a wonderful place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and catch up with a friend... Its also a great place to sit and take time to watch the leaves turn... its going to be turning sooner then any of us wish!

  4. Hi Pam! That turtle head looks very happy. Such a big healthy clump! Your garden is very tidy even this time a year.

  5. Just stopping in to see other people's beautiful flowers. Happy GBBD!

  6. Pam, your garden is a sight to behold! Gorgeous blooms, lush foliage and perfect planting!
    I'm glad you commented on the perennial sunflowers, a friend is sending me some of theirs in autumn for my garden. I might take a tip from you and grow in pots.
    Happy Bloom Day!

  7. Beautiful. I see that we actually have some plants in common, like the cleomes and the 'Litchfield Angel,' a lovely rose. Happy Bloom Day.

  8. Your garden is really looking great, Pam! I love the perennial sunflowers, your other sunflower, your asters, and your cleome. The turtlehead is a stunner! Beautiful!

  9. I like the look of the sunflowers in the pots. I would not have thought of that but it seems to be a perfect solution. You have a lot of color in the late summer garden. Everything is looking so fresh and lush. Happy Bloom Day!

  10. I don't know about autumn, it's like winter here at the moment. There's still so much colour in your garden at the moment. I love the colour of your aster, it does look quite blue in your photo. The sunflowers are just the thing to be planted at the side of your arbour, they certainly welcome you in to the cottage garden.

  11. I have never seen turtle head before. Grows in heavy soil - sounds perfect for me! I'm going to check out this plant! And I love, love, love your sunflowers! I tried to grow sunflowers in pots this year, but I only got one to come up! :O Yours look so very cheerful, and quite happy. They look perfect flanking the arbor. Your autumn joy is such a pretty color. Just picture perfect! Your garden looks fabulous!

  12. You still have lots of colour in your garden. Great idea to plant perennial sunflowers in containers, never seen that before, but so beautiful. Chelone is always a grateful plant for late summer/early autumn. We had a warm and sunny summer but autumn is definitely arriving now, pouring rain, hail and storm do we have already for a week.

  13. Pam, it's simply lovely. Thank you for sharing your flowers and lovely garden design.~~Dee

  14. I could not get over how beautiful the sunflowers look in the pots. I never thought to plant something so tall in a pot like that due to them toppling over in wind and rains. Do you have them twined to the arbor? It is a great idea and and one to make a lovely garden image.

  15. Donna -- the pots are very heavy, made of ceramic. No twining necessary. Of course, I can't leave them out after frost, so I over-winter the sunflowers in an empty vegetable garden bed covered with straw, and put the planters in the basement. P. x

  16. Looks like it's going to be a cold one this year. The temperature has changed quickly here too and leaves are all beginning to turn. Love the turtlehead plant. I keep seeing those on blogs and now that I know they like heavy soil, well boy do I have a number of places they would feel right at home!

  17. What a beautiful garden, so full of colour, you must spend a lot of time working in it.

  18. Pam, your Clematis terniflora, is outstanding. So much other flowering plants still blooming to give you pleasure. It suddenly turned much colder here also, after what has been a glorious Summer.

  19. I just love the September garden, don't you? All the flowers of summer, but with better weather than the heat of summer. Your little piece of paradise is just as pretty as ever.

  20. Oh Pam your garden is such a delight - I love the backdrop of the white picket fence to so many of the photos. Your sedum flower heads are magnificent and make a lovely contrast with the aster flowers.

  21. It seems that all the plants around are in awe of the sunflower bush. I noticed the same phenomenon with my giant hollyhock. The first year it grew really tall and couldn't support itself. The next year it grew less tall and more bushy. I thought it might be a kind of evolution.

  22. Pam I am in awe of your many and so lush. I love the sunflowers in the pots and that bee on the cleome is art.