Friday, September 15, 2017

Fall Is in the Air on September's GBBD

As fall hurtles towards my gardens, the zinnias continue to hold center stage. Ever year at this time I'm amazed at their abundance and colors. I'm so thankful I spend time in the spring sowing the seeds in trays, putting them under grow lights, then planting the seedlings in the Cutting Garden. So much reward for such an easy task.

Zinnia Zinnia elegans 'Zowie! Yellow Flame"

The cutting garden and kitchen garden share the same space; there the chocolate mint is blooming. Named more for the color of its stems than for it's flavor, this mint adds a refreshing hint of chocolate to drinks and desserts.

Chocolate Mint

Also in the Kitchen Garden, the monarch butterfly caterpillars are continuing to grow as they munch on the milkweed leaves. I hope they make it in time for the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration.

In the Cottage Garden many plants I featured in my last posting (click HERE ) are still blooming, so I haven't included every one, such as the hydrangeas. Those iconic cottage garden flowers: foxglove, delphinium, hollyhock, and rose continue to bloom in the herbaceous borders. I'm especially thrilled the delphiniums are blossoming again and the foxglove never stopped.

Top left: Foxglove 'Foxlight Plum Gold.' Top right: Delphinium 'Magic Fountain Sky Blue'
Bottom left: 'Red Knockout' Rose. Bottom right: Hollyhock and Russian sage
Top: Perennial geranium 'Roxanne'. Bottom: Yarrow 'The Pearl'

I'm pleased with the potentilla shrub I planted last fall. It's yellow flowers bloomed all season. My English mother called it 'Cinquefoil.'

Potentilla flowers starting to fade but still loved by bees.

 In my previous posting, I mentioned and showed many of the plants in Abundance Garden including Joe pye and my giant lobelia. They are still lovely and in addition pretty fall asters are just starting to bloom.

Left: New York Aster. Top: Supertunia 'Vista Silverberry.'
Some self-seeding snapdragons refuse to give up.

In Serenity Garden, as turtlehead blooms fade, the Japanese anenome buds are beginning to  open at last. (Gardening teaches us patience they say!)

Japanese Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
Annual Fuscia
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is found in most of my gardens.

 In the Woodland Walk the beautiful native snake root appears in drifts of white. We removed this plant from around the pastures as it is poisonous to grazing animals, but we allow it to grow freely in the Woodland Walk.

Snakeroot Ageratima altissimo

 In Kat's Field the goldenrod is blooming. A sure sign that fall is upon us.

Noticeably absent are two large features: the stand of sunflowers in the Kitchen Garden and the zebra grass by Froggy Pond. I noticed the sunflowers were drooping and broke open a stem to find it full of the sunflower stem borer lava. This happened last year also -- no, I didn't plant in the same spot and I even used a different variety of sunflower. I wont grow sunflowers for a couple of years, researching what will get rid of the pest. We removed the zebra grass because it began to go to seed and, while I love its cool plumes, I don't want it to spread.  It is on the Pennsylvania invasive species watch list. Mine had grown enormous and messy and had to go. Now I like the openness that reveals both the pond and my beloved miniature weeping spruce. But I'm sad to see the sunflowers go.

Click HERE for picture before we removed the sunflowers. See title picture above for the grass

 Finally, I've chosen two plants with striking leaves for Foliage Follow-up.

Left: Canna 'Striatta.' Right: Smokebush Cotinus coggygria 'Royal purple.'

I'm linking with Carol's blog May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow Up.  Now I'm going over to Carol's blog to see what is blooming today around the world and to Pam's to see what is happening in Texas. Wont you join me?

Fall is in the air in the northern hemisphere. Enjoy the change of season in your part of the world!

Pamela x

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

End of Summer View

My gardens are a tangled mess -- well, most of them. The echinacea's heavy cone-like flowers are bowed down among the shasta daisies; morning glory vines wind around hydrangea and obedience; zinnias squabble with the marigolds dashed down by rains. Never-the-less, I went outside with my camera to record the end of summer vistas and, I'm glad to say, the resulting pictures don't show all the jumble.  I intended posting on the last day of August but the deadline for my September newspaper article took precedence. I am, however, linking with Steve who now hosts the meme 'End of Month View' at Glebe House Garden. Sorry I'm a bit late, Steve, and thanks for hosting. (Do check out Steve's amazing garden in England.) I have so many photographs, I will try to group as many of them as possible, and cut down on my narrative to keep this post manageable.

The Kitchen Garden continues to produce tomatoes, beans, peppers, and the occasional cucumber, but it is totally dominated by the stand of sunflowers that bloomed so late. The aforementioned zinnias and marigolds in the cutting garden (housed in the Kitchen Garden) are providing lots of color. I planted some cold-season veggies in the cold frame. I'm hoping to have produce for several more weeks, but with temperatures 10°F below normal for the time of year the seeds are slow to germinate.

The Kitchen Garden
Abundance Garden along the kitchen garden fence.

I am so happy with Joe Pye Weed 'Baby Joe.' I'm glad I purchased the miniature and don't have to strain my neck to see its fabulous blooms.

Eupatorium dubium Joe Pye Weed 'Baby Joe.'

With the cool wet summer many plants bloomed late or continued blooming longer than normal. Cleome flowers are usually done by now but they are looking fabulous.

Cleome -- an annual that self seeded.

My roses didn't do well this summer because it was too wet for them. The 'Peace' rose looks good today though.

Hybrid tea rose Rosa 'Peace'
The Cottage Garden Border

There's still activity in the Cottage Garden border as you can see in the following pictures.

Cottage Garden
Clockwise from top left: foxglove (flowered every day since spring), Phlox 'Bright Eyes', Shasta daisies with blue mist shrub Caryopteris x clandonensis, and perennial geranium 'Roxanne' in front of Lamb's ears.

The delphiums rebloomed -- Wow!
I adore my new Smoke bush
Hyssop continues to delight the bees and me. The pink flower is hollyhock.

On the patio the herb garden is still very productive and the canna lilies bloomed at last -- I'd given up on them.

Nasturtium in the herb trug; Canna 'Striata'
The leaves of the banana plant are stunning.

The pond garden is also a tangled mess. Closing it will be a challenge with so many plants needing to be repotted.

Pond and waterfall. Note the sedum in bloom behind the angel

The Serenity Garden is lovely again; now fully recovered from the trauma of the felled tree.

The Serenity Garden
Turtlehead (top) and hydrangeas are the stars.
Can you spot the hummingbird on Turtlehead Chelone 'Hot lips?'
Well, Japanese anemones, bloom already!
Hydrangea 'Limelight' turning a bit pink for some reason.
Colorful coleus guide you on the path to the front door

Finally ...

 ... the pollinator garden at the entrance to our property is the messiest.

You may wonder why there are no pictures of the Woodland Walk. I was afraid to enter it because Billy was acting strangely -- he was very spooked, wouldn't eat, and just stood there staring toward the back of the paddock. I feared a bear was somewhere near. Billy is a very good 'bear forecaster.'

Billy is spooked, but Dude just continues eating -- nothing scares him.

I hate to see the end of summer -- it flew by this year. In my garden there is a definite feel of autumn in the air.

The breezes taste
Of apple peel. 
The air is full
Of smells to feel -
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive
Well-honeyed hums,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze. 

John Updike, September

Pamela x

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