Early September Observations

On the first day of September a serendipitous sun shower in late afternoon was followed by a quite stormy evening. That night the garden received a refreshing inch of rain. Now a mere week has passed without rain, but the effect on the garden was immediate. All of the borders are browning, shriveling and retreating as plants lose their vigor.

Though the days are still warm, the nights are noticeably cooler and the amount of daylight is decreasing. Responding to these signals, the changes in length of day, temperature and moisture, the garden appears to be receding.

Rarely do I water the garden, but I would like to prolong this year’s flowers a few more weeks. With no rain in the forecast for another five days, I walked out soon after dawn to apply some selective relief. At that early time of day the neighborhood was luxuriously quiet, interrupted only by pleasant birdsong and rich tones from wind chimes catching a gentle breeze.

Cardinals and hummingbirds went on with business as I carried around the hose. As bees have been mostly absent this summer I was surprised to see a large number of bumblebees. Two American Goldfinches, brilliant yellow, each stood atop Purple Coneflower seedpods surveying the bounty.

With the watering done I walked the meditation circle, then used the camera to make notes of the morning.

There still are some flowers to enjoy. The garden has two Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ and one is completely spent, yet the other at the bottom of the southern side path continues to bloom profusely.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to Phlox Paniuclata, which thrived with all the rain this summer. No deer bothered jumping the fence to get to it either, a first in many summers.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Orange Coneflower is one of the plants that began sagging so much this week without water. One would expect this native plant to be more drought-tolerant than a week.

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Cleome bloomed well all summer. Though many have dried up and formed numerous seedpods, a few are just beginning to bloom.

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Zinnias look bright and colorful against the back fence and draw butterflies to that corner of the garden.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Though many stalks and leaves are now brown, some foliage remains in good shape. Columbine, which had all been cut back after flowering, now has formed gentle mounds in (too) many places. Some of the leaves are taking on a slight reddish tinge.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Baptisia and Artemisia team up nicely along the southern side path. The rains this summer really brought the Baptisia along this year.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Autumn Joy Sedum began blooming abundantly this week, making its little section of the garden seem quite happy.

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

20 thoughts on “Early September Observations

  1. Pauline

    Your sedum flowers are amazing, our flowers are only just starting to open, hopefully soon they will make a show like yours! I bought Irish Eyes last year, it is only small this year but hopefully it will attain its correct size next year, good to see yours still flowering.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I am so happy with the sedum this year and same is true of the Irish Eyes. As I mentioned in the article I have two Irish Eyes. The one that has more room and more sun is doing better by far.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Carolyn. It’s been a rewarding year for gardening and the rains made all the difference. Even sedum, which is supposed to be drought-resistant, looks better this year. Susie

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Seems like early morning is a good time to photograph the garden. The light is less harsh. I’m hoping to plant more Zinnias next year. They are so cheerful this time of year. Susie

      Reply
  2. bittster

    Add me to the list of people loving the sedum. I need to bring mine back to health after it’s been smothered by shrubs and more aggressive growers. Your pictures remind me of the cheerful Autumn show!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Ok, gotcha on the list! Your comment reminds me I did clear out a lot of salvia, irises and other things that tend to overcrowd the area where my sedum are growing, so that probably contributed to why they’re doing better than usual. Hadn’t put 2 and 2 together on that before now. Hope yours do well for you. Susie

      Reply
  3. missinghenrymitchell

    I am amazed at how, after a spring and summer of heavy rain, all the drought-tolerant plants seem to have gotten spoiled! Like everyone else, I do love the sedums and look forward to mine coloring up. Yours look lovely.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks. The sedums this year made a nice show long before turning color. They seem pinker than last year, when they had a deeper rose tint. Drought-tolerant plants never seem to do well in my garden without good rains–it’s a treat to seem them perform as well as they have this year.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the little September tour. This year is my best experience with Sedum so far. Hope they’ll repeat the show every year, but they don’t do as well without the rain.

      Reply

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