As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record, which I will break down into several posts.
This evening, Saturday, at 6:20 pm the temperature is 68.7 °F. The sky was deep blue today, breezy, with lots of big clouds moving in and out—simply a gorgeous day in North Carolina.
Early in the morning I walked around the borders, inspecting and taking pictures. For the first time in weeks no mosquitoes bothered to chase me back indoors. The significance of this cannot be overstated as the mosquitoes have been numerous and fiercely aggressive.
For the most part this has been a dream year for gardening. A long cool spring accompanied by plentiful rainfall kept the borders happy throughout the summer. Usually by now most of the garden is brown, but this year things are easing along. That could change soon though because the entire month of September has been very dry with only a couple of rains to bring relief.
Benefiting from the supportive weather this year, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ has been an unusually strong performer in the northern border. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has deepened from its earlier pink into a rich terra cotta, almost burgundy color that I really like. I plan to keep that color in mind when adding new plants. I do not have color-themed gardens but would love to come up with a red border at some point.
Today I did no gardening, but instead was fortunate to enjoy the garden with a friend. After 75 minutes of walking around the neighborhood and lake paths, we returned home in early afternoon, taking time to sit and rest on the garden bench a while before walking the meditation path. During our time in the garden a gentle breeze frequently stirred the wind chimes, augmenting the enjoyment of a peaceful time.
In the five days since I last posted, the Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) at the back of the western border has opened up more fully, commanding attention and drawing comments from husband, visitors and me throughout the week. The yellow flowers glow cheerfully, almost gaudily like neon.
The design of the garden is gradually improving, but still needs major vertical focal points. To see the strong stems at the center of the Swamp Sunflower lifting up toward the sky is very satisfying.
The neighbor’s Sycamore, upper left in the photo above, has suffered most of the summer (I think from a fungus). With the arrival of fall the brown leaves look more appropriate.
For some reason the branches at the sides of the Swamp Sunflower are much shorter than at the center and arch downward.
I wish I could be sure of the two trees behind the Swamp Sunflower, seen in the picture above. They grew in pots near the front steps for a couple of years before I planted them in the garden. For a time I thought they were Italian cypress, but now I think they might be Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’ (Spartan juniper). Whatever the kind, they have grown beyond their expected width and merged together.
The sunflowers look very attractive with the blue sky behind them. Your garden does look very green for September – lovely! Glad the mosquitoes have finally gone – we had a bad year here too, due to the wet spring I suppose.
The sky has been so pretty this week. I’m surprised how the garden has kept going because I’ve not tended it well at all since June. Enjoy your Sunday Cathy!
Fabulous sedum, love the color. Mine never looked so good! But I always had good success with the cat mint, which I cut back at least twice each growing season for another round of bloom.
Marian, I have another Sedum labelled the same, but it’s hardly showy at all and has already turned brown. I’ve read to cut back the catmint and have done so in the past, but it never seemed to need it this year. Perhaps it would have looked tidier though.
The mosquitoes have been very bad here this year too, every time I go outside I am bitten. The sunflower is very striking, I’m not sure what colours work well with such an acid yellow almost green. I liked seeing some different angles of your garden which continues to look lovely.
Thank you Christina. The mosquitoes are such a nuisance, aren’t they? And I hate to spray repellant just to go take a few pictures but it is necessary this year. I probably won’t keep this sunflower much longer. It is a native, but also can become invasive so I would be better off to choose a careful replacement.
No mosquitos, hallelujah! We have gnats this year, they’re insanely annoying but not nearly as dangerous as skeeters. Love the sunflower!
Gnats can be terrible but haven’t been bothered by them here. Probably haven’t seen the last of the mosquitoes but it was nice to have a one-day respite. Enjoy your Sunday!
Sometimes we don’t neglect coreopsis properly.
John, do you have luck with them? I had some my first year of planting a perennial garden. They did great (although floppy after rainstorms). But In my current garden I’ve never been able to get them to do a thing. Thanks for stopping by. Susie
How lovely to walk and just be in the garden and nature.
Yes, we should all take time more often.