Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I have not shown the garden along the southern side of the house in a long time. The Southern Side Path is a narrow border with a winding stone walkway, that provides access from the driveway down to the main garden in the back yard. If you walk down the path, turn around and look back up toward the street, this is the view you will see.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden

(Be careful not to turn your head to the right or you’ll see the neighbors’ house looming large.)

Standing in the distance near the street and not really part of the border, a Betula nigra (River Birch) is visible. This tree began losing lots of its leaves several weeks ago, but after some heavy rains came it decided to hold on to the rest of its foliage a while longer.

In the foreground, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ usually has a few flowers this time of year, but the weather has been especially encouraging to it this autumn. Behind and underneath the clematis is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In front (not visible) are planted Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

In between the clematis and the river birch are a host of odds and ends. A few are:

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Amazingly, these and other plants that grow here are all ignored by the deer which make their way between the two houses quite often.

Sitting along the path just in front of the dark green Wintergreen boxwood shrub, (Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’), is the current star of the Southern Side Garden. It is the fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) .

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Last winter was exceedingly cold so when spring arrived I was concerned whether the Ginger lily had even survived. Fortunately by mid-May a few stalks had emerged. Through summer it never grew as full nor tall as it had during the previous two years, but finally today a flower opened.

I had been eagerly watching this tender perennial for quite a few weeks, hoping it would bloom before a frost could wilt it back to the ground. I was curious when it bloomed last year. In checking my photo records I noticed the set of dates when I took pictures of the flowering ginger lily. An unscientific but interesting observation is that for the previous two years the ginger lily had flowered much earlier than usual and for an extended period of time.

Dates Of Photographing Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) Blooms In My Garden
October 18, 2008
September 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009
2010 – ?
October 13, 2011
September 2 – November 2, 2012
August 10 – November 7, 2013
October 17, 2014

Leaving the Southern Side Path, turn around and come inside the main garden. Here yesterday, I again attempted to capture the elusive monarchs. This time a couple of the butterflies were nectaring on the Zinnias, which made it easier for me to get close and get a picture from the back with the wings open.

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

I particularly liked this image which not only captured the eyes clearly, but recorded pink reflections cast from the flower onto the underside of the wing and thorax of the butterfly.

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

30 thoughts on “Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

  1. Cathy

    Lovely photos of your butterfly – especially the last one. I have also found that the photos taken for my blog provide an invaluable record on bloom times, the arrival of autumn etc. Does the ginger lily smell of ginger? The only scent left in my garden now is the smell of woodsmoke in the evenings!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Cathy, the ginger lily has a fragrance like gardenia or maybe honeysuckle–hard to describe but delicious. Woodsmoke carries a nostalgic association with autumn.

      Reply
  2. Pauline

    Your Monarch photos are stunning, such beautiful butterflies. Any flowers at this time of year are a bonus, your C. Jackmanii is looking so pretty, flowering so late.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I agree Pauline, it’s such a treat to have flowers this time of year. I’m glad the monarchs stopped through my garden this year, but they seem to be moving on now.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The clematis does brighten that area of the garden. So nice. Recently I planted a winter clematis (Clematis cirrhosa) and I need to check on it too. Have never tried it before.

      Reply
  3. bittster

    The clematis is a nice surprise, it almost has the look of May to it!
    I’ve also been finding old pictures to be a good source of info. Sometimes I can zoom in on a lost tag or find a planting date…. or regret killing a plant which looked so nice last year 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I’d be happy if we were heading into May right now. The clematis provides a good preview so maybe I can hang on through winter. Having the old pictures of the garden is invaluable.

      Reply
  4. Judy @ newenglandgardenandthread

    I love Clematis but I never get any in the fall so it was nice of you to share your photos. I love your Ginger Lily – beautiful. Thank you for sharing the Monarch because this is the second summer I haven’t seen even one up in my area. I have just about every plant on the Monarch wish list but no visitors. 😦

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The clematis doesn’t usually bloom this well in fall, but it always has a few flowers. The weather has been pretty nice this autumn. Hope a few more ginger lilies will have a chance to open.

      Reply
  5. johnvic8

    Thanks for sharing these views. Clematis ‘General Sikorski’ bloomed up until a few weeks ago, but my Jackman put on a quite puny late summer display this year. Do you use any fertilizer?

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I didn’t use any fertilizer John. I did prune one stem as you recommended, but most of these flowers were from other sections of the plant. I think the weather conditions must have agreed with it this year.

      Reply
  6. Julie

    Hi Susie, your garden views are lovely and the ginger lily really beautiful. What a rewarding last photo, you can see the proboscis too, thats such a good shot. 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Julie. I don’t expect much from my garden in the fall so am happy to see a few nice blooms. Glad you like the photo. Have a good weekend.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The migration of the Monarchs captures our imaginations, doesn’t it? I read in Wikipedia there are rare sightings of Monarchs in the UK, where it appears as an accidental. Perhaps you’ll discover one Malc.

      Reply
  7. Christina

    The Monarch images are fantastic, the whole idea of how they migrate amazes me. I have a friend who saw them in Mexico – so many hanging on the trees they pulled the branches down by their weight. These last flowers in autumn are such a joy, aren’t they; you clematis has so many flowers and the ginger lily – what a pure white, I wish I could smell the perfume.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      The ginger lily is sweet, but fresh, almost lemony. Your friend was fortunate to experience the Monarchs like that. I’ve seen interesting footage of that display but it would be amazing to see it first hand.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Pris. I was excited about the pink reflections underneath the Monarch’s wings. Now if I could do that purposefully. I saw a half-dozen or so at a time for several weeks–hope they enjoyed dining in my garden.

      Reply

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