Busy with family events this week I missed making a Monday vase and am behind reading favorite garden blogs. But I prepared this entry ahead so I could stay in touch and complete the last exercise in this 3-part review.
As the days grow short and we head toward winter, I have been finding cheer and smiles through a 2014 garden review project suggested by Cathy at Words and Herbs. In the past two weeks I revisited my Spring and Summer gardens. For the last installment of this project, I have selected some things to share from Late Summer and Autumn.
It is amazing to watch certain plants awake each year to achieve great size and presence in the landscape. At mid-June, a full two weeks before the first flowers opened, Lantana camara (Common lantana) was merely a round clump of greenery, but once blooming it began attracting insects and hummingbirds. By Early September lantana fully dominated its corner of the southern border in color and mass.
Tucked nearby blue Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) looked stronger than usual this year.
A yellow passalong iris began flowering again in early September and continued through October.
By mid-month a few more Chuck Hayes gardenias flowered. Unfortunately the shrubs never regained their vigor this year so they are on a long list of things that need attention.
September temperatures were still hot. Autumn officially arrived on September 22 and the day before had been almost 90°F/32°C. The garden was still very green and Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) was full of those funky-colored purple berries.
In September the search to fill a vase each Monday kept me more in tune with the garden than normal and I began during this time to gravitate back to the garden, appreciating its varied offerings.
Meanwhile Everlasting Sweet Pea rebloomed better than it had in spring and Obedient Plant was in its prime.
Occasionally I found a few fresh blooms of Echinacea around the garden to include in a vase, but most of them looked rather tired. Despite the flowers’ ragged appearance American goldfinches were to them attracted anyway, as was this American Lady. This was the first time I had noticed this type of butterfly in the garden. It was not a strong year for seeing butterflies.
Native Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) reached over 10 feet tall before finally revealing its sunny color. The bright yellow blooms attracted many pollinators and made the western border positively glow.
A heavy fog moved in the first morning of October and the lawn was covered with dozens of spiderwebs (Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)). Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) and Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy) added rich red hues to the garden.
My favorite red this year was the Blue Bell Dahlia. I planted it in the Northern Border back against the fence, expecting it to be much taller than it actually was. It grew to about 3 feet tall.
The dahlia’s dark red flower featured prominently in most of my In A Vase On Monday arrangements during October, including one that is my favorite from the whole year.
Monarchs appeared in the garden during the second week of October and kept me chasing after them with my camera for days. Lantana and Zinnias were their favorite nectaring plants as they loaded up to continue their fall migration.
After many years of wanting to grow Spider Lilies as my grandmother had done, I finally ordered some bulbs and planted them this fall. When the foliage emerged I realized it will be next year before I see them bloom.
At mid-October I was pleased to see the Jackmanii Clematis flowering again in the narrow Southern Side Path along the side of the house.
The fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) opened around this time, also located along the Southern Side Path. This year only a few flowers had time to fully develop before getting nipped by cold.
As the end of October arrived Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower) rallied to produce a fresh display of pristine blossoms and a few blooms of Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’ appeared. Like the Hedychium, this highly scented camellia was a casualty of an early cold snap, but for a few days it looked nice outdoors and paired well with White Swan for an indoor arrangement.
In the first days of November the autumnal colors of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) were remarkable.
A passalong Chrysanthemum starting showing color mid-October and had come iinto full bloom the first week of November, just as the temperature fell slightly below freezing overnight for the first time this fall.
A bargain purchase of red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) gave the meditation circle some much needed color.
A few days later seed pods of asclepias tubersosa were fluffy and inviting. The pair of crape myrtles at the end of the front walkway were shifting from green to rich orange and golden hues.
Using Crape Myrtle leaves as a beginning point, somehow I was able to find plants representing each season of the year to include in the “Four Seasons” vase on November 10. “Four Seasons” referred to the annual cycle in the garden and was my way of helping mark the first year anniversary for Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.
By the end of November the garden had settled in for a rest, while I began looking ahead to spring with dreams of hyacinths and Anemone coronaria.
A big thanks to Cathy for hosting this 2014 garden retrospective. Visit Words and Herbs to see her own reviews along with links to those of other participating garden bloggers.