Tag Archives: aster

Early October Notes

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

On this sunny Sunday afternoon I am safe and dry while many parts of North Carolina and other southern states are reeling from wind and rain brought by Hurricane Matthew. There is vast flooding that is expected to increase as rivers swell. While many are saying this storm could have been a lot worse, it is heartbreaking to see images of streets and homes underwater, including in my hometown of St. Pauls.

For all of my life I have heard reverential tales of the force of Hurricane Hazel which in October 1954 hit North Carolina, the only category 4 hurricane to do so. (Matthew approached as Category 3 but was Category 1 when the eye passed the Cape Fear region around Wilmington). Yesterday around 4:30 pm Hurricane Matthew surpassed a record set by Hurricane Hazel when the tide gauge in downtown Wilmington rose to 8.21 feet. Hazel’s record of 8.15 feet which had held for 62 years was toppled.

We probably had 4 or 5 inches of rain here yesterday. The meditation circle was largely underwater during the day but the water has soaked in now. Zinnias were knocked down as were the native swamp sunflowers. I had watched the sunflowers swaying all afternoon, surprised to see them standing. They tend to fall over each autumn with or without a storm. Here is how they looked a few days ago.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Last Thursday my husband and I stopped by the Botanical Garden to see what was in bloom. Though I know many of you enjoy asters, I am not really a big fan; however, it was easy to appreciate this large planting in its prime.

Aster at NC Botanical Garden

Aster at NC Botanical Garden

 

Symphyotrichum puniceum (Purple-stem American-aster) -Canada & eastern United States

Symphyotrichum puniceum (Purple-stem American-aster) -Canada & eastern United States

Nearby golden flower heads danced in the gentle breeze.

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

Solidago spp. (Goldenrod)

And the pink muhly grass was looking splendid.

Muhlenbergia 'Pink Flamingos' (Hybrid Hair Grass) at NCBG

Muhlenbergia ‘Pink Flamingos’ (Hybrid Hair Grass) at NCBG

Since discovering the beauty of colchicum several years ago I have yet to plant my own, so it is lucky to live close to public gardens where someone thought to grow them.

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Colchicum autumnale (Autumn-crocus)

Autumn Blooms

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

There are several new notables in today’s garden. The Swamp Sunflower has grown way up into the sky, reaching ten feet or more during the past couple of months. Today, the first full day of autumn, a few of the yellow flowers finally emerged. This Helianthus is a native plant but it can spread aggressively so I try careful to watch it closely.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

This little yellow spider, perhaps a flower crab spider, may be the same one I saw a week ago on this Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower).

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

A white-flowerd Alyssum was a garden star last summer and fall but this Easter Bonnet Violet has been quite the opposite this year. Planted in late April, it is only now gaining some confidence.

Alyssum 'Easter Bonnet Violet'

Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Violet’

An unknown variety of Aster added to the garden when new, soon became unruly and spread so much I tried to remove it from the garden. It is defiant though and shows up year after year.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Aster sp.

Salmon-hued Dianthus did well last year in the meditation circle. This year it did fine in spring, languished in summer and is now looking refreshed.

Dianthus

Dianthus

Dianthus

Dianthus

I came across an olive-green grasshopper standing firm and erect against an Echinacea stem and have tentatively identified it as a Differential grasshopper.

Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis