Tag Archives: autumn blooms

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

October Cooling and Flowers

I read this morning two different cold fronts are moving in today. Some drizzle was predicted but the day has been sunny with a big, blue sky full of white puffy clouds, and it is a bit breezy on this 65°F. afternoon. There is a frost warning for tonight and by Saturday we are advised temperatures could drop down near freezing for the first time this fall.

It seems a good time to record the blooms in the garden.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Near Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Near Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Aster

Aster

Aster

Aster

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

√ A spider appears to have captured an insect on the Tradescantia.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

Pansy 'Majestic Giant Purple'

Pansy ‘Majestic Giant Purple’

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) (foliage:Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue')

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) (foliage:Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’)

Angelonia 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Purple’

Also Blooming

Waning: Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower), Lantana camara (Common lantana), Zinnia

Light Rebloom: Lavender,  Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’

Blooming: Dianthus, Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Violet’, Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage) – Red Salvia, one of the bearded Iris varieties, Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Just beginning: Chrysanthemum

Oddity: one Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

October Sunday Flowers and Insects

An old favorite pass-along plant, this Chrysanthemum has been part of my garden(s) for more years than I can remember. Found the first flowers just starting to open today, bringing sweet memories of the person who shared it with me. The flowers are small and grow from a woody stem.

Chysanthemum

A transplanted Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) began blooming several weeks ago bringing a fresh greenery and fresh blooms to the fall garden and attracting insects.

Gracing its flower was (I think) a Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Soon a bee moved in to join the party.

Bee on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Bee on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The bee and the butterfly shared this flower for only a second or two before the bee settled down on a nearby flower.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Garden Walk In Early December

During a late afternoon ramble through the garden I noticed the simple dignity and beauty of this fading Clematis flower.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

For the most part I have been letting the plants die back naturally, leaving seed heads for the birds and winter interest. This suits my gardening style and is a good way to postpone cleanup chores until at least January.

Four and five-foot stalks of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ criss-cross and lean along the southern side path, each topped with brown cones. At the base its large leaves are in various stages of change.

Seed heads of Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Seed heads of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Leaves of Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Leaves of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

This fall there have been several brief periods of cold nights and a couple of hard frosts, but soon the weather warms again. A small Spiraea transplant, after experiencing this transition from cold to mild temperatures and detecting a similar amount of daylight as in spring, sent out a few more flowers this week, even as its leaves turned rich red-orange rust and rosewood.

Spiraea Blossoms

Spiraea Blossoms

Rust-colored Spiraea Leaves

Rust-colored Spiraea Leaves

In many areas mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) soften the garden at this time of year and fill the beds with soft greens, reds, yellows and burgundies.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The cold temperatures have damaged many of the sasanqua blooms, but the shrubs are full of buds and continue to brighten the northeast corner of the house.

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Almanac

Fifty-two degrees at 4:50 pm. Overcast most of the day. The sky was deep blue and clear during my garden walk but the sun was low and most of the garden had fallen into shadows. Chapel Hill and about two-thirds of the state are in a moderate drought with little chance of rain forecast. Temperatures will edge back up into the seventies by the weekend.

November Essence

Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum)

November passed quickly with the garden left largely unattended and mostly unvisited, except by the avian community. Most days colorful Eastern Towhees, Northern Cardinals (North Carolina’s state bird) and Eastern Bluebirds vie for turns at the feeders. Occasionally, Red-bellied Woodpeckers stop by and frequently, Brown-headed Nuthatches and Black-capped Chickadees watch for their chances to approach.

On November 22 there were ample flowers left in the borders to fill Thanksgiving day vases with fresh zinnias, echinacea, lavender sprigs and foliage, Iceberg roses, chrysanthemums, and there were pristine camellias to float in small ceramic dishes. The next day brought the first hard frost of the year and this week a few nights with temperatures down into the twenties finally have convinced many plants to consider winding things down.

I wandered around today to see what has survived the cold. The old-fashioned woody-stemmed pale yellow chrysanthemum looks very sad, but I included a couple of pictures below to illustrate an interesting transition. One image shows the original yellow of the flower and the next shows how the chrysanthemum flowers change to pink as they fade.  Most of the garden is wilted and tinged with brown, though a few flowers still look nice for this time of year.

As November’s end approaches the day is clear, the sun is low. By 1:30 pm much of the garden lay in shade cast from the Carolina Sapphires. The sunset will come early at 5:02 p.m., after making its late start this morning at 7:06 a.m. November accomplishments are few except for the addition of a few daffodil bulbs, but the garden and the gardener are content.

November Time and Roses

Yellow rose at Morehead Planetarium rose garden

During a walk on the UNC campus yesterday we spent a few minutes in the rose garden at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to enjoy some lovely and fragrant blooms. I have only a couple of roses in my own garden, so this rose garden, a well-known attraction in the area, is a great place to stop to see lovingly tended and perfectly formed flowers. I was not sure how the roses would look at this time of the year, but the garden always looks spectacular in time for graduation in May.

The roses are planted around a 36-foot diameter sundial with a 24-foot long (and 20-foot high) gnomon that casts the shadow for telling time. Around one edge of the bronze and marble sundial are the words, It is always morning somewhere in the world, while the other side reads Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.

Sundial at Morehead Planetarium

The roses were nice, but must remain nameless. Unfortunately I did not find labels to identify the varieties. (Click below for a gallery of larger images.)

October Blooms Inventory

October 15, 2012 update. As everything listed here is still blooming today, I am connecting this October 9 blooms inventory to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for October 2012. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting.

Fall is coming in spurts. Pumpkins sit on porches in the neighborhood along with ubiquitous potted chrysanthemums in yellows, golds, rusts and burgundies.

Oddly though my garden has lots of pink, including this Phlox paniculata, one of several that I noticed blooming today in a back part of the border, miraculously undisturbed by deer.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

The ground is soggy. The garden has been heavily saturated again for the last few days as rains fell and temperatures dropped. Today’s high of 58°F is quite a change from the 88°F of a week ago. Tomorrow the weather will warm up to 72°F and by next Tuesday the temperature is projected to rise again to 80°F.

Rain held off during the day, but dense clouds reigned this afternoon as I inventoried which plants are blooming in the garden today. Some plants are fading fast. Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) can just barely qualify as still blooming, but there were a few red petals so I counted it! Other plants are still producing fresh blossoms and will keep going until frost, such as Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily). There actually were a few stray flowers on the large Spiraea shrub in the western border.

  • Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
  • Ageratum
  • Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon)
  • Aster
  • Buddleja davidii  (Butterfly Bush)
  • Camellia sasanqua
  • Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
  • Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia ‘Stargazer’
  • Dianthus
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)
  • French Marigold
  • Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’
  • Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
  • Gaura Belleza (™) ‘Dark Pink’ (Butterfly Gaura)
  • Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)
  • Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
  • Lantana camara (Common lantana)
  • Lavender
  • Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)
  • Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess®’ (Sweet Alyssum)
  • Meadow Sage ‘May Night’
  • Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
  • Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
  • Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) 
  • Penstemon  mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
  • Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
  • Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
  • Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage)
  • Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
  • Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)
  • Spiraea
  • Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Purple Heart)
  • Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
  • Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
  • Zinnia

I have already thought of a few plants not listed here, but the inventory is fairly complete and putting it together today made a rather interesting exercise. Click an image to see these at a larger size in gallery view.