Tag Archives: late summer garden

Summer In The Garden

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus) July 26, 2019

Today I am documenting some highlights of my summer garden, focusing mostly on zinnias and butterflies.

With the removal of some diseased junipers in spring, the southern border is filled with sunshine once again. Black-eyed Susans planted in 2012 at last are coming into their own in response to the improved conditions. Basking in the sun, Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage), added in 2014, also has thrived for the first time.  I am not a fan of combining yellow and red, but there it is, undeniably red and yellow.  I must have planted the salvia at a time when the black-eyed Susans were failing.

For years there has been a circular cutting garden of zinnias in summer. This year even more zinnias fill in along the fence where the trees had stood. I don’t miss the trees as much as I thought I would. They were planted for privacy, but this year at least I’m enjoying the openness of the garden and the white backdrop of the fence.

Southern Border August 10, 2019

Sunlight enhances the Blue Sky Salvia as we look across toward the dogwood at the other side of the garden. This salvia is a favorite of bees. There are fewer bees this year, especially fewer honey bees. Large carpenter bees are present, though perhaps fewer of them as well.

Late Summer Garden August 10, 2019

Somewhere I saved this year’s zinnia seed packages but I have yet to record their names. They are various mixes. I am particularly pleased with some of the red zinnias this year. There are some gorgeous reds among the rainbow of colors.

Red Zinnia August 5, 2019

A yellow with red freckled zinnia and this one below that seems to be wearing a smear of lipstick on each petal are the only novelty ones in the mix. Elsewhere I have a few cactus zinnias.

Zinnia

I have grown zinnias for 40 years and value their cheerfulness and reliability throughout the hottest part of summer until the first October frost. Each year from mid to late summer they and a few key plants like lantana provide extra zing in the garden, attracting a wide range of insects.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

It has been a spectacular year for butterflies, especially for Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Lantana camara (Common lantana) August 13, 2019

Yesterday the lantana was a hub of activity as this 16-second amateur video shows.

Zinnias are very popular with the butterflies.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) August 12, 2019

A few other swallowtail varieties have been visible. They are exciting to discover and try to identify. In late May this Spicebush Swallowtail appeared just in time to enjoy white bell-shaped flowers of Husker Red Penstemon.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) May 28, 2019

In early July I recorded seeing this striking Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) just as the first lantana flowers were opening.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) July 1, 2019

Black Swallowtails have been active here this summer with multiple sightings. Here are couple of my favorite photos of them.

Male Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) July 26, 2019

(Female?) Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) August 10, 2019

I spotted a monarch August 10, 2019 and hope to enjoy more in the coming weeks. They usually pass through in September and October.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Historically the garden averages one sighting of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) each year.  Happily I have seen many the past few weeks.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) August 10, 2019

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) August 10, 2019

In previous years I have spotted one or two Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis), but this season they are often seen frequenting plants such as Verbena bonariensis (an all-around pollinator favorite), lantana, Buddleja and zinnia.

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) August 10, 2019

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) August 10, 2019

No signs this year of Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe).  There are plenty of actual hummingbirds though. Sometimes I find myself face to face with one and we both pause for an instant, its wings and my heart pounding. My camera is never ready so I just stop and notice. I have never used a hummingbird feeder in this garden but the birds find reason to visit, making the same rounds through the flowers as the insects.

iNaturalist has been a great resource for help with identification of garden visitors.

Here are more entries from the summer guest book for pbmGarden.

Variegated Fritillary
(Euptoieta claudia) July 22, 2019

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) August 6, 2019

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) August 10, 2019

Eight-spotted Forester
Alypia octomaculata (Fabricius, 1775) June 12, 2019

Great Blue Skimmer
(Libellula vibrans) August 6, 2019

Blue Dasher
(Pachydiplax longipennis) August 6, 2019

Slaty Skimmer Libellula incesta) July 4, 2019

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) June 26, 2019

Common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) August 12, 2019

Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) August 6, 2019

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) May 27, 2019

In case you are not familiar with iNaturalist I cannot recommend it enough. It has been a great resource for help in identifying my garden visitors. There is an app and a website.

Partial List of Fauna and Flora

Fauna

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) August 6
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) August 6
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) August 10
Common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) August 12
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) August 6
Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Eight-spotted Forester Moth (Alypia octomaculata) Jun 12
Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) August 6
Hummingbird
Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Slaty Skimmer Libellula incesta)
Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) May 28
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) Jun 26
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) Jul 1 and June 7

Flora

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’ and ‘Espresso’
Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)
Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Blooms And Insects At Month’s End

This month Zinnias have been reblooming quickly after each cutting. I trimmed all that were open on Saturday and by Tuesday the next bouquet was proudly waiting to be picked.

Summertime – Zinnias and Cleome

Running into the garden between rain storms to gather more colorful flowers, I quickly became distracted by the birds and insects enjoying the garden on this last day of July.

Some visitors, especially birds such as Hummingbirds and American Goldfinches are difficult for me to photograph (hummingbirds too fast and goldfinches too shy). Swallowtails have refused to pose this summer. But now that I have learned to identify Silver-spotted Skippers it is fun to encounter them frequently around the zinnias.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

I think these are Fiery Skippers. They are quite numerous and happy to feast on the zinnias.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus), male

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus), female

An Ocola Skipper, the long-winged skipper, found the zinnias also.

Ocola Skipper(Panoquina ocola)

I liked this picture with all three of the skippers. Everyone is gathered ’round.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) at left and Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), upper right. Front right, Ocola Skipper(Panoquina ocola).

Skippers also were drawn to Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower).

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus), male

The rudbeckia is apparently also a satisfactory nectaring station for this Ocola Skipper.

Ocola Skipper(Panoquina ocola)

It took me a while to identify this wasp, but isn’t it amazing to have resources available. Searching the web I finally found a match and decided this is Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta). I posted a couple of the images this evening on iNaturalist and within 12 minutes someone had confirmed my identification.

Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta)

It is a striking black and white insect. Wings are iridescent blue-black. I read it is beneficial in the garden.

Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta)

Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta)

Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta)

Recent storms have battered down a few plants, but cleome in the meditation circle has easily managed to stand tall.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ blooms sporadically and sparsely now. It likes the rain so perhaps will be encouraged to flower more generously. Hummingbirds visit it regularly.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

What will August bring?  I hope the zinnias continue to thrive.

Two Ocola Skipper(Panoquina ocola) with Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Zinnia Cut and Come Again (Zinnia elegant pumila

I leave you with one more creature from the garden. I saw this dragonfly mid-afternoon, July 26, 2018. Its body appeared golden metallic. Amazingly beautiful.

Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)

Just got confirmation tonight on iNaturalist that the dragonfly is Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera).

Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)

This post took so long to write the month changed. Happy August.

Mid-August Views

Summer has been scurrying along and suddenly it is the middle of August. Despite the heat until recently large quantities of rain have kept the garden going long past its usual late June demise. With no showers for the past week nor any in the forecast that luxury may be coming to an end.

A few minutes before 7:00 I took my morning coffee outside planning to take some photographs of the flowers. The drawing attraction was a large stand of Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage). It looked beautiful in the early morning light. I ended up weeding and trimming for three hours, nothing really to brag about since the garden has been neglected for many weeks, but I did feel better with a little work done.

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan) shines golden while Rudbeckia, R. fulgida (Orange Coneflower) with its much smaller flowers is just beginning to open. The latter is usually underwhelming but it looks promising. The red flower in the blue pot to the right is Dipladenia ‘Madinia Deep Red,’ still looking nice.

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ often goes dormant during the hottest part of the summer but perhaps the rain has been encouraging.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Zinnias are brightening up the garden with their signature colors and shapes. I have been conscientious about cutting them frequently and they keep producing. Butterflies visit throughout the day.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Female Swallowtail On Zinnias

Female Swallowtail On Zinnias

Attractive to pollinators, this pass-along Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) is dutifully reliant.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

I have lost track of this dalia’s name. It has produced only a handful of small flowers but this morning the burgundy petals stood out against budding Autumn Joy sedum.

Dahlia sp.

Dahlia sp.

Dahlia And Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Dahlia And Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

The meditation circle planted in the center with various thymes and with Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ and ‘Serena White’ along the outer paths, elicits a deep, satisyfing sigh.

Thyme In Meditation Circle

Thyme In Meditation Circle

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ and 'Serena White'

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’ and ‘Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Angelonia ’Serena Purple’

Hope your garden is making you happy today.

Mid-August Notables

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ with Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Lately I have spent very little time in my waning summer garden, but yesterday in the peace of the early morning I enjoyed some quiet moments watering and assessing the main borders.

Much of my garden is shutting down for the season. Cleome and phlox, which managed to carry the garden through the worst of the heat and drought, now have quit producing.

After spring, my favorite time to garden, all bets are off anyway, but I did make an effort this year to plan for more interest in the summer months. I also watered frequently when rains did not come, something I rarely am willing to do. Nevertheless, it has been a tough summer for gardening.

Even some old reliables, such as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ felt the strain. Usually a star in the summer, this year ‘Irish Eyes’ struggled and gave up all too quickly. Just a few flowers remain.

Many new plants have been stressed too. Although I tried to keep them happy, three new gardenias and one of the two new camellias appear to be doomed.

For several years I have admired photos of Agastache (Mexican hyssop) from across the blogosphere. Finally this spring I brought Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ home from my local garden center, where it has languished.

Also, despite packaging promises of “flowers summer through fall,” neither a new red Clematis ‘Niobe’  nor some red and purple dahlias planted in spring have yet to make much impact. These plants at least look healthy though so I am optimistic in a few more weeks their performance will improve as the weather cools.

Even with these and other setbacks, there are a few bright spots in the garden, which were really my focus for today.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has rebloomed. This vine looked lovely in spring, then turned completely brown in time for Christina’s visit. I trimmed part of it back halfway but it seems to have all recovered, so I cannot give credit to the pruning.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Zinnias continue to look colorful and healthy. These orange ones are my favorite each year.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

I purchased a few red-orange Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ as plants for some instant color in late spring. The ones planted in containers did not make it, but in the ground they coped better. This one looked nice in the dewy morning, surrounded by fresh leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' and perennial Dusty Miller

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ encompassed by perennial Dusty Miller

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan) is not unusual at all, but I have had trouble keeping it established in my garden and am excited it has done well this year.

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) which opened about 10 days ago continues to look fresh in the northwest border. The cuttings I brought inside for Monday’s vase also are holding up well.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Cosmos planted from seed in early spring in the southern side border faced stiff competition from Cleome that reseeded vigorously.  Only a few cosmos plants survived the battle and none have bloomed so far even though the cleome has been removed. They look strong and healthy bathed in yesterday’s early sunlight. I expect them to rally this fall.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

A dependable highlight for weeks and weeks each year, Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) is doing well. I really like it in this green stage.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A native, Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry) started flowering a few weeks ago. Berries are forming too, suggesting just a hint of the pink that will mature to a shocking shade of magenta.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

So, at mid-August the garden is not as lush as last summer when there was ample rain to sustain it, but having chosen to water this year I have found myself more connected to its changing moods. Though sadly I could not save all the plants, I have had the pleasure of time spent among the flowers and the gift of being more aware of the bees, butterflies and other insects visiting my little backyard haven.

And then there is this: my husband spontaneously said tonight, “What a luxury the garden is.” I think he is on to something.

A Garden Review of 2014: Late Summer and Autumn

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

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.

September

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.

Showing plenty of leaves, Lantana camara (Common lantana) June 12, 2014

Showing plenty of leaves, Lantana camara (Common lantana) June 12, 2014

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana)  in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border September 3, 2014

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border September 3, 2014

Tucked nearby blue Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) looked stronger than usual this year.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) september 3, 2014

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) September 3, 2014

A yellow passalong iris began flowering again in early September and continued through October.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

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.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

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.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

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.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

In A Vase On Monday September 1, 2014

In A Vase On Monday September 1, 2014

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.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) September 27, 2014

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.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border September 27, 2014

October

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.

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

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.

Dahlia 'Blue Bell' October 16, 2014

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ October 16, 2014

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.

In A Vase On Monday-2 In A Vase On Monday-3

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.

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

Lantana and Monarch (detail) October 10, 2014

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia October 17, 2014

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.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily) October 22, 1014

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.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden October 17, 2014

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

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.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) October 17, 2014

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.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’

November

In the first days of November the autumnal colors of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) were remarkable.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

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.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

A bargain purchase of red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) gave the meditation circle some much needed color.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

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.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-9

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

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.

In A Vase On Monday - Four Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – Four Seasons

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.

Rainy Meditation Circle

Rainy Meditation Circle

Fall 2014 Bulbs - Hyacinths and Anemones

Fall 2014 Bulbs – Hyacinths and Anemones

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.

In A Vase On Monday—A Memory Onto Your Soul

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Gardenia and Red Salvia

It is time again to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Last week I passed on using gardenias in my Monday vase as they were a bit past their prime; nevertheless I enjoyed some indoors for a few days.

A few more were blooming Sunday afternoon and though again they are not in perfect condition, even seeming to turn brown before my eyes, I decided to feature them today to honor their delectable fragrance.

Gardenia

Gardenia

Many of you will be able to close your eyes, take a deep breath in and imagine a gardenia sitting before you.

…the scent of gardenias settles like a memory onto your soul.

Gene B. Bussell. “Gardenias: A Fragrance That Captivates“. Southern Living. June 2005.

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Another reason to display gardenias today is I came across a self-seeded red salvia from last year.  Its first flowers appeared this week and I thought their intense hue would look interesting with the creamy white of gardenias. Despite the reputation of red salvia for being overused, I find them attractive and sometimes just what one needs for a bright punch of color in the garden.

Red Salvia

Red Salvia

I was curious how these flowers might work in a formal arrangement, but not having time today to experiment, the blossoms were loosely placed into a simple, clear shrub glass. Gardenias have beautiful dark green, glossy leaves so no additional foliage was needed.

Materials

2 Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’
2 Gardenia sp.
3 Salvia splendens (scarlet sage, red salvia)

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Gardenia and Red Salvia

Gardenia and Red Salvia

In A Vase On Monday—Bold Colors

In A Vase On Monday-6

Another week has passed and it is time again to join in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

After going many weeks without precipitation, rain arrived overnight. Today we are having a series of steady downpours alternating with light misty showers. The entire garden seemed especially bright and colorful when I dashed outside around lunchtime to gather some flowers.

Lantana camara (Common lantana) has been blooming profusely this summer and I had been planning to feature it by itself in this week’s vase.  Plans changed when I found some compatible companions.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Multicolored Lantana camara (Common lantana) in foreground

After collecting the lantana, I remembered seeing one flower on the (either misnamed or mislabeled) Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ that was planted this spring. The purplish-burgundy blossom was still in fine condition even after the rain. I felt the strong, bold color of this flower could work well against that of the lantana.

As the dahlia stem was quite short it dictated using a small, narrow neck vase today.

Dahlia 'Blue Bell'

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’

Nearby the dahlia is planted a hybrid Big Sky Sundown Echinacea that has produced blooms sparsely this summer. Luckily there were two available for my vase day. The sunset coloring of this echinacea’s petals coordinates easily with that of the multi-hued lantana florets. The dark center echoes the deep vibrancy of the dahlia.

With the dahlia in mind I also chose purple succulent leaves of Setcreasea pallida (Purple Heart) for accent foliage.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

 

I love the rich, bold colors in today’s vase.

Rich, vibrant colors dominate these flowers.

Rich, vibrant colors dominate today’s vase.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Setcreasea pallida (Purple Heart)

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Early Morning Garden In Early September

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana)  in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border

After the cold winter Lantana camera took a long time to start growing this year. This was fine with me because it seemed too large the last couple of years. This perennial, deciduous shrub is invasive in some places further south and is very toxic. Butterflies are typically attracted to it but there have been very few takers this summer.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Both the lantana and this Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) were planted soon after the garden was established. I moved most of the Perovskia to another location because usually by now this is crowded out by the arching branches of lantana. This year it is holding up pretty well.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Near the bottom of the branches the berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are ripening.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

This intimidating creature is Argiope aurantia, known as the Corn Spider or the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was happy I did not disturb her web. She did not like being photographed so early in the morning.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

She was very well camouflaged as I went to check out the Chrysanthemums. Upon closer observation the concentric circles of the web are visible against the dark green on the left.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Here is a view of one of these orb spiders from the top side in a photograph taken several years ago.

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Argiope aurantia, (Corn Spider or Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

I was excited this morning to find several yellow irises poised to rebloom. These are passalongs so I do not know the name.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—Late Summer Basket

In A Vase On Monday - Late Summer Basket

In A Vase On Monday – Late Summer Basket

Today, the first Monday in September, is designated as Labor Day in the United States. It has been a federal holiday since 1894 to recognize the importance and contributions of workers. It is also time again to join in Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Although I love blue-hued flowers my garden most often seems to be filled with pink ones. Since for today’s arrangement I avoided reusing multicolored Zinnias and yellow Rudbeckia, today’s Monday vase is also filled with pink flowers.

Everlasting Sweet Pea is blooming better than it did at springtime and Obedient Plant is in its prime. Most of the Echinacea is attractive now only to the American goldfinches, but I found one large, fresh bloom to include. For a touch of blue I also chose a handful of  Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and more pink, a few stems of Verbena bonariensis.

Pinkish hues dominate the garden's blooms: Everlasting Sweet Pea, Obedient Plant, Echinacea

Pinkish hues dominate the garden’s blooms: Everlasting Sweet Pea, Obedient Plant, Echinacea

 

I collected a mix of greenery to support the arrangement, so much in fact I later had to remove quite a bit to allow the flowers to stand out. The foliage is dark green Japanese holly, bright yellowish-green, Wintergreen boxwood and silvery Dutch Lavender.

Dark and light green and silvery foliage was used for this late summer arrangement.

Dark and light green and silvery foliage was used for this late summer arrangement.

The arrangement was created using floral foam in a shallow, plastic dish. The vase today is a small potato basket.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

The basket is one of the first baskets I made one autumn many years ago during a 4 or 6-week program at The Arts Center in Carrboro.

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Potato basket-detail

Materials
Flowers
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting Sweet Pea)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Foliage
Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)
Ilex crenata (Japanese holly)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Mechanics
Lomey 6″ clear designer dish
Floral foam
Handmade basket

I found this old photo of my baskets. Commercial dyes were used to color the reeds and the color has faded considerably. The egg basket handles were formed of wisteria vine, a material easily found in my yard at the time. For several months my kitchen was filled with basketmaking materials. I made baskets for my daughter, my sisters and a special friend and gave them as Christmas presents that year and then never made another one.

Susie's Baskets

Susie’s Baskets

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Flowers and Pods

In A Vase On Monday - Flowers and Pods

In A Vase On Monday – Flowers and Pods

Monday rolls around quickly it seems. Time again to join in Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

For a few days I have been planning to create an arrangement using mostly the young, green florets of Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy).

Star-shaped flowers starting to open on the Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Star-shaped flowers starting to open on the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Once I started putting the vase together I quickly realized I was not prepared to cut enough stems to fulfill my original vision, preferring instead to allow the sedum to mature for a colorful display in the September garden.

Autumn Joy will turn dark rose and eventually deepen to coppery-red. It is already beginning to show some pink color as the star-shaped flowers open.

Pink hue of young Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Pink hue of young Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Taking a cue from the pink hue, I paired small vases of sedum with a Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower). This single stalk of cleome features flowers in varying stages of openness, as well as interesting leaves and seed pods.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) Inflorescence

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) Inflorescence

Leaves and Seedpods - Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Leaves and Seedpods – Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

More variation in height between the two smaller vases of sedum might improve the arrangement’s overall balance.  I had already shortened the sedum stems, so could not have them sit taller in the vase. Given more time I would have tried placing a prop underneath the green vase to lift it upwards or experimented with different vases.

In A Vase On Monday - Flowers and Pods

In A Vase On Monday – Flowers and Pods

Materials
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)
2 glazed ceramic pots and 1 slender, sapphire blue glass vase

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—August Mingle (Take Two)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Yesterday’s In A Vase On Monday was completed too late to photograph the flowers in natural light. This afternoon I set up the arrangement on the sunny back porch and made a few more images.

I wanted to include them today for my own record because the colors are so much more vibrant and truer to life than I was able to capture indoors last night under artificial light. The rich hues of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ are especially more obvious and in general, the natural light makes it much easier to see all of the flowers in detail.

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Zinnia, Rudbeckia and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Lantana camara (Common lantana) and  Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Lantana camara (Common lantana) and Orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ , Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ , Yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered and Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

In A Vase On Monday - August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday – August Mingle

Materials
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Pale yellow and orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix -Burpee- 24” height
Canary yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered -Burpee-30” height  Huge 5” blooms
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant)

In A Vase On Monday—August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

Monday is nearly over, but I have been hurrying this evening to join Cathy’s challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

In between errands and rain showers I finally managed at midday to gather flowers for today’s vase, leaving them in water to condition.  After dinner at last I had a few minutes to assemble an arrangement for today. Fortunately it went together quickly.

First I affixed florist oasis to a shallow dish. Using a single stalk of euphorbia and multiple stems of Coral Bell flowers and lavender leaves, I outlined a basic circular shape for the design. It would have been nice to have some concealer leaves, but it was too late to gather any. I made do with a few fern-like tansy leaves and a bit of the lavender.

Outlining the arrangement

Outlining the arrangement

Next I emphasized the outline using Black and Blue salvia, then added rich canary yellow giant zinnias for focal flowers. The salvia is actually very blue, not purple as the photograph makes it seem.

Next Black and Blue Salvia and Yellow Zinnias were added.

Next Black and Blue Salvia and Yellow Zinnias were added.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Then came red-orange coneflowers (Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’), orange zinnias, and lantana. The lantana seems mostly orange at first glance, but its blooms are actually multi-hued clusters of orange, yellow, and pink flowers.

I finished the arrangement with yellow rudbeckia with green-cone centers, and Rosa Iceberg.

This iceberg rose did not really bloom well in spring, but recently it has tried again. Its flowers are very small and stems are weak, but I used them today for their fragrance.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant) is starting to bloom this week and I used a couple of stems draping downward.  To complete the arrangement I set the flowers atop an inexpensive bone-colored ceramic novelty vase that is stamped Vintage 4.

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

It is easy to lose track but as I was arranging I tried to work from all sides of the arrangement.

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

I do not usually work with so many different flowers in one arrangement and still cannot decide if it is easier or harder. It is surprising that such a variety was available today in my garden.

Materials
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Pale yellow and orange Zinnia Cut and Come Again Mix -Burpee- 24” height
Canary yellow Zinnia Giant Flowered -Burpee-30” height  Huge 5” blooms
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Rosa ‘Iceberg’
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant)

In A Vase On Monday--August Mingle

In A Vase On Monday–August Mingle

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

MidAugust Blooms

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Echinacea have been a mainstay this summer, drawing bees, hummingbirds and American Goldfinches to the borders. The blooms on this white one, Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’, really improved after the recent rains.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

By design I have a lot fewer Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort) in the garden this year, both of which were becoming rather aggressive spreaders.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) and Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) and Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

The sap of Tradescantia lately is causing me to have an itchy skin contact rash. For that reason and because I want to control its spread, I tried not to allow it to bloom at all this year, but a few sneaky flowers remind me why I have enjoyed it for so many years.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

I have simply grown tired of Shasta daisy after letting it roam for a lot of years.  One entire bed was taken over by this plant, so I still have a lot of work to do to tame it.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) are pairing up in a lovely color combination. This salvia also spreads freely but I have finally learned to be ruthless in pulling it out when it wanders too far.

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage) and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is finally blooming again encouraged by the recent rains.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

This passalong everlasting Sweet Pea looked miserable most of the summer but, like the Black and Blue salvia, it was rejuvenated by the rainfall.  I planted annual sweet peas seeds this year but none survived.

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

The bird feeder is always a source of entertainment and occasionally the birds plant a few flowers for themselves. I am not sure exactly what this volunteer is but it is cheerful enough.

Birdfeeder Volunteer

Birdfeeder Volunteer

For the first time in many years my Stargazer Dahlia, did not return, done in by the cold winter I suppose. It was a passalong from a friend and former neighbor and so I missed not seeing it this year.  In spring though I had picked up a dinner plate Dahlia bulb, packed in a fairly generic-looking box, but labelled to have come from The Netherlands.

Dinner Plate Dahlia 'Blue Bell'

Dinner Plate Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’

Well the dahlia has finally bloomed. Granted I selected a poor spot for it, but I do not think it will  reach the promised “up to eighteen blooms per plant.” Neither does the size nor color correspond to the package at all. The flower is beautiful though and I am happy to have another dahlia for the garden.

Dahlia

Dahlia

The Garden After A Bath

Another huge thunderstorm brought thunder and lightning this evening and some of the heaviest rain I have seen in a while. The water that collected into rivulets in the meditation circle and at the edges of the garden is starting to recede, but showers continue dumping more rain. It will be challenging to see the Perseid meteor shower tonight, but I hardly mind. Recent rain showers mean green has returned to the garden.

The garden after a storm

The garden after a storm

A Few Late Summer Blooms

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

This past May I purchased a ground cover that has had only a few of the advertised little pale blue flowers all summer. Its name is Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper). Wary though I am about introducing a creeper, I am interested in having little edging plants and in reducing the amount of visible mulch in parts of the garden.

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)-2

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)-3

Time will tell how this will work out. It would be nice to see it covered in flowers.
Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)-4

Nearby is a pink Clematis without a name. Never a strong bloomer, it has managed two new flowers in this last week before fall arrives.

Clematis sp.

Clematis sp.

Mid-September Monday

This cheerful Iceberg Rose did better than usual this year due to adequate rains throughout spring and summer. It has begun another round of blossoming recently.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I would like to know what kind of little yellow spider this is hanging out on the Purple Coneflower. The front legs are positioned so it looks like it is trying to hide its face.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The Autumn Joy Sedum attracted this insect today (a wasp of some kind?) and a few bumble bees as well.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

The Sedum’s flowers are deepening from light pink to a darker shade as they age.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Meadow Sage has rebloomed now that night temperatures are cooler.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

The annual, Angelonia Purple, was a good investment this spring. Last year I used it in the meditation circle for color and interest, but it grew too wide. I frequently had to cut it back to maintain clear passage through the labyrinth. This year I placed Angelonia as filler in a few portions of the border where it had plenty of room. It has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed all summer and will last until frost.

Angelonia 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Purple’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) died back during the hot summer but is returning with a fresh flush of new growth.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

I am excited about a new purchase this week, a grayish-blue glazed ceramic urn to replace the periwinkle jar I had kept in the southern border since spring. The periwinkle pot will be returned to its indoor setting to keep it safe from the elements.  The new urn required two strong men to carry to its current location so I did not get a chance to try it out in a lot of places before setting it down. For now I plan to leave it empty but may add an evergreen form to it later.

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

There have been numerous Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gracing the garden this summer, but few have been of this dark female form. Enjoying Lantana, this is the same butterfly in all the pictures, with color variations standing out depending on the aspect of the view.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)-5

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Sometime during Sunday night or early morning raindrops hit the window and I was awake enough to be grateful, knowing the garden had become very dry. The previous rain was on September 1 and since then, despite cooler temperatures at night, there have been some very hot days. Grass in the front yard has turned crispy brown and the River Birch has given up many leaves. The grass in the back yard where the garden is also has begun dying back in places.

By early afternoon when I had a chance to explore the garden there were no visible signs the rain had passed through, but perhaps the plants had already soaked up the nourishment by then.

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Early September Observations

On the first day of September a serendipitous sun shower in late afternoon was followed by a quite stormy evening. That night the garden received a refreshing inch of rain. Now a mere week has passed without rain, but the effect on the garden was immediate. All of the borders are browning, shriveling and retreating as plants lose their vigor.

Though the days are still warm, the nights are noticeably cooler and the amount of daylight is decreasing. Responding to these signals, the changes in length of day, temperature and moisture, the garden appears to be receding.

Rarely do I water the garden, but I would like to prolong this year’s flowers a few more weeks. With no rain in the forecast for another five days, I walked out soon after dawn to apply some selective relief. At that early time of day the neighborhood was luxuriously quiet, interrupted only by pleasant birdsong and rich tones from wind chimes catching a gentle breeze.

Cardinals and hummingbirds went on with business as I carried around the hose. As bees have been mostly absent this summer I was surprised to see a large number of bumblebees. Two American Goldfinches, brilliant yellow, each stood atop Purple Coneflower seedpods surveying the bounty.

With the watering done I walked the meditation circle, then used the camera to make notes of the morning.

There still are some flowers to enjoy. The garden has two Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ and one is completely spent, yet the other at the bottom of the southern side path continues to bloom profusely.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to Phlox Paniuclata, which thrived with all the rain this summer. No deer bothered jumping the fence to get to it either, a first in many summers.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)   'Robert Poore'  possibly

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) ‘Robert Poore’ possibly

Orange Coneflower is one of the plants that began sagging so much this week without water. One would expect this native plant to be more drought-tolerant than a week.

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Cleome bloomed well all summer. Though many have dried up and formed numerous seedpods, a few are just beginning to bloom.

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Self-portrait with Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Zinnias look bright and colorful against the back fence and draw butterflies to that corner of the garden.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Though many stalks and leaves are now brown, some foliage remains in good shape. Columbine, which had all been cut back after flowering, now has formed gentle mounds in (too) many places. Some of the leaves are taking on a slight reddish tinge.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Baptisia and Artemisia team up nicely along the southern side path. The rains this summer really brought the Baptisia along this year.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Autumn Joy Sedum began blooming abundantly this week, making its little section of the garden seem quite happy.

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

View of Mediation Circle with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Dewdrop Morning

Washed in dew drops a lonely Shasta caught this morning’s sun as it first touched the garden.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

The early air felt refreshingly cool as I wandered around the borders. Still in shadow, the entire back yard was adorned with dozens of small, dew-drenched webs.

Grassy Webs

Grassy Webs

Tucked inside one web was a small red spider starting his morning.

Spider Web Among the Grass

Spider Web Among the Grass

Grassy Web - Red Spider Hiding Under Dewdrops

Grassy Web – Red Spider Hiding Under Dewdrops

The American beautyberry is still flowering at the top, but further down green berries have formed. Ripened, purple berries are visible near the bottom of the stems.

Green Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Green Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Ripening Berries, Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Ripening Berries, Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Nearby the Callicarpa there is much work to be done. I am still trying to eliminate Tradescantia, but it is quite the foe. I like the beguiling flowers and so do the bees.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Morning At Duke Gardens

Moss Garden

Moss Garden, Asiatic Arboretum at Duke Gardens

This morning we took advantage of the weekend’s unseasonably cool temperatures to walk through portions of nearby Duke Gardens, beginning with the Asiatic Arboretum. Along with lovely plants this part of the garden is filled with carefully placed stones, lanterns and water features. A new moss garden was one of the peaceful highlights. It will be interesting to see how this matures over time.

Moss Garden

Moss Garden

Moss Garden

Moss Garden Stones With Winter Daphne

A most heavenly fragrance led us to admire an enormous cluster of flowering Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily).

Ginger Lilies

Ginger Lilies

Ginger Lilies

Ginger Lilies

This large, yellow-hued flower belongs to a Dwarf yunnan banana.

Dwarf yunnan banana (Musella lasiocarpa)

Dwarf yunnan banana (Musella lasiocarpa)

A popular attraction in the Asiatic Garden is a garden pond filled with waterfowl and accented at one end with a red Japanese style arched bridge.  As we wended our way from one end of the pond to the other I found the many forms of stone especially appealing. I would love to add a huge boulder to my own garden.

(Click image for larger gallery view.)

After leaving the Asiatic Garden we passed the butterfly garden where Hibiscus and native Joe-Pye Weed were among the many plants, but only a butterfly or two were there to enjoy them.

Eventually we made it to the Terrace Garden where abundant grasses were playing an important role. The pink  plumes of grass swayed gently in the breeze, not really coming into focus for the camera, nor even in person. Unfortunately I could not find identifying labels for this set of plants.

At half past noon as we were on our way home the thermometer had risen only to 77°F. It was a lovely August morning.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – August 2013

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD). These photographs come from today’s very brief walk through the borders before mosquitos drove me back indoors. Mosquitos are not just annoying this year, they are frighteningly vicious and numerous.

As summer blooming perennials begin to slow and before the autumn blooms have opened, foliage takes on more responsibility to carry the garden.

Along the northern border an elegant Arborvitae stands tall. It is the sole survivor of what was originally three. The other two succumbed in a severe drought year. Across the fence a neighbor’s ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress towers, providing contrast in texture and color.

Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald' (Arborvitae) and a neighbor's 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’ (Arborvitae) and a neighbor’s ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Former neighbors planted that ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress after seeing several of them planted at the corners of my garden’s western border. One of mine had to be replaced last year and though still small, it has grown significantly.  Unexpectedly though a volunteer Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) showed up in close proximity to the young tree. As the beautyberry gets quite large I suppose it needs to be removed. Or I could wait and see. Which would win? Could they live in harmony?

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

Still visible are some of the Callicarpa’s pale pink, rather insignificant, flowers. When I first noticed this plant I mistook it for a hydrangea based on the look of the leaves and my hopes for the flowers. (I have planted hydrangeas near this spot before so I thought it was possible.)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and 'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) and ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress

The native beautyberry will provide food for birds. Already the berries are forming but none display the signature purple color yet.

Berries forming along stems of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries forming along stems of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Berries of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

A new part-shade border planted this spring using colorful foliage annuals has added extra interest in the southwest corner of the garden. The Caladiums I planted here have been less than stellar but Coleus worked well. It may have been too cool and wet this spring for the Caladiums.  An Elephant ear never emerged and when I investigated I learned the bulb had completed rotted.

Coleus

Coleus

Also in the new part-shade garden, a transplanted Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells) bloomed and is now forming seeds.

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells), Coleus, Caladium

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells), Coleus, Caladium

A few other things stand out. A long row of Thyme circling part of the path in the labyrinth looked healthy and nice for most of the spring and summer. Finally in the last month large sections have turned black from the wetness and humidity I suppose. This section still looks pretty nice.

Thyme in Meditation Circle

Thyme in Meditation Circle

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ bloomed well this summer and continues to do so, but some seed pods are forming, which attracts American Gold Finches.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

The American Gold Finches also are drawn to the Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), another perennial that has flowered extremely well this year.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

In spring I planted a bare-root dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea in a shady spot. It is almost too difficult to get to so I may move it to a spot where it will be easier to see. The foliage is supposed to turn red in fall.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

A large grouping of pass-along Chrysanthemums displays healthy leaves, which intertwine with nearby Angelonia Purple.

Chrysanthemum, Angelonia Purple

Chrysanthemum, Angelonia Purple

At mid-morning the day was hot, sticky and humid. Later an afternoon thunderstorm passed through.

Thanks to Christina for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month. Visit her site  for more foliage-oriented posts.

Mid-August Garden—Up Close

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) with unknown visitor

Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) with unknown visitor

Checking out the flowering progress of the Orange Coneflowers today I discovered a pretty visitor. If anyone recognizes it I would be grateful for the identification. [Update: Thanks to Annette at Annette’s Garden for help with the name: Celastrina neglecta Summer Azure.]

The day began cloudy and cool. After a pleasant breakfast on the porch overlooking the garden we lingered, relishing the quiet respite from the normal hum of air conditioners and mowers. Sounds of Bluebirds, Cardinals, American Gold Finches,  Hummingbirds, and Mourning Doves filled the air and occasionally the wind stirred, initiating and sustaining gentle tones from the new wind chimes in the meditation circle.

By early afternoon the sun was shining. With the temperature only in the mid-seventies, well below normal for August, at last it was a perfect day to weed and trim and enjoy the work of the garden. Hungry birds and pollinators made fine company and we each concentrated purposefully on the flowers, stalks and seedpods.

In the southern border Lantana camara (Common lantana) has finally come into full bloom. Reaching that stage seems to have taken longer than usual, but the timing suited very well a Hummingbird Moth, Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe).

Hummingbird Moth, Clearwing Moth at Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Hummingbird Moth, Clearwing Moth at Lantana camara (Common lantana)

It has a long proboscis (tubular mouthpart) used for feeding, which is coiled up while it searches for nectar.

Hummingbird Moth hovering over Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Hummingbird Moth hovering over Lantana camara (Common lantana)

The proboscis is uncoiled to sip from these Phlox Paniculata (Garden Phlox). The antennae are distinctive and as the term Clearwing Moth suggests, part of the wings are clear.

Hummingbird Moth sipping nectar of Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Hummingbird Moth sipping nectar of Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Following a prolific floral display in Spring, a few Chuck Hayes Gardenia blossoms have appeared throughout the summer. The foliage has stayed green and healthy thanks to all the rain this year.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Most of the Shasta Daisies have gone to seed, but there are a few fresh flowers.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

I enjoyed Obedient Plant for years at my former shady garden, but it spreads too much in this sunny setting and sends out long-reaching runners. This has just begun to bloom recently. I pulled some up elsewhere but decided to enjoy this for a few days.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Upon closer inspection one can see a couple of ants are at work on the Obedient Plant.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)-Detail

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)-Detail

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop) is looking strong this year.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Growing among the ‘Autumn Joy’ are a few stems of Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage). The ‘Blue Sky’ attracted one of the few bees seen in the garden this year. Last summer it was hard to photograph the flowers without capturing multiple bees in every frame.

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage), Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage), Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

One other bee sipped nectar from the Zinnias that volunteered from last year.

Bee and Zinnia

Bee and Zinnia

I particularly like the color of this orange Zinnia.

Orange Zinnia

Orange Zinnia

The Zinnias also attracted a colorful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), the state butterfly.

Swallowtail and Zinnia

Swallowtail and Zinnia

By following the Swallowtail I discovered Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) has set up camp next to the fence. I like the looks of this plant, but I know it would be hard to get rid of if I let it stay.

Swallowtail and Zinnia

Swallowtail and Zinnia

Another unidentified pollinator was attracted to the Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The American Gold Finches are fond of it too.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

The August Garden From Above

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

At midnight a thunderous storm blew heavy rain against the window panes. After a 92°F. day, normal for mid-August, the air was still quite warm as I opened the front door to peer at the downpour.

In the early morning light the garden stood refreshed.

Facing west, light enters the garden first from the north through a break between my house and the neighbors'.

Facing west, light enters the garden first from the north through a break between our house and the neighbors’.

The garden is more filled out and more lush and green for this time of year.

Early morning garden

Early morning garden

I enjoy noticing the abstractness of the garden layout from above.

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

Today will again be a 90-degree day, but unseasonably cooler weather will make the rest of the week feel luxurious: eighty degrees Wednesday, high seventies Thursday, mid-seventies (but rain) over the weekend. The nicer forecast offers an opportunity to enjoy the garden from more than as an observer looking down…

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

Garden With Meditation Circle After Rain

Sensing A Shift

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)


In unguarded moments and despite the heat, a portent of autumn occasionally drifts through the air and into my consciousness. For now the garden remains green and lush, but the light is changing and days are shortening. I sense a seasonal shift.

For the last few weeks the garden has carried on without much tending, but I am beginning to feel its tug. A few hours of trimming and weeding this week will revive its most sagging aspects.

This has been a happy year for gardening. Phlox paniculata has brought color to the western border for seven weeks, confirming memories from my previous garden that given the absence of deer and drought, Garden Phlox is invaluable for the summer garden.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has towered over the garden’s southern entrance most cheerfully since the end of June, though sadly few pollinators have been around this year to benefit.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

For several weeks now Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has added its specific light green color and texture to the northern border. It seems primed to put on a good show of fall color.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

In the late summer of years when rains have been adequate, Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) begins a display of beauty and lemony fragrance. It is exciting then to note the first orchid-like flower has emerged. Raindrops coat the shiny leaves after a fleeting shower this afternoon.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)