Monday, September 27, 2010

Teetering on the edge

The garden at this time of year might be compared to this high wire artist. Things could go south any day if an early hard frost or freeze were to make an appearance. It is early, but it could happen. I usually try to keep things up—water, cut off dead blooms and pull out spent annuals—through mid-October or so. By Halloween, I’m ready to take a rest and let the garden do the same.

It’s rather nice now, though. There is some windblown weed aster that is making quite a show in the same bed with the heliopsis (blooming since July) and the buddleia (also since July). And roses can be depended upon through frost.

I love the tropicals for this reason. They don’t recognize our seasons. All they know is that if it gets too cold they’ll die. That hasn’t happened yet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Now blooming

Ha! Just kidding. This did not come from my garden, though I guess it has some relationship to the big Rose of Sharon shrub currently flowering behind the house. This flower is from a jar of hibiscus preserved in syrup. It’s for drinks, not Bloom Day.

The fact is, I like the garden fine, but I am getting just a tiny bit bored with it, as the season winds to a close. I do have some wild orchids in bud—Ladies’ Tresses (Spiranthes cernua), which are fairly common but still hold some excitement for me, as I’ve never had orchids in the garden before. There are also gentians, which you’ve seen, and some lovely colchicums that were given to me and other bloggers from Kathy/Cold Climate Gardening. Still waiting for the leadwort plumbago.

Which is all well and good. Actually there is plenty still blooming, and lots of foliage. But I’m getting excited about bulbs now, including the hyacinths for forcing that I just ordered from Old House Gardens. That will be my next big gardening project—that and planting all the other hundreds of bulbs I’ve ordered.

It’s the cycle. I’m always looking forward to the next big thing.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Keeping the drama

Late summer perennials are all very well, but I find that focusing on all-season foliage and sturdy annuals is what really gets me through August and September. Even so, I have been getting better at planning some late summer action in the perennial line.

Here’s what I am excited about.

Gentian! These are very interesting plants. I am hoping their pretty blue capsules will hang on until the nearby dwarf plumbago (ceratostigma) produces its star-shaped flowers.

Sweet Autumn Clematis! I lost this when we put in the pond, but I planted some around a side trellis and it is doing splendidly. It’s also better placed here, where it provides much-needed scent and blooms in a prominent location.

Weeds! I love fall weeds. I have a statuesque pokeweed maturing in the front and some seeded wild asters—could be the fleabane or bushy types.

Otherwise, I give high marks to the heliopsis, which has been going strong for 2 months and all my lovely colocasia, some of which are finally showing their variegations. This slowness to display variegation is my only complaint.

But I’ll have many more when the garden really starts to go downhill. But by then I’ll be potting up bulbs and won’t care too much.