“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” – Kim Hubbard

 

**spring green lilies chamaecyparis thermopsis

Spring Green 1: Six-pack Violas, Daylilies, “Scheherazade” lilies, Chamaecyparis, Miscanthus and Carolina Bush Pea, Thermopsis villosa.

**spring green elder lemon banana

Spring Green 2: Elderberries on the left (Sambucus canadensis “Burroughs Creek”), native Fleabane upright in the background, fronted by a cutting-grown Korean Boxwood (Buxus koreana), a potted Meyer Lemon, and on the left a Banana gifted by friends as a pup last September, overwintered on the back porch. In the foreground is Northern Sea Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium. I appreciate this plant for it’s bambooish appearance but I pull at least 30 seedlings every morning. The two plants I have in half-shade are slower, skinnier and sparing re-seeders.

**spring green verbascum amsonia thermopsis overhead

The rosettes of gray leaves on the left belong to white-flowered Mullein, Verbascum “Governor George Aiken,” a favorite of bees.The yellow groundcover up top is Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’. The feathery leaves below belong to Amsonia hubrichtii, a Bluestar, in it’s fifth year from seed and finally bulking up. The compound leaves at far right belong to the Carolina Lupine, Thermopsis villosa, with wild Violets (Viola papilionacea), and Calamint seedlings underfoot.

The end of May marks the start of one of the biggest annual events in the garden: the Fruiting of the Mulberries. Avian anticipation is sky-high, as much parking lot activity as a 1970s Grateful Dead concert. Grackles, Cardinals, Robins, Thrashers, Catbirds, Chickadees, Bluejays, Waxwings and wingless Squirrels inspect the fruit many times a day, awaiting that moment. One male Cardinal——nesting with his partner in the light above the garage door—staked turf on the big Mulberry, taking up his position on a high perch in the tree at dawn, forcing other male Cardinals to the younger, less fruitful Mulberries in the back of the garden. The fruit is still tight and red but if this heat keeps up, they’ll ripen in a week. Once the mulberry feast is over, the grackles move north, following the Fruiting up to Minnesota, leaving behind a minefield of purple and white ejecta that cling to plant leaves like Super Glue. The best part of the Fruiting is that the grackles are gone until March next year. And mulberry pancakes, of course.

– Other birds: Barred Owls, a Merlin, Red Tails, Turkey Buzzards, and a newcomer whose call starts with short, rhythmic chucks that sound like rosewood sticks, followed by several liquid gulps, all unusually loud—a rainforest sound. Reports that the raptor boxes installed on the nearby grain silos are all occupied account in part for the decrease in the rabbit population.

**allium christophii 2

I was strangely satisfied with this picture, taken on May 25: Star of Persia, Allium christophii, bursting out; Giant Coneflower, Rudbeckia maxima, the glaucous leaves at left; Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ rising in back; Red Clover, Trifolium pratense on the sprawl; and bright Creeping Jenny on the ground. I can’t deny my admiration for the Hayefield style–my ideal garden is a cross between Ninfa and Harry Dodson’s walled Victorian kitchen garden. I often consult Nan’s site, particularly older posts, and came across a shot from Bloom Day, June 2013, below.

 

dscf3024_thumb

Ahem. The persistence of inspiration. Hayefield.

Chelsea Chop: Sedum, Asters, Monarda, Patrinia, Buxus
Delays bloom and directs growth—you can stagger and prolong the blooms of particular plants by cutting back only half of the plant. The uncut half will bloom at the usual time, the cut half a few weeks later.

In July, the Hampton Hack (also named after an RHS plant show), rejuvenates herbaceous plants after their initial flushes of bloom (Geraniums Nepeta, Alchemilla, Calamintha—anything looking spent), spurring foliage growth and occasional repeat bloom. The key is to divert the plant’s energy from making seed to overall vigor.

**beans bush dragon tongue

Seedlings of Bush Bean “Dragon’s Tongue,” long flat pods, yellow streaked purple, purportedly tender with extra-beany flavor. A rainy day on the 16th.

**garden entrance

That same rainy day.

**bunny beds peach

The Bunny Beds on the 20th, another gray day.

**cat graveyard 2

Small pond, Cat graveyard and garage.

**front lonicera major wheeler

On the chain-link out front, “Major Wheeler” had his first flush mid-May.

**front elder darlow ninebark

In front on the creekside, left to right, Burroughs elderberry, “Darlow’s Enigma” rose (fifth year), and dark-leaved “Summer Wine” Ninebark, Physocarpus opulus ‘Seward’.

**rosa darlow's enigma close

“Darlow’s Enigma,” close.

**front pseudo-shrubbery 5:25

The Pseudo-Shrubbery on the front walk.

**elder bed new

The New Elders bed, from six-inch cuttings 15 months ago, now pushing eight feet and budding.

**echinacea mutation

Unusual flower color and form, and very early bloom, on a Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, by the main path. There was a phyllodic mutation in this patch of Coneflowers last year—perhaps more interesting variations are forthcoming.

**iris gerald darby fronting ipomoea batatas

Iris “Gerald Darby,” a yellow Ipomoea batatas, tropical Plumbago at left.

Bugs return mid-May: Chiggers, Mosquitoes, Oak Mites (humans), Loopers, Hornworms, Flea Beetles (plants), Fleas, Ear Mites (cats). Many Bumblebees, few Honeybees. Fireflies and crickets back in force. Fireflies are Earth magic.

The Shiitake logs flushed after the first rain, two pounds in five days, three good dinners.

**color wheel

Slaves to the Color Wheel would hate this.

**face west

On the Main Path facing West, May 30.

**main path little path

Main Path and Little Path, May 20.

**peppers beans

Peppers and Beans, mid-May. Tomatoes on the stakes.

**snapdragons 2

Snapdragons on the Little Path. Never grown Snaps before–bees all over them. This location seems too hot and sunny; a bit more shade next time.

**sporobolus solanum nasturtium

Left to right: Prairie Dropseed grasses, Sporobolus heterolepis; Nasturtium “Moonlight,” a pale yellow trailing type; and Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense.

**main path pots 2

Main Path pots, from the left: a coral Diascia; seedlings of Zinnia “Profusion Apricot;” a remarkable yellow Lantana camara, a Zone 8 tropical who survived the Winter of 2016 (-12 degrees), in open ground; variegated Aptenia cordifolia; a Tangelo Barberry and pale yellow Moss Roses, Portulaca grandiflora, in the big red pot; and a seedling “QIS Red Globe” Amaranth in the pot in front.

**tomato barrows need groundcover

Barrows of “Cherry Falls” cascading Tomatoes, orange Nasturtium “King Theodore,” “Genovese” Basil, and Red Globe Amaranth in the pots. Seventy-five percent of this garden is from seed or cuttings.

**trellis seedlings

Pole Beans on the left, Cucumbers and Bitter Melon on the right. Bush Beans below.

**mulberry face north

Mulberry One, facing North.

**mulberries

What we’re waiting for.

**garage bed last year for raised bed 1

The last year for this old raised bed.

Forcing a plant, or any living thing, to subsist in unnatural conditions is a cruelty to the creature; a waste of time, hope and resources for the gardener; and a bad effect on Life. It goes back to Beth Chatto’s dictum: “Right plant, right place,” though, as Chatto always averred, she wasn’t the first to make that observation, (Theophrastus, Historia Plantarum, 300 BC).

Case in point: the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis, almost a garden cliche now. It grew itself in my California gardens, reseeding at a welcome nuisance level, yet here it languishes in our muggy heat. It really is a desirable and charming see-through. This is my third attempt to bring V.bon into this garden—the first two from seed, this time from nursery plants—and its not looking good. Even in part shade, they droop drastically by noon. Drooping is not a reason to fill the watering can; it is a survival tactic for extremes. Usually, when the hard sun passes, plants perk right up. V.bon perks up in the shade but with each 90+ day, it’s will diminishes. Desired plant, wrong place. I don’t like to witness unearned suffering; sometimes, the greatest mercy is a quick kill. Perhaps Hesperaloe is a better see-through option in this changing climate.

**pond path

Path around the Big Pond.

**robert burns 2

Robert Burns isn’t so shy anymore. He heads to the creek around 7:30 am most mornings and returns to the pond at 6pm. Punching the Snapping Turtle clock. I see him in transit a couple of times per week.

**snake path face west 3

Snake Path facing West.

**urn bed herbs dianthus lychnis allium

**main path face northeast

**ride face west pm

**cypress pole

White Cypress seedlings, Ipomoea quamoclit, have germinated at the base of the pole and are reputed to climb to 15 feet. A white Daylily at right in front, Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’ at left, Lemon Balm milling around, and Tritunia ‘Blue Star’ in the pot.

**view from table 5:25

View from the table, 5/25.

*robin on bones

Las Condiciones del Pajaro Solitario
Son cinco.
La primera, que se va lo más alto;
la segunda, que no sufre compañía, aunque sea de su naturaleza;
la tercera, que pone el pico al aire;
la cuarta, que no tiene determinado color;
la quinta, que canta suavemente.
– San Juan de la Cruz, Dichos de Luz y Amor

 

 

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lily scabiosa basil

Lilium “Scheherazade,” Scabiosa “Butterfly Blue,” Basil “Pest Perpetuo,” Verbascum “Gov. George Aiken,” a wild Aster, Hemerocallis “Chicago Apache,” and Miscanthus “Morning Light” coming on behind.

*pots on stumps

Hosta “Daybreak” takes a lot of sun. Violas on the sides, Plume Poppy, Macleaya cordata, between the stumps.

*ipomopsis aster

pelargoniums petunia exserta behind elder

Pelargoniums and Petunia exserta on the hay bales behind the elderberry.

gravel bench 2

Gardening is the making of a lasting foundation for hope. For 30 years, I have been trying to grow Thyme from seed, without decent luck. On a warm day in January 2017, I flung a packet of old Thyme seeds in a wheelbarrow of exhausted soil and forgot it. Bingo! Thyme is everywhere in the garden now, a valuable plant for bees. Thyme, like Lavender, Rosemary and Sage, love the heat but can’t take cold, wet, clay soil in Winter. For the gravel bench, I dug two feet down and filled it with loam, compost and pea gravel. The pots on the bench contain Rosa “At Last” and Tritunia “Blue Star.”

woodlot barrows

The barrows in front of the Woodlot contain “Cherry Falls” tomatoes, bred for hanging baskets and cascading to three feet. “King Theodore” nasturtiums are interspersed with the tomatoes and the pots will soon be home to “Red Globe” amaranth.

*cherry wild blooms

Wild cherry blooms at the end of March.

*dogwood 1

*pear tree bed

Pear/Hosta bed mid-April.

hosta bed

Pear/Hosta bed mid-May.

*snake path west 3

Snake Path facing west at the end of April.

*redbud face west

Young Redbud, Cercis canadensis, is a beautiful pest here, reseeding freely with deep, persistent roots. This self-seeder, blooming at the end of April in just the right place, is a keeper.

*tulip gavota 2

Tulip “Gavota” at the end of April.

*garage bed face east

The garage bed at the end of April. The nine white buckets at right, bottoms cut off, will be home to Aji Amarillo seedlings. The green posts at left were set in August of last year. Most visitors to the garden thought they were a feeble post-modern statement.

garage bed 1

The posts were set as primary supports for an easily adapted trellis. My friend JG has a big stand of 20-foot Phyllostachys bamboo that needed thinning, I had nails and wire.

garage bed 2

The bamboo trellis was inspired by the jail on “Gilligan’s Island.” Its great to have a sturdy structure for vining crops, this year home to bitter melon, cucumbers and pole beans. Bush beans and eggplants on the margins. The barrow and pots hold tomatoes, “Rosita” eggplants, Wave petunias and basil.

main path face northeast 1

Main path facing NNE, today.

*face west 3

March 28, 2018.

*face west pond back door

March 26, 2016, a rainy day.

*snapper returning to big pond 1

Snapping turtle moving from Burroughs Creek to the Big Pond 1, May 5.

*snapper returning to big pond 2

Snapping turtle moving from Burroughs Creek to the Big Pond 2.

*snapper returning to big pond 6

Snapping turtle moving from Burroughs Creek to the Big Pond 3.

*snapper returning to big pond 9

Snapping turtle moving from Burroughs Creek to the Big Pond 4.

*snapper returning to big pond 12

Snapping turtle moving from Burroughs Creek to the Big Pond 5.

pots hot main path

bean pole

*geometry chance

 

 

arum small pond 2

Arum italicum ‘Marmoratum’ in the cat graveyard.

back porch 4

Back porch for the winter.

barrow empty

The Barrow of Thyme, emptied of 38 seedlings, all transplanted to ground two weeks before the first frost.

gladiolus murielae

Gladiolus murielae, the Abyssinians, in their second year. Rabbits cut them to the ground twice last season. This year, I caged the glads until they were two feet tall and got a cat. They didn’t bloom this year but the leaves reached three feet.

nandina miscanthus

Nandina domestica fronting Miscanthus gracillimus, early November.

miscanthus gracillimus behind nandina domestica

Nandina domestica fronting Miscanthus gracillimus, November 30.

ride face west 1

The Ride, facing West.

ride face east

The Ride, facing East.

woodlot 2

Woodlot.

face southeast

Face Southeast.

lonicera major wheeler 1

Berries of ‘Major Wheeler’ honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens.

lonicera mackii

Berries of Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera mackii, a Top 5 invasive plant here. Its lovely twice a year, easily pruned, but I never stop fighting it.

itea 1

Itea virginica ‘Spritch’ aka ‘Little Henry, now in it’s fourth year in the Pseudo-Shrubbery, 3′ x 3’. The parchment leaves in the background are a fragrant and variegated Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum.‘ Green Velvet boxwood, upright Yew, Taxus media ‘Hicksii,’ and a deep purple and dwarf Barberry, Berberis concordia, swamped underneath. Most of the big fallen leaves are from the Catalpa.

mailbox beds

Mailbox bed.

hyssop pinus

Hyssop, Pinus mugho, daylilies and fading wormwood, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle.’

pots

Pots now scrubbed and safe from cracking frost in the garage.

maitake

Five pounds of Maitake mushrooms from a foraging friend.

over

Season over.

opuntia noid

Orphaned NOID Opuntia made it through two nights in the teens.

front porch pots 2

Hostas and a juvenile Box on the front porch/

elderberry

Hybrid Elderberry cuttings held leaves far longer than plants propagated from the wild.

bidens

Bidens aristosa cranking among dead neighbors.

sedum heads

Seedheads of Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy.’

monty sup?

Monty Don.

gravel bed 3 best

The new gravel bed. For two years, it was cardboard topped with five inches of wood chips. Monty Don used it as a litterbox. I dug down two feet, added a mix of gravel and chipped local limestone, and topped it with three inches of pea gravel and 40# of white river rock. Planted with thyme, irises, miniature roses, tulips and white Asiatic lilies. We’ll see the results next year. The cat doesn’t poop there anymore.

gravel bed 6

Gravel bed facing Northeast.

solanum fruit

miscanthus best

giant pumpkin utah

In 2014, Matt McConkie’s 1,817 pound pumpkin set the Utah state record. McConkie estimates the weight of this year’s pumpkin at between 1,900 and 2,000 pounds. Photo and story at the Salt Lake Tribune.

hesperaloe_parviflora arizona photo fritz hochstatter wiki commons

Hesperaloe parviflora, also known as red yucca and hummingbird yucca, is native to the Chihuahuan desert of west Texas. Photo taken in Arizona by Fritz Hochstatter via Wikimedia Commons.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. – Greek proverb

The Secret to Growing the World’s Largest Pumpkin
The current world record is held by Beni Meier, a Swiss accountant by day, who grew a pumpkin that weighs in at 2,323.7 pounds, roughly the same amount as a small car.
Smithsonian

Genomic study reveals clues to wild past of grapes
“Like most plants, grapes are typically considered to have been cultivated around 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, but our work suggests that human involvement with grapes may precede these dates,” Gaut said. “The data indicate that humans gathered grapes in the wild for centuries before cultivating them.”
Science Daily

Chanticleer Garden: A Hidden Gem Outside The City of Brotherly Love
Chanticleer’s six staff horticulturists are each responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of particular areas of the property, including 15 distinct garden “rooms”, each on a scale of a good-sized residential garden, and each with its own look and feel. They all flow together and are seamlessly woven into rolling lawns, curving pathways, gentle hills, and woodlands.
Garden Collage

Harvesting and Storing Green Tomatoes
Just as I do at the beginning of spring, I begin to watch the weather in October.  If the night-time temps start to drop in the low 40’s, I go ahead and remove all the tomatoes left on the vine and bring them in the house.
The Blonde Gardener

Insects are In Serious Trouble
Insects are the lynchpins of many ecosystems. Around 60 percent of birds rely on them for food. Around 80 percent of wild plants depend on them for pollination. If they disappear, ecosystems everywhere will collapse.
Atlantic Monthly

Doing Time in the Gardens of Alcatraz
The image of inmates in faded blue dungarees tending to roses and cutting long-stemmed gladiolus for floral arrangements is extraordinary, bearing in mind the violent histories that cast these men out onto the island.
The Planthunter

Citrus in pots: how to grow, and overwinter it, with Four Winds growers
“How can I overwinter my potted lemon tree indoors?” It’s the question of the moment from readers, as cold weather comes on.
A Way to Garden

Solar ‘smart’ greenhouses produce both clean electricity & food crops
“We have demonstrated that ‘smart greenhouses’ can capture solar energy for electricity without reducing plant growth, which is pretty exciting.”
Treehugger

Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?
The settlers slashed and burned the forests to grow hay and barley, and to create grazing land. They used the timber for building and for charcoal for their forges. By most accounts, the island was largely deforested within three centuries.
New York Times

Wild Poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora never fails to get a compliment and a second look when it begins to bloom in late summer or early fall. That’s also when the innermost parts of each bract turn a vibrant red giving rise to the common name of fire-on-the-mountain.
Clay and Limestone

Colors of Autumn
In my garden, the colors of fall have come into full force, and there’s even some left after the atmospheric river that brought heavy rains and winds to the Pacific Northwest.
The Practical Plant Geek

Purple and Gold
I first saw American beautyberry 30 years ago when we visited the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo. I was floored when I first saw them. I had no idea we had a native shrub with such gorgeous royal purple berries.
Sweetbay

Early bloomers: Statistical tool reveals climate change impacts on plants
“My mum reports her snowdrops are blooming earlier each spring in her English garden,” says Utah State University scientist Will Pearse. “Are her observations, like those of thousands of citizen scientists across the world, indicating unpredictability in temperature, precipitation and other weather patterns?”
phys.org

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding
The following ten foods are extremely popular with backyard birds all across North America.
Bird Watcher’s Digest

A garden really lives only insofar as it is an expression of faith, the embodiment of a hope and a song of praise. – Russell Page

northern cardinal male wiki commons

Male Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis. “The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird.” – All About Birds, Cornell University. Photo Wikimedia Commons.

giant sequoia

Giant Sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum, in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, near Visalia, California. Photo National Park Service.

entrance

That Liriope needs thinning and transplanting. I hesitate to call it invasive, all successful plants are, but it is certainly vigorous. A member of the lily family.

caterpillar petunia

Dapper caterpillar on Petunia. Still unidentified.

geometry

Geometry.

empress wu

Hosta “Empress Wu” spent her first two years in a big clay pot. Now she’s under the mulberry tree: morning sun then dappled shade. Covered in birdshit for a few weeks while the mulberry is fruiting but that’s why we have hoses. “Empress Wu” is touted as the largest Hosta in cultivation, so far. Five feet tall by nine feet wide. The little cage behind contains nettle seedlings.

firepit evening

Seedlings that spent the season in pots are now in the ground.

jalapeno final

The jalapenos were generous this year. They perished after three nights below freezing.

amaranthus hopi red dye seedheads

Chenille seedheads of Amaranthus “Hopi Red Dye.”

chamaecyparis & friends

Fading lilies with Artemisia, Chamaecyparis, and blue-flowering Perovskia.

maquis 3

Maquis 1

maquis face west

Maquis 2. Few people in Kansas are familiar with the maquis biome, though similar to the prairie, so my affectation usually goes uncontested. What barely qualifies this bit of the garden as maquis is Mediterranean plants, lavender and thyme primarily, and dry, rocky soil. Faking a maquis doesn’t come easy in Kansas clay: two feet under these plants is an eight-inch layer of pea gravel, three 40-pound bags and a lot of digging.

malevolence fruit 2

Fruits of Solanum atropurpureum, common name “Malevolence,” generally considered hardy to Zone 10. It has re-seeded for three years in this Zone 6b garden.

zinnia will rogers 1

Dahlia “Bishop of Llandalff” struggles in our unpredictable weather. Zinnia “Will Rogers” doesn’t.

thunbergia final

Tropical Thunbergia alata flowers profusely in September and October, turns to mush at first frost.

barrow zuke 2

Butterfly barrow.

oyster 1

The shiitake mushroom logs, at top, gave at least 20 pounds this year. The oyster mushroom logs were deemed a failure until this bloom after the first frost.

oyster 2

Oyster mushrooms, “White Pearl” here, flush in cold, damp weather. Sauteed with garlic and jalapenos then scrambled with eggs.

lemon 1

Centuries of practical experience recommends removing all fruit buds in the first producing year of any fruit tree, to allow that fruiting energy to be directed to plant growth. This two-year Meyer lemon, eight inches tall when it arrived, had four baby fruits in Spring. I couldn’t resist keeping one.

baroque rococco

new bed 2

The purple (more like hot pink), coneflowers were re-seeding selfishly in the garden. I prefer the whites. I corralled the pink rogues in new beds by the bench. The goldfinches are crazy about the seeds.

morning glory trellis

“Heavenly Blue” morning glories are accurately described. I threw a handful of seeds at the base of this trellis when planting the Dead Log elderberry bed in August. And they bloomed. They seem to do better with afternoon shade here.

toadstool indicator of oyster fruit

This wild fellow reminded me to check the mushroom logs.

bay 1

Laurus nobilis, the Mediterranean Bay tree, my dear friend. Bought as a three-inch start five years ago, now four feet and seemingly amenable to my topiary dream. It comes on the back porch every Winter.

pokeweed snakeweed

Pokeweed and snakeweed.

okra bugs

Okra “Stewart’s Zeebest” was so productive that I’ve had enough for this year. Glad these bugs can use the rest.

salvia elegans first blooms

Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, with few blooms in too much shade. In full sun, they flower with abandon but require daily water. Trying to find the balance.

solanum atropurpureum fruit

Little Path facing West.

pepper chinese five-color

Chinese “Five Color” peppers are remarkably cold-tolerant. This photo was taken after a 28-degree night. Very hot; use sparingly for salsa and Arrabbiata.

ride face east 1

The Ride, facing East.

poison ivy 1

Poison Ivy coloring up.

gravel bench 1

Gravel bed in progress, for Thymus, Dianthus, small bulbs and miniature roses.

view table 1

View from the table.

monty model

Suppertime.

My ideal garden is a cross between a Victorian family farm and Ninfa. What I usually end up with is a cross between an unkempt laboratory and a set for the Planet of the Apes. “Right plant, right place” and “Nature bats last” are my primary principles, both inferring tolerance for a high degree of informality. Last Spring, I was stymied by a visitor who described the garden as “kind of municipal.” Was it the zinnias? Another friend called it “a good place to take a nap.” Whatever the garden is, this was it’s most floriferous year and I have the birds and bugs to prove it.

barrow thyme

The Barrow of Thyme.

bidens 1

The yellow flowers of Bidens aristosa in the foreground, orange Thunbergia alata–one of the many plants called Black-Eyed Susan–on the tower behind. Red Amaranthus cruentus “Hopi Red Dye” on the lean.

cukes 2

The last of the “Poona Kheera” cucumbers.

helenium perilla amaranth 2

Burnt-orange blooms of Helenium “Flammendes Kathchen” jostling with purple Shiso, Perilla frutescens, and Hopi Red Dye amaranth. Naked stem of red Ricinus up front. I’m a big fan of Rousseau.

barrow circle trellis

firepit

Unknown pink-mottled, burgundy-leaved Coleus behind the fire pit.

ligustrum coleus ipomoea zinnia

Bottom to top: the waxy, variegated leaves of “Jack Frost” privet, Ligustrum japonicum; that unknown burgundy Coleus, which takes a surprising amount of afternoon sun; Ipomoea batatas “Sweet Caroline Bronze”; and, in the barrow, Zinna “Profusion Apricot,” yellow and white Lantana camara, and an expiring zucchini. The white Lantana, typically hardy to zone 10, over-wintered in open ground, zone 6b. A native/naturalized Euonymus climbing the elm tree.

ride west

The Ride, facing west.

ride east

The Ride, facing east.

canna red king

Canna x generalis “Red King Humbert” blooming late. I would grow this for the foliage alone. Below, bush basil, wild aster and a potted banana seedling.

little path 2

The Little Path, facing west. Bottom right, a toppled castor bean, Ricinus communis “Carmencita”; bottom left, the first blooms of the “Bluebird” aster, Symphyotricum laeve. Above are the ripening stems of “Scheherazade” lilies and the flopping stems of bee balm, Monarda fistulosa. The Chamaecyparis flopped upon is the second plant I put in this garden seven years ago. I owe my stolid Chamaecyparis friend two things: more shade from the afternoon sun, and to look up it’s full name. The rosy flowers of Sedum, ahem, Hylotelephium “Autumn Joy” attract an amazing number and variety of insects.

aster yucca

“Bluebird” aster sprawling on Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium, on the right, and a variegated Yucca filamentosa “Color Guard” at left. A blue “Moonglow” juniper seedling, Juniperus scopulorum, center right. Chives, red valerian, thyme and yarrow fill the gaps.

okra bed 1

Okra does well here and I try new types regularly. “Stewart’s Zeebest” is a Louisiana heirloom touted as spineless, extra tender, smooth (no ribs), and heavy yielding. So far, its living up to it’s press: seven-inch pods are perfectly tender. Blaring red “Will Rogers” zinnias share the bed.

main path face north

The Main Path, facing north. Right of center, the Popcorn Cassias, Cassia/Senna didimobotrya, have been struggling lately, shedding leaves and refusing to bloom. Might be too damp in that spot this year. Leaning in from the left, the extraterrestrial orange flowers of Lion’s Ear, Leonotis nepetifolia, a nuisance self-seeder this year–a mint, after all. Most of the plants are at least eight feet tall. In Autumn, they start to lean, a very efficient method for increasing their territory. If the plants aren’t pulled before the seed ripens, and the stems are allowed to fall, in Spring you’ll find clumps of easily transplanted seedlings coming up at least 10 feet from the parent. Lion’s Ear is a powerful hummingbird attractor.

tomato last

The last tomato, “Amana Orange.” Misrepresented as an Amish heirloom, it was selected by Gary Staley of Brandon, Florida, in 1984. The fruit tended to crack this year but we had unusual summer rains. The fruits are a fetching shade of apricot-orange, the texture is meaty, the taste is good–more sweet than acid.

snake path full length west

The Snake Path looking patchy. Baked, then drenched, all summer. The Blue Bed on the left is due for an overhaul. A storm at the end of the month flattened the Impatiens balsamina “Peppermint Stick,” and there was too much shade for the pineapple sages, Salvia elegans, to produce a decent flush of bloom.

rose prairie sunset fading

Probably the last bloom on “Winter Sunset” for the season. It spent this year in a pot, recovering from a near-fatal rabbit encounter. It will go back in the ground in a couple of weeks.

hosta guacamole

Hosta “Guacamole” on the fade, attended by a self-sown orange Impatiens. The yellow Coleus to the right of the Impatiens is also self-sown. Serious zone-pushing this year. The plume poppy, Maclaeya cordata–those deeply cut, gray-green leaves–could use more sun.

elder patch

The Dead Log elderberry patch was planted from cuttings in early March, in a small clearing between a mulberry tree and a walnut tree. The plants get three or four hours of direct sun a day, then mostly dappled shade. They’re looking well. “Heavenly Blue” morning glories on the trellis.

lemon portulaca

Potted Meyer lemon under-planted with a peachy Portulaca. Surrounding pots contain Agapanthus and “Apricot Profusion” zinnias.

pelargonium table

Pelargoniums on the back patio.

face east

Facing east. Snake Path on the left, Little Path to the right.

view from table end sept

View from the table, September 26, 2017.

thunbergia amaranth

bidens 2