Friday, September 18, 2009

So... Neon is Joyful, too!

Fall is such an interesting time in the garden. It's a time when we say goodbye to our special flower friends, but we also look forward to the new blooms that only come at the end of the year. I have spent a bit of time recently deadheading - cutting back the stalks of shasta daisies, yarrow, monarda and other summer perennials.

While I miss the lushness of the mid-summer garden, there is something special about the transition that is going on now. It's nice to see the last day lilies, the last garden phlox and another flush of blooms on the clematis - even the new ones I planted this spring. But at the same time, there are the transitional flowers - especially the sedum and the very first blooms of the asters. One special plant that bloomed for the first time this year is a perennial begonia. My friend Muzzy gave it to me a couple of years ago, but it doesn't really like our conditions. It would prefer a wetter shade than I can give it, so while it has come up every year, this is the first time it has bloomed. When I transplanted a nandina this spring, apparently I brought a rhizome of the begonia with me and it liked the spot. It started blooming about two weeks ago and has stayed pretty without any additional rain.

I have bought several new asters that I plan to plant this weekend. They will provide both instant color and a bigger drift for next year. These are pink/cerise and will go nicely with the white and lavendar that I already have. I hope to show you the asters in a week or two when they are in full splendor. The chrysanthemums are really not ready to bloom yet. I don't expect them to open until early or maybe mid-October. I did update the planter in the front yard with forced chrysanthemums to replace the summer annuals. [Note in the picture how much the dogwood has grown this summer. It got a small amount of mildew on one side, but seems not to be affected by it. There is a smaller tree that was heavily damaged by mildew, so I am going to take it out in an attempt to stop the spread of it.]

In a recent post I mentioned my sedum 'Autumn Joy' and how much I like it. Well, it turns out that it isn't 'Autumn Joy" at all. It's 'Neon'. While shopping yesterday I found plants marked 'Autumn Joy' that were quite different from mine. They are less brightly colored, and not flat - which mine definitely are. I looked around and found "mine" and they are clearly 'Neon'. I don't love them a bit less, but now I want some "real" 'Autumn Joy' to add to my sedum collection. One of the reasons that I like this flower so much is its source.

Many years ago I went to the bank one day and the teller had a vase filled with sedum on her counter. I complimented her on the flower and she insisted I take one and root it at home. She was a lady whom I judged to be in her late '60's or '70's, so I took it to not offend her. I stuck it in a vase and soon it had roots, so I planted it. I now have three decent-sized clumps that grew from that single little flower. I did not know her name but wrote down the plant name she gave me. I won't be able to go back and tell her that she was incorrect, but I can love it under the right name now.

Pass along plants are the very best!

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