Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bloom Day - September

Can it be the middle of September already?  The skies are bluer, the humidity has dropped, and the summer blooming plants have started to perk up. Even the fall plants are starting to look promising.  Yes, it must be mid-September.

Obedient Plant has opened like a field of lilac  [Physostygia virginiana].  It can be invasive, but in this shady spot I can control it by pulling up handfuls as needed.
And several spring friends have decided to give me a few bonus blossoms... like the Pink Pizzaz [Loropetalum 'Pizazz' TM].  All of its outer branch tips have opened again.  The Lady's Mantle nestled at its feet decided to follow suit and bloom, too.  Thanks, guys!
The clematis [Clematis hybrid 'H.F. Young'] that is supposed to grow up the mailbox post, but which instead puddled on the ground around it, has suddenly out a handful of blooms.
Out of nowhere one of the azaleas has one lone bloom - right at the top and just a pretty as can be.  In a way, it's nice to have just one to look at.  In the spring it's the mass of color that we love, but a single bloom has its own beauty now.
The last of some of our summer friends have perked up, too.  You've got to love portulaca!  What other plant do you know that has blossoms that really are different colors?  It's not that they fade from one color to another (like Rosa mutabilis, for example)... they really are different colors.
And the mandevilla is still attracting hummingbirds as they head south for the real winter to come.  I've seen two today, but my photo skills are not up to even trying to get a picture of them.
But, it's the fall flowers that are starting to bloom that are really catching one's  eye.  First, the sedums - both Madronna and Autumn Joy.   
 The plumbago is bluer than ever and the fall anemones have just started dancing on their slender stems.

And finally the lovely Alma [Aster novae angliae 'Alma Potschke'].  In really good years she is just covered in these tiny coral blooms.  This year it was so dry (and apparently her mama did not make up for that with watering!) that she is only blooming around the edges.  I hope that with the rain we are getting now, she will keep blooming and fill out more. 
It's like the garden has taken a deep breath and decided to keep on going, too.  With more to come when the mums start arriving at the party.

Hope you have a lovely bloom day and thanks to Carol for hosting us at May Bloom Gardens.  If you haven't already been over there, please go and check out some new blogs.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wednesday* Workday - The Cutting Garden

Seeds from Stokes and Renee's Gardens and marker stakes.
Thanks to the lovely Belinda (Wild Acre) and her series on how to make a cutting garden, I have set that as my number one project for this fall.

I've identified an area that needs to be cleaned out and re-purposed as a cutting garden, but decided that maybe it's too small for the seeds I want to plant, so laid out a second area in the "bowling alley" - that long, straight side yard with which we have never been particularly excited.  It gets lots of morning sun, but water will be a problem.  The area I laid out is bounded by the camellia and a small Japanese maple tree - about 25 feet long and four feet wide.  If I do get flowers the color will be seen from the street, but not the detail.  It will add a layer of color to the side yard.

Using the instructions from Belinda's friend Ben, I set out this afternoon to plant the hardy annuals I bought ...  Nigella (Love in the Mist) in pink
Grass killed, dug out, raked with plant food and humus added.
'Mulberry Rose', blue 'Persian Violet' and white 'Bridal Veil', poppies 'French Flounce' and 'Shirley', stock (multi-colored) and larkspur ('French Alouette', 'Earl Grey', 'Cannes Rose Stripe' and 'Cannes Deep Blue'). 

In fairness I should say that Belinda did not recommend growing larkspur, but it's one of those flowers that I have wanted to grow since I was a teenager.  I think I first met it in a Nancy Drew mystery, something like "The Mystery on Larkspur Lane".  Have bought seeds several times, but always discovered too late that they should have been planted in the fall - not this time!

I followed Ben's directions: watered first, marked the rows with sand, and then watered it all again.  Ben didn't tell me to put in tags, but I did it anyway!

Rows marked with sand and labeled.
I can hardly wait to see what comes up!

While I only used about 2/3 of the seeds, I am not sure where I will find enough space to plant the rest of what I already have.  In addition to these, I have plenty of seeds for spring - scabiosa, cosmos, cornflowers, and sweet peas, plus astrantia and zinnias that are ordered, but have not yet arrived.  Had planned to do a second planting in a couple of weeks, but now I am thinking of waiting until spring and just mixing all of the leftover seed together and broadcasing it - but I don't have a clue where!

So, now we wait.  I'll let them come up in a couple of weeks and get started, then they follow Persephone to Hades and sleep for the winter, to re-emerge in March ... hopefully with flowers!  This is so much fun!

*I know it's only Tuesday, but couldn't wait until tomorrow! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today has been one of those days when everything has seemed out of kilter.

We need to remember the events of ten years ago, but how?  Somehow, the televised memorials this morning seemed over the top, intrusive to the families of those who died, and somehow too public.  I watched a bit of this and a bit of that, but did not feel comfortable with any of it.

People who know more than I have written movingly about those who perished and those who were left to carry on behind; about those who served and those who waited.  I've read and read this week, but somehow still feel conflicted and .... empty.

I think that's really it... empty.  Ten years, thousands of young lives and limbs left in the streets and fields of Iraq and Afghanistan and we still feel vulnerable and empty;  still don't quite know what to do.

I worked in the garden - the thing that always makes me feel the most calm and at peace - and emailed the woman with whom I spent that morning.  Just wanted to remind her how much her presence meant to me then... as it does now.   Maybe that's the best I can do today.

If we can try to work together to hold a fitting memorial to those who died on September 11, 2001, why can't we come together to do the right things for the country we hold so dear?  Maybe that would make us all feel full again.