I love spring time. There is a lot of work to do in the garden in spring in order to keep up with the fast growing plants but it’s the best time of year, in my opinion anyway. When the weather gets gradually warmer, plants follow accordingly and they are much easier to keep up with. This year the weather has been temperamental. It has gone up to 80° F for a few days then dropped down to low 40° F. When the temperature hit 80 degree, plants in the garden shot up really fast only to be stunned by a suddenly cooler temperature later. I have to put down a plan to widen the walkway. That entails moving some plants out of the way. It will have to wait until next year since the plants are now too tall for me to safely transplant them.
We lost some plants we really love to the harsh winter but what’s left in the garden hasn’t disappointed us. Color and scents throughout the garden.
Fall is officially here, not just the date but temperature and the color of leaves. The ground is practically covered with leaves and the branches are becoming more bare everyday. We start grinding up the leaves for mulching and composting when we have days off. I don’t cut back much of anything except for the Butterfly bushes (Buddleja davidii). This lovely, fragrant and food source for butterflies and bees is very invasive if the flowers are allowed to set seed. I left other plants in the garden stand as they are during winter so birds and insects can have food and some protection from the harsh elements of winter.
As bare as the garden looks now, there are some diehard flowers that are still standing up to the cooling temperature. Frost will eventually stop them but it’s still a different beauty.
Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) starts flowering in summer and won’t stop until frost. Its light fragrance draws bumblebees in.
This little flower, tiny, low to the ground but tougher than they look. They keep going and are good for bees and other insects as a last resource.
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a real diehard. It can tolerate drought, wet and cold to some degree. I have no idea which one this is since I let them grow freely and cross-pollination results in many shades of phlox in the garden. I only know that the phlox ‘David’ is white.
Rosa Rugosa ‘Ms Doreen Pike’ is still producing flowers here and there. This one is soaking wet from the rain.
Once I pulled some of the Bee balm (Monarda) out to give more space to this rose ‘Antique Caramel’, it seemed to be happier and flowered more than last year.
I don’t remember if I ever mentioned I got this rose ‘Knockout’ for free from the nursery, two of them actually. They’ve been doing really well and never let me down from early summer to frost.
This is one of the Zinnia that is still flowering. Most of them have black spots due to an excess of rain lately. But they are doing well this year.
It’s raining again tonight, actually it has been raining on and off for the past two days. It’s just drizzle now. Luck was on my side yesterday; gave me a chance to take some photographs of fall colors before the rain washes them away. Not much left of the garden, really, just a lot of leaves on the ground and some flowers here and there that push their last bit of energy before going to rest. The whole visual of fall garden gives me a sense of ending. That is what gardening has taught me: a life cycle. I see plants sprout, grow, blossom, fade and die within one season. Then it starts all over again, maybe in a new place, or a new form.
Anyway, I don’t mean to be philosophical here. It is just that gardening makes you keep your feet on the ground, working along side mother nature and enjoying what she gives us.
Even at the end, she still paints a beautiful picture that artists through the centuries have struggled to match.
The bright red of Japanese Maple leaves provide a very beautiful contrast to the bright yellow of western maple leaves in the background. The Tree Swallow family was long gone, but a male Eastern Bluebird came to check this birdhouse for a potential roosting place a week ago. This bench is a great place to sit and watch the sunrise and contemplate the beauty that surrounds us.
Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is still flowering and the Bumble bees still work on the last drop of its nectar. I will be picking the leaves and drying them for tea before the frost comes.
Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ is still flowering as well. I grew them for the first time this year and have no idea whether they will last the winter so I’ve collected the seeds, just in case. I will try to plant them next to the Pineapple sage next year; the color combination should be great.
We still pick some Roman strawberries, with lovely pink flowers, at this time of year. The fruits are small but very sweet and the plants never stop producing them.
Rose ‘Knockout’ is a continuous bloomer. Once it starts in late spring, it never stops blooming. This one managed to evade the hungry deer so far.
The bright bold colors of Swiss chard are one of a few vegetables left in the garden. Chinese celery, Kale, Scallion, and Parsley are also still standing. Some stray garlic seedlings have sprouted up as well.
Re-blooming Irises have bloomed on cue. Once October comes, they shoot up new flower stems for the second time. They tempted me to up-root the other Irises and plant all re-bloomers, but there are not that many color choices to choose from.
As a request from my editor and partner in crime who helped dig the plots and mowed the lawn to plant roses that bloom more than once a year. No, I didn’t know when I started this garden that some roses bloom only once in spring. I came from a place where roses bloom all year round (the sub-tropics) so I assumed that it should be the same here. The first couple of roses I planted put on a show of colors in spring then nothing else for the rest of the season. Though they offered nothing else but a home to the birds, they are still worth keeping.
Learning from my mistakes plus his request, the roses I’ve been planting after the first batch are either re-blooming or bloom continuously. Even in the uneven weather we’ve had this year they are still performing well. Blackspot fungus caused some damage to Eden and William Shakespeare roses, but they still try their best to give the garden some color. Here are a few that didn’t get beaten up too badly by the recent storm.