Before the Curtain Closes

And Before the Rain Washes Them Away

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.

Japanese Maple & wooden bench

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

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’

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.

Strawberry

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.

Knockout

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.

Swiss chard

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.

Iris ‘Lenora Pearl’

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.

Salvia ‘Black and Blue’

Couldn’t Help Myself

I grow Salvia in the garden for their color and for the bees.  The ones in the garden are compact with small leaves and either blue or pink in color.  Their colors make up for lack of scent, flower scent.  I can smell them only when I brush against them, then the spicy, sage (S. officinalis) like scent, emanates upward.  Another good trait is that they are not invasive like bee balm which creeps everywhere.  They stay where I put them, upright in full sun but a little wobbly in the shade.  I wasn’t thinking of adding anymore in the garden until mental lightening struck.

I first saw a photo of Salvia ‘black and blue’ (S. guaranitica) in the “pbmGarden blog.” I became obsessed with the color combination, black and deep blues.  I hate the term “must have” when I see one in advertising and always object to it but the “must have” wouldn’t leave my head regarding the Salvia ‘black and blue’.

I spent a couple of weeks with my eyes darting from vendor to vendor at the farmer’s market.  If I couldn’t find it there, I would look on line.  Luck was on my side.  I found two vendors that carried it so I bought one from each of them.  Why?  They look different; one with darker green leaves and bushier, the other with lighter green leaves already producing flowers.  One vendor claimed it was a perennial, the other claimed it’s an annual.  I will know next year whether they are perennial or annual for USDA zone 5.

The flower combination is really lovely and the vibrant blue changes according to the light.   In sunlight, it is a beautiful deep blue with a hint of purple under artificial light.  It looks great next to the Pineapple sage (S. elegans).  What I need now are plants in the same family with white flowers so I can have a row of red, white and blue.  After all, July fourth is imminent.

Such a great combination
Up close
Leaves actually smell like pineapple
More Salvia, but don’t remember the name

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