22 September 2014

Falling into autumn...

 Suddenly, it's September 22 and I haven't posted for a month. Why is that, you ask? Well, for sure I'm always busy and never bored, but there was a lot going on in August, some of it personal in support of a friend, and given that my friends have always been there for me when I need them, I pay it forward gladly. And the days are getting shorter, and suddenly, autumn is but hours away. (Top photo is of blue leadwort, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, a terrific groundcover with gorgeous fall colour).

Autumn is not without its beauty, to be sure--some would say that the coming month or so is the most radiant in the natural world, for the explosion of foliage colour, the brilliant last blooms of the season. I agree with all that--and love the cooler night temperatures now that the worst of summer heat and humidity is gone. The shorter days, longer nights, and the knowledge of what is coming in a couple of months? Not so much.

There is still an amazing amount of flowering happening in my garden, in no small part because I planned it that way. I love the fall asters, and of all of them, Alma Potschke is my favourite, with her hot-pink flowers. The bees love her, too. 
 I have two different Agapanthus varieties, and unfortunately, do not know the name of this one. I do love it, and it has produced many stems of flowers this year. I bring mine in to overwinter them, as they're in large pots, but maybe I'll divide this one and plant a chunk of it out, just to see. Or not.
 Because I deadhead my echinaceas faithfully, they are still producing like mad things. From my office window I can see half a dozen different colours, including one of my favourites, the green-flowered 'Green Jewel'. Not everyone likes green flowers, but as we know, I have a huge fondness for them.

 Speaking of green flowers, here is one that I simply MUST get next year: Nicotiana langsdorffii, a green flowered nicotiana species. I simply love it and want to plant it in a drift with my Verbena bonariensis. What's that? You don't know that plant? Oh, let me introduce you:

There we go. You have seen this tall, airy annual in many gardens and likely didn't know its name. It is one of my favourite plants, because it flowers for weeks and weeks, especially if you start it indoors or buy it as transplants in May or early June. AND, as an added bonus--when it is happy, it self seeds. Mine seeded in last year and so along with the plants I actually planted, I have extras popping up and flowering, and it is so wonderful. Pollinators love this magenta-flowered annual.
Another favourite perennial that is a late blooming star is the tall shining coneflower, Rudbeckia nitida Herbstsonne. I love the clear yellow flowers and the green central cones. Bees agree with me. 
 I don't know why yellow waxy-bells (Kirengeshoma palmata) isn't a more popular perennial, as it is a late blooming, shade happy plant with soft yellow flowers. I love the buds, which look like green and yellow pearls, as much as I do the graceful flowers.
 This is the first year I have sweet peas planted out. Next year I will put up a net and support for them, as they're currently sprawling happily around the garden despite being a dwarf variety!
 One of my most highly recommended perennials for late season colour: Vernonia, aka New York Ironweed. A native North American, with several different species and cultivars. It's tall, so it wants room, but it rewards with these clusters of incandescent purple flowers. Another pollinator popular plant.
 I was very pleased to find one of this wallflower (Winter Orchid) this spring at a local nursery. One plant only--the rest were all yellow. I'm trying to figure out if I can take cuttings to overwinter it because it is STILL blooming, months after it was first planted. Don't you love how the flowers change colour?
Yesterday, a group of us crazy plant people took off for a day away from work and went to Brier Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia (Digby Neck). Two short ferry rides get you there, and it's a wonderland of scenery and botanical oddities. Most plants are finished flowering, but there were some cool little things, and plenty of seeds...
 ...and a sure sign of autumn--richly ripe rose hips from the plethora of rugosa roses growing wild on the island. It was a perfect day--and a perfect way to wind down summer.
What about you: what signifies the changing of the seasons in your world?


  1. I love blue flowers, Jodi, and your Agapanthus is beautiful. Wallflowers have a special meaning for me as it was my grandmother's favorite. I haven't seen wallflower that color before -- usually orange and yellow -- I am envious! Here the leaves are falling rapidly now -- a sure sign of the change of season.

  2. I read a comment somewhere that fall's beautiful colors are Nature's way of apologizing for winter. I don't know if that was an original thought by the writer, but I thought how true! I love fall, but certainly don't look forward to the season following it. I love your Verbena bonariensis. I've tried and tried to get it going here, but usually only wind up with one or two plants. I may try it in another garden area next spring and see if it's happy there.

  3. I'm with you, fall is a beautiful and nearly perfect thing, if only another awful season didn't follow right behind it. I guess we all need to stop blaming winter on autumn, and just enjoy it on its own!

  4. I have been neglectful about visiting other gardens via the blog circuit and now I see just what I have missed. Love that agapanthus although all photos are wonderful.


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