Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Might Be Goodbye

About this time last year, during the annual autumn visit to Mom's; something, probably rabbits, wreaked havoc. Decimated is not too strong a word.

A fresh dose of smelly stuff will be applied here before leaving tomorrow for this year's fall visit.

Just in case, this is what the shade garden looks like. Our garden has taken a long time to establish. I haven't always been patient. Year Seven has been the best yet. It feels like a garden to me for the first time.

I hope it's still here when I get back.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wildflower Wednesday on Friday - Asters

Last year when the asters looked about like this, something ate them down to the ground (along with about a third of the rest of our shade garden, while I was away visiting Mom.) This year the asters and other most vulnerable plants are fenced, and Liquid Fence, that lovely smelly stuff, has been applied after recently discovering one of our Japanese forest grasses had been grazed on.

This one is commonly known as small white aster. It may be Symphyotrichum lateriflorum. One volunteer was found at the edge of the lawn under a blackhaw viburnum last year. It was rescued from the lawn mower and added to the shade garden. One was a blogalong passalong from Gail.

I love their puffy cloud of blooms, gracefully-curved stems, and carefree nature.

Three smooth blue asters were added last year too. The bluish leaves play nicely with the other foliage colors here, and I love their sweet blue blooms.

Asters and other late-blooming native plants like goldenrod make wonderful additions to gardens, blooming at a time of year when flowers are generally less plentiful, adding color to the garden and providing valuable food for pollinators.

Wildflower Wednesday is the bloggers' celebration of native wildflowers begun by our dear Gail at Clay and Limestone, and held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Please visit her blog for links to more Wildflower Wednesday posts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September Bloom Day

September is one of my favorite months in general, and in the garden. The hardy cyclamen likes September too. This is the second one to bloom. The third bulb is MIA.

The 'Spring Fling' petunia has been cut back hard at least three times this summer. In its second year, it has grown to gargantuan proportions, especially considering it only gets three hours of sun each day at most. Maybe I'll overwinter it again to see what happens.

Helenium, a/k/a sneezeweed is a native started from seed this spring from Monica's seed swap. It's growing happily in the swale way in back.

The first formerly-known-as-aster to bloom is this teeny tiny one from Gail. When it really gets going it'll be a cloud of beautiful airiness. Late last September, during a visit to Mom's, all the asters, and many other plants were chewed to ground by something, I think rabbits.

These are August blooms, too late for August Bloom Day. We found a sweet spot on the patio where the brug gets lots of sun.

I love the foliage of the variegated brugs, but still was determined to find a spot where ours would bloom more than once a season. In its new spot since mid-August, it bloomed for the first time this year in late August, and already has its next set of buds.

Love double impatiens in hanging baskets! This color is salsa. We've been eating a lot of salsa lately with all the beautiful tomatoes growing in the veggie beds.

Calamint is still going strong. I'm not sure who loves them more - the bees or me.

'Blue Hill' Salvia is blooming even more prolifically than last month.

Not many coneflowers left - the goldfinches have pulled off most of the petals. Only a few on the other side of the garden escaped their notice.

Rudbeckia 'Herbstsonne' has been blooming since July,

as have the agastaches. Strong winds early this month pretty much flattened them though. Normally they stand nice and tall.

Hummingbirds visit the hanging fuchsia several times a day.

I love the soft color of Sedum 'Matrona.' Last year they didn't flop, this year they did. They're pretty anyway.

Smooth blue aster has escaped the bunnies (so far) in its protective cage. Everything that got eaten last fall is caged. The fences are easier than spraying something stinky all the time. They disappear from a distance (kind of.)

More double impatiens - I like them with 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia - like roses and baby's breath for shade.

Pink Dragon Wing begonias bloom non-stop spring to frost, and are easily overwintered indoors. We have the reds too. Ever notice how foliage colors are slightly different with different colors of the same plant? The reds have ever-so-slightly darker foliage. The double impatiens are like that too.

We have the nicest farmers' market in a neighboring town. This bouquet came from the booth of neighborhood organic backyard kitchen gardeners. They sell home-grown veggies, herbs, and cut flowers, and hand-crafted organic homemade teas, soaps, lotions, lip balms, even insect repellent and dog shampoo, and more. I try to visit the market early, before the kitchen gardeners' flowers, and the farmer's eggs in another booth sell out. Our own town's farmers' market is nice too, while much smaller. I shop at both as often as I can.

We still have pink and white phlox, 'Happy Returns' daylilies, sambac jasmine, 'Rozanne' geraniums, all sorts of heucheras, lots of single impatiens and wax begonias, purple oxalis, Susans, and a few other odds 'n ends.

Last but not least, Japanese anemones, almost forgotten a second time. They're blooming for the first time ever. They've been blooming since early August. Our second attempt at these, I thought our garden might be too dry for them since the first ones withered and died their first summer. These started life here as tiny transplants from a client's garden, and haven't seemed to mind the dry shade. They took three years to bloom, and were worth the wait.

I hope you're enjoying the cooler weather of September. Here it's been a welcome relief after a very hot summer. I won't say long hot summer though - time seems to go by far too fast anymore, no matter what the weather.

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is celebrated on the 15th of each month by bloggers around the world. To see what's blooming right now in gardens everywhere, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Happy Bloom Day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Garden Party

Between us, my Lawn Man and I have five adult daughters. When we met, his Oldest was away at college. During our first year together, his Youngest went away to school too. So my friendship with them has been mostly long-distance.

After the tragic passing of their beautiful mama when they were little babies, he raised his daughters on his own, with loving support from family and close friends.

Both girls are beautiful inside and out, and easy to love.

It's been a busy year for our family, with the Oldest and her College Sweetheart announcing their plans to marry.

The festivities were held in the garden of dear friends of the groom's parents. They were wonderful hosts. It was pure pleasure being in their company.

The gardener/host in this lovely place works with the groom's mother. Coincidentally, they design and maintain gardens for their living, just like me.

This was our table for the wedding feast. And I do mean feast - the food was extraordinary.

We had a wonderful time. Our garden party was a great success.

The weather was perfect.

Every detail was beautifully realized.

This kind of joy is what life is all about.

What a privilege it is being part of this lovely family.

What a joy it has been getting to know the groom's family and friends.

The best things in Life are made from moments like these.

The enchantment, love, beauty, grace, elegance, joy, warmth of this day made memories to last a lifetime.

When children find true love, parents find true joy. Here's to your joy and ours, from this day forward.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nasty Update

There must have been buds last weekend, but I didn't notice. I'd given up on checking for them weeks ago. I figured they were like the proverbial watched pot. Other than watering them, pinching off yellow leaves, and taking a photo for the monthly updates, the nasties have been mostly ignored. Suddenly, there are tiny buds like this all over. While there were buds here and there even during our record heat, before they developed past this stage, they would yellow and fall off (just like the leaves.)

Suddenly, with our much cooler weather, the buds are holding fast.

We even have blooms. I was so excited yesterday seeing them finally burst into bloom! Now that the weather has cooled off, hopefully we'll see lots more of these brilliant gems. They were worth waiting for!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September Nasties

The 'Spitfire' climbing nasturtiums have been growing in this pot since May. We enjoyed a few blooms early in the season, before the Chicago area experienced one of the hottest summers on record. I've read, and now seen first-hand that nasties aren't particularly fond of hot weather. Ours have continued to grow (slowly,) and produce new foliage to replace leaves that yellow and fall off. While they haven't bloomed much, they have cute round, bright green leaves.

In our area the average first frost happens mid-October, although for the last two years we haven't had frost until mid-November. With fall and cooler temperatures in the air, especially at night, we hope to see more blooms before frost does them in.

I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds.