Fall is in the air

The last couple days have been cooler, less humid and just plain pleasant to be outside in.  I’m not saying it’s fall weather, but it’s pretty close, and based on the dry, sad state of many plants in my garden I might say they’re ready for this summer to be over.  The front border has been on an IV drip of water and this life support intervention has kept it looking decent.  Having done a mid summer bed expansion here, and having added many annuals and tropicals, it kind of needs it in order to not become a dusty wasteland…. what a lovely contrast to the lawn which has not benefitted from any watering.late summer perennial border

sedum spectabileThe pink in front is a sedum which has been doing very well the last few years.  I always hated this color growing up, but this might be an improved version of regular sedum spectabile.  It was given to me without a name, but after surviving a transplant and division during 90 degree heat I guess I owe it a place.  Next year I’m hoping for an even fuller plant.

From the other direction more of the elephant ear, coleus, and cannas are visible.  The ‘hot biscuits’ amaranthus is blooming now and I like the brown seedheads…. it kind of gives a grainy farmland look here in suburbia.tropicals in a mixed flower border

selfsown sunflowersMy birdseed sunflowers are all doing well in spite of the lack of water and lack of attention.  The only drawback is their lack of pollen, and you can see the centers of the flowers are black, not pollen-yellow.  Pollen free is great for cut flowers but the bees are not thrilled.  A few come by for nectar, which I guess is enough to get them pollinated, but they’re not the busy centers of activity that the rest of the flowers are.

I’m just glad they’re hanging in there.  Sunflowers must be quite drought tolerant for an annual since this is how the rest of the bed looks….  I’ve given up on keeping it watered.drought in the garden

In the backyard, the dahlias are still getting water and even with me cutting nearly every bloom, they’re still giving a nice spot of color in front of the dead lawn.mixed dahlias for cutting

While it was still hot and humid I got around to mowing down the meadow.  I traded in my electric chopper for the day and borrowed my brother in law’s heftier gas powered lawnmower.  It made quick work of the crispy dried grass and wildflowers.  Typically I try to cut back the meadow earlier in the year, but with the hot, dry weather I really didn’t feel like doing anything at all, so it was only now that I found the motivation.  Because of my lack of enthusiasm everything got cut, there was no mowing around butterfly weed or native grasses, it all got the same treatment.  It was a good thing I finally got it done, because for some reason the colchicums have heard the call of autumn and begun to sprout.  How they come up through the dry, hard-packed, rock-like soil is anyone’s guess, and what triggers them to wake up is beyond me, but there they are.  Fresh blooms in a sea of dry crispiness.meadow colchicum

I wish there was some similar promise in this end of the yard.  The Annabelle hydrangeas were fantastic in the spring but now are just dying sticks.  They’ll recover if rain comes soon, but for now everything just skips over our little spot, or never even reaches the ground.drought in the garden

It could easily be worse, there are still a few green weeds in there, but Pennsylvania usually doesn’t go this long without rain.  On top of that it doesn’t help that most everywhere else on the east coast is at above average rainfall… but I have faith.  Right now Thursday is showing 100% chance of rain, and maybe this cooler weather is signaling a change in the weather.

8 comments on “Fall is in the air

  1. Hang in there! It is depressing, isn’t it, when rain seems to fall all around you but not in your garden, where you need it most? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you for Thursday. Your dahlias and the perennial border look terrific. And I love the colchicums peeking up in the middle of the “dry crispiness.” Every season has its delights.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks, and you’re right of course. I need to just enjoy this rest time. The last couple cooler days have me out there weeding and ripping out expired plants which I’ve been ignoring for the last two months. It looks better already, but I’m done with watering until Thursday… we’ll see what happens after that.

  2. pbmgarden says:

    Things like seeing your colchicums persevering are what keep gardeners going sometimes. Your front border looks great. Hope you get the rain very soon.

  3. Annette says:

    Oh deary, seems to be seriously dry in your corner of the world! What a stunning contrast your tropical borders make to the lawn. The sunflower is very impressive! Is it always that dry in summer and do you have hosepipe bans? Fingers crossed for a good shower 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Thanks! fortunately there’s no ban on watering (since it seems to be such a localized dry spell), but I am getting tired of the constant sprinkling just to get by. There’s nothing like a real rain to bring things back to life

  4. It really does look dry there. Other places in PA have been getting an abundance of rain. Strange weather all around.

    • bittster says:

      I don’t know if I should take it personally….. even on the ride home from work today there were showers all around, yet dry at home.
      All evening there have been rumblings and lightning. From the porch I can see most of the storms just to the west and north but all we’re getting is stray raindrops. I have my fingers crossed though, and hopefully there’s a steady rain when the main front moves through.

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