Not a bad morning.

It’s beautiful out this morning and I can’t even see problems in the garden.  The lawn is relatively under control, some staking and weeding was done yesterday, the soil is damp enough that watering is not an issue, and other than some chipmunk issues the wildlife of the garden is behaving in an entirely picturesque and harmless manner.  This feeling may fade quickly but while it lasts I’ll just sip my coffee quietly and hope the kids don’t find me.

datura metel

Datura metel.  I expected an annual but this one re-appeared out of nowhere once the rains came and the soil heated up.  It’s doing so much better than last year.

The light is often perfect in my garden but my photos rarely show this.  Even with a better half who loves expensive electronics and insisted on a fancy camera there’s still a skill component missing and I often look at what shows up on the computer screen and wonder what happened.  Fortunately this morning things just came together and it’s as good as it’s going to get.


Light and shadows on a Datura flower. Even a few dew drops to make it glisten.

Last fall a friend gave me a few seedheads of what is probably Gomphrena ‘fireworks’.  It’s supposed to be in the same species as the regular globe gomphrena (G. globosa) but I don’t see it, and even though it loves the same heat and full sun, the flowers are more like yellow tipped pink brushes rather than tight globes.

gomphrena fireworks

Gomphrena ‘fireworks?’ in the morning light.  Easy from seed (needs warmth and bright light) and loves the heat.

Another annual which catches the light perfectly is amaranthus ‘Hot Biscuits’.  Practically a weed, it just shot up when the rain started falling and the humidity shot up.  This is another one which came via friend…. thanks Paula!

amaranthus hot biscuits

Amaranthus ‘hot biscuits’ in the front border.

I would have laughed if you told me I’d ever grow (and like) a brown flower but here it is.

amaranthus hot biscuits

A nice late summer show of amaranthus coming up among the butterfly bushes (Buddleia)

I do buy a few seeds here and there and zinnias are one which I like to keep in good supply.  Brenary’s Giants ‘Lime’ does NOT show well in the garden but it’s just too interesting to leave out.

Benary’s Giants lime zinnia

Benary’s Giants ‘lime’ zinnia from Fedco Seed.  I bet a good designer could do great things with this color… but me, not so much.  I think it’s cool regardless.

The birds and bees get the credit for this sunflower as well as whatever religious deity you believe protected it from my weed bucket.  I swore up and down I would not allow sunflowers in the tropical bed but there you have it.

double sunflower

A little doubling and a darkly rich center, I’m quite pleased to have this sunflower sharing space with the cannas and bananas.

The Formosa lilies (Lilium formosum) were stunted by weeks of drought back in the no-man’s land which I tend to ignore, but are still forgiving enough to fill the garden with their sweet summer perfume.

lilium formosum

Lilium formosum.  For some reason I thought planting them where they’d grow up into the branches of a pear tree would be a good idea… but then again why would I think my little seedlings would ever amount to anything?

The meadow got its mowing just in time.  The first colchicum blooms were beheaded, but now the others can come up nicely in the short (and for once green) grass.

cochicum in lawn

cochicum in lawn

Back in July we didn’t even remember what rain looked like.  Then something happened.  August was warm and humid with perfectly spaced rain showers and this blessing from above even resurrected (most) of the phlox bed.  If you look closely the damage is still there, but on a beautiful Sunday morning it’s easy to see past that.

garden phlox paniculata

Phlox paniculata in the late August light.

Please click on “I hate gardening” to see what this bed looked like a month ago.  You could call the change miraculous and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.

garden phlox paniculata

Just in time for Monarch migration, the garden phlox and Verbena bonariensis are again filled with flowers and this bed is a very busy place.

I do love my phlox.

garden phlox paniculata

Back from the dead, random phlox paniculata seedlings.

Have a great Sunday and all the best for the upcoming week.  I’m going back outside now and suspect nothing will get done other than a second cup of coffee.

19 comments on “Not a bad morning.

  1. It’s true, the light was working for you, and your whites are white – one of the hardest things to achieve! All looks healthy!

  2. Next year plant the lime zinnia with the hot pink gomphrena. Then you’ll see some fireworks. What colchicum did you plant in the lawn?

    • bittster says:

      Yeah, that would be a nice combo, the zinnias and gomphrena. I’m hoping a few of the pink gomphrena do me a favor and re-seed. The gardener who shared them with me said that’s how they show up in her garden every year.
      I was afraid you would ask which colchicum that was…. I think I have it labeled as byzantinum but it’s very early, by far my earliest colchicum this year. I’ll see if I can get a better picture for you.

  3. Cathy says:

    Wow, a real transformation in comparison to last month! It looks wonderful Frank. Especially the Phlox. 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

    • bittster says:

      Isn’t it amazing? I was looking at the phlox again today and can’t believe how well they’ve come back for a second bloom flush. I want to rip everything else out and fill my entire yard with phlox, they are so nice 🙂

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    The datura is gorgeous, such a soft, pillowy look to it. And though I’d have said the same about the amaranthus, it is quite striking. A fine plant!

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Your garden looks quite wonderful. Lovely photos. Hope you got to enjoy that coffee.

  6. Chloris says:

    Your garden looks wonderful, you must have worked hard. Gardens don’ t look as good as that by themselves. I love your green Zinnia and the biscuit coloured Amaranthus. After weeks withour rain, my garden looks miserable. Still we did have a bit in the night, so there is hope for it. Maybe today, I don’ t need to wrestle with the hose.

    • bittster says:

      I have to admit I did work hard and fortunately it paid off. There are plenty of other areas which took far more work yet I don’t even dare show so I guess there’s plenty of luck involved as well.
      I hope you’re getting a little rain this week. A dry fall is a very discouraging thing and with summer starting to think about backing off it would be nice to plump everything up again with a few nice showers.

  7. Linda says:

    Is there anything more satisfying than walking around one’s garden with a cup of coffee? Add in perfect light and some perfect plants: heaven.

    • bittster says:

      I think one of the best things about ‘perfect light’ is that the long shadows can cover many a blighted leaf and weedy mulch. That’s fine with me though, and I hope for many more before winter rolls in!

  8. How did your magnolia little gem recover? I have one growing here in Coastal Massachusetts

    • bittster says:

      Weeeelllll, it seems as if my optimism was a little misplaced and the freeze damage a little worse than I thought. Over the next few weeks the foliage dried out completely and the stems turned brown until finally I had to admit it was dead. I hope coastal Massachusetts is a better home for them, I still miss the fragrance of the blooms and the fussy foliage of my own.
      I do have three small seedlings of Edith Bogue coming along, but they will likely be a larger tree and also don’t have as much brown fuzz… which is an effect I like… but at barely a foot tall they’ve still got a way to go before they look like anything!

  9. Christina says:

    I can’t really believe it is the same garden you were thinking of giving up on! Perhaps mine will improve with some rain and I might start liking it again. Love the brown Amaranthus, it is so upright.

    • bittster says:

      Isn’t the recovery amazing? It surprised me as well that it would come back so nicely once some decent rain came along.
      I’ve taken your advice to heart and am considering some drip irrigation for a few more spots next year. The lawn will fend for itself, but when these patches of drought come along I hate to see things struggle for so long.

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