Tuesday View: The Front Border 9.26.17

It’s time once again to check in with Cathy at Words and Herbs for the Tuesday view.  The word this week is hot, and plants are wilting under the dry sun as temperatures rise to 90F (32C) and above for the last few days.  This would have been welcome in August, and even tolerated earlier in September, but now it’s just tiresome.

front border

Dry heat at this time of year saps all my enthusiasm.  Plants are wilting, the lawn is browning, and even though there are likely another three or so weeks to go until frost, I’m ready to let it all go.

The plants seem ready to let it go as well.  The summer crowd is moving on and the flowers and grasses of autumn are doing their best to pull together for a finale.

Korean feather reed

Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) looks great with the fading hydrangea flowers but I find this grass too invasive to keep.  Even if I cut the seedheads there will still be some seedlings next spring… some of which I always end up leaving…

Even as the perennials fade, the half-hardy cannas and verbena bonariensis are still putting on a decent show.  I should really water a little, it would be the least I could do for them after all their hard work this year.

kochia burning bush

The canna ‘cannova rose’ would probably be flowering more if I deadheaded, but… they still look fine.  Here the burning bush (Kochia) is finally doing its thing for a few days before drying up in the heat.

There is one surprise though.  Last fall I bought a ‘hardy’ agapanthus which I didn’t dare leave outside.  It overwintered dormant on a cold windowsill and then went into the bed in May.  I can’t believe my small plant has flowered!

agapanthus blue yonder

Agapanthus ‘blue yonder’ is supposedly hardy from zone 5-10.  I know people have had success in 5, but I’m still not convinced it will make it for me.  I’ll have to let you know next April.

The other surprise has been the butterfly hordes which have come to the garden this past week.  Dozens of painted ladies showed up a few days ago and it seems like other butterflies are showing up as well.  Maybe it’s a migration or maybe it’s just the weather drying up the surrounding and forcing them to move on for their nectar.  Either way it’s exciting to see all the butterflies surround you as they lift up off the flowers as you pass by.

painted lady butterfly

Painted lady butterfly on the Verbena bonariensis.  They’re all over, but not all are as photogenic as this one.

I’m still waiting for more Monarchs though.  Today there were maybe a half dozen moving through but I’ve heard reports of many more North of here.  Not too long ago we had a fall like that, with dozens floating through the air, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much and I’m just glad to see the ones we’re getting.

migrating monarch butterflies

Monarchs love the verbena as well, and their orange and black wings look great with the lavender-purple.

So maybe this dry heat is good for something after all.  Maybe it’s the perfect weather for butterflies on the move and will make their migration even more successful.  I’ll tell myself that as I stand in the heat with a water hose, cursing the stupid gnats and dreaming of snowdrops.  Is it too soon for that?

11 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 9.26.17

  1. johnvic8 says:

    That is one fabulous border. Stupendous.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    I know, a little rain would be helpful for the garden, but you may be right, it might be perfect weather for monarch migration. I’ll go with that. Nice to see your visitors on the verbena.
    I must admit, knowing that cold weather is ahead is making me quite tolerant of the heat. But then, I’m not doing much garden work either. I’m saving my energy for when my bulb order arrives. 😉

  3. I planted a hardy agapanthus that I won in a garden club meeting raffle. We’ll never know if it was hardy, because the remains I found in spring indicate a rodent enjoyed it for a mid-winter snack.

  4. I have a hardy Agapanthus but it only flowers sporadically. This heat has been ghastly. Virtually no rain for two months as well. ugh. But your garden looks good; way better than mine.

  5. Cathy says:

    I’d say it all looks pretty good for the end of September Frank! I just hope your heatwave comes to a slow graceful end soon, and without any storms. Your Painted Lady butterflies are very pretty. We always get Peacocks at this time of year. I hope the Monarchs pass through in great numbers so you can share a few photos. 😉 I love that grass next to the Hydrangea. Lovely photos!

  6. susurrus says:

    Too soon for dreaming of snowdrops, but you could start to think of falling leaves!

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Not too soon for me. I am sick of this heat and drought. UGH…My poor garden is sick of it too. Your Tuesday view is still looking good for this time of year. Those splashes of color make the season.

  8. Christina says:

    Yes, it’s definitely too early to start thinking ‘snowdrops’! I am beginning to love autumn almost more than spring because spring is followed by summer and I hate it! Your frost bed goes from strength to strength. I love the image with the Monarchs on the Verbena – just perfect.

  9. March Picker says:

    Hoping you get relief from the heat soon, Frank. As much as you dislike the transition to fall, I’d say the spots of purples and oranges are well suited to your landscape. Beautiful butterfly shots!

  10. Wow! I am so jealous of your butterfly hordes! We have just a few stragglers here and there. The heat has moved on from Chicago, but we really need rain.

  11. Indie says:

    Your border looks so great even with the heat! It’s been so dry here, too, with temperatures that keep jumping back between cold and hot. My garden beds are looking rather crispy, but all the Painted Ladies are making up for it. That’s awesome your Agapanthus bloomed!

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