Tuesday View: The Front Border 10.9.17

My gardener has been extremely unmotivated these last few weeks as he comes to terms with the long stretch of hot dry weather which has settled down upon this corner of Pennsylvania.  Months and months of not needing to water and not having to concern himself with pampering transplants has spoiled him, and the last month of humid, buggy, unseasonable heat has him refusing to work.  As a result this week’s Tuesday view is not much changed from the last view, and other than the general air of decay setting in, there hasn’t been much of a fight put up against this end of season degeneration.

front border

Today’s Tuesday View.  Autumn is here.

The garden did get a good soaking this weekend when the latest hurricane leftovers blew through, but the humid dampness also brought the local gnat population to an electrified frenzy.  Lets hope it also electrifies the gardener since all we’ve gotten out of him in the last few weeks has been a 20 minute manic attack on a relatively innocent Rose of Sharon bush (Hibiscus syriacus ‘bluebird’).  It happened one overly warm afternoon, shortly after he was heard ranting something to the effect of  “look at all those friggin’ seed pods, no way I’m pulling up thousands of seedlings next spring”.  So out it came.

front border

Sometimes pretty blue flowers and inoffensive green leaves just aren’t enough.  The Rose of Sharon is out now, but unfortunately the branches, rootball, and garden cart still sit where the gardener left them over a week ago.  Not even the threat of a Tuesday View was enough to get him moving!

Fortunately there have been a few other autumn goings on which can distract us from the local labour’s laziness and sloth.  The fall bloomers are coming on in full force and the Monarch migration has reached its highpoint.

aster raydon's favorite

We are on the downside of the migration but Monarchs still keep fluttering on through.  Aster ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ might not be the Monarch’s favorite but as far as asters go it’s mine.  It tolerates drought, needs nothing from me, and flowers for weeks.  

There are always a few dozen butterflies floating through the air, and as you stroll they take off and circle in a round, lazy pattern which makes you wonder how they ever manage to make it all the way to Mexico.  But they do, and although it’s still on the warm side they better get a move on it.  Frost is coming and the last nectar-filled flowers won’t be around forever.

pepper sedona sun

Some color at the midpoint of the bed.  An unknown purple mum from a years-past porch decoration and the cute little orange and yellow fruits of ‘Sedona Sun’ pepper.  Each year I like ornamental peppers more and more and who knows, maybe next next spring will turn into pepperpalooza!  

The last big hurrah of the front border will be the pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) at the far end.  Most years the peak of pinkness hits only to be followed by a bleaching frost but this year my fingers are crossed for at least a few days of enjoyment.  I’ll try for a better photo next week with a little late afternoon sunshine but for now you’re stuck with a little of the grass with yet another Monarch perched in front.

monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly surrounded by the colors of autumn.

So that wraps up this Tuesday’s view, and it also signifies the beginning of the end of the 2017 season.  You may have noticed that in spite of the heat I’m no longer quite as convinced that summer will never end, and I’m actually accepting that autumn is here.  I guess it was inevitable, and if you’d like to see what it looks like in other parts of the world give Cathy a visit at Words and Herbs to check up on a few other Tuesday Views.  I hear she is also admitting the season is winding down.

As always have a great week!

31 comments on “Tuesday View: The Front Border 10.9.17

  1. johnvic8 says:

    Your garden is certainly holding up well now. Lovely.

  2. Your gardener sounds a lot like my gardener.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Even in its last stages, your garden is still beautiful with lots of color. Frank.
    Love seeing your visiting Monarchs. You’re right, it is a wonder they ever get to Mexico, they must fly 10,000 miles, going round and round, to get there!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Eliza. The Monarchs do drift around a lot but then manage to fight a strong wind and come down right on the flower they were aiming for. I think it’s all part of the plan!

  4. Pauline says:

    Your garden is still looking lovely, so much colour in October! I hope your neighbours appreciate all your efforts! It’s good to know that your garden is a stopping off point for the Monarch butterflies, they must appreciate all your late flowering plants, just what they need to get them to Mexico!

    • bittster says:

      I’ve really enjoyed the Monarchs coming through this year, and I think they’ve enjoyed the flowers just as much. I wish them all the best for the rest of their journey.
      I’m not so sure the neighbors are all that impressed with the garden. We get little traffic down our street and I suspect our neighbors are more interested in things like television and sitting around 😉

  5. hb says:

    Your first photo looks particularly autumnal. We got some but not a lot of Monarchs here this year but got many of the tiny blue native Checkers and native Sulfur butterflies who are at risk due to habitat loss. I was happy they found something in the garden to their taste (Eriogonums).

    Your gardener may be unmotivated the past few weeks, but he did an excellent job, so give him a pass this week! ;^)

    • bittster says:

      I’m hoping my gardener will snap out of his funk, I dread the thought of finding someone new and I suspect even if I did they would expect some kind of payment other than just the reward of a job well done.
      Nice that you’re seeing more butterflies as well. I hope they’ve survived the wildfires and it will be interesting to see how they respond to their newly cleared habitat.

  6. Cathy says:

    Your garden looks more like early September than October! You still have so much lovely stuff to look at – the aster is wonderful and the Muhly grass looks good already. Just looking at these photos should be motivation enough to go out and do some pottering and enjoy the last of the autumn flowers. 🙂 But I have found there is actually little to do in my garden at this time of year, except for disposing of the occasional annual in a pot that has given up flowering for the year! Hope the butterflies move on soon and don’t get swept up in a storm. Ours seem to have all disappeared already. Happy gardening Frank!

    • bittster says:

      The weather has been beautiful and I found that a little rain went a long way in motivating me to get out there again. I am being careful though. It’s that time of year when you can either keep at all the little jobs or just let them go and then tackle it all at once. I prefer to just let it go and see how little I can actually get away with. I think I’m finally figuring out what you already know, that there really isn’t all that much that really must be done right now!
      Sitting around and enjoying the last few days of warm, brilliant sunshine has a lot of worth to it as well 😉

  7. Christina says:

    End of summer maybe (well not really maybe) – there’s no deigning it is autumn now. But the border has proved its worth this year. It has been gorgeous for months. I’m amazed you get seedlings from your Hybiscus; I have several in the garden and I’ve never seen a seed pod or a seedling – ever.

    • bittster says:

      You’re right, the border has done well this year. I’ve been really lucky that the weather has been so good to plants here this summer!
      I’m amazed your hibiscus do not seed around. What a difference your dry climate makes since mine usually leave a carpet of seedlings for each spring. I love the pure white, sterile ‘Diana’, but the others…. I despise their prolific seeding.

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh mercy, a droughty spell does squash the gardener in us all. Those gnats just makes it impossible to get out in comfort.

    • bittster says:

      The gnats are torture. Someone gave me one of those netted hats as a joke and I’m seriously considering using it… but what about the arms and legs, I’m far too cool to were sensible, bug-safe gardening clothes 😉

  9. Peter/Outlaw says:

    It’s still looking great despite the season and inattention of your gardener. My gardener has also been extremely slothful recently. It’s so hard to get good help these days.

    • bittster says:

      I almost fired my gardener last week, but this week he did a little mowing and mulching and I guess I’ll give him another chance. I have no doubts this weekend’s warm sun will have him lazing around again but maybe I can turn a blind eye one more time.

  10. Looks very good to me. We have had hardly any rain for two months. Beginning to catch up a bit but coming in little spurts. I have pretty much given up and am waiting for dry weather again to do some cleanup. I don’t seem to have much in the way of fall flowers. Usually I have such terrific color from all my trees that I don’t notice the lack. But the trees are not doing much of anything this fall. Or at least not yet. I’ve given both of my Hibiscus to a gardening friend.

    • bittster says:

      The colors here are also heavy on the browns and nothing to get excited about. Maybe the red maples will still do something nice though.
      I’m actually enjoying the fall flowers this year. Last year I noticed a few nice things, and this year it’s even better. Maybe someday I’ll warm up to this whole autumn thing.

  11. Annette says:

    You made me giggle which is good and badly needed. Hope your gardener soon gets his mojo back. Well, it’s autumn and I think we’re all entitled to a bit of laissez-faire. Having said that I just attacked the climbers on our house walls today…2 hours of hard work but then the pool compensated me big time…have a lovely autumn, Frank xx

    • bittster says:

      I’m more than a little jealous of your pool time! Ours has been closed for a few weeks already and since it’s actually the pool of our neighbor I suppose we really can’t complain!
      Good for you on getting the climbers under control. I do love how they look against your stone, but I’m sure they would take the windows if given half a chance. I just trimmed all the Virginia creeper down from around the porch. It seemed like every four or five days it needed cutting and I’m not sure I want to relive that next year, so it’s been given a stern warning 😉

      • Annette says:

        I read you can dampen its enthusiasm by pruning it in spring which I’ve tried but I still had to cut it back twice. The Rosa banksiae is a lot worse though, speak of 4 times rather.

  12. Annette says:

    PS: Just made a note of your stunning aster, drought-resistant and pretty is a combination hard to resist!

  13. So wonderful that you have all those butterflies. ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ is a beauty – I like the straight species as well. Also ‘October Skies’, another variety of the same species, I think.

    • bittster says:

      I’m always surprised to never see any seedlings. It’s native and such a good grower and asters seem quite comfortable seeding around here but each spring nothing…

  14. Looks like fall has definitely arrived in your garden, Frank — beautiful colors. I have lots of butterflies still, and am concerned they are lingering here too long. Oh, and my gardener is as unmotivated as yours right now. I despair that the garden will never be put to bed. P. x

    • bittster says:

      I always like to think of any ‘not ready for winter’ parts of my garden to be more ‘nature friendly’ gardens… or at least that’s the excuse I use 😉
      I have finally started to do some mulching and plant moving. The rain made it much more pleasant and I do like thinking about next year rather than worrying about cleaning up this year’s debris. Maybe the winter wind will end up blowing it all away anyway.

  15. Chloris says:

    Your garden always looks fabulous in late summer and early autumn with or without the attention of delinquent gardeners. So much colour and magical butterflies too.

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