You would think that with all the hand sanitizer, distancing, staying at home, and hand washing, that there would have a sterile cloud surrounding me, but somehow I’ve still managed to catch a case of the lazies. What a surprise, right? I’ve never really shown much immunity, so all it really takes is a cloud across the sun, a temperature slightly too cool, or a day with a nice breeze to trigger a relapse. I guess that happened. My wife will tell me I should have worn a coat. My son will ask if I want another donut. It’s easy to see the struggle.
The front border as we roll into October. Heterotheca villosa ‘Ruth Baumgardner’ is the yellow daisy in front.
A coffee and a donut make for a nice morning stroll around the garden. Fancy people do scones and jam, but scones are crumbly, and I’d hate to waste a trail of jammy crumbles behind me as I take in the dewy garden. As I walk, the dew and change to fall colors make it really obvious summer is over and I’m surprisingly ok with that. The garden right now is a mix of summer lingerers and autumn bloomers, and although I spent last weekend leveling my mother inlaw’s garden and putting nails in the coffin of her 2020 season, here it’s a different story. Cool things like the Heterotheca villosa are only now just coming into full flower. This plant was shared with me a few years back by Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening fame, and it’s a native daisy which I cut back by half each June to keep bushy. From what I’ve heard, ‘Ruth Baumgardner’ is named after a past president of the Perennial Plant Association, and was selected as a shorter form of the species, but that’s still relatively tall, hence the early summer chop.
Lingering rebloom on the red hot poker. The bright color looks as good now as it did in July
If I weren’t so under the weather with my laziness I would be taking advantage of the more relaxed pace of pre-October and building that coldframe I’ve been mulling over for the last three weekends. Unlike the last four years that I’ve been thinking about it, this is the year it has to happen. I’ve already lined up a few plants to go in (all my projects are usually the result of me painting myself into a corner plantwise), pulled out materials, piled them into the garage (where the car can’t go until this in done…), and now I just have to commit to a design. ***spoiler alert** it’s based on an old shower door and leftover 2x4s so don’t set your hopes too high…
Admiring colchicums is an excellent lazy day activity. Here’s ‘Lilac Wonder’ flopping its way through the blue of leadwort.
Even just talking about a future coldframe has me exhausted, so let’s take one more look around the garden. The mums are coming, the colchicum are here, and in spite of a slight touch of disgustingly early frost, the garden still looks nice.
The former rock garden turned colchicum bed has been overrun with chrysanthemum seedlings. Not for the worse though. Colchicum ‘Innocence’ still found enough of an opening to show off.
A few early chrysanthemums. I’ve killed off many (honestly it’s closer to most) of the larger flowered ones, but they’re my favorites. Someday I dream of fussing and nurturing them enough to have those big show-worthy blooms, but this year just getting them staked them was a big first step.
I believe this is ‘Cheerleader’. Even under less than perfect conditions he tops out at 3+feet and requires some kind of support.
With the chrysanthemums starting in the potager I was happy to see that even with all the new beds and strict paths, there was still a nice crescendo of late summer chaos. Verbena bonariensis and ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranthus still found their loopholes and there’s more than just dried tomato vines and over the hill zucchini filling the beds.
An overgrown mess is what I expect in October. Fall veggies would be nice too, but there’s always the farmstand for that.
One veggie which I do want to show off is the sword bean (Canavalia gladiata) which has managed to grow up the pergola and put out a few pods in spite of the shortening days. I admit to checking it every day as the foot long pods get fatter and fatter, and if anyone gets even remotely close to the potager I insist on showing them off. At the suggestion of a friend I usually do it with a little “argh, these be my sword beans, argh”, but the magic of my humor is often met with an uncomfortably blank stare.
The sword bean. It’s grown as a vegetable through India and SE Asia but I’m not sure if it’s edible here in Umrika.
Now colchicums. I looked and saw only three pictures were posted on this blog last year, so you’re welcome, but even after I killed half the ones I transplanted during the potager construction (leaving them out to dry in 97F full sun was not really as good an idea as I thought), there are still a few nice ones to show.
Colchicum ‘The Giant’. I think this is the real thing, and it’s worth it to find.
The cooler, dry weather has made for an excellent season.
Colchicum ‘Sparticus’ was too pale for me at first, but as the single bulb has turned into a bunching of blooms I’ve become a fan
Colchicum ‘Harlekijn’. Love it or hate it you have to admit it’s unusual.
Colchicum ‘Zephyr’. The nerd in me enjoys this gathering of Cotinus, Colchicum, and Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus). That’s a lot of Cs.
Colchicum cilicium. Maybe Colchicum cilicium ‘Purpureum’ according to the most recent buzz, but regardless I really like this little guy.
Colchicum giganteum… another one which might be getting a more correct naming of Colchicum speciosum giganteum group.
‘Lilac Wonder’ in the lawn between the swingset and trampoline. I wonder if the kids will ever question why there were so many poisonous plants so close to their play areas…. although I like to think of the whole garden as their play area.
Colchicum speciosum (I don’t think it’s ‘The Giant’) in need of dividing. A whole border filled with these might not be a terrible idea… hmmmm…
I’m surprised by how many colchicums this garden has acquired. I blame thoughtful friends and the evils of social networking, but seriously if a yard full of colchicum is the worst viral pictures bring on then I’m all for it. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. In the meantime I’m looking for more, and I’m also obsessing about a new book. Colchicum: The Complete Guide has recently come out as the definitive guide on species and many cultivars and I keep thinking what’s a full on obsession without a guidebook to follow? It’s item number one on the Christmas list 😉