September flew by and now it’s October. Autumn, and for maybe the first time in forever I’m glad to be done with summer. Maybe.
Colchicum ‘Lilac Beauty’ coming into full bloom against the blue of leadwort(Ceratostigma plumbaginoides). I think I show this scene every year, I like it.
It’s been chilly and gray and rainy and within 5 days I had my fill of autumn and started thinking about snowdrops and even colder weather. Cold I don’t really mind, it’s these depressing dark days which wear me down and I can’t imagine “living” somewhere with endlessly gloomy weather.
A colchicum speciosum which came as ‘bornmuellerii’ but might not be. The yellow next to it is a Sternbergia lutea, a fall blooming crocus look-alike which I need more of.
The gloom and rain also makes the lawn explode into growth and I’ve mowed it more times in the last month than all summer, and between that and the endless construction, and cleaning out the house next door, and making room for another person’s everything, and work, and lawyer talk, and explaining geometry and biology every night to a 14 year old, well I guess I know why September flew by. Good thing for colchicums and all those other autumn goodies, they sure make up for a less than complete daylily farm!
Colchicums by the driveway and a few 40% off goodies which I of course don’t need, but at least won’t need cramming into an already overfilled basement.
So it’s busy here and a new normal is setting in and a change of seasons might not be the worst thing to keep everyone moving along. The colchicums kicked off autumn and now hardy cyclamen and autumn flowering crocus and chrysanthemums are making it into a party.
Most of this would be fine in the open garden, but I do like having the most special of things all in one single protected space. Maybe next year I’ll evict the camellia seedlings and give them a try in the open garden.
Besides the miracle of copious rain, and its explosive effect on the lawn, the rain also performed a little miracle in the potager. It’s nothing to impress a Southerner, but having any kind of red spider lily in bloom this far north is something I did not expect to ever actually have happen but it did. Maybe there’s hope for it establishing. I wouldn’t complain if it settled in here, but knowing that the second bulb was also doing well up until it rotted last summer is giving me a few serious doubts.
Lycoris radiata, the red spider lily. Winter foliage will grow in another few weeks and then look miserable all winter as it wishes it were still south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Elsewhere in the garden the colors are all autumn and the vibe is all seedy.
Along the street the ‘Sunnyside Up’ pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is as lovely and promiscuous as ever. Unlike everything else here it didn’t even seem to mind the heat and drought this summer.
Even after a summer of neglect and weeks of triage watering there were still plenty of things which bounced back. The front border looks full and the potager is an overgrown mess. It might not be as tusnami-of-chlorophyl as previous years but I can deal with it.
I didn’t expect Geranium ‘Rozanne’ to endure the drought like it has, but it looks great and seems to have been reborn this October.
Maybe the thousands of dollars spent watering were worth it here in the potager… things limped through the heat and then made for one last hurrah now that it’s cool and wet.
For the last two or three weeks you can’t even tell the cannas and dahlias spent all June and July in misery. Stunted plants aren’t the worst thing for a gardener who never got around to staking.
Progress on the daylily farm hasn’t been as swift as I had hoped for. My sole employee gets a list each weekend, but then when Sunday afternoon rolls around it’s like he didn’t even have a list, since it’s been mostly ignored for two days and nothing was done. Last weekend he made a good point about taking a few cuttings and carrying in a few pots instead but he really could have done a little more in the digging department on top of that. Perhaps this weekend I’ll take him out back and give him a serious talking to. Hopefully he’ll see the light, and hopefully back there no one will see me mumbling to myself again.
Ok, I distinctly remember my mother in law saying ‘I don’t care, as long as it looks nice you can plant whatever you want’ a couple months ago when I asked about planting some coleus in her planter. Maybe I took that out of context, but so far there have been zero comments about a daylily farm going in on the side of her house.
So maybe the daylily farm will be ready by next spring, and maybe it will not. Whatever happens I’m sure it will mostly complement the tropical bed which has also somewhat revived from the rain… and is also just across the property line, in my mother in law’s yard…
Not a whole lot of tropicals in the tropical bed this year, but even the tropics have their run-down, abandoned-farm kind of areas. Thankfully there’s more yellow pokeweed here weeding around and complementing the red roses and purple verbena.
While the stunted cannas here bring me down a bit, it’s my Queen of the Prairie statue which brings on the only commentary about this bed. The statue has been called creepy, and it’s been questioned as to why it faces her kitchen window but that’s just coincidence and I think she looks pensively thoughtful and pleasant.
Although no one insisted the Queen remain in our living room I don’t think anyone expected her to be evicted to the back lawn once we bought the house. Personally I think she’s enjoying her trip back to the earth.
Something else who’s days are numbered are the tropical pots. Time to start thinking about who is freezing, who is becoming a pot of cuttings, and who is getting hauled back in for the winter garden. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that things have multiplied and been added to.
Obviously this begonia needs to come inside. What soul-less heathen would let frost touch it while it’s flowering its head off?
The new angel’s trumpet in a (heavy)20 inch pot looked much less alarming as a little free cutting last fall, and a couple elephant ear divisions were never expected to fill one entire half of the garage but then it happened. Better safe than sorry is what I always like to think, so of course they’re all going to get safe winter homes.
In May I almost let spider mites kill this. “pinch off all the leaves, soap it down, and fertilize and water the sh!t out of it and it will be fine” was the excellent advice I received. It would look even better if i didn’t forget to fertilize the last few weeks and missed a few waterings…
Other things are also finding their way in for the winter. If it’s an early freeze things might be easier, but if it’s a late freeze I’ll have way too much time to soften up and say what’s the harm in one more?
I hope this red mandevilla can survive the winter with me. Previous attempts have failed but how can I not try?
There’s always room for one more and it’s good to have all these things going on to carry us through the next month. Each month has it’s own surprises, and even if I didn’t need the surprise water heater replacement yesterday, having hot water again is almost as nice as a house packed full of somewhat appreciative houseplants and a garage full of sleeping bulbs and tubers.
Hmmm. I didn’t even think about digging things yet. That might be a November, as the snow flies, kind of project and I’ll wait until then to worry about it. One month at a time, right?