The last bits

Between working late every day and changing the clocks, my enthusiasm for the garden has dropped off the edge of a cliff.  The leaves are down and the soil is still on the dry side so that’s not helping either.  I guess winter is the perfect time to hibernate, but before I shut down completely here are some last pictures.  Some selfsown mums are still blooming.  I’m not crazy about the colors, but the timing is a welcome last call.seed grown chrysanthemumsThe milk thistle seedling still fascinates me with its cool mottled foliage, but I still have my doubts about it overwintering.  So far I’ve only ever managed to grow it as an annual, not a biennial (which I think is what it prefers)milk thistle foliageMy one cyclamen hederifolium seedling which gets a pink tinge is coloring up for the winter.  Now that temps are dropping into the 20’s I brought it into the garage for safekeeping even though I’m sure it’s hardy enough to overwinter in the ground (but I would miss it out there!)cyclamen hederifolium with pink foliageOne job which I did get done before free time dissapeared was the tidying up of the compost pile.  Not everyone has this much room surrounded by a fancy pink marble block wall, so I’m kind of grateful for that…. but I still wish I had more leaves and such to fill it up with.diy compost pile So that’s the story from here.  Things are shutting down and I just don’t have any motivation, but that could change at any time.  Just last week I noticed a bunch of seeds I wanted to plant this fall, and bulb clearance sales typically start on thanksgiving.  It’s hard to be unmotivated when a couple hundred bulbs are shipping your way 🙂

Hope your end of season plans are going better than mine!

Hang in there Summer!

Cooler temperatures and earlier sunsets.  There’s no denying that summer is losing its grip, and with the kids starting school this week I guess it’s time to face reality.  Summer will not go on forever.  But delusion is a beautiful thing, and that’s what I’m sticking to, and for now at least I’ll focus on late August flowers….. not September.

The front border is hanging in there in spite of the dry weather, and my half hearted watering seems enough to keep it this side of parched crispy.  Agastache “Tutti Fruitti” (I think), Russian sage, and the seedheads of “Karl Foerster” feather reed grass carry the show.

agastache tutti fruitti drought tolerant plants

Further into the bed it gets a little messy, and I bet deadheading the butterfly bush would help, but in the meantime it’s all almost one big wave of buzzing, fluttering color.  Lower left is “Karley Rose” pennisetum, basically carefree but not as sturdy as “Karl Foerster”.  The Russian sage and butterfly bushes just keep going….'karley rose', 'pink delight' butterfly bush

From the street it looks a bit messy, but maybe it distracts people from the dead grass…. here’s ‘Royal Red’ Butterfly bush (Buddleia).  It’s a little thin this year for some reason, but I’m sure it will be back to normal next year.

buddleia 'royal red'

Also from the street, “Limelight” hydrangea paniculata.  Probably my favorite hydrangea, and it can get as big as it wants here.  The flowers start with a tinge of limey green, go white , and then blush with a bit of pink and red, and believe it or not the blooms are small this year (probably due to the dry summer).  Still there’s plenty of white flower overkill going on here!hydrangea "limelight"The extra water I give the hydrangea seems to be welcomed by its neighbors.  I love that this little milk thistle (Silybum marianumhas) sprouted up under the hydrangea.  milk thistleI don’t think it will amount to much this year, but maybe I’ll get lucky and have it overwinter and bloom.  Up till now I’ve only been successful with it as an annual.

If you’re bored, look up the history of milk thistle.  It’s been used medicinally for over 2,000 years and is still recommended today for the same liver disorders as it was in the middle ages.   Liver cancer, hepatitis, liver damage due to toxins…. mushroom poisioning….all this and it’s spiny with great foliage.  I love spiny!

The far end of the street border is still filling in.  I can always count on the no-name, purple leaved cannas to give a nice background, and the ‘Wendy’s Wish’ salvia looks good in front of them.  I tried a couple marigolds in here too this year, they’re still small, but are taking the dry heat without a single complaint.  One of the great things about annuals is the chance to do it all differently next year.  I’m not sure if the brown-orange color is one I’ll chose to repeat.purple canna with 'wendy's wish' salvia