Before I start, this is my first diary. I hope I do it correctly and that you will enjoy it...
This morning, an overcast day in very early September, with coffee in hand, I stepped out onto my front porch with my little dog at my side. (She's always at my side, or behind me, or in front of me, but certainly nearby.)
I looked over the railing and thought "Holey Moley" and ran back inside for my camera.
There was all kinds of musical chirping going on and flashes of bright yellow; lots of flitting and hopping around on my coneflower (Echinacea) deadheads. I suddenly realized that my flower garden was just as beautiful and interesting now as it has been all spring and summer... perhaps more so. I may be crazy but I really love it this way.
Let me say, here, that it has been a very unusual summer... quite cool, only one or two days reached 90 degrees, mostly highs in the seventies; cool nights, plenty of rain. Absolutely perfect to my way of thinking. As a result the garden is staying a lot greener than usual and is passing into the late summer stage quite gracefully, but definitely passing.
First I will show you what brought on "Holey Moley" and my run for the camera.
Just beyond the stone railing of my brick house were several (4) goldfinches, 3 boys and one girl, devouring the seed from the coneflower seed heads. Of course the group of four left before I could photograph them together but here are some singles.
After the goldfinch food frenzy, I began to enjoy the rest of the end of summer perennial bed. An interesting pattern began to appear... plants that look good as new, plants that were definitely on the decline but still interesting, and brand new plants having grown from seed.
First, the ones that look good as new.
The Black-Eyed Susans look as good as when they first opened in July.
Amazingly, the Linum Perenne, Blue Flax, also is holding up quite well. I was afraid they were finished for a little while but then the rains came back again and they are in full bloom again.
I am especially happy with this photo because it's usually very hard to capture the beautiful blue color. I think it worked this time only because it was misting at the time.
My Heuchera's look fresh and vibrant, but full and mature. So is the Geum. Again this must be because of the cool temps and plenty of rain.
This shot shows Lady's Mantle, two Heuchera, Black Eyed Susans, Blue Flax and a chartreus ground cover. It looks more like June than September.
There are many true signs of end of summer:
A young Zebra grass with a flower stalk
Oak Leaf Hibiscus aka Hardy Hibiscus. Blooms are gone now but it is still an elegant plant with lovely foliage.
A clump of Echinacea Purpurea, Purple Coneflower, showing all stages of growth. You can see the dead heads which the finches love, new blossoms, old faded blossoms, and even brand new blossom buds.
A Rhododendron shrub that was newly planted last spring is now showing flower buds for next spring.
Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian Sage, definitely past its prime but still graceful and adds an elegance to the garden.
The spearmint bed is in full bloom. It is very generous in sharing its wonderful fragrance.
Physostegia virginiana, Obedient Plant, has started to bloom. This is always a late one.
Daylily 'Rosy Returns' still has a few blossoms. This plant has performed beautifully all summer with many rose-colored blooms. But you can see it is slowing down now.
The late summer garden may not have the brilliant color of high summer but it is still worthy.
Oh, yes... vegetables. I didn't plant very many, just a couple tomatoes and some herbs (basil and chives). The herbs will share their bounty for many years. The tomatoes are just now beginning to ripen... also due to the cool temps and prevalent rains.
Late garden Surprises
If you are lucky, and the weather is right, you may get some surprises in the Late Summer Garden. First a brand new Echinacea plant which started as a seedling this spring is ready to bloom.
My Penstemon 'Husker's Red' has sent out a new shoot which is about to bloom. I was not expecting either of these last two.
There is one more thing that is really neat about the end of summer in a garden but you will have to investigate it for yourself. Check out the sounds!!! There are lots of bird and bug sounds this time of year. Great fun trying to find and identify them.
So there is my Late Summer Garden. Hope you enjoyed it. Now go outside and see what is still interesting in yours.