Saturday, September 12, 2009

14 Straight Days of Sunshine

The weather has been absolutely glorious. This weekend I spent more time on the computer than I did in my garden adding memory and cleaning up an overburdened C drive for my husband. Many thanks to my wonderful nephew Andrew who gave up part of his Sunday to put things right. Aim to remedy my lack of solar units today and make time to fiddle about in the back garden. The back garden is heavy on leaves rather than blossoms and can certainly handle more neglect than the front - but the time has come for some remedial action.

The light is so forgiving - even those less than adorable plants seem to have their photographic moment. Each day, around 3:30 I've been scooting around the garden to see who's ready for their close-up.

There are 4 or 5 blossoms on this Hibiscus today - will see what I can do with the camera later on - here it was on Saturday as the sun made its way through the leaves of the Beech tree at the front of the pathway.

As stunning as so many of the fall bloomers are, and as nice as it is to show them to you, I'm going to be honest and show you a less-than magical-spot in my fall garden. This Dicentra 'Gold Heart' has been a beautiful gold colour right through August - a 2 month improvement on the species that goes dormant in early July. I had grown this in a pot with a collection of perennials and it bloomed all season - very weird for Dicentra spectabilis. In the ground it does bloom longer than the species - but only by a few weeks. The leaves keep their nice golden colour until the end of August. I'd say it's pretty well done for the year, wouldn't you?

The Heptacodium has grown well above the roof. Newish to the trade and North America, who knows how big it will grow? The scent of the blossoms is a lovely soft jasmine/rose cross. The bees go completely mad while it's in bloom - crawling all over it all day and well into the early evening.

Lots of little pollinators at work - here on the old original-to-the-property (50+ years old) phlox.

And on the Solidago which in early spring looks so much like phlox, I seem to have missed pulling it out.

And on a late blooming Heuchera villosa - even the flowers are furry.

If I had more sunlight in my garden, I'd definitely grow more grasses - this is a Calamagrostis - a variegated one that grows about a third less tall than Karl Foerster - although not as short as I wanted it to be as it's poking out the eyeballs of a nearby PeeGee.

Where would I be without my blackvelvet portraits? Here's a lovely new-to-me Nicotania mutabilis from Select Seed. Will find and post photo later so you can see all the different colours of pink the blossoms are. They start very pale and then change to a good clear pink. It grows to about 1.75 Meters (5-6 feet) and sends up several nice tall stocks. I planted mine close to the edge of the garden, which works well for me as it has an open habit and I delight in being able to to examine the changing blossoms.

The self-seeded Perilla is doing very well this year. Like the insects in my garden, I find the taste of this herb Shiso appalling - too bad for me, because it grows beautifully in my garden.

It really is a terrific filler - the grand orangey coloured short lived expensive Echinacea looked fab with it last year - alas, it is just a memory. The only recommendation I'd make if you're going to grow Perilla is to deadhead it as it is a professional self seeder. And like all self seeders, it grows well everywhere - in pots, in the garden, the grass, the pea gravel, and cracks in the pavement. Fortunately its good purple colour gives it away, so it's an easy target.


Grace Peterson said...

Yay, sunshine!! Doesn't it do wonders for the soul? It seems that it's long overdue in your region. Hopefully it will stave off fall for awhile.

We must have similar tastes. My Hibiscus looks similar to yours in both leaf, color and bloom stage. And my Heptacodium is also all abuzz. I often wonder how far the honeybees have traveled to find it. I think if this shrub/tree were in more backyards it would remedy and bee shortage. I'm guess my ten year old plant is about 12 feet tall which is where I hope it will top out. ... I've been growing Nicotiana mutabilis for about three years. I love how it reseeds and even cross pollinates with its cousins. The only caveat is that it tends to wilt in the sun so finding a place with enough sun for it to bloom but not so much sun that it wilts was a challenge early on. I'm thinking with all the seed being produced from the plethora of blooms I'll have about fifty-billion plants next year--a professional reseeder like your perilla.

Gail said...

It's great to have you posting again...I have phlox that is about that old, too. I appreciate that it has returned to its magenta color and then leapt beyond that to shades of pink as its progeny crossed with phloxes David and Laura. I love gardening. I even love perilla; its color, texture and the interesting fragrance when you rip it out of the cracks! It does look good with most flowers!

Tell me again, which camera do you have?


Mike Conroy said...

Hi Barbara, This is Kevin's cousin Mike from Ireland. Kevin's aunt, Margaret Mary, sent me a link to your blog. Glad to hear you are doing well. You have wonderful photos on your site! Hope all the family are keeping well, say hello to your dad and all the family for me.

Mike Conroy.

Barbarapc said...

Grace - it does indeed! Although today, I'm thinking, a little rain might be welcome. The Hibiscus is Lord Baltimore & it was the only variety (of 8) that survived the winter making it very special. The Heptacodium is a couple years older than yours and about 16 feet in height. Very excited to learn about the N. mutabilis - can hardly wait to see what next year brings.
Hi Gail - no one is more pleased than me to be back posting again. Thanks. I'm using a Canon PowerShot S80 - was purchsed primarily to handle real estate photos & for its ease of use. For now, its just fine, but when I win the lotto, never mind that new car, - I'll be at the photo shop buying a big fancy SLR....
Mike, how delightful to hear from you - we're all very well - will pass along your good wishes.

Peggy said...

You are up and about with the camera.Great photos ,everything looks so much better in the sunshine.We are having a few days of it over here too,wonders will never cease!

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Hi Barbara, I found your blog through Teza, the mention of Jim Lounsbery a dead giveaway that you are Canadian. I actually signed up for a course at the TBG he is giving in October on Ornamental Pruning.
Great post, I love your pictures.

Barbarapc said...

Deborah - Busted and charged! That should be a really good course - he's really knowlegeable & is an excellent teacher. His presentation at the hort club on Monday was devoted to unusual deciduous woodies, rather than his beloved evergreens. I enjoyed every minute. Thanks for the kind words.