Difficult as it may be to believe, the fifteenth of September has snuck up on us. Where did the month go? But when the calender turns to the fifteenth, there is only one thing that comes to the mind of this garden blogger, Bloom Day. The brainchild of brainiac Carol of May Dreams Gardens, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is a meme that we have never missed since Fairegarden the blog began back in December of 2007. Late maybe, but not missed. But enough chitty chat, let us proceed.
The Bulbine frutescens has been blooming since its purchase in Orlando during spring break in March without cessation. The plan is to bring all or part of it into the safety of the greenhouse over the cold months. Those months will be here before we know it. There will have to be the dunk of death for the orchids and others into the tub of insecticide before they are allowed inside the house. If it survives that treatment, the Bulbine will be used to fill several containers next year rather than just one. The vision is a mass of the lovely orange and yellow blooms bending in the breezes along the pathway. Can it happen? That remains to be seen, but I can see it in my brain already.
There exists no plant that is not enhanced by a background of lushness provided by Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindra ‘Rubra’. Fall finds the blades turning ever more reddish, a perfect foil for the native Ironweed, Vernonia gigantea. Most of the Vernonias growing here were cut back by two-thirds in May to make for a more photographer friendly height. Giving it the axe then allows side shoots to form providing a bushier and more floriferous plant come September. All good.
It is a long wait from setting the plants outside in spring until fall bloom for the sweetly scented foliage of Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’. The beautiful golden color keeps us happy until the red flowers decide that the time is right for them to make their appearance. The plant above is cutting from offspring Brokenbeat that was received in 2009 and wintered over in the greenhouse to become the mother of dozens of these golden beauties. If only I had planted the young ones all together, what a show that would have been. Alas, it was the same old story of one here, one there. Maybe next year that vision could be realized, now that the size attained by September has been determined for cuttings taken in late winter. They did not grow as large as expected, possible due to lack of water. Possibly something else. The plant growing in Brokenbeat’s garden was massive, not so here. A likely new prospect to become the lucky mother for 2011 needs to be selected and potted up to bring inside soon.
Another Salvia, S. coccinea has struggled to stay alive with lack of rain and no watering by the gardener. There are many small seedlings, some with the desired black calyx, some with the green sheath that will perk up with the cooler fall temps and scattered showers. Many of those gravel babies have perished, but fall might see some of the survivors reinvigorated. We hope.
The Sedums are in bloom now. A post written about the ones growing in the Fairegarden can be seen by clicking here. They will be left standing long after the color fades from the blossoms for winter interest. There has been some taxonomy changes for this genus, but I am sticking with Sedum ‘Matrona’, (Hylotelephium) as the name of this one. Sedum, aster, coleus, what’s next, she wonders? Why can’t they stick with the names we know that are easy to spell and pronounce? Onward.
Ratibidia columnifera is sort of stingey with the flowers, but we are happy it is still alive, the only plant out of eight that were mail ordered last year. It has yet to be decided if this is perennial or annual here. Fingers are crossed for some seeding success. Seeds have already been sown up behind the shed and covered with the handy dandy overturned nursery flat. Mature seed heads will be sprinkled in the growing area as well. We love those fancy chapeaux.
‘Fireworks’ is the cultivar name of this Gomphrena. The flower form is more spread out than the usual button shape. Do you see the little crab spider hiding in the lower middle section of the petals? Again, these should have been planted all together and very close to each other for better garden impact. Will we ever be able to do that?
The Calibrachoa clan has served with honor and distinction in the containers this year, providing the spiller part of the design trio that includes thriller and filler as well. This is one time that the cultivar names are not recorded, even if there is a tag. They are annuals here, and laugh in the face of heat and drought in the good soilless mix of the large containers. We find this color especially pleasing.
Held in disdain by some, the original Knockout Rose is recovering from heat and drought by pushing forth reddish foliage and new pinky-red blooms. Some find the overuse of this hard working shrub rose makes it somehow undesirable in their own gardens. I am not among those. The color, hardiness, abundance of blooms, fresh foliage, size and overall ease of maintenance make it a must have in the Fairegarden. In addition, the color looks fabulous with the pink muhly grass that will be coming along next month to form a cotton candy haze.
While out in the early morning light, taking photos of the flowers for bloom day, a hummingbird was spotted dining on some Salvia. Please forgive the poor quality of the image, the light was wrong and the camera was lucky to get a shot off.
This one is a little better. Perhaps someday there will be a clear capture of the hummer feeding, or sitting, or anything, in nature rather than at the feeder. It is the Holy Grail of garden/wildlife photography. We do love watching the constant parade of these magicals birds at the feeder, but for photography, it is rather like shooting fish in a barrel.