September Bloom Day 2010


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.


Most of the Phlox paniculatas are finished, dried up from lack of moisture, but this prostrate stem looks delightful against the golden Lantana flowers.


‘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.

Frances

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33 Responses to September Bloom Day 2010

  1. gardeningasylum says:

    Frances, you make me want to seek out that bulbine – what a complicated, beautiful bloom! Good luck with your plans for even more…

    Hi Cyndy, thanks. I am hoping to be able to winter this over here, but if not, would mail order it. This is the most easy care, laugh in the face of heat and drought plant in the garden!
    Frances

  2. Carol says:

    I love how nearly every plant has a story to go with it in your garden. Thanks for joining in for bloom day, and I do hope you someday catch that “holy grail” of a hummingbird in a tree.

    Hi Carol, thanks. I love bloom day and hope to always be able to join in, even if it was the only blog post done. While sitting in a tree would be wonderful, the shot of a hummer feeding on flowers growing here would be the supreme prize. It would take a lot of waiting with the camera on the tripod, something I am not good at, waiting that is. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. Plantaliscious says:

    The Bulbine looks amazing, I love the fluff. Good luck with the over wintering. The ‘Dunk of Death’ sounds pretty serious! I also really liked the look of the Vernonia gigantea, enough to look it up, but apparently it prefers light soil, so I guess I will have to make do with your lovely photo 😦

    Hi Janet, thanks so much! The dunk of death is a necessity, unfortunately. Buggies like to get inside the orchid growing medium and then dine on the plants inside the greenhouse, which is a room in my house, not a freestanding gravel floor affair. That cannot be allowed. I do hope you come back to see my response, Vernonia grows very well in heavy clay, that is what our soil is composed of.
    Frances

  4. “Shooting fish in a barrel”? I think not. I have yet to capture a shot of a hummer at the feeder. I always panic & scare it off. The bulbine flowers look like something a little girl would glue together with bits of feathered boa and construction paper. Very cool.

    Hi MMD, thanks. The Bulbine has been a treat, the flowers are numerous, the foliage carefree. Hope it can see next year here. The hummers will visit the feeder even with Kitty laying under it! I can sit on the deck a few feet away and be still enough to get a shot. If only I was better with the camera, like you, the shots would be much crisper. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Les says:

    Please don’t tell me they are changing the name of Sedum. It’s one of the few I can spell without having to look up. I am still waiting for my Golden Delicious to bloom. After a fast start, it spent weeks in recovery from when the substitute letter carrier stepped on it. Happy GBBD to you!

    Okay Les, I won’t tell you, but it has already happened! Arghhh! I am sending good thoughts for your Golden Delicious to fully recover and give you the gorgeous red flowers. Our cuttings, the one shown is the mother plant, look lush and healthy with nary a bud in sight. I keep trying to tell myself that we still have nearly two months, or more of growing season. Rain would be helpful in that. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Donna says:

    Now that is Fall color. The Ratibidia is an interesting flower. Looks like a seeder. Hope you get a’ plenty next year. I too would love to see more.

    Hi Donna, thanks for visiting. Fall is quickly approaching, a favorite time here when the asters and goldenrod, not to mention the muhly grass takes over the show along with the tree and shrub foliage changes. It has begun. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, Coffee in hand, must not spill it! I love the bulbine~ That golden-orange and cobalt blue are so delicious together~That reminds me, Costco has cobalt blue containers! But, I digress! Phlox is still blooming here, too~I think the garden gods gifted us this late bloom because we needed it~It’s been a difficult time with no regular rainfall. I love gomphrena and your photo is divine~I have never been able to capture it so nicely. I think that you are getting closer and closer to capturing the HG! xxxgail

    Hi Gail, hope you didn’t spill that coffee! Thanks for visiting, I do hope the garden gods will look kindly on us soon. I am seeing distress in trees and shrubs now. It might be too late for some of them, sad to say. I appreciate your kind words. The photos are about as good as can be with a point and shoot on auto and my meager skills. The fun is in the chase! πŸ™‚
    xxxooo
    Frances

  8. lynn'sgarden says:

    Just beautiful, Frances! Good luck with those orchids…you can do it! πŸ™‚ Sedums are the only blooms now in my garden…I must add some mums soon! Have a wonderful day!

    Hi Lynn, thanks. I have had good success with the orchids, I hope the same can be said for the Bulbine! Do you have any asters in your garden? They are fine fall bloomers for any zone. You too have a wonderful day. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Eileen says:

    Great photos! I know that Knockout is everywhere, but I have them as a staple in my garden, just about every variety. They took a hit this summer with the earwigs and japanese beetles but seem to be bouncing back.

    Eileen

    Hi Eileen, thanks. You are so right about the Knockouts. They are lining every street here, but that’s okay. Why not grow something that is easy, available and beautiful? I am glad yours are making a comeback. They have done very well here, I even have one pruned as a tree rose, my favorite one. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Some great plants and color happening in your garden. My fave is the golden delicious salvia β€” new to me!

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. I love that Golden Delicious as well. I have never seen it for sale here, my son got it in Asheville, there they have very nice nurseries.
    Frances

  11. commonweeder says:

    Winters are too harsh up on our hill for some of these beauties, but I agree that Knockout roses are a great addition – even here in the heights of Massachusetts. My camera doesn’t photograph them well, but they are thriving, in spite of the summer’s drought.

    Hi Pat, thanks for stopping by. I am glad you can grow the Knockouts. Austin to Massachusetts, now that is a wide ranging rose! I have trouble getting a good shot of them, as well. When the muhly is blooming behind this one, it usually makes the camera happy. And me. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. linda says:

    There’s a reason stalwarts like your Knockouts become so widely used Frances! I used to avoid so-called ‘common’ plants, but here in our difficult dry shade conditions, they are welcomed and celebrated.

    LOVE the bulbine and ‘Golden Delicious!’

    We may have to resort to a dunk of death here too this year. I’ve never seen so many whiteflies. It pains me contemplating the use of insecticides, but it pains me even more thinking about struggling with bugs all winter.

    Those hummers present quite the challenge. I’ve never captured one clearly with the camera except last year in my mom’s garden. Here, they are very camera-shy.

    Hi Linda, thanks. I agree, the Knockouts deserve their wide planting, common, overused or not. We began the dunk of death after a millipede invasion in the greenhouse one year. At least we are not spraying the stuff, so it is not dispursed in the air to affect innocent bystanders. The time is nearly upon us for the tub preparation. As for the hummers, they are quite bold at the feeder, even feeding when Kitty is laying right underneath! Out in the garden is a different story, they don’t stay in one place long enough. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Town Mouse says:

    Beautiful! That first picture really says fall. I also love the salvias, and of course, the hummers. Mmm, an insecticide bath. Tell me more. I have some plants outside and want to bring them in, but I’m worried about ants…

    Hi Town Mouse, thanks so much. The Ironweed is having a good year, I see it all over in fields and along roadsides. About the death dunk, I have a large plastic container, about two to three feet in diameter that I fill halfway with a mix of Sevin according to directions or maybe a little stronger. I only do it once a year, so cost is not an issue. I dunk the whole pot and use a cup to pout the stuff over every bit and leaf. I wear rubber gloves, BTW. The pots are then left out to dry out for a few days. Usually bugs will be crawling out immediately. I might do another dip if it looks like there might be eggs that have hatched, always an issue, eggs. Ants are the worst, very difficult with those eggs. You might need to use all new soil and wash the roots with insecticide. Good luck!
    Frances

  14. Hi, Frances;
    I’m giggling over your ‘dunk of death’ description for the lucky flowers heading back into the house. Lovely blooms that do such a colorful job of celebrating the coming of autumn. Happy bloom day.

    Hi Kate, thanks and happy bloom day to you as well. We began work to ready the plants for the dunk of death. Writing about it reminded me that it is nearly time.
    Frances

  15. A Garden of Threads says:

    Lovely blooms in the garden, still chuckling over your comment the ‘Holy Grail’ of wildlife photography. Have a wonderful day.

    Hi Threads, thanks so much. If we ever get a reasonable shot of a hummer feeding on a flower growing here, that will be considered the finding of the Grail. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  16. noel says:

    aloha frances,
    beautiful blooms for sept, i’m loving your fireworks…wow! the Calibrachoa is also very sweet πŸ™‚

    Aloha Noel, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you. The Gomphrena is pretty and quite tall. If only the blooms were closer together, not so scattered, they would be a vision of loveliness. Next year. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Happy Bloom Day dear Frances. I hope you are able to achieve your orange and yellow dream. I loved what you wrote about being able to see it in your mind already. I do that all the time. The planning ahead for a better and better show is what spurs me forward. Now, if only I had a greenhouse. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Dee, my dear friend. It is looking towards the future that makes everything worth doing. I would hate for it to be any other way. My greenhouse is really a sunroom in the house, I have to be careful of what gets brought inside. I would love to have a real greenhouse with a gravel floor and all glass where you could really get down and dirty with the plants. HA:-)
    Frances

  18. patientgardener says:

    Lots of gorgeous bloom Frances but I was particularly taken with the first one – have written it down and am off to see if its available here

    Hi Helen, thanks so much. I hope you can find the Bulbine, it never stopped blooming here. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts as the cold approaches. I will have some potted up to go inside early in case I misjudge the temps for the large container.
    xo,
    Frances

  19. Ah – you make me feel sheepish. Had to cut back the Bulbine which is indeed trailing enthusiastically over both sides of the path. Now have a guilt inducing heap, about 100 bits. Which are to be ‘planted’ along the bottom of the wall. As in, I am running out of places to put it. And it is such a lovely and obliging plant.

    Ah Diana, it must be native there! I am confused as to what the optimum conditions are for it, but it seems to like hot and dry for now. I can see how it could easily become 100 bits in a short time. Our one small clump has become a dozen or more now. I love how generous it is with the flowering and the foliage is clean and fresh all the time. What a great plant.
    Frances

  20. Valerie says:

    Enjoyed your blooms and narrative. I haven’t seen a hummy today. They may have left.

    Hi Valerie, thanks for visiting, glad you enjoyed it. We always wonder when to take down the hummingbird feeders here, whether we are keeping the birds around when they should be moving south. I was told that the birds knew when it was time to go and one day they would just be gone. Perhaps that has happened for you.
    Frances

  21. Kimberly says:

    Hi, Frances! Looks like all is well for you on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! I love your bulbine (such a sweet little flower) and hummingbird (I’m still hoping for some in my garden) but the show stopper, in my opinion, is that amazing Ratibidia columnifera…WOW!!

    Hi Kimberly, thanks. You know that we are only showing the good bits, right? But there is much to celebrate as fall approaches. The hummers give us great joy, we will miss them during the winter but other birds will visit the feeders when they are filled, soon. The Ratibidia gives a lovely macro, but is underwhelming in the garden setting from afar. We still will try to get germination to increase the population. I love those hats! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Joey says:

    All looks lovely, Frances, and Ratibidia columnifera, a new plant to me, is an eye-catcher.

    Hi Joey, thanks so much. The Ratibidia is sweet and interesting. We are hoping for some of the many seeds to produce more plants for greater impact.
    Frances

  23. Jake says:

    We surely are in Sedum territory now. They are starting to bloom up here in Lexington. I only have Sedum Angelina and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ which has just started to turn to it’s pink colour. I am looking to add to my Sedum collection. I just got some from a lady in Virginia through the mail that I am rooting. They are so easy to root. Great pictures as always.

    Jake

    Hi Jake, thanks. There are so many sedums out there, of all shapes and sizes. They do so well in the droughty seasons. Good luck with yours! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. Rose says:

    Frances, I love your hummingbird photos, blurry or not. I’ve given up trying to photograph my little visitors for the most part and just enjoy talking to them each day when they drop by for their nectar (no, they haven’t replied back yet):)
    Thanks for standing up for the Knockouts–I love them, and they’re great fall performers. I received the Blackberry lily seeds in the mail this week–thanks so much! Maybe next year I’ll be showing off some of their blooms for Bloom Day.

    Oh good, Rose, the seeds got there quickly. They won’t bloom next year, but may the year after. You will be awash in them, sending out seeds of your own. I don’t run for the camera whenever we see the hummers either, but always marvel at them. What fantastic creatures they are. Knockouts, or any other overused plant, like Leyland Cypress or liriope around here, need to be defended. Sometimes they are the best plant for the situation, grow well and easily, readily available and cheap, novice gardeners needn’t fear them, they have their place. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. skeeter says:

    Looking Good Girl! I am seeing lots of Sedums on GBBD post’s. Hum, maybe time to add some to the GA garden…

    Hey there Skeeter, thanks, so nice to see you! If you don’t have sedums, you surely need some, pronto! They should be readily available there at nurseries. I recommend Matrona for the upright, Angelina for the creeping type, but there are lots of good ones. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. Diana says:

    I’m always in awe of your garden and your photography. The photos with their brilliant hues and lovely blooms seem to leap from the page…wish they would leap into my garden! Happy GBBD!

    Hi Diana, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. What a nice thing to say, I do appreciate that. You can grow the Bulbine, I would assume? Lucky you, I would have a garden full of it if it was hardy here. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Frances, You are a magician with your camera today! Gorgeous photos of beautiful blooms. I love your first shot especially! ;>)

    Hi Carol, thanks. I am a real magician if that means taking 100 shots to get one decent one! LOL That bulbine is so photogenic, a piece got potted up today as an insurance policy for next year. I plan on bringing the big pot into the garage. It is too large for the dunk of death! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  28. Bloom Day is a wonderful reason to post beautiful photos of blossoms… and those hummers are definitely a photo-worthy subject! Love the foliage color of your salvia. I need to check out that cultivar. Do you think it would grow here? (as a perennial?)

    Hi Shady, thanks for visiting. We do love the hummers, whether there is ever the Holy Grail shot or not. The Salvia is not hardy here, so I doubt it would be for you either. I take cuttings to overwinter in the greenhouse then make more cuttings to plant out in spring. Keeps me out of trouble. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  29. Lola says:

    Most beautiful, almost Fall bounty of blooms. I sure do enjoy them. I have a small start of the sedums, gift from brother in Ga.
    That first pic with that color is really something. I wouldn’t mind having some of those here in my garden.

    Hi Lola, thanks. You can probably grow the Bulbine, we bought that plant in Florida and I know it grows well in Austin, Texas as a perennial. Hope you add it to your space, it is a wonderful plant. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  30. TC Conner says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been here Ms. Frances. But I knew your posts and pictures would still be as informative and beautiful as they have always been.

    Oh thank you, TC! I do appreciate your finding time to come visit and those kind words. I know how difficult it is to squeeze blog reading in our busy lives. I am still slogging away at it, fall is a wonderful time here, so things should pick up colorwise soon. If only we could get a little rain. Or a lot of rain! Hope you are well and happy! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  31. Scott Weber says:

    Nice post! Good advice on the Ironweed, there are few things as frustrating as trying to get a photo of a plant 4 feet taller than you are!

    Hi Scott, thanks and welcome. Some of the ironweed plants still get quite tall, even with that pruning. We need a shorter variety, but V. gigantea was already growing here when we bought the property. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  32. Where did the month go? Where did the year go more like. love the mexican hat, hope you get volunteers next year. My sedums are flushing up nicely now. I’m adding S. matrona to the new dry garden, if ever the top soil delivery turns up!

    Hi Rob, I agree! Thanks for stopping by. You will love Matrona. Mine are all woody now, need to be dug and divided. It is on my to do list. I do hope the mexican hat returns and has successful seeding. I love it. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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