What Looks Good Now Showing In Macro

Even though fall is rushing onwards towards winter entirely too quickly in the opinion of some people, including yours truly, there are new flowers pushing forth. What could they be thinking, if flowers can think that is, inquiring minds want to know? First up is Anemone hupehensis Praecox’. This is a rowdy fellow and the decision was made to nip him back a bit early this summer. After the nipping, a voracious attack by hungry grasshoppers decimated the foliage as it was trying to regrow. It was feared that the flowers would be lost for the year, but cooler temps have brought it roaring to life with the absence of the villainous insects. It will be shorter in stature and later in bloom time, both desirable outcomes. This is the first flower, let us hope for more to come.

New this year is the spring blooming, I thought, Zizia aurea, the native Golden Alexanders. This is a moisture loving native that has presented a fall surprise of reblooming. Perhaps it thinks spring has sprung? It was first seen at the Lurie garden during the 2009 Blogger Meetup in Chicago. We were tickled to find it for sale locally, actually dug up near the namesake Mouse Creek on their property. We have no creek, Mouse or otherwise, and it has been bone dry all summer in the Fairegarden. It was feared that this plant would perish on our steep well drained slope. Nope.

No purchase necessary for the native wild ageratum, Conoclinium coelestinum. It was already growing here when we bought the property. Spreading by runners and seeds, the violet blue flowers on snaking stems weave through all neighbors, but in a polite manner. This color is welcome with the red and golds of the dogwood fall foliage, among others.

Setcreasea purpurea was a late August purchase to help out a container planting that needed rejuvenation. The dusky dark purple leaves alone are eyecatching, the flowers are a windfall.

Seeds were sown in the greenhouse during the winter of 2008-2009 of Cuphea miniata ‘Summer Medley’. The young plants were set out much too early in spring and were zapped by a late frost. Happily they made a comeback and bloomed well all summer into fall. Better late than never, and without knowing if these are volunteer seedlings or the original plant, the fuzzy blooms are adding to the ambiance of the Gravel Garden.

Another perennial Salvia that has suffered from the lack of precipitation here and that has finally decided to grace the garden with the Paul Newman blue blooms is S. guaranitica ‘Argentine Skies’. Many members of the Salvia clan are late to reach full potential it seems.

Included in the seed swap sponsored by friend Monica of Garden Faerie’s Musings was Zinnia tenuifolia ‘Red Spider’. Seeds will be saved for the future. These small flowers have been photographed for several months with no success in capturing their sweet allure. It is now or never for them to be featured on the blog, but please excuse the clarity. The sprawling mini zinnias cast a spell over the camera whenever it is pointing their way, changing focus and shutter speed. Sneaky. And please note their yellow forked tongues.

The tall Salvia splendens ‘Van Houttei’ has performed poorly. Try saying that three times quickly! This is a superior member of the splendens group that includes a shorter red variety that is often seen planted in public parks ringed with bright yellow marigolds to the dismay of the taste police. Maybe it too is a late bloomer, or perhaps the lack of rainfall has held it back. Hummingbirds adore it in either case.

The first bloom of the only over wintering Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’ remains gorgeosus beautiful. There are more buds swelling, we hope they can open before being struck down by a hard freeze. This might be one case where covering is called for to protect the innocent.

Speaking of innocents, this could be, should be, but might not get to be a Black Swallowtail Butterfly, caterpillar was found hanging onto a denuded stalk of bronze fennel. There are no leaves on the plant, the stems are brown and the weather is chilly if not downright cold. We hope this fellow can read the tea leaves and get to cover quickly. Maybe he needs a little free transportation to the still leafy parsley plant in the raised box planter. Done. May he live long and prosper.


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21 Responses to What Looks Good Now Showing In Macro

  1. Eileen says:

    Great photos Frances. I am going to take another turn around the garden today to see what’s left. I am always surprised.


    Hi Eileen, thanks. It is certainly winding down here in the flower department, I was surprised to see new blooms on anything besides salvias which are notoriously late here. Nature like to keep us on our toes! 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos Frances. Love the salvia ‘Argentine skies’ does it over winter OK for you?

    Well done for sheltering the swallowtail catt.

    Hi Rob, thanks. That Salvia does well here, and spreads by underground runners, which is a big help, I don’t have to dig, divide and spread it! I have been checking the catt, he is climbing and eating the parsley plant, the last of his clan to still be in catt stage I believe. I am watching over him. 🙂

  3. gail says:

    Dear Frances, I love these macro shots~Zinnia tenuifolia ‘Red Spider’. is a new one, to me~Must investigate! Cupheas are my new favorites~I am going to try cuttings, since I had to go to OKC to find them! They are in containers flanking the door~So no babies! I am sorry to report that the Prinz has not survived the drought~Sigh! Have a good day~I think we both have a few bulbs arriving! xxoogail

    Dear Gail, thanks. The Cuphs are annuals here, but Mouse Creek has a great variety each spring. These may have seeded, but October is a long wait for them! I will always add them here, the hummers and bees love them. Don’t give up on the Prinz, he is a tough customer and might return in the spring. I believe you are right about those bulbs! 🙂

  4. Randy says:

    It has been a horrendous year here at Our Eden. Blistering heat, no summer rain and very little spring rain has taken the joy out of gardening for us. It’s just no fun to work in conditions like that when you aren’t being rewarded with a lush garden for your efforts. Gail left a comment on Phillips blog a few weeks ago saying this was going to be the norm for us for a couple of years. I hope she’s wrong.

    Hi Randy, I feel your pain! We too have heard the voice of doom from Gail, and have been switching the garden to xeric plantings where possible. I have to say that the gravel mulch has been a godsend, helping keep the scant moisture in the soil. What we need is an attitude adjustment as to our expectations. And some rain, but it seems that we cannot count on that as in the past.

  5. Melissa says:

    AH…gorgeous photos!! Felt like I was strolling through your garden! Thank you for sharing!

    Hi Melissa, thanks. I was so glad you could join me! 🙂

  6. Everything looks good in your garden Faire! Beautiful.

    Hi Helen, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  7. eliz says:

    Very jealous of your caterpillar. Generally I only have dahlias, tropicals (prior to overwintering) and annuals at this time, but I too am finding that there is more activity than I expected. Not for long though!

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks. I am worried about the catt, it is quite chilly at night, but each morning he can be found still munching on the parsley. I am so glad to not have pulled it after his voracious siblings were all over it a while back. The leaves regrew so now he has it all to himself. I am lazy with the dahlias and want them to overwinter, not have to dig them. After seeing those in Buffalo, I might relent! 🙂

  8. I fell in live with ‘Red Spider’ this year too – and agree, it hates to be photographed, so congrats on capturing it. Love the Dahlia.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Of all the dahlias that could have returned, that is by far the prettiest one! Red Spider is so little and so lax, but it is still so sweet! Glad you have it as well. 🙂

  9. Kathy says:

    Sometimes we have to change our focus to find the beauty. We have already had a hard freeze here, but there are many plants that don’t take that lying down, so there are still blooms to find if one looks.

    Hi Kathy, those are profound words! I am glad you still have blooms, even after the frost has hit. Some things can take it, best to plant a few of those. 🙂

  10. Rose says:

    We are in the throes of Indian Summer here with record-breaking temperatures, so I think all my plants’ minds must be in a state of confusion. I hope all your new blooms get a long chance to shine before the first frost hits. The Salvia splendens is a beauty! And I’m so glad to know the caterpillar was rescued and given a warm home. I’m afraid I wasn’t so diligent when the temperatures dipped a few weeks ago–no caterpillars here anymore.

    Hi Rose, thanks. The catts should all be safely butterflies now, or hibernating. That lone wolf is asking for trouble, but since our temps have also warmed during the day, he is a lucky fellow! 🙂

  11. Valerie says:

    What lovely surprises in your garden.

    Thanks Valerie. The catt was a real surprise. He is still doing well, now on the parsley plant. 🙂

  12. bakingbarb says:

    Beautiful flowers, just amazing really. The Swallowtail caterpillar is lovely and I miss seeing them. I keep bronze fennel in my yard just in case.

    Hi Barb, thanks and welcome. We have the bronze fennel for that reason as well, although it is a fine garden plant. The parsley is grown for humans, but we are willing to share, gladly. 🙂

  13. A lot of salvia are more or less short day plants, and don’t really get going until the fall. I believe that includes the taller forms of Salvia splendens. If I remember correctly (don’t have the reference book handy at the moment) the short ones are short because they are day neutral and so flower all the time instead of growing, while the tall ones get big because they save their bloom for fall and winter.

    Thanks Joseph, you are the best source of plant info like this. I really appreciate your comments to help educate us, you are a sweetheart! 🙂

  14. Lucky you to have new blooms on the Zizia. Mine looks ready to give up the ghost.

    Hi MMD, thanks. I was wondering if it goes dormant over winter. It looks so lush, even with the drought, hasn’t wilted one bit and no extra water either.

  15. Beautiful images Frances and your catter might be making a chrysalis soon. I love the salvia shot!! 😉

    Hi Carol, thanks. I am watching the catt closely for signs of that, he better hurry up! 🙂

  16. Les says:

    I am like your caterpillar in denial of the season change. Though with temps in the upper 80’s yesterday and today, it has not been hard.

    Yes, Les, I agree. If it weren’t for the foliage changing and cooler nights, it would seem like mid summer! The bulb orders are beginning to arrive, that means it is time to plant bulbs, at least our fingers won’t be cold! 🙂

  17. sequoiagardens says:

    Hmmm. I’m suffering from macro envy. Sharp as a pin they are. Beautiful.

    Hi Jack, thanks so much. I am lucky in the Canon A720 IS, it does all the work, I just point and shoot. A lot of times to get one good one. 🙂

  18. Jenny B says:

    What a lot of blooming fun you are having.
    I’ve not met a Zinnia I didn’t love, and Red Spider is no exception. So beautiful–so showy, but no prima donna. What’s not to love? Purple Heart (Setcreasea purpurea) is one of those hard working plants that becomes a back-bone of the garden. It blooms throughout the heat of mid-summer and the bees love it.

    Hi Jenny, thanks. I agree about the zinnias, and that little Red Spider has been very sweet. I am liking the Purple Heart too, but don’t believe it is hardy here, especially not in a container. We’ll see how it does.

  19. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It looks like there are many blooms happening in your garden despite the drought. I have had Golden Alexander rebloom in the past. This year all I am hoping for is that they survive.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I was surprised about the Zizia, being told it needed very moist soil. It did get extra water, being planted in the Fairelurie that receives good treatment. I hope your survive as well.

  20. I’m glad you saved the Anemone from the hoppers, Frances – they’re such nice plants. Your macros are terrific… love how you caught the caterpillar and the Conoclinium (we have a similar variety here in Central Texas called Conoclinium greggiii).It’s hard to get fuzzy plants!
    I’m sorry the Salvia vanhoutteii didn’t do well for you- it’s on the Looks Good list in my garden right now and has a 6-foot spread in partial shade under a pecan. We had a hot summer, too, so I watered a lot until Hermine took over.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, thanks, so nice to see you here! I read that the Salvia would grow that large and had high hopes for it. It is in full blazing sun though, maybe shade would be better, but watering is a problem in drought years like this one. No help from tropicals for us inlanders!

  21. Jen says:

    Francis, you make me want to start ordering seeds for next year already. And I want one of each of what you have shown.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

    Thanks Jen, me too! I will be ordering more varieties to see how the pods look dried. They are cheap and grow easily, too fun! 🙂

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