Oh, how time flies. Leaves are starting to turn, or they are falling, and the temperatures are heading down. Walking through the garden there is still plenty of color, but we peaked a while ago and are now heading down that slide which ultimately brings us to winter.
Asters and chrysanthemums are in full bloom and they certainly brighten up my garden. The annuals planted throughout spring and summer are still blooming; Zinnias, Celosia, Marigolds, continue to flower. The clematis which shriveled in the heat were cut back completely. Small amounts of rain revived them and they started climbing the arbors again. Now I have new flowers opening and tons of buds which will open as long as we do not experience any frost soon.
I learned an important lesson this spring: don’t put out the Dahlias before their time as they dislike the chilly temperatures of early spring. They start to strut their stuff in summer and fall and now they are going full blast. Unfortunately, another lesson I learned and which I will implement next spring, STAKE the darn plant properly or it will go boom! Because spring was on the wet and cool side, the dahlias didn’t grow much. Then summer arrived with heat and humidity, but very little rain, and they still didn’t grow a lot, expect for one variety I had planted: Kogane Fubuki. According to the description on the package, these plants get about 36-40 inches tall. I put a stake next to each root (or more correctly named a tuber), but once this plant started growing the stake was too puny. Side branches couldn’t support themselves and fell to the ground which was really a pity as the flowers are huge and gorgeous. This fall, after the first frost has blackened the foliage, I will dig up the tubers, discard leaves and stems and keep them in a dark and frost-free location (basement) in a container with slightly damp peat moss. There they will rest until late May next year. Then, and only then, will I take them outside, plant the tuber, stake them with a proper size stake (rebar should do) and wait for them to grow and bloom. They are definitely worth the extra effort of planting and digging up each year.
As I walk through the garden, I find a few pleasant surprises. Among some rocks two little ferns are starting to grow. One is offspring from a nearby Japanese Painted Fern, while the second one is offspring from a Maidenhair Fern planted a few feet above near the waterfall. While not every seedling is welcome in the garden, these I will treasure.
In the butterfly garden at the side of the house the Celosia is blooming in scarlet red. Surprisingly enough, I also find a bit of scarlet in the back garden as well. Some seeds must have blown along the front of the house before taking a sharp turn where they ended up in the corner near the willows. Another seed blew straight from the butterfly garden past the house, turned and ended up at the arbor near the patio. As I have added more and different types of celosia to both the front and back garden this year, I suspect next spring will bring a whole new crop of celosias popping up everywhere. It is something to look forward to as we slowly bring this gardening year to a close.