Seasonal Page:

September: Will It Ever Rain?

[Colchicum Flowers-Close View]

Wow! Is it possible that it's already September? I've been doing this web page stuff for 6 months now. Maybe next season will be easier since there will be old pages to work from and I can make changes and hopefully get some better photos to include. Then again, maybe I'll decide to do things differently next year! Currently, we are having a drought. We usually have a couple months of drought during the period of July to September. The difference this year is that we had sudden hot weather during the drought, so things look a bit roughed up. The weather forecasters have promised rain twice and it has not delivered. I'M READY! Let's get on with a few pictures...some of these plants you saw last month, but since they are still going strong, they bear repeating.

[104 Quarts Peaches]


Well...this is what 104 quarts of peaches look like! This was how I spent part of the first week of September (1998), but it will be worth it when we have Elberta peaches to eat most of the winter. I love their flavor and don't do as much fruit as I once did, so this is it. There will be apples to dehydrate later this fall and that will also take quite awhile, but they don't spoil as fast when you put them off...they just start the drying process before you get them into the dehydrator. :-) This is our rustic dining/living room area (most of the living room doesn't show). The sheetrock is unfinished and there's even more stuff of the kids to the left of your view. Once in awhile, I actually sit down and play that piano. (It isn't because I'm always so industrious...the computer has nudged it out a bit.)



More fruits of late summer and fall. These are the acorns that come down from the Red Oak that is planted behind the carport and has given its name to the "Oak Bed." Notice that large green one? I was quite shocked when I saw it because so far, I have only seen acorns that look like the little brown ones you see around it. I guess that explains why I've never noticed any baby trees. If the tree starts really producing acorns of this size, we'll not only have baby trees, but I'll have to wear a hard hat to work underneath it! Our local Stellar's Jays were working it over just before I went out and found this, so maybe they will solve the potential baby tree problem in the future. The burgundy leaves belong to a Sedum.



[Red Oak Acorns]


[Grapes of Summer's Wrath]


I called this photo "The Grapes of Summer's Wrath." The vines look a bit beat up and if we would prune these things the clusters would be really large and nice. As it is, this is one of the better ones. I still liked how it looked peeking between the boards of the garden gate. The grapes are usually ripe during the first week of October. One year we had a heavy windstorm just before we were going to pick and they ALL dropped to the ground. (It had been raining and we didn't pick them soon enough, I guess.) I usually have shared this crop with my friend, Nancy, but she has moved to Colorado Springs so I might have to juice all of them myself. Yipes!



Our poor, tired John Deere Garden tractor. Ron bought this from a friend in Idaho when our eldest boy was about four years old (if my memory serves me). In what is now our bedroom, he reassembled the whole thing after restoring and repainting all its pieces. When it was finally done, Michael triumphantly rode on the seat while his dad wheeled it out through the back door and down a ramp (the door facings had to be removed first). If you want to see how the house looked back then with the back porch, you can get a peek on the "Evolution of the Garden" page. Michael is now 23 years old and this poor tractor could use another restoration. The cute little Morning Glory-like flowers belong to of our most persistent weeds ... after stoloniferous grasses.

[Old John Deere]

[Back Bed Pathway]

The lighting wasn't the greatest for this photo, but I wanted you to see how the back is progressing where we DID get the grass and weeds out (of course, the grass keeps coming back, but if I'm diligent, I'll eventually get rid of it). Once you walk out of the line of this photo's sight, it gets awful weedy. Hopefully, next spring the whole bed will look cleared out and happy like this.

The flash went off, even though I wasn't wanting that. This is a group of Colchicum growing in the back bed by the Buddleia 'Pink Delight.' They are kind of a washy lavender pink but are so startling this time of year. The friend who shared these with me, passed away two years ago last Spring. I will always have many plants in the yard to remember her by.



[Colchicum Group]


[Linarea purpurea 'Canon Went']


Sorry this is such an awful washed out picture, but I included it because I think you can still get a sense of the delicate shape of the little snaps on Linaria purpurea 'Canon Went.' I probably bought ONE of these years ago, and it faithfully seeds each year. The plants are not invasive and easily pulled where you don't want them. They add an airiness to the border much in the way a Baby's Breath would...nice filler and never shades out a neighbor, even though the plant is around 3 feet tall. The color is a little pinker than this, but still very delicate. The original species has lavender flowers.



Getting wilder by the week, this is the Anemone 'Prince Henry' still blooming its head off. Watering in this bed probably helps. The gray leaves in the background are a Senecio greyii and the white flowers belong to Centranthus ruber 'Alba.'



[Anemone 'Prince Henry']


[Diascia vigilis]


We've had considerable rebloom this fall and Diascia vigilis is a good example. I got pretty close to take this so you can see the red markings in the throats of the flowers. It wanders at will and comes up wherever it wants, but not in a bad way. In situations to its liking, you can grow this Diascia in Zones 7-9. It's a great weaver in the border.



[Caryopteris clandonensis with Echinacea 'Magnus']

What a nice color combination! I showed the Echinacea purpureus 'Magnus' on the August page (which will soon be taken off before I get yelled at for taking up too much space!). It was purchased last month at the local hardware store and hopefully it will make an even better showing next year. The great story is the Caryopteris clandonensis (either 'Dark Knight' or 'Longwood Blue'?), commonly called "Blue Beard." I bought this about two years ago and it has been kept alive (barely) in a gallon pot over two winters. I almost threw it out this spring because it looked so bad. When the back bed got weeded and barked, I planted a couple of things that had been sitting in pots and the Caryopteris was one of them. Wow...look at it now! It must really like the additional steer manure and alfalfa pellets (and watering helps). I wish the other Caryopteris that is growing in the Oak Bed looked so happy. It's gotten dry and some of the leaves have yellowed and dropped off. My observation would be that although it is a gray leaved plant, it really prefers an ample amount of garden moisture and rich soil to do its best.


[Caropteris with Honey Bee]

Here's a close-up of the Caryopteris flowers with a sweet little Honeybee working them over. It pleases me to see this because our Honeybee population has been severely reduced over the past few years by mite infestations. I have only in the past few weeks even seen Honeybees in the yard. I sure hope that their numbers can build up again. My friend, Catriona, said they are having a similar problem right now in New Zealand with their Monarch Butterflies. In order to provide the opportunity for butterflies to hatch, they are bringing the chrysali (is that the correct way to make that plural?) indoors.

[White Cyclamen hederifolium]

It's hard to capture white flowers without having so much contrast, but I put this in just to show that these little Cyclamen hederifolium are still blooming. The leaves behind are a fern called "Plumose Oak Fern" (Gymnocarpum?...I'm not going to look it up right now!). I'd read somewhere that they made good companions because they each have a dormant season that is opposite the other. For awhile, they share the stage and the effect is charming. These are planted in the Rhody bed on the North side of the house.


[Close-Up of Calluna vulgaris 'H.E. Beale']

This is the same Heather (Calluna vulgaris 'H.E. Beale') that was shown on the August page. The flowers are fully double now and some of them are starting to become brown. Once they get past the in-between stage, the brown spikes will still be attractive through the winter for their form. I'd pruned this rather harshly in the early Spring and am glad to see how well it came back.


[Tricyrtis hirta]

Not show stoppers from a distance, but aren't these little Toad Lilies cute? The botanical name is Tricyrtis hirta. When they were purchased they looked like little hairy bulbs. Once established, they colonize slowly and have arching stems with clasping leaves. Their pluses are that they bloom in the fall and are very distinctive in form.

Not as good a picture as what I got in August, but you can see that the Aster frickartii 'Monch' has more blossoms than last month. I might put the other picture here after taking down the August was prettier. This is one of the GREAT perennials!



[More of Aster frickartii 'Monch']


[Aster seedling]


Just a blush of lavender to these little Aster flowers. This plant was a seedling I lifted from the bed two years ago (at least...maybe three?) and it has drooped in a four-inch pot until this season when I placed it in the driveway bed after reworking. (Having shoulder problems for three springs really slowed progress around here.) I don't know that I'll keep this plant because it's quite tall, but I wanted to see what color it was. The parent plant was shorter and had soft pink flowers. It is just starting to open under the Cherry tree in the same bed.



[Red Nicotiana alata volunteer]

Don't know if you remember, but I showed a single flower from this plant on the August page (I think it was August). Now the it has gotten rather big and is starting to flop over, but this is one of the clearest and prettiest colors from the volunteer Nicotiana alata plants this season. The bluish color to the left is Rue...Ruta graveolens 'Blue Mound'...and it has produced two or three cute little seedlings nearby that I will lift and use somewhere else. Only drawback is that I'm SO allergic to the oils produced by the leaves... caution is needed!


[White Nicotiana alata volunteer with Aster frickartii 'Monch']

One more volunteer Nicotiana alata. This one is pure, stark white. I thought it was beautiful surrounded by the flowers of Aster frickartii 'Monch.' I just wish you could smell it in the evenings.


[Unknown Coral Miniature Rose]

Can you tell how big this Rose is? It's actually a blossom from the untagged miniature my mother gave me instead of throwing it out (it had gotten pot bound while sitting in her windowsill). I hope it's as pretty next season and comes through the winter okay. I put it in a planter on the deck along with some creeping Thyme and it has rewarded me above and beyond my expectations! Right now it has loads of blooms on it like this one.

'Tis the season of the sprinkler! Kind of a terrible shot.





[Aster horizontalis]


This is a very subtle member of the Aster family and looks better if you situate it near something that will bring out the burgundy centers of the small flowers. Behind this group, there is a row of Purple Leafed Barberry. The variety is Aster lateriflorus 'Horizontalis.' Eventually the plant will become a huge billow of these tiny flowers. Charming!



The Chocolate Cosmos is still going. I have done pretty well this year keeping it deadheaded and am pleased to still have bloom. The strong early fall light makes the pictures high in yellow...not my favorite time of year to try to get photos. In the background you can see the Sedum 'Autumn Joy.' It is darkening since the last time I showed it and the sweet smell is the predominant one I notice when walking outdoors.



[Chocolate Cosmos with Sedum 'Autumn Joy' Behind]


[Close Up of Chrysanthemum 'Daisy Red']

Another repeat, but I could not resist. The Chrysanthemum 'Daisy Red' has been blooming now since the end of July. I don't know if Lamb's Nursery (mail order in Spokane, WA) still carries it, but what a workhorse! *Note: On Oct. 6th i was reading through a perennials catalog and found a listing for the daisy mums like this one. Their listing for "Daisy Red" didn't sound like this color. This might actually be 'Daisy Bronze.' It fits that description better.They could have gotten it mislabeled...certainly wouldn't be the first time that happened at a nursery!

There are actually two Painted Ladies on this Aster 'Prof. Kippenburg' but I'm having trouble remembering where the second one is located (on the right side of the picture). When their wings are closed, they are nearly invisible! You can't imagine how many photos I took trying to catch them with their wings in the open position. They only leave them there for a fleeting second and then immediately clap them shut. Must be why you don't notice many of these having their lower wings missing or notched (birds) like you do the Tiger Swallowtails.



[Two Painted Ladies on Aster]


[Painted Lady on Aster with Wings Closed]


Here's a better view of a Painted Lady with her wings closed.



I was genuinely glad and hopeful to see these clouds roll in. We got a tiny bit of rain, but no more since and not enough for them to lift the burn ban in our county. The weather this week (21st of Sept.) is gorgeous...sunny, pleasant and great for working in the yard. If that's true, why am I sitting at the computer?



[Light Breaking Through Clouds]


[Back Bed with leaf colors changing]

This is another shot of the back bed (where we did some work this season) and you can see that the leaves on the Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum) have nearly turned full color. It is one of the first to develop fall color and gives the surrounding bed a tapestry-like quality by contrasting with the pinks, cerise and violets of the fall flowers.


What a surprise when I noticed two more flower spikes on the clump of Gladiola in back. Must have been from the extra amendments sprinkled on the bed and the fact that I kept this spot WATERED! :-) The blue flower spikes in the background (blurred) are Perovskia.



[Surprise Gladiola bloom]


[Miscanthus sinensis with backlighting]


What would fall be without ornamental grasses? This clump of Miscanthus sinensis (Maiden Hair Grass) near the arbor in back is starting to make a bigger impact. We may still get some seed heads in the next month (they are quite late) but some years it just doesn't happen. When we get them, they are very attractive with their reddish color and plume-like shape. At the time I shot this photo, I loved how the back light through the arbor lit up the grass blades!



This is another member of the Miscanthus family, Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens.' It begins to take on tints of red and burgundy from late summer into fall and will reportedly be totally red later this month (in the Northwest, the intensity of the color is probably less than in colder parts of the country). This grass is half the size of the regular species shown above (maybe around 3-4 feet). I used to be able to see this from the front of the bed, but had to walk behind to take this photo. Eventually, rework will be necessary to feature some of these hidden treasures (including the Aster 'Alma Potschke' that is in the background).



[Miscanthus sinensis 'Purpurascens']


Continue on to September Page 2...

This page last updated on October 7, 1998.