As the mornings grow cooler with the approach of the equinox, summer is drawing to an end. It's a lovely time to admire the season's growth in all its fullness before fall begins to show its effects. My potted plants outdoors have reached their peak: the miniature rose, coleus and impatiens seem to be at the maximum of beauty. Many of my tropical begonias haven't been as floriferous as in other years, I can't explain it, except that plants have their cycles, and perhaps the extraordinary heat this year had something to do with it. Or, perhaps they need re-potting in fresh soil. There's always next year.
|Red impatiens with begonias and coleus.|
|Hanging baskets on porch.|
|Plants in the porch|
The hanging baskets on the porch are spilling over with multi-colored Calibrachoas and red Begonias, while the porch protects the other summering houseplants. The hibiscus is lush with yellow blossoms and the Cuban Rain tree (Brunfelsia nitida) is about to produce another round of its tubular flowers. I set out my Cattleya orchids on the porch this year, in hopes of some flower buds, but with the overnight temperatures now in the 40's, it's time to bring them into the house--I'll have to try again next year to see if some flowers can be coaxed.
|Salvia 'Black and Blue' with mums and impatiens behind.|
|Salvia 'Wendy's Wish'|
My 'Black and Blue' salvia didn't start to bloom until August this year, while the re-potted magenta salvia that Lili gave me (I think it may be a variety called 'Wendy's Wish') caught up with it and surpassed it in terms of flowers--interesting contrast in the color of the foliage and the flowers of the salvias. My Chrysanthemums are starting to bloom too, orange and dusty pink in the front, and the yellow ones I transplanted to the back beds.
|Herb's bed and the Little Indians.|
The deer really decimated my sedums this year, particularly the 'Neon' variety, but some of the 'Autumn Joy' have managed to produce some flowers; I must protect them better next spring so they can make progress. The blue Ageratum in Herb's bed was a hit with the butterflies--it's starting to fade now--the aster flowers will soon predominate, along with the pink Muhly grass.
|New tree & shrubs on the west side.|
I've been taking advantage of the cooler weather to start planting the trees and shrubs I'd bought earlier in the year and had been holding in large pots, waiting for a propitious time to plant. The beautiful Korean fir 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' was planted on the west side of the house; it may reach up to 20 feet, though I doubt it will get that tall, but will remain slim at the base. The new Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles'--barely visible in the bed behind the Zelkova tree's trunk--will eventually become a shrub some eight feet tall and six feet around, and hopefully filled with lavender flowers to delight butterflies and other pollinators.
|Hardy begonias bloom under the cherry tree.|
The hardy begonias are blooming under the cherry tree, while the dogwood's leaves are starting to turn bronzy, announcing the change of season. My Angel Trumpet still has some flowers, and perhaps a few more are in store before it's time to bring it in for the winter.
|The front walk this week |
|Angel Trumpets (Brugmansia hybrid)|
The other evening we had an unusual visitor--a hawk perched on one of the oaks in back. He stayed there for a good amount of time, long enough for me to grab my camera and take some photos. We later identified it as a juvenile Cooper's hawk. The beautiful creature lingered for a while, then swooped low as he flew between our house and the neighbor's before disappearing.
|An unusual visitor.|