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Late Season Bloomers
September 23, 2013
Summer officially came to an end yesterday,
We were blessed with one more beautiful week of weather (on the most part).
'ArtPrize' started last week.
(Lion made with nails, from a couple years ago.)
The worlds largest and best art competition, in Grand Rapids, MI.
If you enjoy art, and ever have a chance to visit, it is a must see venue.
There are masterpieces, and some artists making a statement.
Trash to art.
Giant sized paintings and sculptures.
Tiny pieces of art.
Yes, something for most people to enjoy.
We haven't had the time, but are planning a couple of trips down town this week.
I'm sure pictures will follow.
Tomatoes, peppers, cukes, herbs and a few other things still continue to provide for the table.
Flowers are looking wonderful.
Timely rains and my sprinkling when needed has kept many things looking pretty good.
(Though mildew has been an issue on some plants.)
Yes, I like to keep things going and growing as long as I can.
In my younger days (recently as a few years ago), I would dread fall.
I actually looked forward to spring about the first of September.
Yes, summer was over and I thought, "what good was fall, except the a precursor to winter".
But my out look has changed.
During my evening walks with the fur kids, I notice Red-winged blackbirds flocking to the cat tail swamps by the hundreds every evening now.
The numbers continue to grow, as they prepare for migration.
Canada geese are flying in family groups and soon to form larger flocks as they fly around to strengthen wing muscles
Robins are slowly reappearing as well.
Turkey vultures circle above as they slowly meander southward.
Hummingbirds are still busy as they continue to gorge for the trip south.
Wild turkeys come for a visit now (we haven't seen the turkeys since last winter).
This past Saturday I watched my first small flock of Sandhill cranes as they took there time heading south.
I was also blessed with one more Monarch butterfly.
Many flowers are in their prime this time of year.
(Echinacea Tiki Torch)
Now, before I get to this weeks topic (late summer/early fall bloomers), I will try to squeeze from you a thing or two you like about Autumn.
It could be something you really enjoy, like fall colors.
Possibly something you look forward to, like cooler days.
Karen enjoys the cooler, crisp air, pumpkins, fall colors, etc.
Though it is short lived, I applaud 'Nature' in all her beauty.
The wonders of migration.
The crescendo of colors that fall over the landscape.
I have time to reflect and time to plan for next year
So what is it?
The colors, pumpkins, the harvest?
Apples and cider?
Road trips and corm maizes?
Don't be afraid to share, we are all friends here.
Simply forward this letter with your fall favorites and....
Your First Name (last is optional).
Your location (town or city you are in or near).
Your state or province you live in.
It only works when you participate.
Okay, onto late season Bloomers.
In this hurried world we seem to live in, all to often people are in a rush to close off summer.
Labor Day Weekend seems to be a magical point for many, especially here in the northern parts.
Swimming pools get closed up for the year, no matter the weather conditions.
Some people give up on vegetable gardens.
Many ignore their flower gardens and beds as well.
However, this time of year can be spectacular for blooms and other colors.
Pollinators appreciate the effort I put forth and
Not to mention the thick cover the plants provide my birds.
With some proper care (water, feeding, grooming, dead heading and pruning),
Your gardens can continue well into fall or at least to the first killing frost or two.
(Coreopsis and Dianthus)
Planning for next year's gardens should begin sometime this fall if you haven't started to plan already.
Record your successes and failures.
Write down what you would like to try next year.
Make note on what you have seen in other gardens that you may want to copy to some degree.
Incorporate perennials with annuals, native grasses, native shrubs that offer berries.
I'm can be a realist as well.
I understand, that unless you go completely native there is a need for some introduced plants in your gardens.
My yard has a few perennials that originate from across the oceans.
Mums, anemones, scabosia, peonies, roses and a few others.
However, the bulk of my perennials are indeed native.
Most annuals that we buy are introduced species as well, but serve a purpose.
Not just to please our need for color, but they also offer plenty to our pollinators an some flowering annuals like cosmos, offer seed for certain birds like American goldfinches.
This time of year, bees are very busy.
Butterflies need food, especially monarchs (Where are they) as they migrate south.Hummingbirds are always looking for a meal, and right now many flowers in my yard help to fatten them up.
Not just the nectar, but the insects they attract also provide protein meals for all hummers and other birds.
If I could pick only one flower to feed hummers with, it would be the red salvia.
They bloom from spring to killing frost.
Perennial natives to Brazil, red salvia grows as an annual for most of us.
(Protected, it should survive the deep south winters.)
Yet, it continues to grow and bloom from the day it leaves the garden center to killing frosts.
This time of year, salvia is at its best as long as you have cared for it all season.
I still have hummers for a few more days, and they are feeding more in the flowers than the feeders right now.
Red salvia is every where in my yard.
Hummers also enjoy the Black and Blue salvia as well.
Blue salvia is a bumble bee favorite too.
Native tall phlox dot my yard in various colors (some are still in bloom), and these too offer food for hummers, butterflies and bees.
Native asters and Agastache (hyssop) offer food for nectar feeders as well.
I allow Liatris, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, and others to go to seed. After they have feed pollinators, they now feed many species of seed eating birds.
Leave sunflowers stalks up and birds find the seed heads.
I can live with some dead looking vegetation for a time, can't you?
Native grasses, like Panicums, Muhlenbergia, Sorgastrum, and others offer wonderful color, texture., as well as host food for several butterflies
They also offer protection and food for wildlife.
Marigolds look wonderful right now.
Maybe give it some thought for next year to start a fall crop of these colorful annuals from Mexico.
Plant some seeds in mid summer so you have a fresh batch for pots and beds, if yours get to scraggly.
Marigolds can handle wet feet from time to time, where many annuals drown.
Again, proper care for your annuals and they should look good all season.
(Maximilian Helianthus and Panicum cloud 9)
Work on color combinations that work for you.
A rust/orange color mum with a blue scabosia makes for a striking contrast (pictured below).
And scaboaia will bloom all season if you allow it to do so.
Perennial Helianthus and Heliopsis can grow tall and look wonderful against a house, with shrubs or grasses.
The vivid yellow is a beautiful contrast with the tall growing Black and Blue salvias (Z-7)
Keeping tall phlox groomed, allows for several smaller side shoots to continue the flower parade as well. In my case, the deer usually trim things for me.
Where most perennials have a set blooming season.
Some will continue to flower if you allow and encourage them to do so.
For a certain time frame, I deadhead Coreopsis, Coneflowers, Rudbeckia and Gaillardia.
This allows these perennials to continue blooming.
More flowers, more eye appeal and more pollinators.
Eventually leaving seed heads and stalks for the birds to feast on.
Agastache (right), nepeta and other plants will give you a second and third bloom if you care for them.
An established hibiscus can bloom for a good 2 months or more.
I have a couple that are still looking mighty fine and will continue for a while to come.
If you don't mind digging up bulbs every fall, canna and dahlia offer a rainbow of flower color and canna offers some cultivars with attractive, colorful foliage.
Native bushes offer colorful fruits, foliage and sometimes bark.
Berries may be white, red, blue, to black.
Fall foliage like 'Viburnum trilobum' (highbush cranberry) offers a bright scarlet color foliage for fall and the fruits last may well into winter.
Dogwood species can offer red or yellow colored bark, adding to to beauty of your yard and gardens.
Don't give up now.
Don't stop gardening because the calendar says it is Autumn
For me, the cooler days make for the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and the beauty that God has given us.
Garden days are numbered for many of us this time of year.
Life is to short as it is.
Enjoy the moments you have.
You will know when it is time to put your gardens to bed.
It may be a bit at a time, but not now.
There is so much beauty to enjoy right now, for most of us.
Yes, I understand that things are different in the Great White North.
Some have already had killing frosts.
But you too, can plan ahead.
Mums, hardy asters and even anemones like the September Charm pictured (below) in my yard is still blooming and will for you as well.
A side Bar:
All the pictures shown were taken in my yard this past week.
My yard is far from perfect.
Far from what I wish it could look like.
I have my share of failures and issues.
Frustrating as that can be, learning is an on going process.
I enjoy my little corner of the world and the wildlife it attracts, often yearning for more.
I like the colors, the activity the in insects, birds and small mammals provide.
Nature, Life, Love.............
It is everywhere you look.
Well, it's time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
And Don't Forget Your Autumn Favorites.
Perseverance is a great element of success.
If you only knock long enough at the gate,
you are sure to wake up somebody.
Hear the knock?
Open the door to eternal life.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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