31 October 2011

October 2011 Flowers In The House

Indoor flowers on the last Monday of the month.
No corn or corny-copia on the front door, so what does one do for the holiday season? Why not join the Flowers In The House gang.

There were a few zinnias and marigolds left in the garden after the cold storm this weekend. Fortunately, after last night's freeze I could still harvest something and will enjoy them for a few more days indoors. This samples the bounty of peppers and flowers that were brought in Sunday.

Along with my obviously contrived contribution, find other garden bloggers' Halloween Flowers In The House at the blog Small But Charming.

23 October 2011

Act II - Autumn

Many of my perennials begin in the warmth of spring with a vibrant burst of life, only to slowly give up in our notoriously hot and humid Washington summers. In August, the plants are as tired of the heat as I am of trying to care for them.

The garden comes back to life for one brief final fling when the nights cool and the days shorten. The steam-heat-loving fungal diseases disappear, as do many of the crawling and chomping beasties. Several plants are now on their encore performance prior to the final act of frost, and some are surprising. I like good surprises.

The miniature rose bush [2011.05.29] succumbed to black spot while I was away for two weeks in September. I came home to a barren cluster of stems with no vegetation or buds. Now it bravely blooms again, although I don't know how with stems devoid of leaves. I think I see a few new fresh shoots with leaves erupting.

Cardoon plants (Cynara cardunculus) were given to me this spring and did nothing all summer after being planted in the hot garden where the infamous octopus hollyhocks were removed. The future colossuses (colossi?) valiantly struggled through their first summer and now look like they are loving life.

The self-reliant white nicotiana [2009.07.09] annuals bloom through spring and most of the summer. After seed pods set, the flowers stop and there is little rebloom even with deadheading. There is a slow decline until I eventually put them out (rip them out) of their misery. The seeds are scattered and come back next year. In fall, some of the roots left in the ground erupt into a huge clump of leaves. Some of these will slumber through winter and wake up in the spring with a big head start on the sprouting seeds.

Fall blooming iris? The bearded iris Clarence [2011.05.03] must have heard me complaining that he took two years to bloom, so now he's making up for lost time. There is a lonely stem of baby iris buds reaching up. I hope they can open before frost. Do bearded iris bloom in the fall in addition to the spring? I guess so.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia, zinnia, salvia, marigold
  • Harvested: 2 Anaheim pepper, 1 tomato

14 October 2011

And It Goes With...

I am not known as a gardener that plans to match colors in blooms. For the first time this year, however, I began actually thinking about colors of adjacent plants. I believe it started last year when I noticed some green hostas with lime green trim ended up next to a yellow hosta, slightly greenish oak leaf hydrangea blooms, and a lime green coleus - purely accidental.

This year I planted that lime green coleus with dark maroon spots near some maroon heuchera, and planted purple zinnia mixed in with yellow zinnia. I had a vision of the results, although the visions did not quite turn out.

First, the purple zinnias did not germinate as well as the yellow. Second, the purples were a bit taller. If you are looking for pictures, you are out of luck. Third, my vision was blown away with hurricane Irene.

I do, however, have a few unplanned shows of purple - yellow combinations in the garden. First, those canary yellow zinnias were not blown over in the front garden, and ended up putting on a show. They contrast with the purple New England asters. The asters are about past their prime today, but the zinnias go on.

In the same garden, the cooler-loving purple May Night salvia has sprung back to life as it usually does after a hot summer. At its feet, the self-seeding, late maturing Mexican zinnias are now exploding in a riot of yellow. Both are coming into prime at the same time.

So even though the planted color combinations failed to materialize this year, the unplanned ones were just as spectacular as those in my vision.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, mexican zinnia, salvia, zinnia, acidanthra
  • 2-week harvested: 10 Anaheim pepper, 2 tomatoes