Monday, September 21, 2015

September Songs and a Couple of 'Pray-ers' in the Garden of Nature's Business

            September in the garden. The world still looks like summer, but it feels like change is in the air.
            A look at new arrivals prominently features the asters. Best in show is the red flowering plant (top photo) given to us a few years ago by a neighbor who had too many for the allotted space. This one took over the corner of the flower island (do islands have corners?) I allotted to it and now gets up high enough in the air so no competitor blocks its sunlight. We have some violet flowering asters out back as well, which have shown only the first signs of flowering so far; just as well to save some color for early next month,
            We also, as the photo shows, have some blue asters flowering in the front garden.
            My favorite September symphony is the dark pink variety of the late-flowering anemone, a really rich color (last photo down). It waits until this month to bloom -- though a flourishing, younger plant with a profusion of lighter pink blossoms has been going since late July. The flowers on that variety have all faded now, tough I see a second layer of buds (not at all like sharks' teeth) forming below the faded blossoms I've recently snipped off. I can hope, but it's hard to encourage perennials into a second bloom when the season has been so consistently dry. I don't ever expect to be watering in mid-September. We have a white flowering anemone too (photo above).
            I also don't expect such a run of warm summery days in the first couple weeks of the month that could at that point be confused with July. The difference is the days don't last so long, so the heat does not build up, and, happily, humidity was never very high.
            It turned cooler last weekend, which may keep some plants from fading so quickly. 
            We have a little jewel of pink chablis sedum (fifth photo) flowering this month, but its size has declined this year. Maybe I can something to improve the setting.
             We're getting color from the annuals as well. Some zinnias (orange blossom) which I grew from seed, a lengthy business, have with good timing begun flowering this month. They're considerably more robust than those bought from a nursery as seedlings this spring and planted in pots. I'm not sure I've proved anything, but zinnias are the one species that grow well here from seed. Most of my other attempts yield spindly little nothings that won't survive the first cold day.
            September morning-glories are a gift as well. We've only had a few this year, but one blossom (shown at left) caught the sunlight just right.
            September's 'couple of the month,' however, belong to the animal kingdom (if insects are animals). We have annual visits from significantly sized preying mantises. This year I found two of them playing piggyback while hanging from a butterfly bush (second photo from top).
            It's good to know nature has plans to keep us supplied with praying mantises, which prey on others of their phylum (unfortunately including butterflies), because she definitely does a good job providing us with an abundance of insects.