Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September's Garden: Old Friends Show Up Late

Some things are worth waiting for. When it comes to the products of the natural world, we always have to wait, whether the results are judged worthy or not. And in a season as dry as the summer that just concluded, we are going to wait a little longer. 
         With this Hollyhock, at top, the waiting has just begun. I bought and planted it in August, so we'll have to wait until next year to see if the plant develops those long flower spikes the plant is known for. They are rumored to grow as high as nine feet tall, and varieties with red flowers are said to attract butterflies and even hummingbirds. And I have noticed some attention from the bees, who come to visit us, in considerable numbers, every day. Given this year's far from ideal conditions, I am glad the plant is still with us.
The next plant down is a Liriope, a plant I've grown fond of because it blossoms in August, when not a lot of other perennials do. Here's a description from the Missouri Botanical Garden:
"Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile soils in part shade. Tolerates wide range of light." It's that tolerance I'm particularly fond of. I've grown them in shady spots, and less shady spots, in both the side of the house and the back of the house gardens. They grow fuller every year, put up with competition from groundcovers like Vinca Minor and are not particularly aggressive. A second Liriope with white flowers is shown below.
The next two photos are the late-blooming anemone plants. The anemone with a delicate light pink blossom started in late July this year and is no longer in flower. The dark pink blossoms (below, left), shown here have been my favorite September performer for several years. They're just peaking now. I don't remember the white-flower variety (above) blossoming so late in the past. I'll enjoy seeing it in October.
                    I have two examples of asters too. One, with red flowers, grows much taller. The purple flowered plant grows thick and stays low. Asters are regarded as full sun plants, but they have grown and blossomed well for us in partial shade conditions. The bees, contending with a low-rain summer, which robbed some flowers of their usual supply of nectar, have declared themselves much enamored of these end of summer plant, particularly the red-flowering plant. 
                    The final photo shows one of our knockout roses. A true ever-bloomer, this plant prefers late summer to May and June. It develops new buds through October, and in mild winters, we have still had roses in December.