The nights have taken a turn towards cool here and for the first time it feels like the tropical bed is showing signs of autumn. The winding down of the season is ok by me, but my fingers are crossed we don’t have a repeat of last year when a single 23F (-5C) night in mid October crushed all hopes for a mellow end to the season. Frost is inevitable, but a brutal freeze? Unnecessary.
The Tuesday view on this first week of October
This Tuesday as I again join up with Cathy at Words and Herbs, I’d like to also give a nod to Eliza and copy her idea of showing a flashback to the earlier days of this season. Everything looked so cute and tiny back in this last week of June.
The first Tuesday view. A few perennials making a show, but the only annuals visible are a flat of small orange zinnias, freshly planted out of their six-packs.
Things have grown since then and one of my favorite growers has been the annual burning bush (Kochia scoparia). One by one the individual plants in the seedling clumps I planted out are starting to color and I have to admit I like the look, even though the plants will go brown once they pass their peak of redness.
I love all these colors but last week the kochia at the lowest right of the clump was just at its peak. Only seven days later and it has browned, so I hope the rest of the clump doesn’t follow as quickly.
Sneaking up alongside the kochia is a new chrysanthemum seedling. I evicted nearly all the mums from this bed earlier in the year, but I guess this one was small enough to miss.
Not the greatest photo of it but a nice enough self-sown mum with small spoon shaped yellow petals.
Slightly less impressive are the late season flowers of ‘white frosted’ Japanese thistle. There’s not much to them, and some might mention the word “weedy”, but I’m hoping for seeds since the spring variegation on these is great and my only other plant of this perennial thistle died during our relentless May rains.
The less than impressive flowers of ‘White Frosted’ Japanese thistle (Cirsium japonicum).
There’s nothing less than impressive about the cannas and dahlias. I know I constantly show the same combos, but….
Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’ looking as variegated as ever alongside the deep red flowers of dahlia ‘Mathew Alen’. The purple cloud of Verbena bonariensis has been going strong all summer.
The path up through the center takes a little maneuvering to get through. The purple leaved cannas have pushed most everything out of their way, and the dahlias now sprawl across the path.
Dahlias and verbena up through the middle of the tropical garden.
The resident hummingbirds headed south a few weeks ago and with the exception of a few last stragglers migrating through the flowers have been left to the sleepy bumble bees of autumn. Monarch butterflies still stop in here and there, but it’s getting pretty quiet as things cool off.
Dahlia Sylvia seems to make a nice spot for a bumblebee’s afternoon nap.
Sleepy bumblebees kind of sum up how I feel about the garden these days. Maybe it’s allergies or lack of a good night’s sleep, but if you had to put me in camp grasshopper or camp ant I think I’m more of a grasshopper. I’ll enjoy the sun and last bits of warmth while they last, and just have to hope for the best when the axe of winter falls.