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Late Summer Gardens

Friday, August 26, 2011

I know there are a lot of you who'd like to have a look at our place, after hanging out with me for so many years. Well, I'm going to give you a virtual garden tour. Mind you, these photos are a few weeks old; the daylilies are distant memories on blackened stalks right now. But those hollow-but-strong stalks are excellent to take along as spiderweb catchers when we walk the late summer trails. Super light, strong, and with a multi-pronged end to catch the webs. Much better than letting them ruin your glasses. I've lost two pairs of lenses to the abrasive silica in spiderwebs!
Margaret gave me this one for my birthday a few years ago. Mmm. I love it.

My gardens are riotous and somewhat messy. Some plants have gotten very large and crowded out others. They desperately need me to get in there and divide and thin and in some cases conquer. This has yet to happen. So what you're seeing is a Darwinian struggle in full color.

This coneflower has been fighting with a magenta aster for years. I think the aster's winning. Its strategy is to grow tall then flop heavily all over the coneflower.
I can have quite a bit more control in my containers. There, weeds aren't an issue, and I can pick who lives with whom.

Coleus, lemon verbena, bicolored lime and raspberry petunias, and Lophospermum "Grand Cascade." Love it. These are huuuuge containers, the biggest pots you can buy. Needless to say I buy three cubic yard bales of Pro-Mix each season for all the containers.

This one has some Million Bells petunias (Callibrachoa) in it, Tequila Sunrise flavor. Hummingbirds like them.

The purple beauty to the left is my Plant of the Year, Duranta erecta. It's a tropical, sometimes called Pigeonberry. South American, I believe, but an introduced pest in Australia. Well, it's an introduced joy in my garden. Small lightly fragrant purple flowers, picotee-edged in white. They smell just like heliotrope, only lighter. Silver-spotted skippers are mad for them. This plant is never without a SSSK.

Though pigeonberry is a vine in nature, I'm growing mine as a standard. Wish I could claim credit, but I bought it that way. It has grown like mad, and I've made multiple cuttings and already given some away. Love it! It remains to be seen how it will do over the winter in the greenhouse. This is why I've taken cuttings...

Another tropical I adore is this little Cuphea, or cigar plant. The hummingbirds work it over all day long, and with hundreds of flowers per plant, you can watch the birds work at leisure, because it seems they try to hit almost every one.  The plant's tough as nails, drought tolerant and just plain fun.

More gardens anon.


Really beautiful. Makes me long for home and lush greenery. Enjoy your garden.

Come visit & follow . . .

Gorgeous garden! I giggled reading about the flower battles you have going on, my nasturtiums are trying really, really hard to overtake my roses.

I did not know spider webs scratched glasses, no wonder my glases are scraped up, mystery solved! I am overrun with webs, it's driving me crazy. I keep forgeting to put my arm or something in front of my face and inevitably get "webbed".
Such a lovely myriad of flowers you have!

Georgeous garden. Definitely for the birds, lizards, toads, bugs and other of God's creatures.

But when you mentioned "invasive" my ears pricked up. I spend a lot of time as a volunteer trying to keep invasives from breaking up food webs by making plants and animals go extinct as they become monocultures or a mix with other invasives.

It's very important to make sure a plant is not listed as an invasive for your area and will not be able to become an invasive. (

Studies are showing that even native plants, when grown outside their native range, can become invasive. A good example is Phragmites, which once grew as part of a mix of native grasses but which now is a mega invasive plant over most of the coastal US. We just paid for an airplane to spray chemicals on it - another contraversial activity - in order to rehab a large pond that used to be useful to ducks, geese, waders, fish and crabs. It's believed that the invasive version of Phragmites was brought in from another country. It was a problem at Plum Island NWR on the east coastwhen I volunteerd there.

For this reason, we are trying to get seeds from within 50 miles of Anahuac NWR to rebuild a native prairie.

I too did not realize the spideyweb glass scratch connection.

This explains much.

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