|OCTOBER In My SOUTHERN GARDEN|
Two weeks gone from the garden doesn’t seem like a lot, but two weeks out of the last four is a long time to be away. Today I took a stroll and took stock of what’s happening in these cooler days of autumn.
There are clouds of blue mistflower, Eupatorium coelestinum, standing tall and taking over the plants that have gone by. Even some that are struggling to the open sunlight are clothed in frilly blue. It’s time to do some more editing and let the more refined flowers into the sunlight.
Right now, we have a wild jumble. I do find it hard to pull out those princely plants with their blue tops, but their manners are more pirate-like than kingly. I think it has been reclassified to Conoclinium coelestinum but I still like to think of it as a eupatorium, a wild ageratum.
I harvested the end of the pepper crop. I love the pepper colors and squeeze in a few plants every year just so I can have those intense reds, greens, and yellows at the end of the season.
The edgeworthia buds (Edgeworthia chrysantha) are already starting to pull apart. We might have an early bloom from her. This is one of my most favorite shrubs. The intense sweet perfume fills the air from the tiniest yellow flowers. Moreover, she blooms in the winter in our climate, usually continuing from December to February.
The little clown faces of Torenia (Whishbone Flower) have opened again. Cutting the seed heads back a couple of weeks ago helped to stimulate more buds. I love the newer, larger flowers of the Summer Wave hybrids from Proven Winners. These cute little flowers for sun or shade are annuals. You can often find them as bedding plants or you can grow them from seed. They do very well in the shade. I especially love the ‘Summer Wave Amathyst’ and the ‘Summer Wave Blue’.
The lettuces I managed to transplant before I left are taking hold. I have a red-tipped leafy one, Red Sails, and a mesclun mix, both in tall ornamental pots. I tossed in a few radish seeds and they are up already. Broccoli and cauliflower plants are waiting patiently in their little pots for their permanent home.
One of the banana trees in our little group has blossomed and has set one wheel of bananas. Last year we had more rows. Once bananas set fruit, they die. Nevertheless, we usually don’t have to worry about running out of banana plants. They are prolific propagators and always send up little plants next to the mother plant.
Swamp sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius), asters, and toad lilies are more fall staples I can always rely on for color, if not sedate form. My garden this fall is nothing if not exuberant. Wild and wooly might best describe it. It’s time to get busy with shovels and trowels.
---Posted by Anne K Moore, October 13, 2008---
NASA Seeds in Space
"Plants vary in their heat stress tolerance, not only from species to species, but also from cultivar to cultivar. In addition, unusual seasons-fewer or more hot days than normal-will invariably affect results in your garden, as will extremely dry or humid conditions," Dr. H. Marc Cathey, with Linda Bellamy, Heat-zone Gardening, How to choose plants that thrive in your region’s warmest weather.