We had some heavy rains this week, 2” one day in less than an hour, but the shorter days and lower angle of the sun are signaling the garden to get ready for fall. The roses are beefing up for their fall display, the late blooming perennials are showing color, and the annuals are pumping out flowers in great earnest. Most of the vegetables have wound down but a few, like the winter squash, are just coming into their own.
The lovely purple petals with the bright yellow centers of New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) ‘Purple Dome’ always excite me. They look fabulous when they bloom with goldenrod but this year they didn’t do so in my garden. Too bad, it’s a winning combination.
Another aster, a dwarf New York aster (Aster novi-belgii) is showing color and creates a pretty picture with the dwarf Japanese red barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea) ‘Crimson Pygmy’, annual ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum), and red moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) in the background.
The iceplants (Delosperma cooperi) have begun to bloom again after a summer’s rest. The magenta color is a knock out with gray artemisia or lamb’s ear.
The subtler coloring of the ‘Mesa Verde’ creates a different look in another border.
The white border always has a certain sereneness perhaps because the textures and forms of the plants play a larger role in creating interest. In one parterre variegated boxleaf euonymus (Euonymus japonica microphylla variegata), variegated turflily (Liriope muscari variegata) lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina ‘Helen von Stein’), and white globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa ‘Cissy’) grow together in a interesting foursome.
A white Carpet rose is backed by white guara (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Swirling butterflies) and Boltonia (B. Boltonia asteroids ‘Snowbank’).
The flowers of the rose are lovely with their clear white petals in a double row.
I have several Carpet roses in my formal garden. They are disease resistant, low growing, and bloom in regular cycles throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The yellow Carpet rose is pretty with Coreopsis “Moonbean” and Bishop’s Weed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’).
A red Carpet rose make good a companion for Verbena ‘Homstead Purple’.
The head gardener is especially fond of his hardy banana plant. He planted a small one in my formal garden last summer and this is what it has grown to be.
The swallowtail butterflies have been visiting my garden frequently this week. The black ones are more prevalent.
But I have had a few yellow ones too.
Blooming in a shady part of my secret garden is this toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta ).
Climbing the arbor that was set up for roses is scarlet bean (Phaseolus coccineus ).
I planted them late because I had hoped the roses would cover the arbor and when the didn’t I planted the beans. They are a delightful surprise! The flowers are an intense scarlet and catch the eye even though they are quite small.
The pole beans are going great guns again after a battle with Mexican bean beetles and the second crop of zucchini has produced two beautiful fruits, but the summer squash plants look pitiful and the cucumbers have about given up the ghost.
The winter squash, however are really outdoing themselves and we have enough of them to feed an army. I am going to really expand my repertoire of squash recipes this fall!
We are expecting a week of much cooler temperatures and some rain so I am looking forward to some more changes in the garden as we get closer to fall and that wonderful nip in the air.