With the days getting shorter and cooler, we are harvesting the last of the summer herbs, squash, eggplant, and cucumbers. But autumn is also here in the form of ripening grapes, apples, and dogwood fruit.
|The apple tree is an unknown variety that has been growing next to the house for decades. This is the first year that we've had an adequate amount of summer rain for the tree to produce apples that are large enough to cook with.|
|The dogwood fruits are ripening and I've been experimenting with them in different recipes. The fruit is creamy, the seeds are easily removed, and the flavor is mild, sweet, almost reminiscent of mango.|
|We had some early grapes a couple of weeks ago but the birds made quick work of them. We are eagerly awaiting these to ripen to a deep purple.|
The stars of the late summer garden are the Sweet Autumn clematis, Autumn Joy sedum, tall phlox and evening primrose, and Japanese anemones.
|Sweet Autumn is fragrant, late blooming clematis. It forms a delicate backdrop for the Rose of Sharon. In front, basil (blooming white in the left front) and spikes of sage add dimension to this corner of the herb garden.|
|The low growing burgundy chrysanthemums contrast perfectly with the pearlescent pale pink anemones.|
|Planted en masse, the anemones float delicate blossoms across the front of the perennial bed where peonies held court in the spring.|
The purple cranesbill continues to make a statement. Midsummer, when the plants became leggy and spindly, we trimmed them back by more than half. They responded with enthusiastic growth and a cap of shiny dark green foliage is covered with rich purple blossoms that contrast perfectly with the anemones and evening primrose.
|We had not planned to prune the cranesbill back so hard, but in retrospect, it was the best thing we could have done.|
|Yellow evening primrose and purple cranesbill.|
Our roses are still blooming with enthusiasm - we're hoping to be able to bring some award winning blooms to the rose show this weekend. We stopped deadheading the rugosas and the resulting rose hips are as colorful as the flowers.
|Top Row: Pretty Lady, John F. Kennedy, Sea Foam; Middle Row: Mother of Pearl, Lady Elsie May, Grandma's Blessing; Bottom Row: Blushing Knock-Out, Rose hip of R. rugosa "Rubra"|
The Rose of Sharon shrubs have been blooming since mid August and remain covered with blossoms and buds. The coneflowers, hardy hibiscus and balloon flowers are winding down, but still manage to hold their own in terms of late summer color.
|Many of the coneflower blossoms are travel weary, but they still brighten the perennial beds.|
|This ruby throated white Rose of Sharon has been blooming for weeks and has never been so heavily festooned with blossoms.|
|This double rose blooms of this Rose of Sharon have deep burgundy throats.|
|Balloon flowers, phlox, and the occasional coneflower in the right perennial bed.|
|The magenta of these white and magenta tall phlox is echoed in the spirea.|
|The lavender phlox are sweetly fragrant. This year, all of the phlox have produced thick masses of flowers on reasonably strong stems that withstood the winds and rain of the hurricane.|
|The blue mist shrub "Snow Fairy", Caryopteris dvaricata, has variegated foliage that makes a striking contrast to the dark glossy green peonies, the dark red blooms of Betty Prior, and the burgundy barberries it is planted with.|
|The gracefully curved stamens give the delicate amethyst blossoms remind me of butterflies.|
|The blossoms of the Pee Gee hydrangea open white and then gradually take on a pinkish green and then pink hue.|
|The blooms eventually become a peachy bronze and will hold this color when dried for wreaths or dried arrangements.|
|The kitchen garden on the deck provide herbs, vegetables, and plenty of blooms for cutting. The hollyhock roots have grown into sturdy plants that will hopefully bloom against the rails next summer.|
|The water garden is also showing its fall colors in the form of cat tails and water mint, which attracts bees and dragonflies.|
This week, the hostas in the blueberry garden and secret garden are all blooming for the second time this summer. These had bloomed in July (see the July GBBD photos here) and we trimmed the flower spikes back, which we usually do. We were amazed to see them send up new scapes over the past two weeks.
|Along the border of the blueberry garden angled under a tall pine, these hostas bloomed in July and are blooming again now.|
|This is the large fragrant hosta that anchors the "secret garden". It's also blooming for the second time this summer.|
|Usually when plants re-bloom unexpectedly, the flowers are sparse. Not so with the hostas.|
The spirea is also blooming again, and I can't even credit pruning for this. In the photo below, you can see the dried flower heads from the earlier bloom. I decided to leave them to provide some textural interest over the fall and winter.
I don't have mich experience with spirea but we planted this shrub last spring. We had pulled out the Asiatic lilies from this corner of the perennial bed because the red lily leaf beetles were almost impossible to control. We chose this spirea for its color and to provide some height and contrast for the penstemon and tall phlox.that also grow in this part of the bed.
From a small shrub in a gallon pot, it has grown four feet wide and more than three feet high, and has proven to be the perfect choice for this corner. Since planting it, I have learned that like buddleia, heavily pruning it back in the spring should result in thicker growth and more prolific blooms (hard to imagine after the way it was covered in blooms earlier in the season).
Pruning again after the spring bloom gives a second generous bloom this time of year, although we didn't prune and are still enjoying late summer color. We'll definitely prune it back in the spring, and perhaps split the clump and transplant some of the stems to the other side of the bed as well.
One of my "weed" books lists malvas including this Zebrina (Malva sylvestris) as potentially invasive weeds. Yes, they do self sow liberally, but I've also had great luck getting them to grow in large clumps where I want them. They resemble their cousins, the hollyhocks and their height adds color in the late summer to the back borders in the perennial and cottage gardens.
The boughs of our pine trees are weighed down with pine cones. The beauty of the telephoto lens is the ability to see the green seed pods in exquisite detail.
|Young, still green pine cones of the Douglas Fir.|
|Young, still green pine cones of the Norway Spruce|
|The dark green leaves of the Virginia Creeper camouflage an otherwise unattractive length of chain link fence and the berries, which turn dark purple this time of year, attract many birds to the yard.|
May Dream Gardens for links to other bloggers posting what's blooming for the monthly Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.