Rounding up the strays: Wrapping up summer

Making friends with butterflies

Rounding up the stray photos from the garden this summer, as it heads to a close. Already, here in western NC, we have had nights cool enough to justify using the fireplace (no hardship there!) We had several days of rain last week, right after we sunk close to 20 (?) posts for that retaining wall so with that part at least, we made it in the nick of time. Phew!

Salvia and bee 2

Salvia and bee

And now the skies are a brilliant blue, no humidity, golden sunlight…it’s lovely, as September usually is.

that golden september light

We’re 5 months in our new home now, hard to believe, and the garden and I are finally starting to get to know each other. It’s been too crazy here to do so until now. I liken it to trying to get to know a stranger while you’re both escaping a burning building, versus sitting down to a nice cup of tea together. To continue that lame analogy, the garden and I are finally having that tea and conversation.


tiger lily bulbil

There has been a little bit of propagation still going on, for example, I planted up some tigerlily bulbils recently. Some went into pots and some straight into the garden and I’m going to see which does best. I also ordered some bulbs for fall (mainly Narcissus and Allium since we have so many rodents here) and am trying to construct the last of the beds for spring before it gets too chilly. As I’m designing, I’m trying to think, “Where are the sweet peas going to go? What about the poppies?” I don’t want it to come January and then not have the beds prepared. This is important stuff! 😉

strawberry hill

purple mystery rose

red smith's parish

Not many roses, the odd bloom here and there. It’s been bleak in the rose department, but I expect that to change next spring. I hope.

zinnias and dahlias

dahlias and our little blue house

As for our house, I don’t think it will get painted this year, after all. Our painter seems to have dropped off the face of the earth and perhaps it’s for the best since it was quite a hefty sum to be forking out right now so I think we’ll have to live with the blue for a little longer. There are worse things!

sweet pea all lit up

blue larkspur

this year's violas

Many of the annuals I sowed earlier this season are still going strong, and some, like the Enfant de Nice carnations, are really perking up now that it’s cooler. We are rich with violas, and I can see that they’re already reseeding themselves throughout the garden. Yay! I have so many seeds collected from my annuals for freebies I send out with orders. I feel like a regular seed bank!

scabiosa zinnias

scabiosa zinnias2

However, the zinnias I grew this year, are quite frankly, the worst zinnias I’ve ever grown. Is that even possible to grow a bad zinnia? Apparently it is. Although they’re finally starting to look decent, all summer their blooms were paltry and sporadic and I’m only now seeing the fluffy scabiosa-like centers on a couple of them. Next year, I’m trying Benary’s Giant–I saw some growing in front of an antique store in Asheville and it was decided in that moment.

garden, september 2015

How are you wrapping up summer in your garden? Are you already making plans for spring?

Making friends with butterflies 2

PS: If you’d like a butterfly to sit on your finger, you can encourage him/her with a little marmalade. This Great Spangled Fritillary was “puddling” in our garden and climbed right onto my finger, had a sip, and then flew away.

PPS: Sadly, we recently said goodbye to our dear fishie friend, Klausie. He was an older gentleman, and lived a happy, healthy life. I’m glad he got to spend a little time here in our new home and in his giant tank-pond at the end. ♡

4 thoughts on “Rounding up the strays: Wrapping up summer

  1. It is hard to lose a little friend. I am sorry you lost little fishy. It’s been that kind of year for us, too. To answer your question, yes, I am planning next year’s garden. Anything bought or planted after August is always ‘for next year’. Phlox are waiting to get in the ground this week. They will be cut down, so all the glory will come next year. After August, the deer eat anything, including plants drenched in Liquid Fence, so, deer fencing is in my garden plans, maybe this year. There are a few roses in my mudroom waiting to go in the ground come spring. I’m already watching Northland Rosarium’s online list (way too early) to see what Carol adds for the 2016 season. I’m preparing a new rose bed in a neglected area of the garden. It’s getting chilly, but there’s enough work left to keep me warm. I would like to hibernate along with the garden and awake to life stirring again in the spring.

    1. Hello Andrea! I’m sorry you’re having one of those years, too. Sigh.
      It’s funny you mention phlox…I was just at Lowes last night and saw they had ‘Bright Eyes’ and I was *this close* to buying some for our garden for next spring. Now I’m wishing I had. That really stinks about your deer problems. We have deer here but I think our dog keeps them from venturing too close to our garden. Strange that the liquid fence isn’t even helping. You must grow the tastiest flowers. 😉 You’re not alone in eyeing up new roses. I almost bought some from High Country Roses the other day during their sale but I resisted. Wouldn’t that be nice if we could hibernate during winter? If only!

  2. I always feel like I have had a stroll through your garden as I look through your photos. What treat! Those tigerlilies!!

    Our garden has been all potted plants this summer, mostly herbs. Rosemary grows into HUGE bushes here. I’m trying my hand ad propagating lemongrass. I’m tired of buying stocks at the grocery for curry. It seems to be coming along nicely. 🙂

    What a lovely butterfly friend!

    1. Aren’t those tigerlilies amazing? I don’t usually go for those hot colors but these were just too irresistible. And that is just too nifty that you’re propagating lemongrass yourself. Awesome! Maybe you can give us some tips? 🙂

      Oh! And if you’re looking for something to do with all that rosemary, I recently started simmering sprigs of fresh rosemary, lemon slices and whole cloves on the stove in a pot of water and it makes the house smell soooo good.

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