My mid-September garden is one of celebration - it's as if all of the plants are breathing a sigh of relief, exclaiming 'we survived August!' and making new plans. Even the trees are getting in on the act. I noticed this week something that is quite exciting: my bald cypresses are getting knees! I find this pretty damned exciting. According to this site:
"Knees" are present in both pondcypress and baldcypress root systems when they are growing in water. Cypress "knees," or pneumatophores, are cone-shaped extensions of the root system protruding from the ground. Pneumatophores are thought to function as the trees' means of obtaining oxygen for the roots during flooded conditions. Baldcypress and pondcypress are "Trees with knees."
I'll need to look into this a bit more - especially the part about knees only being associated with cypresses growing in water. Mine definitely are not - but then, I've also seen other cypresses with knees that weren't immersed in water. My cypress 'knee' is just a tiny one right now - it'll be fun to watch it grow.
Otherwise - the garden is coming out of a heat and drought-induced daze: the salvias are blooming like crazy (still the summer bloomers - the fall-blooming salvias are yet to bloom), the roses are putting out fresh growth and new buds, other plants that took advantage of the heat (wild morning glories, pokeweed) are either covering things they shouldn't (but blooming away so I've decided to forgive them) or are setting fruit (the red clusters of berries on the 12' sumac), and a handful of satsumas and one Meyer's lemon look like my tropical 'crop' for the season. The thai ginger is blooming like crazy (Kim - I'm with you on the whole 'cute' thing - at first this ginger bugged me, but then I noticed that it thrived in the heat and the flowers were lasting forever) and the mexican sunflowers are brightening up the area just outside of my front gate (and are covered in swallowtails). Then there's Veronica spicata 'Fairtale' and 'Karley Rose' fountain grass (Pennistum orientale 'Karley Rose') and the lowquat (which is flowering for the first time this year) and...
Random garden thoughts:
- I don't like the encore azaleas. I have two of the bright (bright) pink ones, and I don't enjoy that color much in the spring, and I definitely don't like it in the fall. I'll keep them (I'm a sap) - but I'll be happier when the hydrangeas planted around them sort of drown them out in green foliage. Anyway, perhaps I'm a traditionalist: I like my azaleas blooming in the springtime.
- My garden is not a safe place, and I'm not talking about the copperheads. The squirrels have an aerial roadway - an autobahn of sorts - that starts over at the large southern magnolia and continues through the upper branches of a river birch and several bald cypresses and ends in the live oaks. The squirrels are grabbing the seed pods from the magnolia and are carrying them over to the live oaks via this aerial autobahn, and let's just say that sometimes they're in a rush and they drop them. Ouch.
- If I'm a deliquent gardener during the month of August (which I almost always am), some of the vines tend to take over. Even with it being a very dry season (we're still down 12 inches of rain for the year) the amount of biomass generated in my garden is pretty awe-inspiring. The cinnamon (aka air potato) vine which is invasive as hell in these parts has taken over my front fence (and the large ash tree) - and is pretty much at war with the equally aggressive blue trumpet vine (Thunbergia laurifolia), the latter of which won't be blooming for a few more weeks yet. They're taking over the turk's cap - but I don't particularly mind because they've covered a tall wooden fence and it makes the garden look lush and green and a little wild. Everybody stops and asks about them, and I've given enough 'potatoes' away to give kudzu a run for it's money if they all get planted.
- I'm really hoping that my satsuma does well in the ground. When I lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a few years a friend's neighbor had a gorgeous and huge satsuma - and when frosts were predicted (which was fortunately infrequent) they would have satsuma warming parties and their friends would come over and help tend a small bonfire in order to keep the satsuma warm. Perhaps this winter I'll need to have my own satsuma warming party.
Oh, and then there are the lingering chocolate brown blooms of the oakleaf hydrangea (I think they're beautiful)...and not to forget the the purple clusters of flowers of Joe-Pye weed. Oh! There's also the flowers of the tender foxglove - that reseeded from a plant that didn't overwinter and was thrown on a pile of plant debris. All around the edges of the pile, chinese foxglove popped up - what a wonderful surprise. More much appreciated wildness.