Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Scrappy End of Summer

Faded rudbeckia, survivors of last season's seed grown plants.

Swallowtail on the white buddleia; this was a frail plant from a local nursery's bargain table, bought in spring of '22; oddly enough, it survived the winter cold while my well-established magenta one was a casualty.

Several varieties of seed-grown Michaelmas daisies have self-sowed in a nearly invasive manner.


This geranium and a twin located farther along the porch railing have been in constant bloom. The planters were  gifted to me, products of the local produce and plant auction. When they arrived, the geraniums were surrounded by trailing verbena and greenery. I soon discovered that the 'filler plants' had been merely tipped out of nursery pots and crammed along-side, the root balls not down in the soil. I disinterred them and resettled the geraniums which have rewarded me with exuberant bloom.

Seed-grown zinnias, a variety called 'mini zins'. These were slow to start and reach a size for planting out. The leaves are tatty, but the small blooms lend color at the front door.

More zinnias, calendula, and pentas, new to me--displayed at the nursery as one to attract butterflies, which they have done. The pentas stand heat well and revive quickly after dead-heading; I will include them in next summer's planters.

Zoomed shot of a goldfinch happily feeding on coneflower seed heads.
 Coneflowers left last autumn for the delectation of birds seeded around the Knock-Out Roses nearly submerging them.

The heat wave finally broke on Sunday after Friday evening wind swept through leaving us with a sultry unsettled Saturday.
The wind took down many of the sunflowers already heavy-headed and leaning. 

From a distance some of the smaller sunflowers appear pretty, but closer inspection finds them tattered and past their former beauty. 

Tuesday was cool and overcast. I strolled around the dooryard [trailed by faithful old Willis-the-cat] noting the shabbiness of the various plantings, the veg garden already given a rough mowing, leaving only the rows of sweet potatoes and the sprawling vines of butternut squash.

Like the summer-weary gardens we of a certain age may retain some of our better features when viewed from a little distance, while closeups reveal the ravages of our years in wrinkles, blotches and straggly hair!

This Thursday morning was cool, 58 F. when I glanced at the outdoor temp indicator a bit before 8 a.m.
Our high for the day was 73--a 30 degree drop from last week's afternoon readings.

Our hummingbird visitors have diminished in the last several days. For weeks I've refilled two syrup feeders at least once a day; we've been sure of 8 hummers, possibly one or two more. 
The level of syrup in the feeders is decreasing slowly now; I've seen three birds at a time, no males. 
It seems very early for a fall migration to begin.

I began tidying the greenhouse today, discarding a few overgrown seedlings that didn't make it to the garden; I gathered up plastic containers too flimsy to keep, yanked up coarse grass growing beneath the benches.  Half a dozen each of lavender and thyme plants were languishing in starter pots. I'm not sure where they should go as the spots designated for these haven't proved hospitable for over-wintering. 
The dozen plants have been tucked into larger pots with fresh soil mix and ranged along the back of a bench. It will be interesting to see if Willis decides to take up napping on the newly cleared and swept bench, shoving the pots about to his pleasure.

A gift to myself yesterday was a dozen pansy plants from my favorite nursery in the South Fork community. Those have been divided into two large shallow pots and set alongside the front steps. I hope these will behave as others have and survive frost and cold to rebloom during the winter months. 

We'll have warm days in the next few weeks, the A/C will be again turned on; still, for me the turning of the calendar page to September is the beginning of autumn although the equinox is several weeks away.


  1. We always look forward to your blogs

  2. I hope your pansies do well. Mine have self-seeded but seem to have reverted to Johnny-Jump-Ups, with much smaller blooms. My flowerbeds look very messy right now and some things got cut back when my "gardeners" (adult children) came by on Friday. Slowly perennials are cut down and I start to plan for next year. I'm pleased that the very hot weather seems to have passed. This coming week I hope to have energy to start Fall cleaning.
    Granny M