After several days of rather cool and wet weather; it actually snowed a couple of inches day before yesterday a few miles south of us; the sun graced us today and it was warm and lovely outside.
I was able to finally grab my camera and go out to the garden to get pictures of the flower beds in their last flush of late summer glory. We have snow in the forecast for the start of the work week, so my flowers may soon be a memory if I don't preserve them with my camera.
The Ligularia put up a magnificent bloom spike with a half dozen large sunflower-like flowers. However the recent wind and rain beat them to tatters so I didn't bother taking a picture. The veronica is so eager to grow it has worked its way over the sidewalk. I will try to get down and trim it back tomorrow. But I'm very happy that the shredded bark mulch has kept the weeds at bay and there are very few weeds.
Now for the good part. The crabapple trees are hanging with red jewel-like crabapples. I think they need just a few more days to get ripe, but I didn't try one. I may do that tomorrow. They are just slightly smaller than a ping-pong ball but they make good eating, if you like a tart apple. I'd like to pick a bag-full before the frost gets to them. A half cupful is a great snack, and you can't get any healthier or environmentally friendly. It's the 100 foot diet, or as the crow flies, the 25 foot diet.
Moving down the bed the sage is four feet tall and blooming at the last foot of the stems. It looks rather disorganized and untidy, but the bees love it, so I've left it.
Here you can see the lavender stems sprawling in all directions, and further down the row the echinacea blossoms, the bright red geraniums at ground level and small but bright yellow blossoms of the yellow potentilla that stands at the back of this bed.
And here, a closeup of the echinaceas or coneflowers, which have just outdone themselves this year. The stems are just over three feet (one meter) tall, each plant has about half a dozen blossoms and each blossom would be saucer sized if it were flattened. I will look for some of the coloured ones next spring. They come in an astonishing range of colours but despite being expensive seem to fly off the shelves as quickly as they arrive. And it takes them two seasons to acclimate. These bloomed half-heartedly last year and half of those I planted died.
The roses, both red and yellow, have bloomed all season, despite my fears that they both might have been winter killed. I didn't get pictures of them today, but both have about eight or ten blossoms in various stages, from opening bud to fully open flower.
In the bed at the outside edge of the walkway the wolf willows have done well this year, after being shaped and pruned last year. The oxeye daisy that I thought might have been drowned during our spring thaw, when that bed was underwater for two weeks, came out none the worse for wear and is putting on a cheerfully spectacular display. This is from a single plant I stuck in the ground two springs ago.
Turning around and walking back up the sidewalk the late-blooming pink potentilla is lovely, and the cornus alba (red osier dogwood) has grown to a height of eight feet (2.4 meters) since it was planted as a 3 foot (.9 meter) stick last May.
Otherwise most of the shaded garden is not much to write home about. The slugs have been snacking on the hostas. The astilbes and coral bells have bloomed and gone to sleep. Only the fern and bergenia look perky.
In the Zen garden the sedums around the standing stone continue their march through a seasonal flourish of colour.
And soon a blanket of snow will cover it all. I am a gardner who follows the "Leave the stems and seed heads in the garden over winter" philosophy. When we first came here the only birds we saw were pigeons and seagulls.
With the garden, small birds come to feed on the insects and the seed heads. Warblers, wax-wings, chickadees, sparrows, robins. Slugs may eat holes in my hostas, but in turn they make a fine meal for a bird. I cured the out-of-control aphid problem by taking out the plants which were not getting enough light to thrive (and thus were unhealthy) and replaced them with plants which like deep shade, and we have no aphid problem now.
Anyway, thank you for touring my garden with me. It is one of my great pleasures.