Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer to Fall

It's only mid-August I know but gardens operate on a slightly different calendar. Depending on one's zone and what you have planted, some of us are entering the Late summer/Early fall period. This is the season for perennial color from things like Caryopteris, Rudbeckias, Heleniums, Gaillardias and Hibiscus and in shady beds Begonias and Nicotianas. It's also the time for early fall perennials like Salvias, which start showing up in nurseries in great numbers (and varieties) and Toad lilies (Tricyrtis). These 'transition' seasons are more common in gardening than in many other parts of life, though of course for parents this is the transition from summer to kids back in school.
Today's photos reflect this transition season.

Golden Oregano. Although this an edible oregano, I just loved the color. I have it planted in a bed with some catmint, silver thyme and Lemon Balm.

Though its softer colors are less obvious in its bed, this Agastache 'Summer Glow' offers up charming butter yellow flowers much beloved by hummers and bees.

Hebe andersonii variegata. I love Hebes and this variegated species holds lots of interest, even before it blooms. Speaking of bees, Hebe flowers are near the top of the destination list for bees.

Hibiscus 'Cherie.' To quote Stevie Wonder "My Cherie Amour."

Deppea splendens. This South African shrub always makes people stop and go "What is that?" Burgundy bracts suspended on ultra-thin stems sport golden yellow tubular flowers. Fab.

Kalanchoe is a diverse and mysterious genus and one of its odder species is K. prolifera. San Marcos says of these Blooming Boxes "A fast growing and interesting succulent plant with 6+ feet tall typically unbranched stems holding foot long pinnately compound succulent green leaves in opposite pairs that have reddish purple colored petioles and leaf margins when grown in bright light." It may not be obvious from this photo but the leaves curl up into little open troughs. Fascinating.

Lepechinia hastata. This Pitcher sage as it's known, has the softest, feltiest leaves, whose woodsy aroma is quite intoxicating. And that's before the masses of burgundy flowers appear in the early fall.

To prove its diversity, here are two more completely different Kalanchoes. This familiar 'flapjack' type of Kalanchoe is a K. 'Fantastic.' It features highly decorative marbling on its leaves. The patterns change throughout the seasons, especially when cold weather appears.

This serrated, darkened leaf variety is Kalanchoe 'Elk Antlers.' A bit less dangerous than real elk antlers, something I can attest to, and of course a lovely chocolate brown.

Caryopteris 'Hint of Gold.' Though it hasn't begun blooming, this golden-leaved Caryopteris is already filling out. Their bluish-purple flowers are a magnet for butterflies.

I've shared photos of my Tecoma x smithii flowers before. This is an interesting shot, with the top blooms ablaze in the sun and the lower flowers showing a darker hue. This cluster almost looks like low hanging fruit.

My newest Hebe, H. hinerua. I was drawn to it because the foliage reminds me of conifers. It's a shorter species that is said to be native to New Zealand. It's a whipcord type but one with softer leaves that many whipcords.

Begonia Nonstop Deep Salmon. The Nonstop line of begonias is well named. Mine blooms over a 4-6 month period and the colors are, well ... WOW. The color is so rich that the camera can't completely capture all the detail.

And the winner is ... me! I took a chance ordering this Clerodendrum fragrans through the mail, not sure what would happen. But it's been robust from the beginning and though it's supposed to be a spring bloomer, it just put out two small clusters of these tiny rose-like blooms. Very fragrant!

As I mentioned, we're in the toad lily season. Here's a closeup of my Tricyrtis formosana 'Samurai.' Purple flowers are quite common among toad lilies, though this variety is prominently spotted.

Begonia 'Irene Nuss.' My two Irene Nuss plants were a little slow getting going this year - lack of spring sun perhaps - but they're kicking into blooming gear now. Love 'em, especially those red-backed scalloped leaves.

Begonia Angelwings type. I've learned not to give up on Begonias. My Angelwing looked crappy from November to July but now has burst forth with a nice crop of spotted leaves and its first pink flowers.

Fallopia japonica variegata. This mostly foliage plant offers some of the greatest contrasting colors of any plant you'll grow. Dark greens are offset by vivid whites in an ever changing Rorschach.

Though this shot of my Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) flower isn't in perfect focus, they're such a pretty flower I decided to include it. With its one-of-a-kind sarsaparilla scent it's a great fragrant plant for a part shade location.

Plectranthus fosteri aureus variegatus. So many Plectranthus, so little time ...

One last Begonia, B. 'Fanny Moser.' The appeal here is the midnight green foliage. Though the spots are less obvious, this is an Angelwing type.

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