As usual, I’m a day late for September Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but I have good reasons. I had garden coaching clients in Tulsa and Edmond this week. I was also on babysitting duty yesterday, and you know Little Bit comes even before flowers.
Not much change
Things haven’t changed that much since August GBBD, except the weather is a little more cooperative. It isn’t quite as hot–we’re only in the 90s now–and the nights are cooler. Each morning when I get up at 6:00 a.m., when it’s 66°F, I open the back French doors and listen to the night creatures still singing.
The days are growing shorter.
I can see a change in the color of the ornamental grasses as they have less light, and I’m starting to see a few more spiders. Hello, Green Lynx spider.
I’m still waiting on the Monarchs to make their large move, and I’m ready with milkweed and nectar flowers. Butterflies have been fewer, in general, this year. The skippers and other small butterflies have done well, and because I grow citrus trees in pots, I have a lot of Giant Swallowtails, but not many others. I blame their scarcity on the drought and hot weather.
It may not look like much, but Heliotropium arborescens ‘Amaretto’ is one new success in my annual plantings this year. I will take cuttings soon because I love this plant, and I haven’t found where you can grow it from seed. I placed the heliotrope right outside my kitchen door. Its almond fragrance comes into play in the evening along with Mirabilis jalapa ‘Salmon Sunset’ four o’clocks. I promised seed for the four o’clocks to a few people who messaged me on Instagram, but the four o’clocks continue to flower. Once they start, they don’t stop until frost. The scent of these two flowers is heady and beautiful.
A cheer for bright flowers
Bright flowers can handle our hot sun, and many keep on flowering all the way through frost. I love zinnias, salvias, Mexican sunflowers, and others that keep the party going even when temperatures are at 103°.
Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses.
You must use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to keep anything flowering in temperatures like this year’s heat. We also began watering at night to cut down on water evaporation. My soaker hoses are rotting in the cutting garden–we patched them at least nine times–so we’re switching to Netafim drip hosing this winter or early spring before I plant out more seeds. Irrigating this way saves water and money and sends the water right to plant roots. It also cuts down on plant diseases.
Asters are beginning to flower.
I know I write about ‘Bluebird’ aster a lot, but I also truly love ‘Hella Lacy’ and ‘September Ruby.’ The latter two flower earlier, and they are just getting started. They also grow shorter and don’t have to be staked. ‘Bluebird’ gets tall even when I chop it in spring. They also have bigger flowers. ‘Hella Lacy’ was found by Allen Lacy in his garden, and he named it after his wife. I think of him and Russell Studebaker every time it blooms. Russell gave it to me several years before he died, and I treasure it. ‘Hella Lacy’ has now moved around in the garden here and there. She is bright and beautiful. ‘September Ruby‘ is much shorter and has a more orange center, and I treasure it too.
Salvias are excellent bloomers.
In addition to the two salvias above, I have a lot of ‘Indigo Blue Spires’ and ‘Victoria Blue’ salvia in my garden right now. Usually, the Mexcian bush sage is flowering by now, but not this year. Neither is the pink muhly. Maybe they will arrive and stay for October 15.
The roses are beautiful up close, but I don’t have many flowers this year. After all, the roses had to fight off Japanese beetles. I may not plant any new roses next year. I’m disappointed that the first two flower cycles were nearly destroyed by the insects. Still, we can enjoy September closeups.
Okay, that’s it for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I hope you’re enjoying our warm but not excruciating weather for fall so far. It will be cold before we know it.
If you want to listen to our podcast this week, we talk about new information on Monarchs, among other things. Sign up for our Substack newsletter. It’s fun to read.