Friday, September 27, 2013

September in the Garden of Good and Evil

Spanish moss I brought home from Savannah , GA this past August

September's full harvest moon kept vigil in the night sky.
Perched precariously atop colorful gourds, this cherub seems to be listening intently to something unknown.
Spanish moss hangs wistfully, as a memory of summer, off of a magnolia branch in my backyard and September's full harvest moon has come and gone. Another reminder that all of summer's frenetic activity in the garden is slowly giving way to fall's sleepy pace. Yet, there is still much to enjoy as I walk through the bending zinnias and bolting marigolds.  Why, even today, with three days left to this month, some of the lavenders did not get the memo that fall arrived this past Sunday afternoon and they are still happily blooming.  I'm sure they're wondering where the party went, leaving them almost alone, it seems, to wait out the last of the warm days.  A little shiver runs up my spine.

The devil himself disguised, as usual, in the form of an innocent fawn breathing in the fragrance of lavender at high noon and munching on sedum--He thinks I don't see him.
Look closely, if your dare--a stink bug emerges from the withering petals of a sunflower.  It's alive!

Once green, now brown, all too soon.

I always feel like somebody's watching me--In this case, it's a floating frog shrouded by the murky water of the fountain.
Among the fading blooms, hints of something, maybe not wicked this way comes, but something else, signaling the closing of the warm and familiar weather door to the opening of a strange, new window ushering in crisp, breezy air and an impending frost. Caterpillars and praying mantis eerily begin to change color and those devil deer continue to lurk in my September garden. Spiders knit thick webs that capture dead leaves and stink bugs reappear with no better reason other than it's September.

The shadow of a fairy balancing atop marigolds at sunset.

At least he's a happy black cat crossing my lavender path.
Fairies flit through the twining vines and flowers in the dusky evenings enjoying the last of their summer wine as darkness falls all too early, nowadays.  If autumn was not so beautiful, with the promise of crimson-stained leaves and golden afternoons, the fairies might seem a tad more perturbed and fidgety. However, to everything, there is a season and the one of black cats and witch hats is just around the corner.  So, I'll bid farewell to September and turn the page to a new chapter in my garden of mostly good and, if you don't count the devil deer, not really evil, to welcome the mystery and magic of October.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Make Room For Lavender!

Burlap lavender cone made by me!
The harvest is in, the crafting has begun and there is never a dull moment here, outside as well, even as one of the nicest weather-wise summers, at least that I can remember in the last several years, is drawing to a close with dusky sunsets noticeably earlier. We are now fully ensconced in September and, there is still plenty to be done beyond the usual 'early fall tidy up' as we add to our ever-growing and expanding collection of lavenders. Yes.  That is what I said--ever expanding here with new lavender varieties to become acquainted with before the marigolds bolt, the mums fully bloom and Jack Frost decides to dust the pumpkins.
P. Lorenz, always in his element.

Even with the dry season upon us, we are planning and planting more lavender beds, reorganizing existing lavender beds and imagining the possibilities for next year.  It was a beautiful summer with just enough rain giving flowers, plants and trees, including drought tolerant lavender, the chance to thrive.   And so, with that in mind, we have added several new varieties of lavenders with names as colorful as they are when in bloom, like Lav. x int. 'Jaubert' and L. ang. 'Elizabeth' and one we can hardly wait to see in bloom next year called Lav. x int. 'Phenomenal'.  
Coming along in the greenhouse.

We have also propagated and planted more of our favorites in many of the lavender beds hopefully creating even more visual impact as we find certain varieties to be standouts in their field--excuse the pun! These past  few weeks have been something of a clever game with lavenders being moved around the field in the manner of a game of chess.  However, instead of knights, rooks, kings and queens being strategically placed, the likes of  'Thumbelina Leighs', 'Lady Grays', 'Blue Rivers' and 'Gros Bleus' have been rearranged for some stunning combinations next year. 
The prodigal son keeps reminding me that he did not go to college for this and I keep reminding him that his father, a landscape architect, did!...SNAP!
Baby lavenders planted out among established plants. 

Digging, tilling, weeding and almost continual watering, since this month is proving to be a very dry one here at Blooming Hill, have been the 'NORM' around here--forget calling any of it a priority. Yes, even lavender likes regular watering, especially when young cuttings are put into the ground, although you do walk a fine line between just enough and too much moisture in order to get a young lavender plant established.  So, young plants get a lot of judicious attention. 

The border garden in full bloom this summer.

Lavender preserves, Blooming Hill style!
In any case, there is still plenty of room here at Blooming Hill for more lavenders so, our collection will continue to grow and flourish because when you are a collector of something as lovely as lavender, you can never have enough.