Friday, October 9, 2015

Return of Summer

The remnants of the storm moved on and the sun came out. We wake to foggy mornings and warm days.

This is the edge of what I see from my kitchen windows. This area is a trouble spot that tends to grow up in catbrier, euonymous, nandina and other less desirables. Once in a while in spring, I invite in the bush hog mower to cut it all back. This deciduous magnolia was saved. Solidago is an opportunist that I left.

The meadows are ablaze now with wreaths of Goldenrod and swaths of native sunflowers. Tiny yellow stars of rosinweed spread between Silk Grass and Rabbit Tobacco. Bluestems are starting to bloom. Three hundred miles to the north, reports are that fall color will be at its height in a couple of weeks. We see the occasional red leaf on Sassafras. Sweet Gums are still green.

Here in zone 8b, we have summer tropicals that die to their roots instead of persisting through winter as they do in Central Florida.

 In the gingers bed, Curcuma is already dying back for its winter rest. Cardamon ginger and the taller Shell Ginger may persist all season in a mild winter or may be killed back during a prolonged freeze sometime after Christmas. Note the long seed whip on Porterweed at lower right.

Porterweeds are full of blooms, enticing late butterflies, skippers and beneficials.

Root hardy Pentas and Brugmansias are in a last hurrah before frost.

 I took cuttings of white Pentas and the Palest pink.
The greenhouse is filling fast with things I think to try to save for another year.

Brugs droop in the hot afternoon sun, come alive after dark.
I gave away rooted cuttings, except for one I forgot about. Sigh.

Our latest project is done except for removing forms: a wedge shaped concrete landing to replace my ill-fated brick and stone patchwork folly in front of the Mule Barn door. You've seen concrete pads; this one is strictly for utility and will best accommodate mowing with minimal trimming. 

It took four 80-pound bags of concrete mix. I used up leftover cement in various molds for stepping stones and (possible) succulent planters improvised at the last moment.

I started keeping a more or less daily journal in a little file where I note what was done or not, with the date. I've come to wonder if anybody except for the few of you who comment reads or cares, so I'm planning to convert Dottyplants Greenhouse Journal for daily prattle to myself and close it to public view.


  1. I always enjoy seeing what is growing there at your place. Your brugs are oh so lovely. I have rosinweed and a FL. native goldenrod that is about to bloom. I bought both of these in the spring.

    We just had a nice rain earlier. It is 81 right now and with the humidity the real feel is 89, and it's almost 6:30 p.m.

    Have a nice weekend dear Jean ~ enjoy your lovely fall gardens and filling up your sweet greenhouse.


  2. I never thought of taking cuttings of pentas. Are they easy to root? Also you leave the brug. in the ground. They are gorgeous. Of course you are milder than we are but I am still surprised. I love the fall show of golden rod and yellow daisies too although they are stunted this year because of lack of rainfall. WIll our summer ever end?

    1. I read that Pentas have an 80% failure rate. Taken timely before the weather gets colder, successes are likely in warm soil. I do leave brugs in the ground. They take a while to sprout when the weather warms, but they come back bigger every year. So far.

  3. Hate to hear that you will close to the public your Dottyplants Greenhouse Journal. I try to look when I remember and love it.

  4. Warm temperatures? Just a memory here. Say it's not so about your greenhouse blog. I've so enjoyed peeking inside your greenhouse and learning from your ideas there. Perhaps you'll incorporate some greenhouse postings in this blog?


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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