We are definitely heading into fall here despite the past week's hot temperatures. Summer flowers have faded, and asters are just starting to bloom. One thing I have tried to add to the garden the last few years is more late summer/early fall color. Caryopteris 'Summer Sorbet' fits the bill perfectly, beginning to bloom in mid-August and continuing through the fall. Notice, too, the switchgrass--Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'--behind it, another fall favorite.
I enjoy the variegated foliage of this Caryopteris all summer; the blue blooms are just the icing on the cake.
I'm not the only one who enjoys this plant, obviously.
I knew the bees and butterflies love this plant, but I didn't realize hummingbirds did, too.
This will probably be the last chance this year to show some annuals for Bloom Day, so a quick photo here of just a few in the arbor bed--Zahara Zinnia 'Starlite' on the left with Salvia 'Victoria Blue' and 'White' behind them and Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame' in front.
I just realized I showed another close-up of 'Zowie' for last month's Bloom Day, but I can't say enough good things about this zinnia. Easy to grow, still blooming its head off, and such a kaleidoscope of colors in every bloom! My only regret about showing it again will be if I find out next spring all the seed is sold out, because everyone else ordered it, too:)
Many of summer's blooms are still going strong, but rather than repeat anything I've shown in previous posts, I want to focus on two blooms I haven't shown all year. First is a new bloom for me--yes, this is an Azalea blooming in September! At last year's Spring Fling in Asheville, many of us took advantage of the offer from Southern Living for a free trial plant. Most people received their plants last fall, but I opted to wait until this spring for mine. I was expecting one plant, but I received four! Two Pieris Japonicas and two Encore Azaleas. By the time I got the azaleas planted, we were in the middle of a June heat spell, and I worried whether they would survive. But I've been diligent about watering them well, and I'm thrilled to see one full of small budding blooms. I'm excited to have my first-ever azalea blooming next spring, but to have one that blooms again in late summer is a double bonus! Thank you, Southern Living.
The second plant has been blooming all summer--'Wendy's Wish' Salvia hybrid, shown here in front of the Amsonia hubrichtii that is just starting to take on its fall golden glow. I've been bad about deadheading 'Wendy,' so it's hard to get a good photo of the whole plant.
Instead, here's a close-up of one flowerstalk in gorgeous full bloom. A few years ago I purchased a 'Wendy's Wish' at a local garden center, and I fell in love with it. But it is an annual here, and after that year I could never find it again. This spring dear sweet Cindy of My Corner of Katy contacted me and asked if I'd like one since they were readily available in her area. I replied quickly with a definite "yes," and she soon sent me not one, but two! According to garden superstition, you are not supposed to say "thank you" when another gardener gifts you with a plant, so I'll let someone else offer a note of thanks to Cindy . . .
Mr.Hummer says, "Thank you, thank you!" This Salvia along with the 'Black and Blue' Salvia are the hummingbirds' favorite plants in my garden. Both have similar blooms, but 'Wendy' grows quite a bit larger than 'Black and Blue,' growing to three feet tall or more and just as wide. Because the hummingbirds have been so wild about this plant, I'm going to campaign the local nurseries to stock it next year. Even though it's not hardy in my zone 5b/6 garden, it's definitely worth planting every year!
What's blooming in your garden this September? To compare notes, check out other Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens where Carol is celebrating fall blooms.