I’m not sure of the name of this plant, but I was charmed by the play of sunlight igniting the leaf’s underside.
Much of my garden time in South Florida is not actually spending time in the garden at all. So far, it’s been about meeting other gardeners, visiting nurseries, reading books, taking notes, and asking questions. I’m a stranger in a strange land here, a zone six-ish gardener in a zone 10 world.
When I learned the local garden club had organized a Saturday field trip to a local nursery, I jumped at the chance to do all of the above — although, I do have to figure out a way to take notes while balancing a camera.
Every garden should have hydrangeas for no-matter-the-season interest.
I admit I have a hard time letting go of summer.
Even with leaves changing and falling and blooms fading and browning, I’m still reluctant to clean the beds and put them to rest. Even the weather is having a difficult time falling into a seasonal rhythm. There are days that are windy and evenings that are slightly frosty, and then there are the times when it feels mild and balmy.
So, with camera in hand, it’s last call in the garden, one last chance for flowers to bask in the spotlight before a hard frost takes them away.
Mum is actually just one of the words that comes to mind this weekend. The other word is menopause.
The calendar says October, but the tenth month seems to be experiencing an August-worthy hot flash. The heat and humidity combined with the fall colors, as well as a rain deficit here, feels a little odd — but it hasn’t stopped the mums from doing their thing.
Nor did it stop this gardener from taking a walk with his camera.
The recent heat wave may have been a bit extreme, but at this moment I’m sitting inside with a blanket pulled up to my chin. It’s not that I’m feeling under the weather. Instead, I’m feeling the weather. I think when the heat wave broke, it also broke summer. Clouds, rain, and cool temperatures have been the order of the day. The last few days, actually.
What’s a cold gardener to do?
The Great Heat of 2013 has come and gone, and there is joy and gladness throughout the land — and when I say land, I mean my garden. In fact, I think I can actually hear a collective sigh of relief coming from the plants (and maybe some of you) as more reasonable, seasonable summer temps return.
And when I look around the garden, it’s clear that some plants are still sporting nasty sunburns. Some of the hydrangea heads, for example, are tipped with brown.
But it’s the zinnias that garner all of my praise. I planted various kinds of zinnias this year — more than usual — because I knew that I would be unable to start my usual annuals from seed in the potting shed. I needed an easy seed — one that could be directly sown — and zinnias were the obvious choice.
And I’m so glad I did. As the temperatures rose, they stood tall and proud, empty of fear and full of color. I like to think they were the cheerleaders of the garden, encouraging the other plants to hold on. I’ll let their photos do the talking.
Which plants in your garden would you cheer for?
“Hi everyone. It’s me, the Gnitty Gritty Dirt Gnome, giving Kevin a hand with this week’s post. Before we get into some patriotic petals, I want to remind all of you that there’s still time to get yourself in the running to win two books. Yup, two books — and both of them are all about gnomes.
“The first is Kevin’s copy of Gnomes, a classic if ever there was one. Lots of imaginative illustrations and stories about the lives and adventures of my peeps. The other book is Garden Gnomes: A History, by Dr. Twigs Way, and it explains the lore of we wee folk.
“To read Kevin’s interview with Dr. Way and to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing, please click here and/or here.
“And now, for the red, the white, and the blooms. You know, if you squint, you can practically see the fireworks.”
“Happy Independence Day!”
Green is the color of comfort, at least it is for me. It’s the color — whether it’s during a mid-winter trip to Florida or those early days of spring or those boiling days of summer — that holds me and comforts me, cradles me and soothes me. It’s as if green pulls me close and says, “I’m here. I’ve returned. I didn’t abandon you. Just breathe. . .”
When most people go on vacation, they take photos of family and friends on rollercoasters or at the beach or standing in front of some historical monument. Not me, though. I’d rather go for a walk and take photos of plants. For starters, they really don’t fidget or get caught in mid-blink. They also inspire and teach me, captivate and fascinate me.
Here are a few stolen moments with some beauties on a recent stroll around Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner and me tuning up my bagpipes, it suddenly occurred to me how appropriate it is that this most Irish of celebrations, where green is the color of the day, is held in March. This third month, after all, is the time when green returns to the landscape.
Irish eyes may be smiling, but on a recent walk through the garden, as I brushed aside brown winter leaves, I found my gardener’s eyes smiling at the excitement and promise of once again seeing green.
There is a certain sadness when I look about the waning October garden. So many blooms have faded and turned to seed; so many leaves have dulled.
And then there are the red hot flowers, looking a bit out of place and overly made-up amid the first flush of autumn’s golds and yellows and rusts.
Celosia — a few plants from last summer reseeded themselves for this year’s garden. Surprise!
And that’s when my imagination takes hold.