Monday, October 14, 2013

Last Bits of Summer

I've been enjoying the last bit of summer as it winds down. Although I'm many years removed from school, I still feel a little of the end of summer back to school feeling as summer slides into fall.

I love the fall with its clear blue skies, cool, crisp mornings and of course the beautiful colors. As I‘m outside, I try to appreciate the patches of summer remaining~jewel tone nasturtium flowers still blooming, shiny, purple pods on the annual hyacinth bean vine in all its glory, red pineapple sage flowers,(no blooms on mine until September this year) the fuzzy purple flowers of mexican bush sage and the pretty fall blooming anemones and late roses.

I’m still cutting some culinary and tea herbs to dry, but that‘s also winding down. The annual flowers I dry are still going strong-annual statice and gomphrena. Gomphrena or globe amaranth, is a wonderful garden plant, whether or not you dry the papery clover-like blooms. The plants are drought tolerant, bloom from mid-summer until frost, and get very bushy and just covered with flowers by late summer. And the butterflies like them, too. The mixed color variety~purple, pink and white, gets much bigger and bushier than the red form. But I love the red ones for use in holiday decorations

The goldfinch pair are back every day enjoying the coneflower seeds from the big stand in the garden in front of the greenhouse. I’m sure they drop an occasional seed or two-no wonder that patch got so big so fast.

If you have annuals you want to reseed for next year, or you want to save any seeds from a particular plant, make sure you allow some flowers to die on the stalk. They become seedheads. Usually, seeds start out`green (unripe) and darken as they ripen. Shake the mature seedheads so the seed falls, or gather and store either in small glass containers or little seed envelopes. I keep my seeds in the refrigerator. Not necessary for all types, but I think it helps keep them fresh by keeping humidity low.

With the cooler weather, the squirrels are more active. They fascinate, but frustrate, Lucy. She watches them in the trees and would climb up after them if she were able.