The end of August is approaching but it’s felt more like late September, due to misty mornings and cool, cool evenings. Normally our grass is beige by now, and the mowings happen rarely, but with this year’s unusual rains the lawn has maintained rapid growth throughout the summer. The mower hasn’t had a rest.
Another rainy day was spent making an inventory of the canned goods in the kitchen and garage pantries, which should have been done before the preserving season started….or actually before the planting season started. If I’d done it then, I certainly wouldn’t have planted so many cucumbers! I swear I won’t pickle another jar this year!
Rainy days allow more time just looking at the gardens rather than always working in them. Over the last few weeks, I’ve decided I like the “Cresto Orange” zinnias very much after all. No, they aren’t the exact form advertised, and they certainly aren’t uniform, but they are bountiful, colorful, and the butterflies like them. Because of their variety, they make interesting bouquets, with their varying shades of oranges and yellows. So, I’ll be planting them again next year after all! Glad I didn’t toss the seed in the bin!
Just to the right of the sunflowers are some of the “Copperhead” amaranth, also growing in the Cutting Garden. I wish they were more pointed on top rather than so full, because I think they would be prettier in bouquets. However, my biggest problem with them is that they totally wilt as soon as they are cut and don’t seem to recover to upright despite being put immediately into water. I guess I need to do some research, or maybe one of you have the answer. I do like the color, and will try hanging some to dry for winter bouquets when it stops raining. I assume the goldfinches and other birds will enjoy them later, even if I don’t.
I’m really happy with the varieties of sunflowers planted. Unfortunately some didn’t get photographed, but hopefully they will self-seed, and I will be planting all of them again next year. I’ve decided I like the bright yellow ones like those above during the summer, and these with coppery and mahogany tones for autumn.
If you look carefully at this photo, you’ll see a young sunflower to the left of the one blooming. These were started in the greenhouse in late July and planted out to hopefully bloom after the earlier ones have gone to seed. They are along the potager’s back interior border. I’m really trying to extend the sunflower season, and planted more branching types to help achieve that.
Along that same goal, I’m trying to extend the daylily season. The daylily shown above is a cross between a tall night-blooming daylily and the old “Frans Hall” which has alternating dark petals and light petals. In this cross, the “dark” petals are much lighter than the true “Frans Hall” and it has the height (about 4 1/2 feet) of the night-bloomers. I also purchased 3 late-bloomers from The Lily Patch, an Indiana grower near Rochester, IN. So, hopefully next year, there will be even more daylilies blooming through August. It’s a continual challenge to improve the gardens, but that’s certainly part of the fun! What’s your latest blooming daylily? What changes/improvements do you plan for next year? Are you taking time to savor these last few weeks of the gardening season?