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When the season changes, so does the pallet in my Wake County NC garden. Cooler temeperature mean deeper colors.
Red which looks too hot in summertime suddenly seems to glow.
And of all the reds, spider lily may be my favorite. I’m lucky if it blooms 2 weeks out of 52. Still, I wouldn’t be without this old southern flower that makes the path suddenly exoitic and full of color after the long hot summer.
All it asks from me is an initial investement. Plant the bulbs in an area where they won’t be disturbed and every year you’ll be delightfully surprised. The dark green leaves belong to Lenten Roses, BTW.
Popping up and not quite blending is the oxblood lily. It’s another of those plant it and forget it blubs that do well in the South. Just don’t forget where you planted them. Like spider lilies, they hate to be disturbed.
Cypress vine grows readily from seed and is great to cover a mail box. I save the seeds from this plant every year and start them indoors under lights. (BTW, our mail man says he loves it, too even though he can no longer read our address)
Finally, the beauty berries are a delight this time of year. This one is a Asian variety–but I’ve never met a beauty berry I didn’t like. They’re tough, will grow in my deicious woods, and make a great cut-back shrub for a mixed border in part sun or part shade. Do put it on your “grow that” list. And do share–what early fall colors are you enjoying in the garden?
There’s nothing subtle about August in the North Carolina. Likewise, there’s nothing subtle about my two favorite garden plants this time of year. Both are big, bold, and splashy enough to enjoy from the window on those days when it’s just too humid and buggy and venture out.
Mexican Sunflower is first on the list. It is one of those (rare) plants that are tough enough to punch through the shade of taller neighbors in spring and take over the late summer garden.
I’m also growing a smaller yellow version from a mix called Arcadian Blend. The seeds came from Thompson and Morgan, a great British based company that’s collected a lot of my $ over the years. (They did give me awesome seeds in return)
Black Elephant Ear has no flower to speak of, but it still makes the top two in my August garden.
The leaves are huge, cool looking, and it will grow in sun or shade. This giant is actually growing in a pot.
A somewhat tender perennial, you can mulch it heavily and hope for the best, or do what my sister and I do–carry it through the winter in the greenhouse or garage.
We’ve been very successful with this in recent years. Now many of our pals have Black Elephant Ear. Let us know if you want to be on the list–
Too many tomatoes? It’s a good problem to have. I’m slow-roasting some, sharing tomato sandwiches with neighbors and friends, and I just found the BEST tomato pie recipe in the August edition of Cooking Light magazine.
Trust me here–I’ve eating a lot of tomato pies over the years.
Now for slow roasting:
Heat oven to 250 degrees
Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Peel and cube larger varieties.
Cover cookie sheet with foil and cooking spray.
Place tomatoes cut side up.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt and a pinch of sugar
Seve tossed with pasta. Spread on good bread or crackers or freeze in small containers for a bit of summer in winter time. PRICELESS.
So what’s your favorite way to use homegrown tomato bounty? Please share–
First let me start by saying this was one of the best birthday presents I have ever received. My friend and co-blog writer Chris, gave me time to help me in my garden. These days I value time more than I have ever in my life.
Plus spring is a busy season for us dirt diggers. Here is what we did with that time in the garden. Two gardeners are always better than one.
Check out the before and after pictures: Incredible.
Here is the to do list:
- We started with one bed at a time. We weeded, added fertilizer and cut back all the perennials.
- Then we assessed if plants were happy in their spots. We moved 4 shrubs into new homes. WARNING: be careful how many you move in the spring. You must water them religiously during the summer.
- We moved pots and furniture around. Chris has vision…I haven’t developed mine yet.
- We stopped, had some wine and celebrated our accomplishments. We scheduled next session.
- We planted the shrubs and trees I got from various plant sales and swaps- another 5 in total.
- We added soil conditioner and mushroom compost to my soil…it was a little dense. Good tip to remember.
- We planted my fruit bushes – blueberries and blackberries.
- We turned the rest of the veggie bed to prep for tomatoes and other summer goodies.
AFTERNOON 3: …which was a bonus and not really part of my present
Chris showed up with her wonder-man husband Bill to help limb up some trees to offer more sunshine. It is a amazing what one can do with a bow saw, tree pruners and a ladder. NOTE…I held the ladder – it was a very important job!
WOW…it was transformative. Thanks Chris. Thanks Bill. Best gift ever…
You should find a pal and help each other in each garden. It’s more fun and you get soooooo much more done.
This is George Tabor, two of them actually, flanking the path in our woods.
So if you are just starting to shape your Southern garden (and planting shrubs is the way to do it, BTW), make room for at least one Azalea–George Tabor.
Any other suggestions? What are your must have shrubs?