Saturday, September 21, 2013

What's flourishing in the garden this year part 1

The strolling garden is doing much better this year due to better rainfall (though we are still under the normal average rainfall) and less days of triple digit temperatures. The herb circle is now in phase three. The first, pictured below, was heavy on chamomile and dill plants that had reseeded from last year. Nice fragrant combination and I love the little cheerful flower heads of the chamomile.

The caterpillars love the dill and chew it down to the ground but there's so much of it reseeded, including in the grass, that I had plenty of full grown dill plants with their fragrant umbrella-shaped seed heads. I always make a point of brushing against the plants to release their scent too. Pity I dislike salmon as dill goes so well with it.
The second phase of the herb circle was dominated by the reseeded Dalhberg Daises, which I am grateful for since it's very difficult to find these in plant or seed form locally. I planted two six packs 3 years ago and they came back this year. Their nice spicy scent is a favorite of mine. Miss Penny the Pill here enjoys padding through the circle on her daily marches around the yard as she secures her yard from other trespassing felines. Quite a feat for her since the neighbor seems to be collecting cats and then letting them roam free to terrorize the rest of the neighborhood. The next phase will be the Gaillardias at the front of the circle which have now developed flower buds and will eventually brighten up the circle with its red-orange flowers that beckon the butterflies and bees to linger longer in the garden.
Salvia is the garden plant that keeps on giving. It blooms it's heart out, gets a severe trim to clear out the spent flowers, and then sends out more flower spikes within 6 weeks. I have three varieties that I've been transplanting around the front and back yard over the last four years. Love the white and purple color combination of the three varieties and the yellow Coreopsis likes to reseed itself among the salvia, making for a vibrant color combination. Don't think I could ever have a garden without some salvia plants.
The Flame Acanthus, also known as Hummingbird Bush, is gorgeous when in full bloom. Haven't seen any hummingbirds since the severe drought started three years ago but there are plenty of butterflies and hummingbird moths that flit around it.
Amazingly, I have managed to grow one hearty bush of marigolds. This is quite a feat considering I have killed every marigold plant I've tried to grow. Sad, I know, considering it's labeled "the plant you can't kill" and it's grown in children's gardens. The plant below was grown from seed and has been blooming non-stop for almost two months now. My grandmother, from whom I inherited the gardening bug, always had marigolds around her little house that she'd grown from seed and so there's a lot of sentiment attached to this plant which is why I keep trying to grow it despite failure year after year.
 And finally, the Verbena Bonarensis from last year came back and flowered from over two months. I cut it back down to the ground this week after it was done flowering and hopefully it'll come back next year. The butterflies loved it too and I loved the height it added to the back of the bed.


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