Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Had to add another blanket to the bed. Temperatures are dipping into the 40's at night and yesterday they never climbed above the mid-50's. Still, I can't bear to close the windows. I'm in denial. Wrapped up in my cocoon of quilts I can refuse to admit summer is over but when my feet hit the floor on these brisk autumn mornings, I question my stubbornness and consider turning on the furnace.

The summer was unusually cool and wet. A real gift for gardeners, like gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Not a happy summer for water skiers, swimmers, and sun worshiper, but to me it was very nearly perfect.

Several new perennials joined the collection this year. Mostly late season bloomers to provide color into autumn. With a few exceptions, all the plants preformed well and I'm pleased with them. Among these new plants, two surprised me with their beauty and length of bloom periods.



Hybrid geranium Rozanne, I had heard was not reliably hardy to zone 4 but this year she was given a chance to show what she could do. A six inch plant just beginning to bloom when she arrived here in June, she crawled and sprawled among the foliage of taller plants carpeting the ground at their feet in blue. Four solid months and still no sign of stopping. In late September she blankets an irregular oval more than three feet in diameter, every inch covered in bright blue cups. Fingers crossed the winter will not defeat her.



The second outstanding performer was a tiny plant without a name bought at a local plant sale. Finally identified as a native rudbeckia, but one I'd never tried--rudbeckia triloba. What a charmer when it finally burst into bloom in early August. In the evenings, just before the sun sets, when the garden is darkening and colors blur, some trick of the light makes the yellow flower petals reflect the sun's last rays and the blooms seem to be illuminated from within. Of course this inner glow doesn't photograph, but it is something to marvel at every evening. Triloba continues to bloom and looks almost as good now as it did in August. The length of bloom exceeds that of old faithful Goldstrum.



Of course this is the secrete, this is why gardens are never really finished. Every year it becomes a challenge to find just one more plant that will exceed our expectations and give us so much pleasure.

I hope this year brought you a plant that surprised you with its beauty. Have a wonderful week and don't admit summer is over yet. Hope to see you here next Wednesday.

37 comments:

Darla said...

What a show!!

tina said...

Such nice sentiments. I think summer was perfect too and it is such a joy to find that perfect plant. Your garden looks great! Never give up on summer for sure. Now Wednesdays? I will look for you there I was wondering. Thanks for letting us know.

Jann said...

We've had a real mild summer in S Dakota too; I think it has been for a lot of areas. Flowers are still blooming here too, later than usual...but our first snow is predicted for tonight, ugh! Our autumn will be very short-lived as usual, booo!

sweet bay said...

Wonderful post Marnie. I'm kind of glad that summer is over, because it gets so HOT here, but I don't like being cold either. lol It's time to order a new electric blanket. It's Prissy's favorite thing in the whole world.

I know what you mean about R. triloba -- it has a magical golden glow that is very special. R. fulgida has that same glow here when it's planted in dappled shade. The blue Geranium is just gorgeous.

Kathleen said...

Hi Marnie! I'm right there with you in denial about summer being over! I haven't turned my heat on yet and we've had quite a few chilly mornings as well. I did give in one night and light the fireplace tho. I'd love to have one of those outdoor ones and we'd just sit out there instead! Maybe someday...

Triloba is great. Don't you get frustrated that you can't capture with the camera what you see? Sometimes I get so determined to try but that magic is hard to transfer I guess? Good luck with Rozanne. I hope she makes it thru the winter for you ~ she's a beauty.
PS I was thinking you'd have another piece of jewelry to show us!!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I hope Rozanne hangs around for you too. She is a beauty. Surly with the best summer to get settled in she will stay. Nothing leaps out in my mind about the garden at this time. It is slowly going to sleep and this cooler weather is hastening the process.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It was a wonderful summer temperature wise. My only complaint is that the rain stopped for several weeks on end several times. I hope Geranium 'Rozanne' makes it through the winter for you. It's such a great plant, going well with everything, blooming so long, and then having red fall foliage. That Rudbeckia is so charming, I like it much better than 'Goldsturm.'

JC said...

Wow ... your photos are so pretty. I wish my yard looked even a bit like that.

I do have a lemon plant ... not sure what the name is ... if you touch it .. it smells like lemon .. anyway, it's doing fab in the front yard.

The rosemary smells grand if a slight breeze blows. Makes you stop and go ... one more sniff.

The purple petunias ... I'm sure they have a fancy name ... are still blooming and looking terrific as they fall over the barrels.

And, I wish Summer would last but Fall has arrived ... I turned the heat on yesterday .. just to warm us up a bit.

Judy said...

Hi, Marnie - that geranium is beautiful! You have a great display going on in that part of the garden!!
I know what you mean about not wanting to turn on the furnace, but I broke down and turned it on before our walk this morning, and I am glad I had a nice warm house to come home to!

BeadedTail said...

Your gardens are so lovely! Thanks to you, I planted more this year than I have since moving into this house 6 years ago. I'm not looking forward to our winter rains here in the NW but I can't wait to see my flowers return next year. Usually things start blooming here in late January so it'll be interesting to see how my new plants look after being soaked all winter!

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Our summer was so terribly hot and dry, we are anxious for Fall! Hoping that El Nino does what they are predicting, and gives us a cool, wet winter.

Rozanne is a showstopper! So beautiful--I am going to have to find me one...or two! ;-)

Your Black-eyed Susans are beautiful. Mine are growing on the east side of my house, and when the morning light hits them, they light up. Such a humble little flower, but so tough!

Pile on those quilts, grab a cup of tea, throw another log on the fire and enjoy those cool crisp autumn days (I can't wait).

CONEFLOWER said...

I've had great fun creating all my brand new beds this year. It's so rewarding to see the newly planted plants shiver and weep for a while then grab hold and take off and grow like a thunderbolt. I tried a number of dry root plants. They are really slow to get started but the large roots pay off when they finally do believe that they are alive.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they all look like next year. Remember: sleep, creep, leap.

Thanks for your beautiful thoughts and photos, Marnie.

marmee said...

summer was wonderful...i hardly had to water my containers and they all still look great.
i love this little blue geranium...so perfect with the blanket flowers...summer is over and fall is here. i rejoice in the autumn. i know winter is coming but then spring. this year was so different i don't really know how to gauge anything.

oldcrow61 said...

I'm really interested in the Geranium. It sounds wonderful.

Rosey Pollen said...

Marnie,
We also had a very wet summer, quite unusual for CO.
I hope your hybrid "geraniums" survive the winter ,too. Gardeners cross their fingers a lot in the winter!
The Rudbeckia are a nice addition to your garden.
Take it easy..
Rosey

Connie said...

Things are still lookin' good in your garden!
I tried to start Rudbeckia triloba from seed last year, but it must have been old seed, because it didn't germinate. It really is charming.

Dawn said...

Hi Marnie,
The hybrid geranium looks wonderful, isn't it amazing what a small flower can do?
Chilly here too, all the critters are moving every night setting off my motion detected lights. Busy packing up for the winter I guess. I'd like to keep the heat off until thanksgiving but I think no such luck.

Phillip said...

We are having cool temperatures too and I love it. It is making me so sleepy though.

Msrobin said...

Believe me dear Marnie, I am also deep in denial about summer leaving me. But I've finally had to face the facts, once we got out the space heater last night. Summer is over! Gasp! Expecting frost tonight, way ahead of schedule, so I just put away all my pots for the night in the garage. I love the analogy of spiders as soldiers patrolling our gardens!

Susie said...

That geranium is really pretty but then so are all the rest of these blooms Marnie.

Believe it or not I actually had an annual begonia that bloomed itself silly this summer. Not my favorite plant but it performed wonderfully.

Rose said...

The windows are still open here, the furnace hasn't run yet, and no blankets piled on the bed yet--I'm not giving up to the cold until I have to:)

Love that rudbeckia; I'll have to look for that one. My Rozanne last year performed so well, just like yours, but it didn't come back this year. I thought it might have been the victim of winter heaving, so I bought a replacement this spring, which has done ok, but not as well as the last one. I'm going to mulch this Rozanne really well this fall, hoping it doesn't meet the same fate as last year's. I haven't heard of anyone else having this problem, so yours will probably be fine.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Marnie, How was your week? It's gotten cooler here also... A fire in the fireplace helps take the edge off each evening, and feels pretty darn good!

Your new perennials are gorgeous. Since we have had alot of rain also, this was a good year for us and our flowers. Our roses are still showing off.

Hugs,
Betsy

Bill S. said...

Great pictures of your garden. Flowers always lifts the spirit. Thanks.

Gail said...

What an absolutely wonderful image of the glowing Rudbeckia triloba you have created for us, Marnie. It really is a splendid plant with those tiny petals. I always leave the windows open as long as I can tolerate it...I did get out the warmer down comforter. It was wonderful sleeping under the covers with the temperatures below 50! Don't you find you sleep better? gail

joey said...

Looks like you've succeeded in finding 2 lovely keepers, Marnie. With temps dipping well into the low 40s last night, we finally turned on the furnace (a procedure with our old house and radiators), however, I'm still in denial and refuse to dig out my sox!

Gayle @ Mountain Moma said...

The yellow and orange flowers are breathtaking! What a lovely shot, this would make a pretty card!

Mary said...

What a great blog you write, and love your excellent photos, too! Glad to have found you (via your comment on Bill S.'s blog) and want to show your gorgeous perennials to my husband, who is a master gardener. Thanks for your thoughts and pix.

garden girl said...

Rozanne is such a wonderful plant, blooming spring through frost in that pretty blue. I hope it's hardy for you.

Not being a fan of hot, humid weather, I can't remember a nicer summer than this one has been. I hope it's followed by a milder winter than we've had the last couple of years!

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie..Love that first picture of the blues and oranges. As usual, your pictures are top notch.
Balisha

Carol said...

I am as stubborn as you Marnie... I finally built a fire the last two nights and had to close my windows! I love the textures and colors in your first photo... very lush too. That little geranium is a sweetheart. Your triloba shot is a beauty ... as is the plant. Have a great week. Carol

Mildred said...

Very interesting to see your pictures and hear about the success of these plants. I do not have either of these. Everything is really beautiful. Enjoy the weekend.

AutumnLeaves said...

Nice to "meet" you, Marnie, and thank you for visiting my blog. An old friend of mine who lives in Washington (state) went to Rockford College and earned her teaching degree there. We are not too far from Rockford now and one of my favorite places to go is Galena (which I know is a bit of a distance from you, but not too bad). We always drove through Rockford en route. Oddly enough, I too have a BBA, concentration in Accounting. Currently not doing anything with it, alas, but living in rural areas do not provide a whole lot in the way of jobs. In fact, I do not have one. Many of your likes are similar to my own, too. I've been known to haunt a few AKC shows myself. (I have a Spinone Italiano - not show quality, and a rescue Greyhound.) Anyway, your flowers are beautiful and might I say that lilacs are my all time favorites!

ShySongbird said...

The Geranium is just beautiful Marnie, but then so is the Rudbeckia. Your garden looks a picture, so very pretty.

I don't look forward to the long dark days at all but if time goes as quickly as it seems to have lately it will be Spring before we know it :)

Elise said...

how fantastic is your blog ? thanks for another great post !

Patsi's 'Garden Endeavors' said...

I know your weather this past summer was not common for Seattle/Washington area and oh so great for the gardener.
Never heard of the rudbeckia triloba,hope it continues to be a winner for years to come.
You know I agree about Rozanne...amazing sun plant...just keeps growing and blooming !

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the Rozanne. It's been getting cool here, too, but I like it. When I first start gardening (or I should call it hard labor in the yard!) I'm chilly but by the time I finish I'm sweating (sorry, I don't glisten, lol!) anyway.

The Tile Lady said...

Gorgeous garden photos and butterfly shots in the next post! Thanks for sharing the info on the plants too. And, hey, your first jewelry-making is impressive!