Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2016

The Front Garden at Hayefield - October 2016

Yes, FINALLY, we did get some rain: a few blessed inches at the end of September. We’re still about 8 inches behind for the year, and it doesn’t look like there will be more soaking rain for a while, but it was better than nothing. It was enough, at least, to freshen things up a bit over the past few weeks.

The Side Garden at Hayefield - September 18, 2016 ; Nancy J. Ondra

The Side Garden at Hayefield – September 18, 2016

The Side Garden at Hayefield - October 9, 2016; Nancy J. Ondra

The Side Garden at Hayefield – October 9, 2016

Still not anywhere near the glorious abundance I expect to see this time of year, but well….even with the difficulties posed by this growing season, there were a few new stars.

The rich red foliage of this 'Dragon's Breath' celosia (Celosia argentea) was eye-catching since seedling stage, and the show became even more stunning when the flowers started to appear a few weeks ago. [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

The rich red foliage of this ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia (Celosia argentea) was eye-catching since seedling stage, and the show became even more stunning when the flowers started to appear a few weeks ago.

I owe a special thanks to reader Karen B. for sharing a bounty of intriguing seeds with me last fall, including a number of unusual salvias. Several did well, but one was a particular star: <em>Salvia reptans.</em> Though I'm normally not a big fan of blue flowers, I was taken by overall look of this species once it started blooming in mid-September. The bees sure love it too. [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

I owe a special thanks to reader Karen B. for sharing a bounty of intriguing seeds with me last fall, including a number of unusual salvias. Several did well, but one was a particular star: Salvia reptans. Though I’m normally not a fan of blue flowers, I was taken by overall look of this species once it started blooming in mid-September. The bees sure love it too.

It's not a flattering photo, I know, but it's not a great setting, either. I'd planted the seedling in a nursery bed, not knowing what to expect from it this year. I think it would be very pretty paired with companions that have bold blooms, such as rudbeckias. Salvia reptans is supposed to be hardy to Zone 5, but that's in western conditions. Unless we continue our dry spell through the winter, our usual wet cold will probably mean it's an annual here in PA. [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

It’s not a flattering photo, I know, but it’s not a great setting, either. I’d planted the seedling in a nursery bed, not knowing what to expect from it this year. I think it would be very pretty paired with companions that have bold blooms, such as rudbeckias. Salvia reptans is supposed to be hardy to Zone 5, but that’s in western conditions. Unless we continue our dry spell through the winter, our usual wet cold will probably mean it’s an annual here in PA.

I'd started the growing season with just a few seeds of 'Ping Zebra' lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus). The seedlings did well until the voles and/or rabbits started nibbling on the base of the vines. I finally resorted to wrapping the stems with aluminum foil to stop the chewing, and the plants eventually took off and produced a good number of pods. Maybe next year I'll have enough to try eating some. In the meantime, they're pretty to look at. [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

I’d started the growing season with just a few seeds of ‘Ping Zebra’ lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus)–thanks, Rick! The seedlings did well until the voles and/or rabbits started nibbling on the base of the vines. I finally resorted to wrapping the stems with aluminum foil to stop the chewing, and the plants eventually took off and produced a good number of pods. Maybe next year I’ll have enough to try eating some. In the meantime, they’re pretty to look at.

Speaking of seeds…I guess I should mention at this point that I won’t be doing my usual seed giveaway this year. With the lack of rain and all, I just wasn’t able to collect much. Sorry to all who were looking forward to the supply of free seeds; maybe next year.

Though blooms were sparse for much of the summer, there are some now. Hooray for the asters and goldenrods, especially.

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) with goldenrod (Solidago) and 'Gibraltar' bush clover (Lespedeza capitata) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) with goldenrod (Solidago) and ‘Gibraltar’ bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) with goldenrod (Solidago) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) with goldenrod (Solidago)

Heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) with bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum) and 'Cassian' fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) with bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum) and ‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) with the seedheads of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) with the seedheads of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) against silver sage (Salvia argentea) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) against silver sage (Salvia argentea)

I don't know who is happier with the abundance of asters right now: me or the bees! [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

I don’t know who is happier with the abundance of asters right now: me or the bees!

'Solar Cascade' Short's goldenrod (Solidago shortii) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

‘Solar Cascade’ Short’s goldenrod (Solidago shortii)

The colchicums certainly didn’t mind that the soil was so dry while they were dormant.

Colchicum speciosum coming up through pink crosswort (Phuopsis stylosa) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Colchicum speciosum coming up through pink crosswort (Phuopsis stylosa)

Colchicum 'Rosy Dawn' underplanted with creeping bramble (Rubus pentalobus) and 'Angelina' sedum [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Colchicum ‘Rosy Dawn’ underplanted with creeping bramble (Rubus pentalobus) and ‘Angelina’ sedum

Colchicum autumnale 'Alboplenum' with woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’ with woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus)

A few other odds and ends in the bloom category include…

'Gibraltar' bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

‘Gibraltar’ bush clover (Lespedeza thunbergii)

'Lemon Queen' perennial sunflower (Helianthus) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

‘Lemon Queen’ perennial sunflower (Helianthus)

Corydalis ochotensis [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Corydalis ochotensis

Eryngium leavenworthii [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eryngium leavenworthii

Though the warm-season grasses are significantly shorter this year, they’re still part of the October show.

Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) with New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) with New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

'Prairie Munchkin' little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) with Sedum alboroseum 'Mediovariegatum' [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

‘Prairie Munchkin’ little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) with Sedum alboroseum ‘Mediovariegatum’

Flame grass (Miscanthus 'Purpurascens') [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Flame grass (Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’)

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

Some early bits of colored foliage, along with fall fruits and seedheads, are also making it worthwhile to get out into the garden and meadow.

Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii)

Stiff bluestar (Amsonia rigida) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Stiff bluestar (Amsonia rigida)

Rosa achburensis [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Rosa achburensis

'Issai' purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) just coloring up, against New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

‘Issai’ purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) just coloring up against New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

White-fruited beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma f. albifructa) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

White-fruited beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma f. albifructa)

The fruits of a seedling purple-leaved peach (Prunus persica) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

The fruits of a seedling purple-leaved peach (Prunus persica). Even with a touch of frost during the spring flowering period and practically no water during the summer, the plant was very productive this year. (And yes, they look green now, but the leaves are a rich burgundy color from spring well into summer.)

In past years, the purple-leaved peach fruits were tough and bland; this year, though, they were surprisingly tasty. [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

In past years, the purple-leaved peach fruits were tough and bland; this year, though, they were surprisingly tasty.

The bulbils of variegated cinnamon vine (Dioscorea batatas 'Variegata'). Have any of you ever tried eating these? [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

The bulbils of variegated cinnamon vine (Dioscorea batatas ‘Variegata’). Have any of you ever tried eating these?

'Black Madras' rice (Oryza sativa) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

‘Black Madras’ rice (Oryza sativa)

Black-leaved cotton (Gossypium herbaceum 'Nigrum') [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Black-leaved cotton (Gossypium herbaceum ‘Nigrum’)

American ipecac (Gillenia stipulata) seedheads [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

American ipecac (Gillenia stipulata) seedheads

Round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata) seedheads

The garden as a whole is nothing to brag about, but a few parts don’t look too bad from a distance.

The Side and Front Garden at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra]

The Side and Front Garden

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) in the Side Garden at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra]

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) in the Side Garden

The Side Garden at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra]

The Side Garden

Perennials in The Shrubbery at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Perennials in The Shrubbery

Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), flame grass (Miscanthus 'Purpurascens'), and bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum) in The Shrubbery [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), flame grass (Miscanthus ‘Purpurascens’), and bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum) in The Shrubbery

What pleases me most is that the pasture grass is growing, so the boys can spend their days grazing again. Bored alpacas are not happy alpacas.

Daniel and Duncan enjoying the new grass [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Daniel and Duncan enjoying the new grass

Ah, seeing the solar panels reminds me…I don’t often endorse products or businesses, but I want to give a special thanks to the folks of Exact Solar in Yardley, PA. After 3 years of trouble-free solar production, my panels started producing erratically this summer, and I discovered that the company who had done my installation has since disappeared. After trying to get help from several other companies, I finally found Exact Solar. With one phone call, they were able to fix the problem for me and didn’t even charge for their time: amazing! If we’re not going to get rain, at least I can be happy with sunny days again.

Since gardening as a hobby hasn’t been much fun this year, I’ve been working on some garden-related crafts over the past few months, in preparation for some upcoming artisan fairs. I’ve been finishing some more of the botanical castings I made in spring and summer, such as these two.

Botanical casting of Pulmonaria saccharata [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Botanical casting of Pulmonaria saccharata

Botanical casting of Clematis glaucophylla seedheads [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Botanical casting of Clematis glaucophylla seedheads

Then I got intrigued by other possibilities for “printing” with plants. I made a few cyanotypes, then tried my hand at solar printing: painting wet silk with textile paint, placing bits of leaves and flowers on it, and then setting it in the sun to dry.

Solar printing on silk [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Setup for solar printing on silk

Solar printing on silk [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Solar printing on silk

Solar printing on silk [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Detail of solar printing on silk

Then I got immersed in a technique called eco printing: using steam to transfer flower and leaf colors and shapes. I tried it first on silk and the results were intriguing.

Setup for eco printing on silk [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Setup for eco printing on silk with flowers, leaves, and turmeric

Eco printing on silk [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing on silk

Setup for eco printing on silk with leaves [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Setup for eco printing on silk with leaves

Eco printing on silk with leaves [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing on silk with leaves

It’s very difficult to predict or replicate results with the process, so each attempt gives surprising results. It requires a lot of patience but is an interesting option for dyeing fabric without using chemical mordants.

I was even more excited by the results I got from eco printing on heavy watercolor paper. It was fascinating to discover which plants worked particularly well and which didn’t.

Eco printing with (from top left) blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) berries, 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth (Amaranthus), katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), 'Isla Gold' tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), 'Camouflage' sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), and nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing with (from top left) blue false indigo (Baptisia australis), pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) berries, ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranth (Amaranthus), katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), ‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), ‘Camouflage’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia), and nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Eco printing on watercolor paper [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing on watercolor paper

Eco printing with (from top left) orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus), purple loosestrife (Lythrum)--found in the meadow, not my garden!--orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing with (from top left) orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus), purple loosestrife (Lythrum)–found in the meadow, not my garden!–orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica)

Eco printing on watercolor paper [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Eco printing on watercolor paper

Eco printing on watercolor paper [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Other results of eco printing on watercolor paper

Then I remembered something else I wanted to try, based on an idea that was featured in Gardens Illustrated magazine a while back: an advent calendar composed of pressed flowers, leaves, and seedheads, with Lexicon cards on the back to spell out a holiday message as you turn over the mini-herbarium tags. It took ages to make two of them but I am thrilled with the results.

Botanical advent calendar [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Botanical advent calendar

Botanical advent calendar detail [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Botanical advent calendar detail

Botanical advent calendar [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Botanical advent calendar

Those are just a few of the items I plan to take to the Fall Festival next Saturday, October 22, at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA. I’ll also be at their Holiday Fest on December 3 and 4.

The Barn at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

The Barn at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

Besides getting ready for these shows, I’m going to be very busy for the next few months writing and gathering photography for a single-issue perennials magazine, so I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for a while (probably until March). I wish you all a glorious rest-of-the-fall and a peaceful winter. And in the meantime, don’t forget to check out the list of participants in this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at Carol’s GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens.

23 responses to this post.

  1. What a really talented lady you are, love your Botanical castings! Also love your Celosia, what amazing foliage! You have so many beautiful flowers for this time of year, the bees must love your garden.

    Good morning, Pauline, and thank you! Yes, that ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia is outstanding just as a foliage plant. We had a hard frost overnight, and I’m disappointed that I won’t be able collect seed, but I will be sure to buy a new packet for next year. And the number of honeybees around right now is a happy sight: The asters are quivering with all of the activity.
    -Nan

  2. Posted by Ginny on October 15, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Wonderful and inspiring photos as we, too, (in Southern Maine) just had our first hard frost this morning. Love the eco printing – and the advent calendar is stunning! Unfortunately we did not get the rain others did recently – no significant rain since May, so we’re officially in “Extreme Drought” yet many of the perennials (especially natives, even ferns) are doing fine, even with no watering recently. Recently planted shrubs, though, have gotten special treatment with the hose. Many thanks and Bonne Hiver!

    I really feel for you, Ginny. This is the first year since I started gardening that I was happy to have frost signal the end of the growing season. Winter brings its own challenges, but at least we can use the time to look forward to a better summer next year. And you’re right: the natives have been the real stars throughout the drought!
    -Nan

  3. Ah – lama-girl :-)
    Dear Nancy, I remember you from way back. Good to see that you are so happy. This post radiates joy. All your endeavours and your Oudolf style fields are a pleasure to see. Just keep your camera steady, will you :-) or use a tripod. Your subject-matter is worth it. Glorious stuff.

    Hey there, Joanna! So glad you stopped by today. I hope you’re enjoying the end of the season in your part of the world. Happy Bloom Day to you!
    -Nan

  4. Posted by Tiiu Mayer on October 15, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Hi Nan – Those eco prints are lovely !!!! One more thing to add to my ‘spare time fun’ list. Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    Hi Tiiu! You can find lots of info on eco printing on Pinterest. I particularly recommend checking out Cassandra Tondro’s site: her leaf prints are gorgeous.
    -Nan

  5. Posted by Susan on October 15, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Hi Nan, another fabulous, interesting and idea-filled blog! I love all the new crafts you have been up to. I especially like the advent calendar idea. What a great gift for a gardener. The clematis casting is gorgeous! Such great ideas and you’re right, a great way to pass a summer with lots of drought. Your cotton looks awesome! I really enjoyed starting them from seed (thank you!) and the dark leaf color never disappointed. We’re going to have another warm-up next week and I’m curious to see if the bolls open. It was very slow going and then finally started ramping up very late in the summer. Beautiful plant. What a comeback your grass paths made. Isn’t grass great that way? Knows just what to do! Thanks for sharing your beautiful garden.

    Good morning to you, Susan! Hooray for the resilience of grasses, at least. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing some of the non-gardening projects; the post would have been pretty short otherwise. May the warm spell be enough to get your cotton matured. I kept mine in the greenhouse again the year. It was so hot that even the heat-loving cotton stopped flowering for a while, but at least it got the bolls that did form to ripen a bit sooner than usual.
    -Nan

  6. Posted by Sherry Park on October 15, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Tea at 4 in the morning and spending time with your post…..what a lovely way to start my morning…and always giving me new inspiration and ideas. Love seeing the mature deschampsia and being able to say, “hey, I have that !”…many thanks to you.

    That’s wonderful to hear, Sherry; thanks! I wonder why Deschampsia is so often overlooked: It’s such a nice size, stays in clumps, and complements so many other plants.
    -Nan

  7. Posted by Lee on October 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Sorry to hear you are not doing your seed give away. I have ordered from you in the past and have added some interesting new plants to my gardens. In regard the Salvia Reptans you are correct in thinking what plants it should be placed with. I forgot I even had purchased and planted it and then mid August they started blooming in among the Blanketflower and Glorioso daisys. It is a wonderful combination. Good luck with your holiday shows.

    Mmmm…I can envision how good your salvia combination must look: well done! Sorry about the seeds, but I wouldn’t have had much of anything new and exciting anyway. I have hopes for a more abundant and interesting harvest next year.
    -Nan

  8. I’ve never had luck with asters as they seem to be a favorite of ‘critters’. I agree that this hot summer was not a gardener’s delight.

    Hi Denise! Yes, rabbits, in particular, seem to enjoy nibbling on asters. Even though there are a lot of rabbits here, there are enough asters for all of them and lots to spare. I can’t even remember the last time I actually planted one; I just let them seed around or blow in from the meadow.
    -Nan

  9. It may not be what you were hoping for but it is still an inspiration as your garden pix and posts always are. And what a wealth of other ideas and ways to use our gardens as the springboard for art.

    Aw, thank you for that, Linda. And yes, it was so fascinating to discover and experiment with some of the many ways folks have found to capture and preserve the beauty of plants beyond traditional photography.
    -Nan

  10. Your fall garden is beautiful, Nancy. How did you frame the clematis seedheads casting? I’d like to do that with the one I purchased from you. Did you glue it into the frame? P. x

    Hi Pam! The one in the photo here is a rosewood trivet frame from Dick Blick: http://www.dickblick.com/products/wood-trivet-frames/. They have other finishes and a variety of sizes. If you’d prefer to finish the frame yourself, check out Nasco: https://www.enasco.com/product/9723856?gclid=CI3wn6GJ3c8CFYUehgodfqkLKg. Searching for “trivet frames” on Google will bring up other sources and sizes. Another option is to check online art-supply stores (like Dick Blick) for cradled wood painting panels; you can mount the tile on the flat side or reverse the panel and use it as a shadowbox-type frame. Yes, I used a touch of Loc-Tite to attach the casting to the frame.
    -Nan

  11. Posted by John Drexel on October 15, 2016 at 9:19 am

    Nan,

    You have a gift for turning lemons into lemonade. I appreciated reading your post and seeing you images. Hearing from you is always a treat. However, knowing that the next Hayefield post will not be until next year will make for a long winter. May you have great success at the next two festivals!

    Good morning, John! If I make it through the magazine project with a few brain cells left, I might be back in February. But yeah, it’s going to be weird not blogging for a while. Thank you for the good wishes. I’m very excited about the shows. The events at Linden Hill always include some really talented crafters and draw great crowds. My best to you and the family!
    -Nan

  12. Posted by botanizeme on October 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Celosia really seems to be having its moment. I’m trying a few and have seen lots on Instagram this year. I trialed Salvia reptans a few years ago and thought it had promise too — but then the bog sage is the toughest, easiest blue vertical for me that I’m relying on it for the moment. Have a great winter working on all your amazing projects. Looking forward to the magazine.

    Funny, isn’t it, how plants come in and out of favor? Nice to know that celosia is having its moment. I should give bog sage a try; it would probably like it here. Thanks for the reminder!
    -Nan

  13. Posted by Barbara Dashwood on October 15, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Yeah, Nan! Delighted to see your blog back. Sad to hear it’s the last until spring. Interesting about the purple leaved peach. Also the Lespedeza capitata. I web searched the latter as I had heard of it but until your pic hadn’t seen it. Looks like it grows in a sort of spike formation? Anyway, happy fall and winter to you, too. Summerhouse glass roof on, now figuring out the gables.
    Barbara
    Victoria, BC

    Hi Barbara. There’s a commercially available selection of the peach called ‘Bonfire’, if you’re interested in trying it. Mine is a seedling from someone else’s seedling tree, and it seems to match the description of ‘Bonfire’; it just doesn’t have a spiffy name. I’ll be interested to see how this year’s seeds turn out next year. The Lespedeza capitata is more of a meadowy plant but could be interesting in a border where it could come up through sturdy grasses or other plants that would support the slender, upright stems. It’s very different than the fountain-like habit of Lespedeza thunbergii.

    Great to hear that the greenhouse is progressing well. Have fun with the finishing stages!
    -Nan

  14. Despite your difficult growing season, your garden is still an inspiration for me! I am gleaning ideas for plants to add to my garden that can take drought conditions. I’m glad to see asters and goldenrod can handle whatever the weather throws out.
    I never took note of Lespedeza bush clovers before. As a result of your posting today, I now have a plan to place one near the purple smoke bush I just added to my border. I think the colors should be complementary. Warn me if you think it’s not a good idea!
    While I’m disappointed that there won’t be any seed offerings this year, I enjoyed the Celosia Mega Punk seeds you sent me last year. I took so many pictures of them and my favorite companion plant for them was a Coleus ‘Florida Sun Rose’ it leaned into. I have collected much seed from my plants and will scatter them all over the garden next year. Thank you so much for sending them! Each year,I will remember the generous gardener who shared them with me!
    I will pass the long winter by re-reading all your past articles and taking notes!

    Hi there, Debbie! I think Lespedeza thunbergii would look beautiful next to a purple smoke bush. Be prepared for the bush clover to get big over time. Mine–which is in not-great soil and has a lot of competition–gets about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide by fall each year each year. But I’ve seen established plants in rich, well-watered sites easily fill a space about 8 feet across. It’s so good to hear that you enjoyed last year’s seeds, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that next year will be more conducive for seed-gathering here. Until spring…
    -Nan

  15. I was pleased to see your post pop up and I’m glad to hear you got some rain – and that the boys are once again grazing happily. The drought here is no fun either but at least the state loosened watering restrictions (for a time anyway). I’m enamored with the ‘Dragon’s Breath’ celosia and will have to see if I can get it to grow here. I love your advent calendar too. Best wishes with the perennials magazine work and your craft shows!

    It’s so good to know that conditions are a little better in your region, Kris, and we’ll hope that positive trend continues. Thanks for your good wishes, and Happy Bloom Day to you!
    -Nan

  16. Posted by Karen Rossow on October 15, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Nancy, Thank goodness for the rain, I so missed your last posting because of the drought. That is something that many people in Australia have to contend with all the time. However, in Tasmania (an island off the bottom of the mainland) we have a much milder (think cooler, more rain) climate and I am able to grow a lot of the plants you feature. I am really looking forward to reading your new magazine. Do you think I will be able to buy a copy in OZ? Keep it coming, a very grateful Karen

    We’re used to about 40 inches of rain here, so conditions as dry as this year are unexpected. The odd thing is how hit-and-miss the rain has been; other areas in this part of PA have had soaking rains while we missed out. I don’t think the magazine will be available for sale outside of the U.S., but I guess I will find out when it comes out in March!
    -Nan

  17. The colchicums weren’t at all fazed by summer drought. I believe that’s what they get in their native land. I am glad you are getting some paying work, even if it means we miss out. I will have to keep my eye out for that Dragon’s Breath celosia. May Daniel and Duncan live long and prosper!

    Yep, it’s been great to have a break from writing work, but it’s good to get back in harness again, especially with an interesting project like this magazine: a perfect winter project. The boys thank you, and so do I. It has been a rough year, but they just turned 14 this week, and we’re hoping for a healthy year ahead. Our best to you!
    -Nan

  18. Posted by Prairiegirl on October 16, 2016 at 7:19 am

    I really liked seeing your cotton plant. We recently relocated to the sunny South, maybe I’ll try that one. I didn’t take a single plant from the midwest, kind of going through withdrawal. Thanks for sharing your garden crafts, looks like fun! Enjoy the holidays!!

    Oh my goodness – you get to start with a fresh plant palette; that’s so exciting. You have a lot of fun ahead of you; enjoy!
    -Nan

  19. I am glad to hear that your area finally got a bit of rain. You do have some color in your garden. I am surprised you don’t like blue flowers. ha… I love em. You have plants in your garden that I have never heard of such as the Ping Zing Limas and the Cinnamon Vine. Your craft/art projects look like a lot of fun. Most interesting. Best of luck with your magazine. I will look forward to seeing it.

    Hey there, Lisa! I’m glad I could show you a few new things, and a blue flower too. (I don’t have anything against blue; I just gravitate toward bright colors, I guess because they’re easier to see.) Thanks for the good thoughts about the magazine. I have high hopes that it will turn out well!
    -Nan

  20. Posted by Ilene Sternberg on October 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    You sure are one busy and talented lady!

    Thanks, Ilene!
    -Nan

  21. Posted by Deb on October 19, 2016 at 7:11 am

    Hi Nan!

    Even with a lack of rain you manage to make everything beautiful! So enjoyed this post and love the new things you are trying – such inspiration – thank you! Can’t wait to see what is next. Blessings to you!

    You’re so kind, Deb. Thanks so much for checking in today. I wish you and yours a peaceful, happy fall and winter!
    -Nan

  22. Thanks for sharing this Nan. The flowers are very stunning! I love them. I enjoyed every inch of your post. This is worth sharing. Awesome!

    Thank *you*, Paul. Happy Bloom Day to you!
    -Nan

  23. Posted by Verna m colliver on October 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Bloom Day, October 15, was worth the wait! I read my email on a visit to Texas which explains my delay in commenting. The photo of New England asters with goldenrod jumped out as I scrolled down. I have been reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braided Sweetgrass” subtitled “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” When I read the chapter on “Asters and Goldenrod” I thought of you and hoped that you might share a photo to match her description:

    “If a fountain could jet bouquets of chrome yellow in dazzling arches of chrysanthemum fireworks, that would be Canada Goldenrod. Each three-foot stem is a geyser of tiny gold daisies, ladylike in miniature, exuberant en masse. Where the soil is damp enough, they stand side by side with their perfect counterpart, New England Asters. . . . Alone, each is a botanical superlative. Together, the visual effect is stunning. Purple and gold, the heraldic colors of the king and queen of the meadow, a regal procession in complementary colors.”

    A perfect illustration!!
    Verna

    Welcome back from your travels. My goodness, you’re right: That photo of the purple New England aster with Canada goldenrod is a perfect complement to that text. The only difference is that here–even this year–Canada goldenrod easily reaches 6 feet tall!
    -Nan

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