Tag Archives: Autumn Joy Sedum

First Morningtide—October 2014

Lantana camara (Common lantana) In Southern Border

Lantana camara (Common lantana) In Southern Border

Today’s early sky wore a draping, heavy fog. Dewdrops coated every leaf, flower and blade of grass. Would you agree the first morning hours are the the best time in the garden?

The lawn was covered with dozens of spiderwebs courtesy (I think) of Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider).

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

In the Southern Border everlasting sweet pea flowers continue to form.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)  is new this year and has seemed slow to get growing. On the other hand, long established Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) is very aggressive.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)  and Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) and Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

An interesting and delicate-looking fungus popped up today. I could not figure out its name, but a friend who has been studying all things fungi identified it as Parasola plicatilis.

Parasola plicatilis

Parasola plicatilis

Tradescantia used to be one of my favorite passalong plants, admired for its pretty blue, three-petaled flower. It became roguish in my current garden so I am always trying to dig it out or at least cut it back to keep it from flowering.  It is much tougher and persistent than I am though. Tradescantia is growing all around the garden, but this happens to be in the northwest corner of the Western Border.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

I actually bought this white Tradescantia. Although white ones are found wild, this may be a hybrid. It does not have the tendency to wander.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

The dogwood leaves picked up some autumn color this week. A bird (presumably) found and chewed one of these red ripened berries. Next year’s new buds are forming.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy) has performed extremely well this year. Now its color is evolving through brick red and rusty hues. Notice the Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ shows up frequently around the garden.

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Roses need more care than is included in my normal “water twice and leave it alone” gardening philosophy. Rosa ‘Iceberg’ did poorly in the spring and I began thinking about taking it out of the garden altogether. This morning I found this excuse to delay.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

New lupine leaves look very healthy.

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Though I have never seen one growing around here, I have always wanted to grow a lupine. It comes from long ago because of reading a book about The Lupine Lady to our young daughter. On a whim back in April I purchased a container of Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’  from a local nursery and for some reason (probably because the tag said it would be 5-6 feet tall) I put it toward the back of the Western Border where it was pretty much out of view. It did have several flowers but never gained its expected height.

May 15, 2014  Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

May 15, 2014
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

If anyone can offer lupine advice I would appreciate your ideas. Did I end up with a dwarf variety or is this normal in the first season? Should I relocate it to the front of the border?

This photograph does not capture the foggy feeling but here is a view of the early morning garden.

Garden View With Fog In The Distant Sky

Garden View With Fog In The Distant Sky

What A Plant Knows

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

What A Plant Knows

Can we say that plants have senses? How do plants sense their environment and how do scientists study plant senses?

These are questions I am exploring for the next few weeks in a free, online class entitled What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants). The class is taught by Tel Aviv University Professor Daniel Chamovitz, who wrote a book by the same title.

The class began last week and I am enjoying it so much I wanted to mention it here. It is not too late to start the course, offered through Coursera, a company that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Plant Swap

We finally had much-needed rain this past week and even now there is a fine mist. It is cool 68.7 °F and gray, the opposite of last weekend when we had clear blue sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s. Last Sunday I helped with a neighborhood plant swap. It was heartening to see the turnout of people (including some children) interested in sharing plants with each other.

I shared Monarda, Hedychium coronarium, and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ and in return, I could not resist some reblooming Irises of unknown color and a white peony, Paeonia Festiva Maxima. Today I found several rebloomers flowering in the garden.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

Miscellany

The Swamp Sunflower continues to tower over the back border. Today it was covered with bees. On Thursday during a cold, heavy rain I spied a hummingbird stopping in to visit along the top of this plant. The hummingbirds are gone now and no more Monarchs ever showed up, just that one.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The Sedum gradually is turning brown now. The last time I photographed it a big grasshopper was sitting on it. No way to know if this is the same one but it looks completely cushioned by the tiny flowers.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) and Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) and Differential grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis

Garden Recordkeeping Part 3

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the third of several posts.

Lavender, Echinacea and Saliva Along Southern Border

Lavender, Echinacea and Saliva Along Southern Border

Sometimes pictures of my garden are just too ugly to show. I think my photography has improved more than my gardening skills since I began blogging, as I try to find ways to show parts of the garden without revealing how it all really looks. No one wants to see, I reason, the spent flowers or unweeded patches, the air conditioner units or brick foundation, the odd item left out of place on the patio, the neighbors’ cars or such. And of course I want to show the garden at its best. So often the views I show are from the same points, where I can compose an image that hides some of the truth.

But I started pbmGarden in January 2011 as a way to plan and design changes for the garden. The blog was to be a way to work out ideas and document the progress of the garden. I was reminded of that point when I looked at yesterday’s pictures of the Southern border, compared to images from when I first began the blog 2.75 years ago.

In the picture above, taken yesterday, I was down on the ground trying to capture the freshness of this Echinacea about to bloom in front of French Lavender. The salmon-colored Salvia should be in the frame as well. Oh, and I told myself to try not to show utility boxes on the side of the neighbors’ house.

Below, here is another view from yesterday of the same area, looking from the middle of the garden toward the Southern border with its Blue Point Juniper hedge. Among other criticisms I was struck by how much flat wall I could see of the neighboring houses.

Garden View- Southern Border 2013-09-28

Garden View- Southern Border 2013-09-28

But it is actually helpful that photographs can go beyond the photographer’s vanity to show an honest record. When I look back at that border just after planting that hedge in February 2011 it is clear to me I have made some progress in this garden.

One of my big goals at the time was to gain some privacy so I could better enjoy gardening. Looking at the Southern border then one could easily understand why this was important. The yards were wide open.

Blue Point Juniper hedge  2-20-2011

Blue Point Juniper hedge 2-20-2011

Standing in my yard a month after the Blue Point Juniper hedge had been installed and looking toward the Southern Border (and the neighboring house beyond), I realized privacy was coming no time soon. I began making arrangements for a fence.

Blue Point Juniper, Southern Bed 3-18-2011

Blue Point Juniper, Southern Bed 3-18-2011

The fence was a costly budget item for this garden but when now when the lantana and other perennials die back in this winter, the garden will still retain a sense of enclosure and privacy.

Garden View- Southern Border

Garden View- Southern Border

Standing at the opposite side of the garden, again looking toward the Southern border, I notice how much the Blue Point Juniper hedge has grown.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

While looking back through some photographs of the garden’s history today I was reminded how helpful it is to have lots of those images that tell the stark, ugly truth. They are useful in evaluating progress and in setting and recalibrating goals for the garden.

Of course for the blog it is always fun to throw in a beauty shot as well. Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is blooming in several places around the garden.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Garden Recordkeeping Part 2

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the second of several posts.

Last Sunday I focused on the garden’s Flowering Dogwood for GBFD, but there were several other foliage items to mention. This spring I planted two new Peonies and both seem to have taken hold. This one is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony).

Paeonia lactiflora 'Black Beauty' (Nightlife Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony)

Coreopsis is supposed to be an easy plant to grow for blooms all summer. I have had mixed luck with them in the past, but the ones I added a couple of years ago are not being given a fair chance.  They are in an overcrowded spot where they become hidden and miss out on the sun.  Recently I uncovered them while trimming back one of the borders. I need to find a good location where they can be seen, possibly somewhere along the Southern side path, although I worry they will want more water than that spot can provide.

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage) is attractive for its color and leaf patterns. Lightly fragrant, it can be used for cooking (although I have not) and is reputedly attractive to butterflies. This plant overwintered successfully last year.

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

I have been monitoring the progress of the Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) since discovering it in the garden mid-summer.  

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Last week I noticed insects on one of the Callicarpa leaves. As the camera approached they moved en masse toward the edge and underside of the leaf as an avoidance measure. I cannot identify these definitively, but they seem to be Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs. It is unclear whether they are beneficial or pests.

Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs on Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs on Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The Asclepias died out in the garden not to be seen last year, so I added three plants in early spring. I have lost track of two of them but I noticed this week the third one was infested with aphids. When I first spotted the color orange I was hopeful they were Monarch Butterfly eggs but no, not with legs. The aphids washed away easily with a spray from the hose, as suggested by several online resources I found.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) infested with Aphis nerii (Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) infested with Aphis nerii (Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid)

I planted Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the meditation circle several years ago and find it self-seeds rather freely. Next weekend our neighborhood is having a plant swap, so I expect that would be a good time to pass some along.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Before the date of the plant swap I also have some canna to divide as it never bloomed this year or last and some Ginger Lily can be shared as well. The Ginger Lily flowers have been abundant and fragrant this year.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

This spring I planted a dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea that is supposed to be nice for autumn color. It seems to be getting well established, but I think I tucked it away in a spot that may be hard to see it.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) are easy to grow and spread themselves around carelessly. Last year I removed a lot of Aquilegia and this spring I was heavy-handed pulling out the Stachys. They are both thriving in the garden though and at this time of year they look fresh. These images were taken early yesterday morning while still covered in dew.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Garden Recordkeeping Part 1

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record, which I will break down into several posts.

This evening, Saturday, at 6:20 pm the temperature is 68.7 °F. The sky was deep blue today, breezy, with lots of big clouds moving in and out—simply a gorgeous day in North Carolina.

Early in the morning I walked around the borders, inspecting and taking pictures. For the first time in weeks no mosquitoes bothered to chase me back indoors. The significance of this cannot be overstated as the mosquitoes have been numerous and fiercely aggressive.

For the most part this has been a dream year for gardening. A long cool spring accompanied by plentiful rainfall kept the borders happy throughout the summer. Usually by now most of the garden is brown, but this year things are easing along. That could change soon though because the entire month of September has been very dry with only a couple of rains to bring relief.

Benefiting from the supportive weather this year, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ has been an unusually strong performer in the northern border. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has deepened from its earlier pink into a rich terra cotta, almost burgundy  color that I really like. I plan to keep that color in mind when adding new plants. I do not have color-themed gardens but would love to come up with a red border at some point.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop) and Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop) and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Today I did no gardening, but instead was fortunate to enjoy the garden with a friend. After 75 minutes of walking around the neighborhood and lake paths, we returned home in early afternoon, taking time to sit and rest on the garden bench a while before walking the meditation path. During our time in the garden a gentle breeze frequently stirred the wind chimes, augmenting the enjoyment of a peaceful time.

Meditation Circle from Northern Border

Meditation Circle from Northern Border

In the five days since I last posted, the Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) at the back of the western border has opened up more fully, commanding attention and drawing comments from husband, visitors and me throughout the week. The yellow flowers glow cheerfully, almost gaudily like neon.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The design of the garden is gradually improving, but still needs major vertical focal points. To see the strong stems at the center of the Swamp Sunflower lifting up toward the sky is very satisfying.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The neighbor’s Sycamore, upper left in the photo above, has suffered most of the summer (I think from a fungus). With the arrival of fall the brown leaves look more appropriate.

For some reason the branches at the sides of the Swamp Sunflower are much shorter than at the center and arch downward.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

I wish I could be sure of the two trees behind the Swamp Sunflower, seen in the picture above. They grew in pots near the front steps for a couple of years before I planted them in the garden. For a time I thought they were Italian cypress, but now I think they might be Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’ (Spartan juniper).  Whatever the kind, they have grown beyond their expected width and merged together.

Mid-September Monday

This cheerful Iceberg Rose did better than usual this year due to adequate rains throughout spring and summer. It has begun another round of blossoming recently.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I would like to know what kind of little yellow spider this is hanging out on the Purple Coneflower. The front legs are positioned so it looks like it is trying to hide its face.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The Autumn Joy Sedum attracted this insect today (a wasp of some kind?) and a few bumble bees as well.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

The Sedum’s flowers are deepening from light pink to a darker shade as they age.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Meadow Sage has rebloomed now that night temperatures are cooler.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

The annual, Angelonia Purple, was a good investment this spring. Last year I used it in the meditation circle for color and interest, but it grew too wide. I frequently had to cut it back to maintain clear passage through the labyrinth. This year I placed Angelonia as filler in a few portions of the border where it had plenty of room. It has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed all summer and will last until frost.

Angelonia 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Purple’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) died back during the hot summer but is returning with a fresh flush of new growth.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

I am excited about a new purchase this week, a grayish-blue glazed ceramic urn to replace the periwinkle jar I had kept in the southern border since spring. The periwinkle pot will be returned to its indoor setting to keep it safe from the elements.  The new urn required two strong men to carry to its current location so I did not get a chance to try it out in a lot of places before setting it down. For now I plan to leave it empty but may add an evergreen form to it later.

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

There have been numerous Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gracing the garden this summer, but few have been of this dark female form. Enjoying Lantana, this is the same butterfly in all the pictures, with color variations standing out depending on the aspect of the view.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)-5

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Sometime during Sunday night or early morning raindrops hit the window and I was awake enough to be grateful, knowing the garden had become very dry. The previous rain was on September 1 and since then, despite cooler temperatures at night, there have been some very hot days. Grass in the front yard has turned crispy brown and the River Birch has given up many leaves. The grass in the back yard where the garden is also has begun dying back in places.

By early afternoon when I had a chance to explore the garden there were no visible signs the rain had passed through, but perhaps the plants had already soaked up the nourishment by then.

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Sensing A Shift

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)


In unguarded moments and despite the heat, a portent of autumn occasionally drifts through the air and into my consciousness. For now the garden remains green and lush, but the light is changing and days are shortening. I sense a seasonal shift.

For the last few weeks the garden has carried on without much tending, but I am beginning to feel its tug. A few hours of trimming and weeding this week will revive its most sagging aspects.

This has been a happy year for gardening. Phlox paniculata has brought color to the western border for seven weeks, confirming memories from my previous garden that given the absence of deer and drought, Garden Phlox is invaluable for the summer garden.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has towered over the garden’s southern entrance most cheerfully since the end of June, though sadly few pollinators have been around this year to benefit.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

For several weeks now Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ has added its specific light green color and texture to the northern border. It seems primed to put on a good show of fall color.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

In the late summer of years when rains have been adequate, Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) begins a display of beauty and lemony fragrance. It is exciting then to note the first orchid-like flower has emerged. Raindrops coat the shiny leaves after a fleeting shower this afternoon.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)