September’s cool nights and bright days bring the best kind of growing conditions for greens, sturdy annuals, roses, and cruciferous veggies. At first glance, it looks like nothing new is happening in the garden. The autumn clematis has yet to burst into full bloom; the day lilies and campanula have faded. The tree leaves are still green. On closer inspection, there are subtle changes pointing to a change of season.
Now is the time to sow those seeds that like the cool spring conditions: lettuce, spinach, baby kale, radish. Here in Northeast Ohio, we can only count on about 60 days before hard frost.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea) is fading, but the finches don’t seem to care. They’re enjoying the ripening thistle. Coneflowers’ sturdy stems keep the flower heads erect for the birds.
I am amazed by the prolific blooming of spider lily (tradescantia). It has gone non-stop this summer.
Dusty Miller is thriving, like many of the hardy annuals. This plant often survives the winter around here. In the spring, a hard pruning leads to full, bushy growth all summer.
Sedum “Autumn Joy’ is opening its flowers and attracting scores of bumble bees. Unfortunately, I was able to photograph this diligent worker because it was dying. I guess if it’s time, going on a big sedum cushion is as good a way as any.
Liriope has bloomed with bright purple spikes that look great next to Elderberry “Black Lace.”
Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata, Clematis terniflora) is just beginning to bloom. We have this sturdy, prolific vine growing over the garden arch. Unfortunately, it self-sows all over the yard. I try to cut it back right after it finishes blooming, but it often snows here before I realize I should have done that!
Staying on top of things in the garden is often a challenge. Journals, calendars, and text alerts can help. How do you keep track of your garden chores?
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