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It's a Wrap- End of Summer 2019

Spring and Summer of 2019 were unusual in that we had record rain fall. Initially, this was good, however powdery mildew impacted the Salmon Queen zinnias and even a butterfly bush that receives part sun. Sometime in August the waterworks stopped. September has continued the same way. We don't have any predicted rain for the next ten days. The garden as you might imagine is suffering. I've started weeding and cutting back plants that are brown including the zinnias. The sedum and passion vines are thriving. Next year, I need to get back to serious mulching. I've noticed that neighbors on the same side of the street have happier looking plants (with the exception of our lantana hedge). The common thread in their gardens is lots of wood mulch.

I'm happy to say that the Gulf Fritillary butterflies were here again this summer. The passion vine is their host plant. They are supposedly rare in the Piedmont. I've read that they are common in our coastal plains. The Variegated Fritillary is more common here. They also use the passion vine as a host plant. One thing to note, the passion vine will absolutely take over your garden if you don't weed. The best approach is to harvest the fruit before they fall to the ground and seed.

It's been a good year for the butterflies. We've seen them throughout the season. Often we don't have many until late Summer. The frogs were very plentiful this year as well. I feel that is related to the rain fall.

I'll lead this post with one of the prettier photos that was taken today.

Cloudless Sulphur butterfly and red bee balm.

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar on our back wall. Photo by Ian.

Tall sedum and pink salvia with the passion vine climbing up the rose arbor. The purple bee balm didn't bloom very long this year. It also suffered from powdery mildew. I miss having their color late in the season. The obedient plants have finished blooming too.

The epimediums are one of the toughest plants that we have. They survive dry shade each year. Soon the foliage will have autumn color. Their fairy like blossoms in Spring belie the hardiness of these plants.

Chocolate Eupatorium- This plant does best in a moist environment. It's surviving facing the late day sun, but we water this plant frequently. The new foliage emerges in Spring with a dark coloration hence the name Chocolate.

Butterfly Pea climbing plant. I purchased this in the hopes that a long tailed skipper butterfly might use it as a host plant. This is the Asian version, Clitoria Ternatea. The native plant is Clitoria Mariana. I haven't seen any caterpillars on it, but I was treated with my first sighting of a long tailed skipper yesterday.

I purchased a Dark Knight caryopteris for the front yard from Lowe's yesterday. It was covered with pollinators. I'll wait awhile before I plant it. As I mentioned earlier, we don't have any rain forecasted for the next ten days.

Here's a close up of my old fashioned sedum. The bumble bees were all over it today. At one point I counted ten bees.

This morning a hummingbird let me take several photos. I assume this bird is migrating since we are late in the season. I stop seeing them in early October. Some people say that they are staying longer these days though.

Now, we turn our sights to autumn. I'll be on the look out for white throated sparrows as they return for winter plus my White Flower Farm order: snowdrops, trailing heuchera, and Jack Frost Brunerra.

Gardener's dont give up very easily!

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