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Vestiges of Indian Summer

Our Indian Summer here was brief this year due to the flash drought.

"Flash" is the term WRAL news used to describe our end of season dry spell. Fortunately, we had cooler temps and rain in the latter part of October which revived some plants. I was motivated to take a few photos yesterday before we lose them to the seasonal cold.

The Salvia coccinea re-seeds reliably each year.

Salvia Cocciniea pink to coral

Perennial, Salvia guarantica, "Black and Blue" is a summer stalwart in the garden. Hummingbirds love these. They bloom all summer long until frost. I give them a light trim to keep them bushy. They will spread over time. In recent years, I have given some to neighbors as they were dominating too much of my limited garden space.

Salvia guarantica Black and Blue

The "Heavenly Blue" Morning Glories started blooming in late October instead of September this year due to the flash drought. These are open blossoms on Nov. 8th. The ligustrum tree over the garage is loaded with berries this year. Perhaps this is due to the abnormally wet early Summer we had. Cedar waxwings visit each January to eat the berries.

The Moody Blues Pink Veronica continues to be a great performer. This is another plant that blooms all summer until frost. I deadhead this periodically. I've transplanted some to another pot to extend the display.

Annual Verbena, a lone cosmos and snapdragons.

The "Bright Eyes" phlox treated us with a late season blossom.

Pink muhly grass with forsythia in background. After four years we are starting to get the effect we wanted. We planted three forsythia starts from our exsiting plant to form a small hedge. The grasses sit on a former gravel driveway. We replaced the original grasses this year and mulched the entire garden bed. This gives the grasses more protection and it is easy to spot wire grass that will take over your plant. I was wrong to just plant them in the open lawn. Lesson learned.

Salvia nemorosa and orange cosmos. Looks like a halloween color combo. Next year, I'm going to plant some pink cosmos up front. The orange ones have petered out and I want a different color scheme now. Ideally, I'd like dark pink cosmos. This would coordinate well with the lantana hedge in the background. It has orange and pink flowers.

Speaking of the lantana hedge. It has just a few flowers left. We will cut this back to the ground this week. We wait for all of the flower production to stop as its a great help to pollinators even though it looks a little out of kilter with a Yuletide camellia blooming in the background. Several monarchs were feeding on the white butterfly bush last week. I even saw one on Nov. 7th flying over the Credit Union parking lot in North Durham.

My oldest butterfly bush, which was an unexpected gift. It came to my garden via my mother's compost about twenty years ago. I do not have a re-seeding problem with it. I wish I did. I want another one that is this vigorous.

Wild ageratum. I abused this plant for years thinking it was "just a weed". One year I missed some and it bloomed. Once I understood that it is a lovely late season bloomer, I reserved space for these. Tiny pollinators use this plant. I have seen very small bees use it. We used to call them sweat bees. I don't know the official name.

I'll close this post with a pristine yarrow blossom. The rains and cooler temps have encouraged new growth for this plant too.

Happy raking everyone! We are also focusing on weeding, mulch and grass seed right now. Don't forget to use some of those leaves for the compost. They are loaded with carbon.

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