Early Morning Jewels

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This time of year the sun is lower in the sky and spiders are spinning an abundance of webs.  That combination created a stunning jewel-like display this morning.


Night Blooming Nightmare

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The Night Blooming Cactus is out of control.  It sent out a long stem that stuck itself behind the spouting.

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All the stems grew so long, it had to be put on a wall.

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Growing in just one direction, the original pot had to be wedged in a tall planter.  It has become a nightmare to control.

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But, all is worth it when rewarded with the beautiful night blooming flower.  It is about 4 to 5 inches across and has a light scent.

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One needs to be diligent and watchful as to not miss its dead-of -the -night bloom.  It will close when the sun comes up.


More Autumn Flowers

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Japanese Anemones love the Automatic Garden and are a perfect residents as they are hardy through heat and cold and they like to spread, making many more plants.  This plant was actually a passalong from a fellow gardener. Recently on blogs I follow, I have seen this plant (or similar) growing in Australia and Canada.  In both parts of the world, this Anemone bloomed regularly in the Autumn just as it does on the Gulf Coast.

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When growing Coleus, the advice is to pinch off the blooms.  As it turns out, Coleus flowers attract bees and humming birds.  Many of the seeds will also germinate for next summer. So let them grow out at the end of the season to reseed and feed.

Nature’s timing is perfect in providing Autumn blooming plants in this part of the world, giving sustenance for the migrating creatures to continue on their journeys.


The Guard Returns

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The Guard is back.  It was gone for a week or so.  During its absence an adult male Ruby Throat took over the Guard’s territory.  No more!  The Ruby Throat flies in the other direction when he sees the Guard on duty.  Besides dealing with all the other hummingbirds, the Guard has had to chase big bumble bees away from its food source and had an altercation with a dragon fly that decided to take over the guard post.


Fall Bloomers in the Automatic Garden

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Salvias are reliable plants in the Automatic Garden.  Some are hardy and most will reseed.  They rest for the hot months of summer and start to rebloom when the earth begins to tilt away from the sun.

 

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The Gingers are putting out their last flowers of the season.

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Pentas are in full bloom, providing nectar for bees,hummingbirds and butterflies, although the past several years have seen few butterflies in this area. The white Pentas reseeded this year on their own.

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The Ageratum, Rudbeckia, and Torenia are blooming nicely.  The Ageratum is wild and planted itself in the garden.  The Rudbeckia was a pass-along and willingly reseeds.  Torenia spreads its seeds all over the garden, especially in cracks and rocks.  They can be bought in the nursery in the spring, but the reseeding ones will not bloom until the fall.

 

 


Autumn Rains

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The Fall rains have returned after being gone for several years.  These Fall blooming Rain Lilies are enjoying rain every few days and are blooming better than ever.

A drought and warmer weather has been over us for a few years and has changed our gardening habits.  Plants were switched to ones that liked dry soil and our zone was “extended” by the warmer weather to include more tropicals as they were making it through the winter.

This year was different.  Winter was cold and the rains have come.  The hardiest plants are still in the Automatic Garden and others were just a passing fancy.


They Threw Down the Gauntlet

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Bartram’s Garden, that is.  Several years ago during a visit to the garden of colonial naturalist John Bartram,  I purchased Evening Primrose  (Oenothera grandiflora) seeds with a challenge printed on the packet.  It said that if you are able to germinate them, a free packet would be sent. (Of course, if they germinate, you wouldn’t need a new packet!)  The plant and seeds were originally collected by John’s son, William Bartram in Alabama.

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The first attempt yielded a couple of plants that grew for awhile and then rested for the summer.  In the fall they shot up long stems and bloomed.  I carefully collected some seeds to put into pots to later transplant to beds and allowed some seeds to to drop and plant themselves naturally.

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Well, by the third year I was rewarded with too many plants!  There was enough to transplant to two other beds as well as to share with fellow gardeners.  The photos don’t really show all the blooms. The Evening Primrose has done fantastically in the Automatic Garden and certainly germinates well on the Gulf Coast.


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