Fall Fragrances

Flower scents are more commonly associated with Spring, but this Fall, my garden plants are really full of fragrances. The Sweet Olive, Osmanthus fragrans, bloomed with a multitude of tiny flowers that completely filled the yard with their strong scent.

I am having my house painted and the painters apparently, spent the day trying to figure out which plant was making the wonderful perfume that could be smelled over the paint odor.

The climbing rose prefers to bloom when the weather cools.  It attracts the bees and hummingbirds. The scent becomes strong at different times of the day.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Gingers have been reblooming with sweet scents.  This one is Maximun Hedychium.

The Evening Primrose, Oenothera grandiflora, is hanging on with its unusual scented blooms lasting longer in the cooler weather.  I don’t know if it was the heavy rains we had that stimulated these plants to flower more, but it has been a Fall filled with fragrances.


Perfect Primrose – Bartram’s Oenothera grandiflora

William Bartram’s Oenothera grandiflora has had a good year in the Automatic Garden and it may be because the rabbit that habitually ate the plant has moved on.  It is otherwise known as Evening Primrose and blooms as the sun sets.  I spotted this perfect full cluster early in the morning, grabbed my camera and headed out in my jammies to get a shot before the yellow blooms closed.  With the humidity near 90%, I had to continually wipe the moisture from my lens to get a clear photo.

I originally got the seeds at Bartram’s Garden in 2009 with a note on the packet that germination requirements are unknown and if you figure it out, you’ll get a free packet of seeds.  I figured it out and took on the challenge, growing the Evening Primrose in garden beds and flower pots out of the rabbit’s reach for the last ten years. I have been successful and harvest enough seeds for the next year’s Evening Primroses.


Foraging for Volunteers

The Automatic Garden is full of plants that multiply in one way or another. The offspring does not always land in a bed.  A Polka Dot plant came up in the cobble stones among leaves and Elm tree seedlings.

I love to forage around my yard looking for volunteers.  This Black-eyed Susan is growing happily between the patio and grass.

It is always amazing how little soil is needed for a plant to germinate. A Columbine and Hardy Gloxinia are growing on this moss rock.

The Oenothera grandiflora preferred to grow in the grass and managed to survive several mowings.

I find plants cannot resist germinating in cracks.  There are at least 3 different kinds plants started here.  Over the last few weeks, I have been popping them up and replanting them where they belong.


Fall Color

Happy Fall!  Many are posting photos of colorful leaves.

The leaves here will not change for a long time.

Instead, our Fall color comes from blooming plants that have woke up from their summer “sleep”, when it was just too hot to make a flower.

We don’t have flaming foliage, so these flaming tropicals will have to do.

Click on the photos to enlarge.


High and Out of Reach

One of my favorite plants is William Bartram’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera grandiflora).  I purchased the original seeds at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.  The instructions said they were difficult to germinate, so I was thrilled when I was able to grow them.

Unfortunately over the past few years, the rabbits have taken to eating them or just biting the stems in half.  This year, I was determined to grow some Primrose to replenish my seed supply. I managed to get six plants to grow in pots and elevated them in a tall planter.

It worked and the Evening Primroses bloomed.  Soon I will be able to collect seeds for next year.


Crack Plants

It is always amazing how many plants (and weeds) germinate in cracks.  Surely there is not much soil in there.  Most of the young seedlings in these photos aren’t weeds, but the garden favorites of Bartram’s primrose, coleus, jewel of opar, mother of thousands and some herbs from a pot on the patio.  Actually, it will work out well if the crack plants make it through the winter, they can just be transplanted into a bed.  What is even more amazing is the plants that have grown to nearly full size in a crack.  And to top that, no one bothered to pull them out!


Autumn Yellows

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Autumn seems to bring out the yellows in the Automatic Garden.  The native Swamp Sunflower keeps its blooms for weeks.  This started out as one plant, but has reseeded and multiplied over a few years to the point that some had to be removed.

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The Esperanza or Yellow Bells (tecoma stans, Texas native) took a very hard hit during last winter’s freeze.  It struggled all summer and was finally able to put out some flowers before next winter arrives.

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Mexican or Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is a favorite of the Monarch Butterfly.  This is a yellow variety.  The Monarchs fly over the Gulf Coast on their migrations to and from Mexico.  This Tropical Milkweed should be cut back in the fall as it harbors a parasite that is fatal to the Monarchs.

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And of course, a favorite of the autumn garden is the yellow Oenothera grandiflora or Evening Primrose.  It seeded itself all over the garden naturally creating succession germination and has had a plant blooming since August.   It is a native of Alabama where William Bartram first collected it.

 


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.


Second Anniversary

April is the second anniversary of the Automatic Garden Blog.  It is a good time to look back at some favorite plant photos.

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Confederate Rose

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Canna seed pods.

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Butterfly Weed pod opening.photo

Screaming Anole.

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William Bartram’s Evening Primrose.

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Poppy love.

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Hummingbird with a bee under its wing.

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The last rose.


Reseeding

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In the Automatic Garden the plants are allowed to reseed for the next season.  William Bartram’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera grandiflora) prolifically reseeded this year and the plants need to be thinned, transplanted and shared.  It is important not to disturb the soil once plants have dropped their seeds.

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The Swamp Sunflower has reseeded outside the wire fencing, but enough are in the bed so these can be removed.

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Rocks are a favorite germination site for seeds.  These Salvias will be returned to their bed.

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Some plants seem to be able to reseed in just the right places as these Johnny- Jump-Ups did.   Allowing plants to reseed on their own is an easy way to have a continuous supple of annuals for the garden.  A few are pictured here, but the Automatic Garden reseeds zinnias, mealy blue sage, black-eyed Susans, wishbone plants, blanket flowers, ornamental peppers, dancing lady gingers, columbine, and cleome just to name a few.