A Tale of Two Beds

The two flower bed at the entrance of my front porch tell a very different tale.  The plants were all bought at the same time and the same place.

One side is growing lush and blooming well.

The other bed is struggling and dropping yellow leaves.  Early on I gave this bed fertilizer and a new layer of soil.  Both beds grew equally well in the past.  This is definitely a gardening mystery.

 


Never Met a Volunteer I Didn’t Like

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What is it with plants growing in cracks and in between rocks?  Balsam Impatiens seeds made it down the garden path and planted themselves in the rocks.  There is hardly any soil and nothing to retain moisture, and yet they are some of the more robust of the Balsams in the garden.

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How this Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia landed here is a mystery as the other ones are far away and have been struggling to survive.  It may have had help from a bird.  The plant might be more successful with reproduction in this spot.

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In the middle of the Pentas, this Cockscomb Celosia came up.  The Pentas were purchased new this year and I believe the Celosia was mixed in at the greenhouse.

I find the habits of plants to be fascinating and their ability to reproduce and even move to new locations amazing.  All volunteers are welcome…even if they don’t match the other flowers in the bed!


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.

 

 


Sad Return

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After being away from the Automatic Garden during the Arctic Blast, homecoming was very sad.  A majority of the plants were burned from the cold.  Many have never been affected from a freeze, but this one was epic.  Usually frost cloth will save the tender plants, but alas, no one was home to cover them.

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This Firecracker plant (Russelia) has never froze until now.  It is a hummingbird favorite.  I was glad to see my Rufous survived the low temperatures.  Another hummer friend showed up…or should I say frenemie!  The flowers are dead, but plenty of feeders are up to provide substance.

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The Pentas have made it through two previous years.  Now it is time for replacements.

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On the upside, the Nandina finally turned red!  The garden will  provide days of exercise while cutting back dead plant material. Now there will be no doubt which plants are truly suited for the Automatic Garden when they grow back in the spring.


Fuel …just in time for fall migration

Pentas ((Pentas lanceolata)  had a lazy summer, but perked up for fall.

Wild ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum) planted itself in the garden and is now in full bloom.

Firecracker (Russelia equisetiformis)  growing in a pot low to the ground doesn’t stop hummers from visiting.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is blooming in time for Monarchs and hummingbirds.

Cigar plant (Cuphea micropetala) is hugely attractive to hummingbirds.

Pam’s Pink turk’s cap provides plenty of fuel.

Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens) is the number one favorite of hummingbirds.

Salvias. Bees need fuel too.

Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) This tree just re-bloomed and is buzzing with hummers.

A hummingbird sitting still for a moment.

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Fall is a great time of the year to be on the Gulf Coast. Hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies are passing through on their way to warmer winters.  Today the garden was humming with six little Ruby Throats vying for fuel for the long trip ahead.  Nature is in sync with the migration as many flowers re-bloom for the season.