It was a hot and steamy morning. The backyard critters were lined up waiting for their breakfast.
I walked outside, not totally caffeinated yet, my eyeglasses fogged over in the humidity. As I trudged across the yard to feed the animals, my skin was becoming wet from the moisture in the air. And that is when I saw it.
A freak of nature. The dark red plant had the wrong flower blooming on it. I dried my glasses and shook my head awake. I then realized it was a zinnia perfectly centered on a celosia plant.
I retreated to the cool of the air conditioning, finished my morning coffee and contemplated on what I had just seen.
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.
A killing freeze descended on this part of the country and for the Automatic Garden, it was a blessing in disguise. I had been away from the garden quite a bit last year and many chores went undone. The Automatic Garden did what it was designed to do and kept on growing, propagating and reseeding, resulting in a interwoven tangle of plants.
The freeze gave clarity to what needed to be pulled, transplanted and cut back. I have been spending hours everyday getting the garden in shape.
Other chores included filling in a hole dug over the winter by some animal, which was probably an armadillo. It was much more work than it looks and the dirt is heavy clay. The extremely strong gingers were able to push their way through the pile of clay and the dirt had to be carefully removed.
Volunteers had to be rounded up and replanted into their places in the garden. There were many, but free plants are a good thing.
A scant few flowers have begun to bloom in the garden. Most years have flowers blooming all year around, but the freeze knocked back almost all of the winter flowering plants. This red canna is a welcome sight.
Drimiopsis maculata unfurled its spotted leaves and sent out flowers in no time. The plant is a great substitute for hostas in the South.
The climbing rose is blooming and dripping from a tree.
Pink Flamingo Celosia usually stands three feet tall before blooming, but this one couldn’t wait.
The Shrimp plant came back from its roots and the few blooms were welcomed by the Buff-bellied Hummingbird that has wintered here.
The Bottlebrush has perfect timing providing food for the arriving Ruby Throated Hummers and the honey bees that are living near by.
Bit by bit I am seeing my hard labor paying off and I have high hopes for a beautiful garden this summer.
The seed somehow traveled from another location in the back of the house and planted itself in a corner of a front bed.
From that accidental (or was it?) planting, it grew to be a multi-stemed, six foot tall plant with thick stems to support it.
The flowers are a pretty color and keep bees busy.
And there is always good news and bad news. The good news is that the Flamingo Feather is a healthy and beautiful plant. The bad news is that I will be transplanting and pulling up an awful lot of Celosia next spring.
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.
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.
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!
Pink is not usually a color associated with November and I was surprised to see how many pinks were in bloom this month. The garden favorite, Confederate Rose, begins the show. She only blooms in the fall.
Wendy’s Wish salvia will bloom in the spring, but it does bloom nicely in the fall and into the winter if the weather stays mild.
Pam’s Pink Turks Cap has continued blooming from late summer.
Camellias begin their bloom time in the fall. This one starts by Halloween.
Ancore Azaleas bloom on and off all year-round.
The Japanese Anemone is beginning to wind down after a couple of months of blooming.
The cutest little pom-poms develop on the Mexican Knot Weed.
This pink Wishbone had reseeded from last year’s plant.
Believe it or not, no pink Pentas were ever planted in the garden. There are white and red Pentas. Maybe they got together.
The Pink Salvia has been with me for a long time. Many years ago, a neighbor let me dig it up from her garden. I have moved since then and so has she.
Even though this is named Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia, it looks a tad purplish.