Update

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The bed of Balsam Impatiens is now in full bloom.  It self-seeded last fall and the seeds waited out the winter for the perfect time to germinate.

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The Balsam Impatiens will soon begin the reseeding cycle for one more blooming period in late summer.  The plants will go to seed again in late fall.


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.

 


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.


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.

 

 


A Cottage Garden

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Cottage Garden is the best way to describe this bed.  It is densely planted with perennials and reseeding annuals.  A few of the annuals that came up outside the bed, were transplanted to better locations. The only new plants added were the Nasturtium from purchased seed.

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The white Bishop Flowers’ seeds were collected last summer after they ripened and were scattered in early winter.  Not being satisfied with their germination, more seeds were added…maybe too many!  But, this bed required very little work or money to fill in the space.

 

 


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.


Just Pretty

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Diana’s Delight Clematis

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Dijon Mustard Rose

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Shrimp Plant

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Nasturtium

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A red Salvia

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Iris

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Petunia

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G. Nabonnand an antique rose

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All of the flowers in this post are currently blooming in the Automatic Garden.   The Clematis was added last year as a replacement and the petunia was a impulse purchase because of its unusual color combination.  The nasturtium was started from seed last year and reseeded itself for this spring.  The iris came to the garden in a load of mulch and happily lived here for more than 10 years. The rest of the plants are old friends of the Automatic Garden returning year after year.