It’s Beginning to Look Like Spring

I found it surprising that Spring seems to be on the way.  Maybe it is because I have not done my Fall clean-up.  The first two photos are two different salivias that are holding on to old growth while the new stems are already quite tall.  The other photo is rosettes of the cardinal flower well under way.

It has been an unusually warm winter and the cannas, gingers and drimiopsis seems to be coming up too early.

The native onion grass is popping up in the leaves along with corocosmia and snowflakes.

Even the Rose of Sharon seems to have had a short rest.  As always, there is good and bad with all this growth.  The good part is looking forward to a wonderful early blooming spring, but winter is not over and a hard freeze will knock all this new growth back to start over again.


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.


Hummer Madness

Hummingbird madness descended on the Automatic Garden this morning.  The little birds are impossible to count, but there may have been nearly 10 participating in a feeding frenzy.  The little Ruby Throated hummers are also impossible to photograph, but these pictures give an idea of the action.

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The sparring was rampant.  Little bodies clashed with thudding sounds and dropped to the ground.  Bees were chased away by screeching hummers using their beaks like swords.

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There were moments of rest between fights.

DSC_0451Clever hummingbirds took advantage of the feeders while the rest of the birds chased each other.

This group will probably be here a day or two during their migration, loading up on nectar from Hummingbird Bush, Cigar Plant, Bottlebrush, Salvias, Mist Flowers and good old sugar in the feeders.

I wish them well on their trip south and the garden will be ready for the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds’ return.


Harvest Time for Seeds

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It is time to start collecting seeds to keep the Automatic Gardening growing. Autumn is the end of the  flowering season for many plants, but also the beginning of next season in the promise of seeds.

As it turns out, Four O’Clocks, originally from Mexico, love it here and are very prolific.  The seeds need to be collected to stop an over abundance of plants.

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Bartram’s Evening Primrose no longer needs to be watched and coddled as it has come into its own.  It has reseeded itself and made thousands, if not millions of tiny black seeds this year.  An Automatic Garden success!

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Balsam Impatients, otherwise known as poppers, have the habit of popping open and flinging their seeds as far as they can.  It is always a good idea to collect some to plant where the human gardener desires.  These came from George Washington garden.  They were probably shared among many of the early colonists.

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Wish Bone flowers make extremely small tan seeds that are difficult to collect.  They are left to do their own thing and after the seeds germinate the seedlings are moved to beds.

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These wonderful seed pods belong to the Philippine Lily.  Each pod is stuffed full of flat seeds and are released as the wind blows.

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Salvias are old garden friends.  They are totally left on their own and never fail to reproduce and provide for the bees and hummingbirds each year.

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Some seeds need to be collected to prevent reproduction.  This wild and lovely little bean made it way into the garden.  As with all wild things in a garden, it needs to be controlled, so as many seed pods as possible are collected.  The pods twist open when ripe and send their seeds as far as they can.

 


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.

 

 


How to Fill a Pot

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This pot of dirt was set down and forgotten until a little seedling sprouted up.  The pot was left directly under a Pink Salvia that dropped a seed into the center of it.  Definitely, an easy no work required way to fill a pot with flowers!


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.