Strawberry Pot

Strawberry pots can sometimes be hard to fill, but the Automatic Garden had a solution.  Wishbone Flowers (Torenia fournieri) had germinated all over from last year’s plants.  I transplanted all the free plants into the strawberry pot and was rewarded with a beautiful display.  Best of all, my patio cracks will be full of plants for next year.


Pot O’ Volunteers

The black pot had been sitting in a bed in the front yard for several years.  Its purpose was to hold the Golden Dewdrop Duranta (the tallest plant).  Over time some, volunteers decided the large pot would be a great place to grow. White Penta and Abelmoschus Moschatus seeds dropped in. Even the Passion Flower is attracted to the pot.  Luckily for them, I love volunteers and the plants have a happy place to grow.

Another volunteer that I am thrilled with is the Wishbone Flower (Torenia fournieri).  Its tiny seed is able to lie low all winter and germinate when the temperature rises.  Its nickname is Summer Pansy, as it is too hot to have real pansies here in the summer.

Shortly after photographing the pot full of volunteers, I came across another Abelmoschus volunteer growing in the cobble rocks.  It was quickly moved to a bed.  Volunteers are a great way to keep the garden full.


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.

 


November Pinks

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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.

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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.

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Pam’s Pink Turks Cap has continued blooming from late summer.

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Camellias begin their bloom time in the fall.  This one starts by Halloween.

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Ancore Azaleas bloom on and off all year-round.

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The Japanese Anemone is beginning to wind down after a couple of months of blooming.

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The cutest little pom-poms develop on the Mexican Knot Weed.

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This pink Wishbone had reseeded from last year’s plant.

 

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Believe it or not, no pink Pentas were ever planted in the garden.  There are white and red Pentas.  Maybe they got together.

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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.

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Even though this is named Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia, it looks a tad purplish.

 

 


Automatic Gardening in the Fall

Fall is an important time of year to ensure the Automatic Garden will continue in the spring.  The following are some steps to take to keep the garden going.

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Take cuttings of tender plants before the temperatures dip.  These Coleus are from plants purchased several years ago.  They need to go inside for winter and replanted in the spring.  Once they start growing again, even more cuttings can be taken to fill the bed.

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This Red Hibiscus is treated the same as coleus.  Both plants need to be in a sunny window for winter.

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Allow plants to reseed on their own.  These Black Eyed Susans are from a plant started in the garden over 15 years ago.  It will show up in different parts of the yard with help from birds and wind.

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Wishbone or Torenia has been a wonderful reseeder.  Its tiny seeds may come up in various locations and cracks, but easily transplants to desired locations.

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It is always a good idea to collect some  seeds to ensure the garden continues.  Freezes, pests and animals can take their toll on seedlings.

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Start plants for spring in pots, especially those that need some extra care. On the Gulf Coast spring begins as early as February.

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Let seedlings start in beds.  One of the perks of Automatic Gardening is never needing to dig up beds and turn soil.  Plants are germinating and growing at all times.  It is important to be able to tell seedling from weeds!

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Many perennials begin to put out their new foliage as soon as the last flower turns to seed.  The dead stems can be removed.

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On the Gulf Coast, most flower seeds are planted during the fall.  It is a great time to make plans for next spring.


Fall Bloomers

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Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius).  This bright bloomer started right at the beginning of fall to the delight of the bees.  As its name implies, it likes a moist area.  It grows up to 6 feet tall and is a prolific reseeder.

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This Pam’s Pink Turks Cap desperately needed a trimming, but thankfully it was too hot to do the job and now it is loaded with flowers and buds.

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White Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes candida) pop up every year around this time and each year there are more of them.  They are in the amaryllis  family and can be separated and moved to new beds or shared with gardening friends.  Wild ones grow around this area and they have a scent.

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This Blue Salvia, the name has been lost, is always a reliable bloomer just when the butterflies and hummingbirds stop by on their journeys south.

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This Red Salvia is just super, blooming in the spring and fall.  It takes a break during summer.

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Coleus Flowers are not very exciting, but the bees sure do like them.  All of the Coleus were started by cuttings.  It is just about time to start some for the winter.  They do well in a sunny window and can be returned to the outdoors when the weather warms up.

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Torenias (Torenia fournieri) has many names.  Wishbone because of its stamens form a wishbone shape.  It is also called Clown Flower, Summer pansy (we grow pansies in the winter here) and Bluewing.  What ever you call it, it is a great little plant that takes partial shade and reseeds in the Automatic Garden.