Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Summer Fade

September often feels like summer, with warm weather and lots of sunshine. But this year it's a little cooler and some fall color is already starting to appear. It's a little sad. I mean, I love fall, don't get me wrong. But my flowers have been fabulous this year, and I don't want them to leave me. If only they all faded away in such a pretty, vintage looking manner like my Endless Summer hydrangea.
However, there are way more postives than negatives about September. I always see a big uptick in visits from butterflies, moths and skippers. I was so excited to see this Sphinx moth that I let a monarch go fluttering by! I regret it, however. I've only seen a few monarchs come by, and no way will they pose for my camera.

These common little cabbage butterflies appeared to be doing some type of mating ritual. They would only flutter wildly in each other's presence.
 Here was a quiet little guy, not normally seen around here, the Duskywing Moth. He's not flashy, but he is just as welcome as any other winged friend.
Mourning cloaks are even more rare, at least here. He was good at posing though, and let me take a lot of pix.
If you are familiar at all with butterflies, you'll know that they often like to settle on mud, to withdraw minerals from the soil. I saw this tiny little Eastern tailed blue butterfly circling around the bare ground where we just put in grass seed. She was so busy, that I knew I had little chance of getting the shot. But I finally gave up on the macro setting, and instead used the regular one and zoomed in from a little farther out. I just wished she would have opened up her wings so we could see the pretty lavender color inside.
 Skippers of various kinds are always seen here. They may be a little common, but they still make me smile. 

This Painted Lady was the least shy of any butterfly I've ever seen. She posed over and over again, with her wings stretched wide to show off her beauty.
Another good reason to love September are all of the dahlias in bloom. For years, I would plant them, then forget to dig up the tubers which aren't hardy here. Last year, I finally dug them up, but then neglected to put them safely into peat moss for storage. They just shriveled up and died. This year, I hope to do it right and save them for next year.

It's only been a month since we finished making our tiered herb garden. But the plants have really and filled in during that time. I'm so glad we did this. I use my herbs much more often now that they are so easy to get to outside the kitchen door. Now to remember to preserve the herbs for winter.
I particularly like this Magic Michael basil, just because it's lovely.
And just so you know it's me, one gratuitous shot of the ever gorgeous Queen Red Lime zinnias. You know you wanted to see one, admit it.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sweet Summer

This summer has been one of the sweetest ones I've ever known. The weather has been ideal, not too hot, and there has been frequent rain to keep everything green. It's also the first summer when I haven't been working outside the home, giving me plenty of time to spend in the garden. All of this has combined into one perfect summer.
Normally, my roses would have faded away by now. Not this year. Maybe they don't have as many blooms as in the spring, but they still look pretty good. They even have less blackspot than usual.

I know I've shown so many pictures of my favorite and beloved Queen Red Lime zinnias, but this is the first time in years that they have done so well. I have them everywhere! And while I love how interesting they look, the butterflies love them too. It's a win-win. And I don't make any promises that I won't show them again. They won't peter out until a hard frost hits them, and that is weeks away yet.
Have you figured out by now that I like to use pink in the garden? Yes, it's a sweet color, but I use it 
mostly because the brick on the front of my house has a pink tone. This way, everything coordinates.

 All this perfect weather has make my vegetable garden to the most prolific ever. I've never had so many cucumbers. Normally they produce for about two weeks then peter out. This is today's fairly small harvest. I used it make my first ever batch of gazpacho. It needs to chill overnight for the flavors to blend. I can't wait to try it. Here is a link to the recipe I used. I did add a bit of jalapeno for kick.

Another sweet spot this summer has been having the new patio to help me enjoy the garden. I sit here most nights, and just enjoy the fruits of my labor. Invariably, I'll jump up to take pictures of something that catches my eye.
As the sun sets, its golden glow shines all over the patio garden. This is what I've been waiting for. It's my favorite time for taking garden pix.

I only have a few weeks left to enjoy my sweet, sweet summer. But that's okay, fall is pretty sweet too!