Sunday, September 21, 2014

FALL IS AROUND THE CORNER

When the high temperature for the day drops into the 80s then gardeners in the south know that the back of summer is broken and fall is on the way. The message also comes from fall blooming plants; those that respond to shortening daylight length.
The first blooms on the Philippine Violet, Barleria cristata, appeared this week.


It will be in direct competition with another purple bloomer, Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha. Salvia leucantha is a favorite of the hummingbirds as they begin their long migration across the Gulf of Mexico to Venezuela.


Another purple fall bloomer is the Fall obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana, although I have never found it to be particularly obedient.


With cooling temperatures came torrential rain, 8" overnight in my garden. A sure signal that the Oxblood lilies will push up through the soil within a few days. And here they are.


If my garden is anything to go by it is going to be a bumper season for the blubonnets. I have never seen such germination. The ground is literally heaving.


And heavy rains carried many of the seeds to the edges of the garden.


I rescued these from a watery grave this morning but there is no way I can salvage those above.


I have other seeds to manage. Earlier this year I received a bag of trial seeds from American Meadows. I chose the dry wildflower mix. In Central Texas we sow hardy annual seeds int he fall so that is my plan over the next week. They will find a home in spots where wildflowers are lacking. I doubt they could compete with the bluebonnets.


They also sent some packets of vegetables, carrots and lettuce. It will be interesting to see how their sugar snap peas compare with my favorite Cascadia. I have planted this pea for years and it never fails to produce the most incredible crop. The pod can be eaten from the snap stage to full pea stage.


Coupled with my left-over seeds and collected seeds from last year, I have my work cut out. However, cooler days will mean more hours in the garden.


There is no rest for the Southern gardener.

14 comments:

  1. Yippee, the back of summer is broken! I just like repeating that.

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    1. And nights in the 60s this week. We can breathe again.

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  2. So interesting to see folks gearing up for vegetables at a time when my own garden has been "put to rest" for 9 months.

    I have found yet another idea to steal from you---seeds from American Meadows! I forgot they had mixtures specifically for different growing conditions. Eureka!

    I had earlier "stolen" your method of sowing some of the more difficult (for me) perennials and now direct seed them into gravel. It works beautifully and I have you to thank! I guess I never realized what ideal conditions exist under stone---constantly moist AND protected from the elements. Wonderful! Thank you again .

    :)

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    1. I'm glad the gravel idea worked for you. I certainly have my best seedings in gravel As you say protection from insects and possible the ground stays warmer in the gravel. I don't know how the Amercan Meadows seed will work out. It will be interesting to see what germinates and if it can compete with those bluebonnets.

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  3. Oh I wish I still had my seed sowing to do. I got mine out before the torrential rains and we'll see how many (if any!) ended up where I started them.

    Your bluebonnet germination rate is astonishing! I've had luck getting several rosettes established here and there but you are going to have a sea of blooms. I can't wait to see them here!

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    1. I rather wish I had done mine. Everyone seems to be streaks ahead of me with their veggy planting. Maybe this week I will get more done.

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  4. Looks like lots going on! I am so excited for Autumn to be here : ) We are just putting in our fall garden with lots of garlic!

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    1. I must get out to buy garlic and shallots too. They are a great winter crop.

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  5. Your bluebonnet "crop" always impresses me. What's the right time to sow the seeds in colder climates: fall, or spring? I'm thinking very early spring.

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    1. As easy as pie if you live in Texas Alan. I'm afraid I can't help you on when to plant. You need to find the particular variety that is native to your area. There are 5 here in Texas depending on parts of the state. SOme do well in the rugged mountains of Davis Mountains. Even if you did plant by November they might not germinate until spring. They can withstand a frost but don't know about an extended freeze.

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  6. Your bluebonnet seedlings are incredible. I tried several varieties last year but nothing took; however, a few plants mysteriously appeared, possibly hitchhiking here with a delivery of topsoil. A friend told me that they need particular minerals in the soil but I haven't been able to corroborate that theory.

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  7. Even though our heat's back was broken at the end of July, and now it's oddly humid and flooding in spots...relief. I learned my 1st year in Abq what you said about fall - not usually like ones further north.

    Your fall growing season looks to be progressing...the ground heaving from germination is amazing! Glad you're sharing your garden, since I'm too far away to see it...still fondly remember you both showing it to me 3 falls ago.

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  8. I harvested some bluebonnet seeds this year. Yay! Is now the time to get them in the ground? We used to have lots of them and over time they have been fewer and fewer. Hoping for more next spring. :)

    Thank you!! Ella

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  9. Oh fall gardening, how I love thee!

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