We’re closing out the third summer we’ve been in this house of ours in Zone 6a/6b, with all the established flowerbeds that seemed so beautiful yet daunting. I’m learning how true it is that a garden is a living, changing thing — some plants thrive, others get buried in mulch by well-meaning landscapers, still others succumb to a bad winter (or two).
Some of the color from previous autumns has failed to return this year — mums, Joe Pye weed, and late-blooming roses are all failing to come through for one reason or another (but mostly due to being the deer snack bar). So, I’m latching onto the few bits of color I can find, and making plans for the spring.
This mophead hydrangea, to my knowledge, is not a repeat bloomer, so I’m not sure what it thinks it’s doing, trying to bloom so close to the first frost. Guessing this confusion will mean no blooms come next summer…
I’m not sure what this slightly smelly groundcover is, but it’s turning a lovely shade of purple. I’ve given up trying to eradicate it and am instead letting it do its thing — but keeping it from crowding out other plants in the same bed.
This groundcover is in what I’m calling my Future Cottage Garden, where I’ll be planting pollinator-friendly flowers over the coming years. So, it will eventually be removed when I plant (or transplant) more things here, and establish some pathways through the bed. This weekend, I relocated a pink-flowering volunteer viburnum into this bed, and dug up a peony from another bed to transplant here. I sure hope at least a few divisions of that peony survive; I didn’t mean to break it up into 12 separate plants!
But I digress. Bloom Day.
It appears I wasn’t as diligent as I’d thought I was, and some goldenrod managed to live another season. That’s OK — I actually do like the shock of autumn color. It’s the summer-long overgrown weedy look I can’t get behind.
I don’t remember seeing this native-looking purple guy along my front fence last fall. The bees are having a field day with it — which is good, since I don’t really have a lot besides the couple goldenrods and a bunch of lamium to keep them happy this late in the season.
Of course, the sedum continues to change color with the weather, and it continues to flourish despite being in a spot that’s crowded with Rose of Sharon volunteers and other undesirables.
The variegated Solomon’s Seal always makes me happy, and I do wish I had some in a more visible spot on my property. Delicate bloom stalks in the spring, this great chartreuse foliage in the fall, and virtually no maintenance required.
Speaking of chartreuse foliage, I am genuinely surprised this spiderwort has lasted this long with blooms! She’s seen better days, of course, but still.
Next to the spiderwort is this jumpseed. I’ve eradicated it from most of my beds, but I like it enough to let it stay in just a few places. I do like the variegated foliage and these tiny reddish seed stalks it sends up in the fall… it’s just that I don’t need so much of it.
In the southwest corner, by the jumpseed and the spiderwort, is one of two burning bushes in the back yard. It’s just barely starting to turn; in the couple of days since I took this photo, the top quarter of the bush has started its gradation to that lovely red hue.
Finally, chalk this one up to Nature’s unexpected twists. This is a volunteer Rose of Sharon, I’m pretty sure — although it’s coming up under a bush that blooms white. About 100 feet from the white one is a purple one, so I’m not sure if this is some odd hybrid or if a friendly pollinator brought a different variety to my yard. Either way… I don’t really have a spot for another Rose of Sharon… but it’s so pretty… maybe I should give it some thought.
It’s blooming pink, so maybe it would go well in my pink and white Future Cottage Garden, if I can find an appropriate spot come early spring…