Garden Tour – September

You never know with gardens. Here we are at the end of the summer and moving into “harvest time,” yet our gardens will insist on going their own way. I’ve seen pictures in magazines and on websites of huge wicker baskets full of colorful vegetables, but for some reason, this year, our garden has not been productive in that way. I suppose we can blame it on the weather–we did have that incredibly wet June–but who really knows? But the thing with gardens–and with nature–is that you need to appreciate what you get. So, looking at ours in late September, I do see a “harvest” of many wonderful things.

First, our wild begonias in the back corner garden are looking better than ever. They share quarters with hosta and other shade-loving plants that seem to wander in. We planted these years back, and they’ve struggled, but now their deep green leaves and graceful pink flowers really catch the eye.

Wild begonia

What would a garden be without a bit of mystery? We think these plants may be tomatillos, but we’re really not sure. This is what happens when you dump a mixture of seeds out to fill in a bare spot. We had cilantro growing here earlier in the summer, but it died off. Now, we have a strange mixture of plants sprouting up. And although they do look a bit like tomatillo plants, we didn’t think we had any tomatillo seeds. Surprise!?

Tomatillos… maybe…

This pot of impatiens (although you can’t really see the pot) adds a bit of color to another back corner shady garden. The impatiens are surrounded by one of my favorite herbs–lemon balm. Nothing smells as good!

Impatiens among the lemon balm

And since I can’t bear to be without cilantro, we planted another round of it in the corner of the backyard next to the wild begonias. It’s probably not quite sunny enough for it there, but so far it’s surviving.

Late season cilantro

Our confirmed tomatillos continue to produce like crazy.

Tomatillos… definitely!

Then finally we come to the basil and peppers. These guys used to be shadowed and crowded by some huge tomato plants that never really produced anything but green tomatoes that then split and rotted. So, we cleared those out and let the other plants spread out a bit.

Basil and peppers

Well, to wrap up this month’s tour, let’s check in on the compass plant. Still standing tall, but the blooms are finished. I can’t wait to see what it does next year.

IMG_1856And in the front yard? Here’s brick pig in a beautiful blanket of white alyssum. A few gerbera daisies add some nice contrast on the tail end! 🙂

Sights of Fall

As the summer winds down and fall draws near, I always notice the changes in the light. Somehow the sunlight takes on a different hue; it’s more golden, warm in color if not in temperature. I’ve often wondered if I’d notice the difference if I didn’t already know what time of year it was. Maybe not. The change in seasons is multi-sensory. You smell it; you see it; you hear it; you feel it. It’s hard to know how much one sense affects the others. And, of course, the brain processes everything and puts an emotional and cognitive wrapper on every experience.

This week, the weather has been perfect. Cool, crisp mornings; warm afternoons and evenings. In the gardens, many things are still blooming, but much is starting to fade. I’m making plans for gathering seeds and taking a few things indoors. Most mornings, before leaving for work, I take a quick garden tour. I keep hoping to see a monarch caterpillar, or any butterfly larvae; but no luck. This year was not the year.

Here, though, are two things that did flourish this year. First, some beautiful purple asters. These were originally a gift and came to me in a small pot. For a while, they were a lovely table centerpiece.  When the blooms faded, I planted them outside and they have thrived!


Then, there are the tomatillos. They started the summer season strong and just keep coming. If only we could figure out exactly what we’ve done this year to please them. It’s a mystery. Next year, it might be an entirely different story. For now, thought, they continue to produce their little green Japanese lantern fruit and pretty much take over the place. Kind of look like Christmas ornaments, to me.


Soon, these will fade and dry up along with everything else. We’ll try to save seeds and see what happens in the spring!