Relief

Finally, after months of record drought and heat, a little relief. You might not be able to see it here, but there is rain falling from the sky. Two days of intermittent rain (Sept. 18 and 19), almost 1.5 inches total.

This view is out our sunroom window towards the front garden. I’ll take this moment to celebrate these plants, which made it through the entire summer after only being watered 4 or 5 times. Visible are the pink flower spike of a red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and behind that the sprawling silvery grey of Ozothamnus ‘Sussex Silver’. To the lower right are the yellow seed heads of shrubby hare’s ear (Bupleurum fruticosum). The blue and green groundcovers off to the left are cottage pinks (Dianthus plumarius) and a creeping thyme whose name has been lost to time, maybe¬†woolly time.

For the first time ever, our creek stopped running this summer and had only a few shallow pools. It was nice to hear water moving again.

Water is in the creek again
Darmera peltata

Not very pretty, I’m afraid. But the umbrella leaf in the back part of this picture is still there and alive (Darmera peltata).

I tried getting a few pictures in between showers to document what’s blooming now. The cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) are beginning to bloom, so Fall must be here.

White flowers and mottled leaves of Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

I’m not normally a fan of pink and yellow together, but I have always loved rock harlequins (Capnoides sempervirens) ever since I first saw them at Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. I remember being very surprised this was a native plant.

Pink and yellow flowers of the rock harlequin
Capnoides sempervirens

I propagated a few extra ramie last year (Boehmeria nivea) and now I have several plants. I like the heavily quilted leaves, but so far it hasn’t been the most beautiful plant in the garden. We’ll see how it does over the next few years. This is also a Fall bloomer. Can you tell it’s in the nettle family? Both the leaves and the flowers look a bit like our native nettle. Interesting to read that ramie is used to produce fiber – it is one of the strongest natural fibers known. I can attest to this – the stems look like they would snap easily, but they don’t. You’ve got to use pruners if you want cuttings of this plant.

Here is another Fall bloomer, toad lily (Tricyrtis formosana ‘Autumn Glow’).

I occasionally plant annuals. The orange-red marigolds are a consistent performer. This one bloomed all summer.

The difficult to photograph flowers of cape fuchsia (Phygelius x rectus ‘Devil’s Tears’). I love the vibrant bicolor blooms. This one also bloomed all summer. A hummingbird favorite that was only watered twice this summer.

Pink and yellow bicolor flowers of Phygelius x rectus 'Devil's Tears'
Phygelius x rectus 'Devil's Tears'

I accidentally ended up with a lot of Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’ this spring after I found out how easily cuttings of this thing root. This one was a tiny little plant in a 4 inch pot in March, but is now a full sized plant about a foot tall and wide.

Of course, with the resumption of the Fall rains, the moles return. They also love any areas that get irrigated in the summer. As much as I wish they wouldn’t push up their molehills in my mulch, I guess it is nice that they are aerating the clay. That’s a Hebe¬†buxifolia on the left that was planted last year.

Well, that’s it for now. Next up, probably a series of posts about how things fared through the miserably hot and dry summer. I avoided it for months because I found it all a bit depressing. But, now that some relief has arrived in the form of rain, I feel ready to tackle it.

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