With a busy week at work, I completely spaced out on the time of day, of year, of month - and realized with a start that it's Labor Day weekend so it must be September. Already.
Really, the garden told the story all along. Why didn't I listen? The first California Fuchsia blossoms appear in August - sometimes a little earlier. But by September, the hummingbird buffet has been laid out everywhere in the garden. Above and below, a tall-growing cultivar that I pinched this spring based on the good advice in California Native Plants in the Garden by Helen Popper. Amazing results - instead of 5 feet tall, the plants are now 3-4 feet. Perfect.
A low-growing cultivar, UC Hybrid, is also just in view of the sunroom, a great place to watch the hummingbirds fight it out. This spot says September in other ways - just see how the grasses have retreated to their summer dormancy, mostly brown, with just a few spikes of green.
After so many years here in California I'm come to appreciate this time of quiet, fewer birds, and slow days sitting in the garden sipping tea.
As a garden designer, though, I like to make sure I keep visual interest. Above, the thin blades of grass and small-leaved ceanothus contrast with Asclepias speciosa, a large-leaved native butterfly weed that is just now putting out seedpods, and Salvia spatacea (hummingbird sage) with new dark green growth and an intoxicating fragrance. But what makes the design sign is the "river of buckwheat" in the background between the ceanothus. A grey-leaved cultivar, this buckwheat's many white blossoms add some welcome contrast to the green-brown palette. And the many butterflies and months that visit are a bonus.
A similar buckwheat - but with green leaves - is near the dragon fountain. It's getting a little forward and a haircut is in order, but I'll leave it for another month. There's not much food to go around this time of year, so I don't mind leaving a few extra seedheads for a little longer. In fact, I still haven't cut the lavender and the finches are still stopping by.
In the redwood habitat, I had an extra surprise of a little fall burst of flowers from Mimulus puniceus, a red monkey flower that likes a little shade. That will go on the fall propagation list, along with Mimulus 'Eleonore' with its large light yellow flowers.
In the front garden, the buckwheats are also stealing the show - here the native Eriogonum fasciculatum. Some extra visual interest comes from the light green coyote brush in the front, and the large coffee berry in the background in the left.
As my final view, I want to show of Eriogonum arborescens, which sits in a prominent spot near the sidewalk and has been beautiful all summer. The grey Salvia leucophilla 'Pt Sal Spreader' adds a welcome color contrast.
And now I'm ready to see how everybody else's summer garden is faring. I'm sorry that I sometimes don't visit right away - in August, I was actually on vacation right after First Views. But I do enjoy seeing gardens from different climates, with different critters and different joys. Come join us celebrating another month of delight.