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Glories of the Early Fall Garden: GBBD, September 2013

September 15, 2013
gburg blues brothersIn my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden, the heat and humidity of early September have given way to cool, dry air more characteristic of autumn. The plants, too, are speaking of autumn; many (including the daylilies) have stopped blooming and begun to go dormant. Only a few plants are still flowering, but this makes them all the more special.

gburg patio fence morning gloriesThe morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Blues Brothers’) blooming on the patio fence are the glory of my Gettysburg garden in September. I love the two different colors of flowers in this seed mix. My morning glory seeds never germinated in 2012 and I missed their gorgeous presence in fall, but this year they have outdone themselves. By the time I returned to Gettysburg in late August, the vines had long ago topped the fence and were well on their way to taking over my neighbor’s patio. Having been corralled back to their proper side of the property line, they have grown around one another, forming thick ropes that are flowering profusely. Having such a wealth of morning glories this year is a special gift because this is my last year living in Gettysburg, and the tropical morning glory vines will never bloom this luxuriantly in the colder climate of my Maine garden.

gburg blues brothers dark gburg blues brothers light

gburg sedum matronaThe other plants that are blooming profusely this month are varieties of Sedum (stonecrop). S. telephium ‘Matrona’ is the first of this genus to bloom in my garden and has already begun the transition from flowers to seedheads. This plant, with its maroon stems and red-tinged foliage, is intended to be a tall, elegant presence in the fall garden, but mine was forced by an overhanging forsythia branch (since removed) to grow prostrate this year.

gburg sedum neon light S. spectabile ‘Neon’ is rapidly becoming my favorite of this group. Growing in my front flowerbed, it is at the height of its bloom and is showing a range of colors from palest pink to red.

gburg sedum neon bright

Sedum x ‘Autumn Joy,’ the most commonly grown sedum cultivar in the U.S. northeast, is just beginning to bloom. Its flowers start out a delicate pale pink. In the weeks to come their color will darken, transforming from pink to a deep rich wine color. gburg sedum autumn joy
gburg rozanne flower Other flowers in my garden include a few scattered blooms on Geranium x ‘Rozanne’ and some blooms of Pelargonium (annual geranium) and Osteospermum still soldiering on in the half-barrel container at the front of the house.
gburg container pelargonium gburg container osteospermum

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is in bloom this month in gardens around the world.

[I apologize to my readers for my relative absence from the blogosphere in recent weeks. I’ve been having trouble juggling the 70-hour-a-week demands of my heavy fall teaching semester, various home and financial projects demanding my attention as I prepare for retirement, and two blogs. I have made a resolution to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep per night this semester, and blogging has been sacrificed in favor of sleep. It is likely that, from now until the semester ends in mid-December, I will only find time to write one blog post per week, alternating posts to this blog and my retirement blog every other week. I’m looking forward to being able to devote more time to blog writing and reading when my time crunch eases in spring. Thanks for your understanding.]

30 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2013 6:01 am

    Jean, the color of your morning glory makes me think about blue poppy’ color. Pure and beautiful.

    • September 22, 2013 11:23 am

      Tatyana, There’s something about that blue that just makes me feel pure joy. I do love them, and I’ll miss them when I give up my little southern garden here.

  2. September 16, 2013 7:22 am

    Get your sleep, stay healthy and enjoy your last semester. Your readers will be here enjoying your posts when you have time.

    • September 22, 2013 11:28 am

      Judy, I’ve been trying to find the right balance in this last three-course semester. (I’ll still be teaching next semester, but I’ll only have two courses, which is a much more reasonable workload.) I know from experience that, at least for me, teaching a course takes a minimum of 20 hours a week (time in class, time for reading and prep, office hours for individual meetings with students, and grading). I don’t want to short my students; they’re paying just as much tuition as they were in years when I wasn’t about to retire. But, as you say, I also want to stay healthy and enjoy this last semester. The 6-7 hours of sleep a night rule is my way of trying to do that. It will be wonderful to have more time for blogging (and other parts of life!) in just a few short months.

  3. September 17, 2013 10:13 am

    Beautiful Jean! I will have to try that Morning Glory. I am glad it is bidding you a fond farewell. This is the first year I’ve grown Grandpa Otts which does very well in this area and reseeds itself (we’ll see next year). But I love, love the blue Morning Glories the best – Heavenly Blue especially, but it does not bloom for me here fast enough before frost – which we had last night in the area but the river keeps us safe for awhile. EEEK!

    • September 22, 2013 11:32 am

      Kathy, I’m home in Maine this weekend and happy to see there has been no frost here yet. I do have morning glories growing up my fence here, but they grow much more sparsely than they do in my Gettysburg garden. I can see I have had some blooms on my Maine morning glories and there are still a few buds here and there, but none are open this weekend. I think the big difference is that I can’t plant the seeds out here until Memorial Day, almost a month after I sow them outdoors in Gettysburg. That’s the difference between having blooms in August or not having them until September, when frost is always threatening. Once I’m living here full time, I may try sowing them indoors in March so that I can actually plant out seedlings at the end of May.

  4. September 17, 2013 10:23 am

    I always love seeing your morning glories, and will miss them when you move. It has been colder here than on Cliff Island.

    • September 22, 2013 11:34 am

      Carolyn, I always forget that the climate on the islands is milder because of the moderating effects of the water. We had overnight lows in the mid-forties in Poland in mid-August before I left to go back to Gettysburg; so the recent 70-degree days with overnight lows in the forties felt to me like the late summer weather I had been enjoying in Maine before I came south.

  5. September 18, 2013 10:51 am

    Hi Jean, you shouldn’t sacrifice sleep for blogging, just like me! I only get 6hrs of sleep and it lessens resistance. When i sleep only that long i get mouth sores, and sometimes colds easily. I try to sleep early, but can’t keep my promise. Whatever, your blooms are lovely. Those morning glory i love, but it gets so invasive here, so i refrain myself.

    • September 22, 2013 11:39 am

      Andrea, I know that I and my body are happiest with between 7-8 hours sleep a night. Like you, I have trouble keeping my promises to get that much sleep. One of things I am looking forward to when I retire from teaching in a few months is never setting an alarm clock again and just letting my body wake up naturally when it has had enough sleep.
      These morning glories (Ipomoea) are not invasive here because they are tropical plants that can’t surviving our winters. The ones we have trouble with are the similar-looking Convolvulus that are perennials here and they you can never seem to get rid of once they have established a beachhead in your garden.

  6. September 19, 2013 12:51 pm

    Hi Jean. I guess you will miss Morning Glory growing so exquisitely. They are treated very much as a Summer annual here in Aberdeen, even then they are very restrained. I am not surprised that you are hard pushed with blogging when working seventy hours per week. Take care Alistair,

    • September 22, 2013 12:00 pm

      Alistair, It’s also grown as an annual in the US northeast. I think of it as a fall flower more than a summer one because of the long lead-time (almost 3 months) from germination to bloom. In my Maine garden, the soil doesn’t get warm enough to germinate the seeds until the end of May, so no flowers before the end of August (and more often mid-September). I will miss the luxurious bloom of these in the warmer climate of Gettysburg, but I’m really not a hot-weather person, so I won’t miss the heat that goes with that luxurious growth and bloom.
      My work-week this semester will get worse before it gets better; there’s a three-week period in November, when I will have to add 75 hours of reading and commenting on first drafts of student term papers to everything else. Ugh! I keep reminding myself, though, that I will never have to work this hard again :-).

  7. September 19, 2013 3:35 pm

    Getting sleep is important – a lack of can only lead to incoherent posts so take care of yourself. The morning glories and sedum are all wonderful – I’ve been looking for S. ‘Matrona’ everywhere.

    • September 22, 2013 12:04 pm

      Kris, lack of sleep can also lead to incoherent classes! ‘Matrona’ must be much more popular in the northeast part of the country; it’s readily available from nurseries here. I did a quick online search, and it seems to be available by mail order from Bluestone Perennials in Ohio.

  8. September 20, 2013 8:56 am

    Your morning glories are beautiful! I love the mix of the two blues in this planting. Congratulations on your coming retirement! Definitely make time for sleep–the blogging can wait.

    • September 22, 2013 12:06 pm

      Rose, I also love this mix of two blues; I happened upon this seed mix in my local Agway a few years ago and have been planting it ever since. I am so looking forward to the luxury of more time after I retire in May. Of course, I have so many things planned to do with that time that I’ll probably be shocked that there isn’t as much of it as I’m expecting :-).

  9. September 20, 2013 9:02 pm

    Sleeping is so much more important than blogging! Your morning glories are fabulous and lush. I love those big leaves. Maybe if you put them near a warm south facing wall in Maine, they’ll surprise you with their growth. 🙂

    • September 22, 2013 12:09 pm

      Tammy, That’s a good idea about growing the morning glories on a south-facing wall. I’m planning an addition on the front of my house, which faces southwest, and that addition is going to provide the excuse for a whole new front garden. Finding a place for morning glories on a southwest-facing exposure shouldn’t be hard. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. September 22, 2013 3:42 am

    I love the sky blue of the morning glories. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to get the few germinated ones to “take off”. Too windy on the balcony perhaps? Sedum is called “Love Herb” in Sweden, apparently because it was used by country folk to predict romantic matters – and to treat burns (though not of the emotional kind).

    • September 22, 2013 12:12 pm

      Sophos, This is pretty much my experience with the morning glories in my Maine garden. The germination rates are low, and then the few that germinate languish. I think the problem in my climate is that it’s just too cool for these tropical plants until we get some serious summer heat, usually in July.

  11. September 22, 2013 1:33 pm

    Hi, I’m Ela. So a lovely to see beautiful flowers

  12. September 22, 2013 5:37 pm

    sleep, yes. Waking up ‘of natural causes’ as my Swiss husband says, is glorious. I blog weekly, even without your day and a half job. For me, it leaves time for gardening, and reading other blogs, and some life.

    • September 25, 2013 1:50 pm

      Diana, I love Jurg’s description of this — waking up of natural causes. It is what I do most of the year; but during the fall semester, when I must be out of bed long before first light, I need to set an alarm clock (which will also soon be retiring :-)).

  13. September 22, 2013 9:14 pm

    Only one blog post per week! Jean, one post per week has been my goal for a long time, and I don’t always succeed! 70 hour work weeks! I hope you get to retire soon! Then you will have more time to spend with those fabulous morning glories and colorful sedums.

    • September 23, 2013 9:00 pm

      I concur, I work around 40 hours per week and am taking one school class and I can barely post once or twice per month! You’re doing a great job Jean.

      • September 25, 2013 1:52 pm

        Deb and Marguerite, Thanks for the reassurance that I’m not being a slacker. 😐 I only work this hard 4 months of the year, during the fall semester when I’m teaching 3 courses. During the spring semester, I teach only 2 courses and have 4 months of working a more reasonable 40-45 hours a week. Then there are 4 months when my time is my own.

  14. September 23, 2013 8:58 pm

    Don’t give up on the morning glories too soon Jean, there is a chance you’ll see them that large in Maine too. Just last weekend I went for a walk around the cottage area here only to find someone had planted morning glories and they had completely covered an old stump and then some. If they can grow that big in PEI surely it’s possible in Maine.

  15. September 25, 2013 10:21 pm

    Jean I am always in awe of your PA garden especially those Morning Glories. Mine never grow quite like this.

  16. October 19, 2013 1:49 pm

    Hi Jean, your Ipomoeas have such beautiful colouring, with the star-shaped colour contrast, I wish they weren’t annuals, but they look so good that I may indulge myself one year. Sorry to hear you’re having such a busy time of it all. My current situation of a pending relocation has had me awake at night many times and generally lacking sleep too. At least the busy period has a definite end time to it and you can then return to normal.

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