September 15, 2013

The remains of the blooms

fuchsia
A hummingbird's vantage point: Fuchsias are still going strong and 
should provide nectar until the first heavy frost.

The flowers are diminishing in my northern shade garden. It's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (GBBD)--celebrated by bloggers around the world on the 15th of every month.

I wanted to make sure to post today because my garden's blooms might be gone by next GBBD. In my USDA zone 5 locale, we generally get our first heavy frost in early to mid-October. I will keep the hummingbird feeders and the potted Fuchsias hanging until then.

As I was trying to capture shots from the Hummingbirds' vantage point, they were buzzing around my head. I didn't want to disturb them too much, so I pulled back.

hummer1
Juvenile hummers in my garden no longer need to compete with yellow-jackets
at this spot. This feeder has bee guards.

I must say the hummingbirds are plentiful this summer! I don't remember seeing so many of them during previous summers--at least not in this shady garden. By the way, I know the red food coloring isn't necessary in hummingbird feeders, but there was a reason for this. My dripping-style feeder was being overtaken by yellow-jackets. I wanted to make sure the developing, migrating young hummers would notice and adopt this new feeder, and they certainly have! Next time I fill it, I'll use pure sugar water.

hosta
Hosta of the Equinox (H. aequinoctiiantha): another nectar source
for hummingbirds and other pollinators.

Do you ever try to photograph scenes or wildlife and almost miss opportunities for other photos (or simply miss out on the observation)? As I was trying to snap photos of the hummers, I glanced over at the late-blooming Hostas, and noticed the autumn sunlight glinting through in such a magical way. My photo can't quite capture it, but it sure was pretty.

lone rose
The parting shot of a lone Rose.

And then I looked in another direction and noticed a lone late-season Rose. It's the only Rose bloom left in my garden ... kind of a bittersweet farewell.

cosmos
This photo of a Cosmos bloom was taken earlier in the summer,
but they're still blooming profusely.

The Cosmos flowers are still plentiful, so I am very happy. And so are the bumble bees.

arrangement
Cosmos, Hostas, Sunflower, Stonecrop Sedum, Mums, Daisy Fleabane, and Goldenrod.

Arranging flowers from the garden takes on a special significance with the season's end--when they're among the last blooms of the summer. I'm joining in the Seasonal Celebrations meme, too, because flower arranging is one of my favorite ways to celebrate new color palettes and seasonal transitions. I had to add a few fillers to this arrangement, but about half of these flowers are from my garden.

And then there are the surprises ...

hyacinth
First Hyacinth Bean bloom in mid-September!

Just like last year, my Hyacinth Bean vines got a late start. Long story ... but I didn't even think they would bloom this year. Then, as I was passing by yesterday, I noticed a few buds. What a wonderful September send-off!

Thanks to Carol for Hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Donna for hosting Seasonal Celebrations. You'll want to visit their blogs to find out how gardeners around the world are celebrating the transition from one season to another!

42 comments:

  1. The light through the hosta blooms is beautiful and I think you captured the magic just perfectly :)

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    1. Thank you, Cat! Sometimes a scene just takes my breath away, and photos and words just can't do it justice. :)

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  2. I love the photo of the hummingbird! Your hosta looks so healthy. The snails and slugs have about demolished mine. That is a beautiful flower arrangement. You are very talented!

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    1. Thank you, Dorothy! I've had some slug issues this year, too--but more with the earlier and larger Hostas. I'm sure they'll come back just fine next season. We had so much rain early in the summer, which encouraged the slugs. More recently it has been very dry, and the late-developing and blooming Hostas didn't have as much slug damage.

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  3. Pretty flower arrangement and lovely shots too. I really like your hummingbirds they are so cute.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Yes, the hummingbirds have really captivated me this summer. I think we had at least one nest in our yard, and they've been swooping down all summer. I felt so sorry for them competing with the yellow-jackets, so I changed to a different feeder. The yellow-jackets disappeared, and the hummers seem happy!

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  4. Blooms are coming to an end here, but not yet the summery weather. The lakes keep us warmer longer and the trees have not yet much color. It is such a time of seasonal transition. My mums are like your Hyacinth Bean. Late to the party. Your garden arrangement is very pretty.

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    1. We've had relatively mild weather (except for a very cold day in July!) until recently. Yesterday and today have been below normal. The Great Lakes are wonderful for keeping the summer and autumn weather a little longer (I'm jealous!). My Mums look bad this year--dry both last year and this year during their development and blooming times. And I have neglected them. :(

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  5. How on earth did you get the photo of the hummingbird? Mine are always blurry, and they never seem to sit still long enough for me to snap a shot. Your story of the feeder is why we don't have one - I do not want to draw yellow jackets or ants to my yard. So we rely on the flowers to do the trick. Fewer hummers, but fewer bugs too.

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    1. I am terrible at capturing moving objects! This new feeder gives them perching spots, so they sometimes sit there for several seconds before they move on. The yellow-jackets are still here, and I know they serve a purpose. But now they're staying with the flowers and away from the hummer feeder. This feeder (and I've noticed a lot of these models are available now) has bee guards, so the yellow-jackets can't get to the nectar at all. They've largely disappeared from that spot, so the little hummers don't have any competition (except between each other--and they can be mean!).

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  6. Lovely photo of the humming bird, I have obviously never seen one, except for on TV, but I knew they feed on fuchsias. Lovely photo of the hostas too, and so great to hear your Hyacinth bean vine is flowering, I remember it from last year. Happy GBBD!

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    1. Thanks, Helene! I wish you could travel and come to visit! You would love to see the hummingbirds. :) And if you had hummingbirds in your part of the world, they would love your garden! Happy GBBD to you!

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  7. When everything comes from your garden, the beauty of the product is more than doubled. But the arrangement is real awesome. In this part of the world however, those flowers not really intended as cutflowers immediately wilt. At least in your temperatures they stay in the vase longer. I feel bad that i miss GBBD again.

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    1. Thank you--that is very kind! That is true about the cut flowers in cooler weather, so thanks for helping me to appreciate it. Our flowers tend to fade quickly during the summer's hottest days, but this time of year they linger much longer in the vase. :) Lucky for you, you can join in GBBD with outdoor blooms all year long!

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  8. Your title made me think of my own garden this morning after the gale force winds yesterday!!
    Lovely pictures, you captured a few beauties there, the hummingbird and hosta in particular.
    I oft en try to snap the wildlife, end up looking at the sho and thinking, what on earth was I doing there??
    Lovely arrangement.

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    1. Thanks, Angie. I hope the winds weren't too damaging to your plants! I know what you meant about the photography--I find surprises all the time when I review the photos. Some surprises are good and some make me scratch my head. ;-)

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  9. Oh, my! I am just now looking forward to more blooms as the weather turns from blazing hot to tolerable. I hadn't even thought that this might be the last bloom day for those of you in colder climates! I love your bouquet, and the photo of the hosta. The autumn light really sparkles on its blooms.

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    1. Yes, you are fortunate! I love it here, but our growing season is wayyyy tooo short! And the winter is wayyyy tooo long! I might be able to sneak in a few bloom day surprises into November, but after that it's all indoor plants and blooms until, like April. :( The foliage, though, should be pretty spectacular here for the next several weeks, though--so I guess that's something to look forward to. Enjoy your mild weather!

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  10. I just adore your arrangements...it looks like your garden captured in a vase...even with our first frost, the flowers especially the roses are back...I am thrilled.

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    1. Thanks, Donna! Wow, you had a frost?! We haven't gotten that cold yet, but I know it's just around the corner. The Tomatoes and Peppers are slowing down here, but the annuals still look pretty good. I'm glad you still have Roses!

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  11. Your flower arrangement is beautiful! I've been searching through florist sites today, thinking about sending my daughter a bouquet for her birthday tomorrow. Your arrangement would be at least $40 from a florist, and then there are the delivery fees on top of that. Too bad I couldn't get you to ship one to her:)

    I have been watching hummingbirds for the last few weeks every time I go outside; I don't remember a year I've seen so much activity! I guess that makes up for the lack of butterflies this year. Gotta love those cosmos! They just keep on going.

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    1. Thank you, Rose! I enjoy doing it. I volunteer to do it a few weeks at church, and sometimes I make arrangements for friends. It's fun because it's not a job. ;-) But if I lived nearer, I would hand-deliver one to you or your daughter. :) Aren't the hummingbirds plentiful this summer?! I saw one yet today, but their numbers are definitely dwindling now. I will miss them.

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  12. It's fun to see the blooms in your garden which are so different from mine. That hummer shot is lovely. Thanks.~~Dee

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    1. Thanks, Dee. I've had no luck with hummingbird photos until I bought this feeder. They actually sit still for a few seconds! I agree--it's fun to compare blooms and to visit gardens and gardeners in other parts of the planet.

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  13. Love that fuchsia and the hosta blossoms, and your flower arrangement is gorgeous. As one who always is trying to photograph the wildlife in my garden, I also appreciate your bee and hummer pictures. Lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Dorothy. I'm trying to get better with the wildlife shots, but I think I need a new camera. ;-)

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  14. What a bummer that your frost is coming so soon now. I used to live in Massachusetts, and we spent 3 or 4 months under snow. I don't miss it a bit now that I'm living in the PNW. That's a great shot of the hummer, they are so cute and magical. The flower arrangement is lovely too. I'm so bad at that.

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    1. Yep, it's a bummer. That's really one of a very few drawbacks to living in this part of the world. I don't mind a little winter, but I'd prefer to live elsewhere in February and most of March.

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  15. I've had a record number of hummers this year too. I contribute it to adding more feeders year over year and grouping them together. I love the energy they bring to the garden...it is non-stop. I completely relate to capture natures glory on camera. I often get frustrated because the shots don't turn out as spectacular as I witnessed it. I hope as I improve as a photographer that will change.

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    1. They're delightful! I only have one feeder, but I'm planning to add at least one more next season. My neighbors have several, so it's fun to watch the hummers zoom across our backyards. I don't ever want to pretend to be a professional photographer, because then it would be work and not as much fun. But I do want to continue to improve my skills. :)

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  16. lovely photos of hummer, bee and plants, Beth. I think the tone of this post is on the whole bitter sweet, like you're aware of the transitoriness of flowers , and migration of birds - all the changes that make us appreciate what we have now.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Yes, bittersweet is how I always feel in late August and early September. Very melancholy. But it can be cathartic. Then, when the blazing colors of autumn hit, it's such a wonderful celebration. The summer/autumn transition is beautiful in many ways, but also very bittersweet. You're right: It's so important to appreciate what we have right now, in this moment.

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  17. It's so much fun seeing Hummers in the garden, yours is so cute. I grew white-flowering runner beans this year and I was afraid the Hummers would be disappointed, but I have seen them visiting them, but they did not pollinate as well as the red-flowered Insuk's Wang Kong runner beans, which the Hummers love and fight over, so I'm going back to them next year. i like your flower arrangement, you seem to still have a lot of flowers. I like to use Lady's Mantle flowers like your fillers but it's too late for them. Another filler I like is variegated Phalaris grass, and it lasts so long.

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    1. Thanks! In my garden, the hummers seem to like the Fuchsias the best, but they're also enjoying the late-blooming Hostas. I wonder if I ever get Hyacinth Bean vines to take over my trellis, will the hummers and bees like that? Thanks for the tip on the Phalaris grass--if I find some I'll use it in the future!

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  18. Hi Beth, you have a real gift for flower arranging! Love seeing your late summer/early fall arrangement--it's beautiful. Thanks for sharing it, Susie

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    1. Thank you, Susie! It's fun, and the flowers do most of the work. Every arrangement is different. And it's a hobby that just about anyone can do. :)

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  19. Your arrangement is really beautiful! Much classier than the 'stuff it in a mason jar' approach I use. ;o) Love the shot of the hostas. It does seem like nature gives each plant its own spotlight sometimes.

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. I love Cosmos blooms in a mason jar--the best arrangement, IMHO. Every year at this time, my appreciation of the late-blooming Hostas increases. The pollinators, hummers, and butterflies like them. I saw all three--and a hummingbird moth--enjoying them today!

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  20. I have never grown hyacinth bean, I planted morning glories this year, though. They got a late start and were late to bloom, the blooms are rather sparse as well. Love the hummer pics, we've had a decent number this year but haven't captured a single picture.

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    1. I remember your post about the Morning Glories. ;-) Maybe next year we'll both get our seeds in the ground at the "right" time. It would help to have a balanced amount of precipitation and "normal" spring and summer temps! The hummers are still hanging around. I suppose they're mainly juveniles and late travelers at this point--but I'm going to help them as much as I can until mid-October. So fun to watch!

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  21. I used to grow hyacinth bean all the time from seed when I had more time. I will have to fit it in next year. Your September garden looks beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. The Hyacinth Bean seeds I saved from last year just didn't like our wet spring, and didn't survive. I replanted in July, and then we didn't have rain for several weeks. Now they're finally climbing and blooming and it's almost October. Maybe next year I'll get it right. ;-)

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