September 14, 2016

Plant Combinations on the Cusp

coleus pot

There's a definite essence of "transition" in the air this week. It's apparent in the shorter day length, the animal behaviors, the cooler weather here in the Upper Midwest.

Despite unusually plentiful rainfall for this time of year, many plants are senescing--deteriorating, browning, going dormant. It's happening to Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris), Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), and many others.

Most of the area's common deciduous trees--Maples, Oaks, Hickories--are still green, but one senses they're on the cusp of tumbling into their colorful autumn display.

Today is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and tomorrow is Foliage Follow-Up: I'm participating in both memes with observations about a few pleasant plant combinations on the cusp of two seasons. Some combos were planned; others were pleasant surprises.

oxalis mix
Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis), 'Wizard Pineapple' Coleus (Solenostemon scutellariodes), Variegated English Ivy (Hedera helix), 'Cathedral Sky Blue' Salvia (S. farinacea

goldenrod
Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) framed by Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

mistflower
Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum) with Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis) along the trellis

sedum & mistflower
'Autumn Joy' Sedum (S. spectabile) framed by Blue and White 'Alba' Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

zinnia & cosmos
'Zowie! Yellow Flame' Zinnia (Z. elegans) with 'Sensation Mix' Cosmos (C. bipinnatus) and Lantanas

scarlet runner bean & wisteria
Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus) meeting American Wisteria (W. frutescens) on the arbor, even though neither is blooming

hosta & epimedium
Unknown Hosta with gold-green margins paired with Epimedium x warleyense

hosta flower & ferns
Hosta of the Equinox (H. aequinoctiiantha) framed by golden, fading ferns

How about you? What's blooming in your garden? What foliage combinations are you liking?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day
Foliage Follow-Up

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It's not too late to join in the "Garden Lessons Learned" meme. Simply write a post or share one you've already written about lessons you've learned during the past season. Then share your links or observations to the comments at this previous post or through the "Lessons Learned" tab at the top of this blog. I'll share "lessons learned" posts on the PlantPostings Facebook Page closer to the equinox.

41 comments:

  1. Lovey combinations there Beth. When we enter into what we term "BER"months we are already thinking of December, and Christmas. I am sure you in temperate countries are thinking about the incoming winter. And yes we are getting short days too, and the photoperiodic plants will be induced to flower. I have some combinations too in my post for GBBD, but i love the combination of blooms and butterflies.

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    1. Thanks! I'm trying not to think of December and Christmas yet because they will be cold. Not my favorite time of the year here in the north. September and October are nice, though, so I'm trying to live in the present. ;-)

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  2. Your description of fall sounds so lovely. I'm ready! It has been so hot and dry in my neck of the woods and the plants are feeling it. I love your zig zag goldenrod. It looks a little like our golden ragweed that blooms in spring.

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    1. Yes, the autumns here are fabulous, but of course what follows is not pleasant. We've had an abnormally wet August and September, and with the heat the plants are very happy. I wonder what the fall color will look like ...

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  3. I have lots of blue mistflower, too. It is suffering a bit from our drought but I know there will be plenty surviving for next year. I love your purple shamrock!

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    1. Blue Mistflower is relatively new to my garden. It was eaten by the rabbits until I protected it with chicken wire and lava rocks. The Oxalis are fun, aren't they? I think I'll try to overwinter them again in a pot--they brighten the winter days. :)

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  4. Wow, I like the punch of Purple Shamrock against that lime green.

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    1. The Oxalis/Coleus combo is nice, isn't it? I also like the Oxalis with English Ivy--a pleasant combination for a house plant, too.

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  5. the purple and gold, the closing soft blue and glowing gold - happy pairs!

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    1. I think so, too. They're bright and complementary, but not too bold. :)

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  6. I just love the photos and the words you put all together. I just love it all. :-)

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  7. Tithonia and Goldenrod are the most noticeable blooms at the moment. For foliage, I'm mostly looking at my grasses. I also have the Zigzag Goldenrod, but would like to find a place for some blue mistflower.

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    1. Oh, I love your posts about the Tithonia! I wish I had a little more sun for it. The nice thing about the Mistflower is that it grows quite well (and blooms!) in partial shade. The Goldenrod, like the Mistflower has taken some time to fill in because the rabbits like to eat both!

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  8. Your garden looks fabulous with all the color. I really like all the smaller blooms for some reason.

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    1. Thanks! I enjoy the little blooms, too. Sometimes the most fascinating stage is when the buds form before the big blooms. Little miracles and the promise of new things is alluring.

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  9. Such beautiful colour in your garden! My eye was immediately drawn to the coleus, of course :)

    We are now in one of my favourite times of year. This year, in particular, the cooler weather is making it even moreso! I have quite a lot blooming in my garden still although I'm not sure what some of the plants are. Someday, I'll have to do a "name that plant" post to figure all that out :) Of the ones that I can identify, I would have to say that the cup plant, tithonia and calendula are pretty much stealing the show.

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    1. Hi Margaret: I enjoy autumn, too, but summer is my favorite season here in the north--even when we have a hot summer like this one. Wow, lucky you to have Cup Plant, Tithonia, and Calendula in your garden!

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  10. Coleus are such great plants; I find that I like their foliage almost as much as any blooms. There are so many varieties now that when I go plant shopping in the spring, I can never make up my mind and come home with more of them than I intended:) Love the blue mistflower!

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    1. I agree! I've been growing Coleus for years and I usually simply purchase a variety and mix and match in the pots. They seem to grow better out on the south-facing patio than on the north side of the house or in the screen porch. I think they need the air circulation. The Mistflower has been prolific this year--I guess the chicken wire worked. ;-)

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  11. Plentiful rainfall? Color me envious. We've had a grand total of about 1/3-inch of rain all month so far with temps in the 90s just about every day.

    Under these circumstances, many plants (including mature trees) are dropping their leaves early and going dormant. I don't have any cherry trees myself, but looking around the neighborhood I can see that those have all pretty much gone deciduous already. River birches are not far behind (at least the ones growing on dry land).

    In terms of my favorite blooming plants right now - Vitex agnus-castus (rebloom), rose of Sharon, zinnias (although they're fading in the drought), blanket flower, 'Golden Fleece' goldenrod, Caryopteris x clandonensis, false sunflower (fading a bit after a *very* long bloom season). Oh and my reblooming azaleas and 'Carefree Beauty' rose are both going strong! :)

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    1. Yes. I would say we've had too much rain, but I try not to complain about rain unless there's a flood. But some areas around here are close this fall. It's a very unusual time of year to have so much rain. We had the heat, too, (90s, high humidity) until the past week or so. But with all the rain, the plants have been very happy. Sounds like you still have lots of beauties blooming! I'm surprised the Zinnias would wilt--they seem to like heat and dry weather. Lucky you to have roses still blooming!

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  12. Oh, that Oxalis is a hottie!!! Love the Coleus too - they are so fun to play with. Happy Bloom and Foliage Days, Beth!

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    1. I love the Oxalis/Coleus combo. And I agree--they're fun to play with! Thanks, Anna. :)

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  13. Ah, you have a Wisteria frutescens! I am asking my blog readers about how they will describe its flower scent in my post yesterday. I have just bought mine and the description of the flowers vary widely from lovely, sweetly to ‘male cat wee’…I guess I will soon find out, but just so I can mentally prepare, what does yours smell like?

    It’s always a bit sad when summer draws to an end and autumn finally is here – but over in my garden, autumn lasts for such a long time and can often be nicer for gardening than the summer so I am looking forward to starting with more proper gardening work again. I have just about the same plants in flower this month as I had a month ago, only exception is that all the lilies and agapanthus are finished because the weather has been exceptionally warm. And finally, loved your Oxalis triangularis, have seen them over here too, definitely want some!! :-)

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    1. Hi Helene: Embarrassingly, the Wisteria has never bloomed. They take a long time to bloom anyway, but then my backyard is simply too shady. But I like the vines, anyway. Maybe one of these years, they'll surprise me. Yes, we had very warm (32-35C highs) and humid weather this summer. I liked it! Now we're starting to get cooler but not too cold. I won't complain until January. ;-) The nice thing about the Oxalis is that in addition to being a great outdoor potted plant, it also performs well as a houseplant through the winter.

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  14. A garden "bright spot" brings exactly that . . . a bit of bright into the day . . .
    I have many Hostas and favor the green rather than the flower.
    I have usually cut the flowers out from the green but thus year, I left them!
    Many "bright spots"

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    1. "Bright spots" are pleasant, aren't they? I usually leave the Hosta flowers on because the pollinators (especially the bumble bees) love them. Anything to help the bees. :)

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  15. I especially like the coleus and shamrock combination. I can feel the season beginning to turn here, too, though you are a bit ahead of us. I am ready for fall!

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    1. Hi Deb: I'm never ready for fall, but eventually I surrender. Not yet! Actually, it's been warm and nice here until recently. Now we're getting a ton of strong, blasting rain! The Coleus and Shamrock work well together, don't they? :)

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    1. Thanks, Endah. Some of these were planned, others were happy surprises. :)

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  17. Very interesting and beautiful plant and flower combinations in your garden at this time of the year, Beth!
    I especially like the container with the Purple Shamrock and I love the Blue Mistflower.
    The photo of the Hosta flower framed by the golden ferns is stunning!
    It always amazes me how much our gardens are delighting us no matter what the season is, if we only take the time to look and appreciate.
    Wishing you a wonderful rest of September!
    Christina

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Christina! I agree--the garden delights me ... except in January through early March. Then I want to get out of here. Aren't the Purple Shamrocks fun?!

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  18. I'm not getting older, I'm senescing! Am so jealous of your Mist Flower - can you believe it was so dry here, that it is barely 2" tall - I'm thinking no flowers this year - we love Hosta for their leaves, but this time of year, it's delightful to find the odd one blooming away. Such a good shot. Happy Fall! B.

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    1. Ha! I guess we all are senescing--from birth on. Wow, no I can't believe your Mistflower is only 2" tall! Mine is a bit rangy, but most of the stems are 2 to 3 feet tall! I love the hosta flowers! And so do the bumble bees!

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  19. Beautiful post focusing on plants on the cusp. On this first day of autumn (in the 80s), I am reluctant and dragging self into fall. Once colors pop, I might/will feel differently and enjoy the beauty. Happy Autumn, fun friend! :)

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  20. Well hello, neighbor! Well, sort of.....

    We here in The Twin Cities have had SO MUCH RAIN that it seems as if summer and fall are eclipsing.....on the one hand the sunflowers are still smiling brightly, the roses are still in bloom (I have one new bloom on my climber!) but the leaves are turning gold. Warm temps are tempting summer to stay a little while!

    Thank you so much for coming to visit us. We are indeed thrilled about the magazine article and our humble home made it in! I wish you as much fun as we have had living in a small home. We did add on two rooms to the back, that makes this more of an entertainment home, but not too large, just right so I can still do housekeeping! Enjoy your day! Anita

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  21. This may be a bad year for leaf peepers because the leaf color seems to be less vibrant and leaves are turning brown and dropping. The years of repeated drought are making some very stressed trees. I am not sure how it is for you with trees still green, but we have lots of dead branching here. It has gotten cooler but we are still waiting on the rains. At least you still have a garden of color. I suppose I do too but I lost the desire to work in the garden and have let nature do here thing.

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  22. The purple shamrock is a new-but-cool one for me.

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  23. Don't you love that blue mistflower? I hope mine will spread again in a new spot. That purple shamrock is a stunner! I am wishing we could complain about autumnal rains. We remain in a drought.

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