Before the cold

Several nights bordering on frost have passed, but it’s likely that milder temperatures will prevail for several weeks until more regular chances for frost and freeze arrive. While a September frost is not unheard of, mid or late October is more typical for our first cold nights. I’m in no hurry.

‘Waterlily’ colchicum planted a year ago in the new area beside the greenhouse. When the heuchera was planted I had no idea the colchicums were there, but the look is quite nice. An excellent accident.

This afternoon, I’m hoping that the weak remnants of the latest Gulf Coast storm veer just a bit in this direction to soak the garden before the weekend. Most areas remain damp, but I threw down a few handfuls of grass seed to thicken up an area that has worn thin. If this isn’t successful I’ll have little choice but to figure out some more durable option. This is the primary path to the rear garden, a high traffic area that tends to be damp, though it is sloped. I really don’t think the grass will work, so I’m considering options. I would prefer to do it some other time, though.

After several narrow leafed mahonias failed to survive in recent winters, ‘Beijing Beauty’ has survived in two areas where I guessed they would be protected. Winter flowering mahonias with broader leaves suffer minor damage when temperatures drop near zero, but they quickly recover in the spring. The late winter flowering Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) does not suffer in our coldest winters.

While reblooming azaleas and toad lilies are late in flowering, I think due to a rainy August, there are now more than a scattered few blooms and signs that more are soon to come.

One lonely spider lily (I think Lycoris radiata) is flowering, with several more recently planted. I don’t recall how many were planted a year ago, but Lycoris will commonly not flower its first year, so there will probably be more next year.
The yellow leaves of ‘Canyon Creek’ abelia fade to green by mid summer, but the flowers are the nicest of the abelias that I’ve seen.
Occasionally, the native Spigelia marilandica will rebloom in September, as it did recently.
The Abyssinian gladiolus (Gladiolus murielae or often Acidanthera) is cold hardy to zone 7, but it has never survived a winter in this garden. So, I try again.
One daphne has recently perished for no reason that is obvious. Just a few feet away, ‘Summer Ice’ is doing fine, though I continue to be concerned that its positioning beneath a dogwood is too shaded.
Most of the toad lilies are late flowering this year, I suppose a consequence of a rainy and cooler August. This flower is from one of the many seedlings of ‘Miyazaki’.
The variegated ‘Twilight’ nandina is unremarkable, but I recently noticed the variegated, pink new growth.

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