October 20, 2010

Pink and Purple Prevail

Pink mums perk up the garden for the third year.

Autumn hasn't arrived, so the world isn't yet shades of orange, russet and red. The late blooms are all about pink and purple.

The cottage garden is hanging on with blooms of mums, zinnias and autumn sage. With no frost so far, the bloom season suddenly improved after the last rainfall.

The garden mums are now in the third year. I simply divide the mother plants when they get too large. I plant out the offspring and those are bloom in their first season.  The foliage remains evergreen here in zone 7b. I pinch back the plants until the July 4th to create a mounding shape, loaded with autumn blooms.



Zinnias are still fabulous.
The butterflies and bees are grateful for the nectar!

The Monarch butterflies reared in my garden were grateful for these late zinnia blooms. Six Monarchs recently emerged in one day! It was delightful to see all six sipping from the zinnias. I am glad that I hadn't pulled out the tall, lanky annuals. There are still so many buds left to open.

I planted zinnia seeds from May through July to keep the blooms coming. These are also wonderful cut flowers. The more I cut, the more branching and blooms. A great investment for a few dollars in seeds.

Benary's Giant Zinnias continue with robust blooms.

Different shades of pink and purple dot all of my gardens as the salvia greggii varieties are putting on a spectacular show. However, they are difficult to photograph—even in all their glory!

The greggii varieties might not do well in the cold zones, but for zones 7-9, they are great xeric plants that bloom profusely in spring and again in autumn. The hummingbirds rely upon these early and late blooms as a food source. Good companions include sedum and stachys.

The forest leaves haven't yet turned. We're still having warm days, but the mornings are noticeably cooler. Until the first frosts, I'm happy to enjoy the pinks and purples.


Just one of many salvia colors.
This is salvia greggii 'Diane'.
Salvia greggii 'Ultra Violet'.



Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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