Camellia sasanqua ‘Setsugekka’
It was no surprise to NC Triad gardeners that 2016 set world records (again) for the warmest year ever. It was a HOT one and our NC Piedmont summer seemed to last forever! Our first frost in Summerfield did not come until mid-November, a month later than average, but by November I was grateful for the mild temperatures.
If there was ever something to renew your spirit after a fierce political season, it is the beauty of nature. I harvested the last ripe figs on November 8th. My “Bloomathon” azaleas were still gorgeous. Camellias had begun to bloom even as my summer annuals were still holding their own. Here are some late season beauties of which I never tire.
My figs still ripening in November?! This never happens!
This pepper is appropriately named ‘Black Pearl”, but the late season peppers turn a glorious red and hold through the first frost. They reseed themselves in my garden each year.
Grow Asclepias ‘Hairy Balls’ from seed in very early spring. Like other milkweeds it will attract & feed monarchs. This 7′ tall plant covered with green seed pods causes a lot of excitement in fall.
Dahlia ‘Sun Explosion’ – Wait until April to plant Dahlia tubers. Many will survive our winters if heavily mulched, but it is safer to dig & store them at the end of the season.
African Marigolds can grow 30″ high with 4″ flowers that make you think of carnations. Nurseries rarely carry seedlings, so sow your own directly in good garden soil around April 1st.
Castor Bean ‘Carmencita’ survived the first freezing weather in November.
A combination of Dahlias, Marigolds, Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’, and the giant round seed pods of Asclepias ‘Hairy Balls” (I didn’t name it.)
This Dahlia called ‘Boom Boom White’ grew 7′ tall with 4″ blooms throughout the season. It was a standout with castor bean pods and black pearl peppers.
The pink double “Bloomathon” (Oh, WOW!) reblooming Azalea.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dear Delores’ is my most reliable and heavy rebloomer.
All photos were taken on November 8th, 2016.
Having passed a milestone birthday this year, I am starting to feel that I am much a reflection of my late season garden. There is still beauty but less of the enormous energy of youth. I will not be offering gardening classes this year as Jim and I are embarking on a major downsizing endeavor. It will include building a new home in Summerfield, one story, with solar energy, giant windows, a salt water swimming/lounging pool (theraputic in every way!) and a diverse 4-season garden of predominantly shrubs, trees and a meadow enhanced with even more native species.
While I profess to needing a simpler lifestyle, Jim will swear that I just ran out of space to garden on our current acreage! Regardless, the next couple of years will indeed be an adventure, and I invite you to follow our journey. I will still be accepting speaking engagements offering private garden consultations.
Best wishes to all of you for a New Year that keeps you safe and happy. May you be blessed with a space in nature that feeds your mind, body and soul, and the time to pursue your passion.
Just as a prism of glass miters light and casts a colored braid, a garden
sings sweet incantations the human heart strains to hear. Hiding in every
flower, in every leaf, in every twig and bough, are reflections of the God
who once walked with us in Eden. – Tonia Triebwasser, The Color of Grace
The lemon yellow daisies are the “Gethsemane” mum introduced by Gethsemane Gardens in Browns Summit, NC. It is always the last to bloom. Tri-color ornamental peppers look like tiny Christmas lights.
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