I’m starting this Saturday’s post on Wednesday while waiting for hurricane Sally to throw some of her outer rain bands as far north in Alabama as Blount County. The projected track has fallen just south of here overnight, but this slow moving storm is having a devastating effect on the Gulf Coast. There are just mild gusts of wind and a rather constant mist hitting here at the moment. Rain and more wind should arrive later day and tomorrow. Conditions are likely to be very different when I finish and post it on Saturday. Hopefully that difference will include sun and mild temperatures. While waiting to see, this is a good time to remind readers to check the site of The Propagator, the hub of Six on Saturday. Guidelines for joining in and links to many lovely gardens will be found there.
- The red spider lily, or Lycoris radiata, is my first entry this week. Actually, they started to bloom last week and are already almost spent. They seem to have been a little early this year; however, any deviation in expectations should be no surprise in 2020. Native to China and Korea, the red spider lily is common in Alabama. Although, I don’t believe that it has the association with final goodbyes in the this area as it does in the East, especially Japan. Certainly, I’ve never seen this thin-formed and complex flower associated with funerals in the Southeast US. The featured image shows that complexity well. The photos below display the color and delicacy well.
2. Obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana, is also rather delicate but with a very different form. Bees love the light purple, snapdragon-like flowers of this North American native, and it is easy to propagate by root–supposed by seed, too, but I have never been in want of wandering spinoffs to uproot and replant.
3. Another purple entry, this one a lovely deep shade, is the American beautyberry. There are several of the Callicarpa americana bushes throughout the garden–all of them having come up on their own.
The bush from which this this photo was taken appeared after a large oak was taken down by strong winds several years ago. It started out rather bare and spindly, but I recognized what it was, allowed it space, and now it is the most healthy of all.
4. Japanese anemones, one of my favorite late summer flowers are next–a favorite because in part they remind me of time spent in gardens in Oxford, England, in part because I think they are exquisitely beautiful. There is an airiness and delicateness about their long-stemmed movement that I usually associate with the best of the decorative grasses. Their long stems that move so easily in the air have given all of the anemones the common name windflowers. I am also fascinated by the way their tight spherical buds open into expanding petals.
5. The penultimate plant for the day is a bit of a new discovery in the wooded area of the garden. I’m certain I have seen this perennial Eastern US native in its early growth before and most likely treated it as a “weed.” This week for the first time, I saw it in bloom. I can’t say that I was so impressed with its leggy structure and muted yellow blooms that I will cultivate patches in the future, but it is worth sharing. It is tall rattlesnake root (Nabalus altissimus).
Nevertheless, the plant rose perceptibly in my estimation when a bee came by as I was photographing it. As I was on the ground, though, trying to get a good photo of the downward facing, bell-shaped flowers, I kept wondering about the name rattlesnake root. After all this is Alabama, and we have three species of venomous rattlesnakes. A quick check revealed that the common name supposedly comes from the fact that the Iroquois made a poultice for rattlesnake bites from its root. Fortunately, I had no need to try that remedy out.
6. To finish my six, I have a pruning project. Due to overgrowth of some trees, one side of the house stayed dark and damp in rainy weather. Air was simply not flowing well. Below are before and after images of some major pruning (notice my handy chainsaw in the after photo) on a holly tree that opened the area well. I think this did the trick for the time being.
As I am finishing this post Friday evening, I can report that temperatures are a little lower and that hurricane Sally never made it this far. The garden received no appreciable rain. But neither did it suffer any of the flooding or extreme wind damage suffered by those along the Gulf Coast. Mother Nature can be gentle and beautiful, but she can also be capricious and formidable. But, then again, humans could act much more accountable to and respectful of Mother Nature.