September 29, 2013

Merry September

I am still getting strawberries in late September. Nothing like the prolific crop that was producing in June and July, but I get a bowl like this every few days now and they still taste summer sweet.

These are everbearing 'Mara des Bois' strawberries, but I never thought everbearing meant they would be giving me such juicy big fruits in late September. They are starting to make me think of Christmas ornaments.

While I expect bold flowering asters and mums to grab attention in fall, it seems unseasonable to see begonias and clematis blooming now. They look delicate and springlike to me, not like autumn at all.

These hardy begonias (Begonia grandis) are from a plant that Lee May gave me last year. I am stunned at how lush and full this row is, all from a couple of dug-up divisions that he brought over.

They are unusual -- a white flowered Begonia grandis, rather than the more common pink. So un-fall like and a delight, both for their delicacy and for the reminder of a gift shared by a special gardener.

Thanks, Lee. I think of you every time I walk by this grand grandis display!

The white clematis 'Henryi' is re-blooming, It does that in fall, after taking the summer off, but it still seems unseasonable.  Is it really autumn here?

Another white clematis, C. viticella 'Alba Luxurians' is also re-blooming. This clematis blooms its head off into early summer, and then I cut it down to the ground in July when the flowers have gone by and the vine starts to look tattered. By late September it has fully regrown, and blooms again.

And here is a completely unseasonable sight: Christmas in autumn. This beautiful huge specimen of a spruce caught our attention at the Biltmore gardens in Asheville, North Carolina when we were there last week. It was lit by the morning sun, decorated more festively than any garlanded holiday tree.

A very unseasonable surprise indeed. Merry September!
 

25 comments:

  1. Strawberries in September! What a delightful surprise. This is how I like strawberries, in small amounts that you can savor. Those clematis are loverly. I hope to have a few blooms after the rain that is coming down this morning soaks in. I am also hoping that this rain saves a few plants that look pitiful after two years of drought. Those begonias are some of my favorites. Yours have certainly taken off better than mine but hey I am thrilled to have them. And.... a Happy September to you too.

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    1. Lisa, Here's hoping your rain restores all the pretty things in your garden. I ate a strawberry for you today and it was delish!

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  2. We grow two kinds of strawberries, one ever bearing, and I've decided that's all I want from now on. A continuous supply of strawberries is a beautiful thing!

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    1. Heather, I never got this kind of ongoing crop before -- I've had these same strawberries for a few years now. What a year this has been, first with the bounty in June, and now with strawberries in September. wow.

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  3. When I first saw that giant tree, I thought it was your yard! What a majestic tree. :o) I really love your begonias. I don't have the right combo of shade/moisture for them. I've never grown strawberries but every time I see yours, I want to give them a try.

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    1. Tammy, oh my, if that spruce was in my yard . . .

      If you try strawberries I recommend these (Mara des Bois). But as I have posted before, they produced very few fruits for several years, and this is the first year I have gotten such bounty.

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  4. The sun can certainly make magic with plants, and the backlit spruce tree is gorgeous! I am totally jealous of your strawberries. I have tried to grow them several times, unsuccessfully. We spend a small fortune buying them every summer. Your bowlful makes my mouth water!

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    1. Deb, thanks, the backlit tree just mesmerized us too! I stopped buying strawberries over the years because even the farm stand ones here were kind of big and tasteless, but what a difference these home-grown strawberries are -- so sweet and fragrant.

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  5. How wonderful that you are still harvesting strawberries!!!! And those begonias are stunning...especially because they are white!!!! It is a bit warm here and they are calling for a warm week ahead....a bit unseasonable for sure! And that spruce is the most symmetrical Christmas tree I have ever seen!!! Gorgeous!!! Happy autumn friend!!!

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    1. Nicole, thank you! I wish I could send some of my strawberries to all the commenters who are admiring them. One of the reasons 'Mara des Bois' isn't commercially available is that it won't ship, they are too delicate. But hand picked and carried carefully inside, they are perfect.

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  6. Laurrie, wow, what the last picture! Great! I love your clematis, white is so beautiful. Mine is in buds too, but don't know when it blooms if the nights are very cold. Have a nice day!

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    1. Nadezda, I hope your clematis reblooms now in the autumn, even if the nights are cold. It is so great to see these spring bloomers come back for a last show before winter!

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  7. Laurrie, I'm happy that begonia is doing so well for you. Its spread amazes, fitting in well with that white clematis. Enjoy autumn, even as you question its behavior. Cheers!

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    1. Lee, I love the begonia and appreciate your garden sharing gift! I thought I had lost it, as they are so late to come up, but then when it made its appearance, it was all spread out in that nice row... I didn't even plan that!

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    2. A good surprise is a beautiful thing. Example: your terrific image of the grand "Christmas spruce." Quite a catch.

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  8. Love the hardy begonias. Last year I moved a bunch of them around the garden and am unhappy to report that they apparently were not fond of the new homes I chose for them. Not a one came back :(. Too much or little of something. Yours look great and how nice to have a personal reminder of Lee.

    Last week I saw local strawberries for sale at the Whole Foods in Glastonbury. Now if they could just figure out a way to extend blueberry season...

    Goodbye September! Oh how I'll miss you.

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    1. Sue, that's too bad about your transplanted hardy begonia. I had never grown them before, and didn't know what to expect when Lee gave them to me. A lot of moisture is the key -- the soil never dries out below the wall where they are planted, since the low wall is where I pot and water and tend a lot of stuff, and wash up with the hose after (or leave the hose lying and it leaks). Every day there is water splashed and sprayed on the begonias. They seem happy!

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  9. Your garden in September does look distinctly spring-like. Add me to the hardy begonia fan club. I've been eyeing them for some time and think I may have even found a spot for them. Unless, of course, the deer or rabbits like them. They seem dangerously close to impatiens in texture.

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    1. Sarah, Hardy begonias will be perfect for your garden. Just make sure the spot is wet and somewhat shady. They apparently like soil that does not dry out. So far rabbits have left mine alone, and they are too close to the wall for the deer to try to get in there.

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  10. We've had unseasonable weather, too; usually by now I've given up watering the annuals, but it's been so warm and dry that I'm still at it. But things are supposed to change next week--I just hope it doesn't get too cool! I love those begonias; they look very similar to ones my friend has and that I've been drooling over. But I've never seen them in flower before--lovely! The tree is beautiful--no Christmas lights could compare to this fantastic lighting.

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    1. Rose, thanks, I had never seen hardy begonias until Lee brought these over, and now I am a big fan!

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  11. Hi Laurrie,
    I comment rarely, but as a fellow Connecticut-er, or Nutmegger gardener -- and not so far from you -- I have to say that my raspberries are in their second fruiting -- and what a treat to eat now. I will have to put in mara de bois for next year. Did you get them locally or my mail order? There is something wonderful about reading a blog whose weather you know exactly!
    lucia

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    1. Lucia, I'm glad to find another gardener so nearby!

      I got the Mara des Bois strawberries from Whiteflower Farm (mail order, even though I go out there occasionally). They were healthy bare root plugs. If you have read my blog for a while you know that they barely fruited for 4 years until this year, and now they are incredible. I don't know if they always take that long, or if this year we got rain at just the right time, or whether my gardening skills (I moved them a lot) were to blame.

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  12. I am planning to move many of my strawberries so I might be able to harvest them throughout the year...it is such a lovely surprise to have flowers thought gone bloom again.

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    1. Donna, strawberries will move easily, so I hope yours do well for you in their new location. So great to have them all season long.

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