Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October Blue Skies For Bloom Day



October 15, 2008
Partly Cloudy
Hi mid 80's
Lo 61
Severe mosquito watch in effect! Avoid going outside during those best times of day to be in the garden~early mornings and late afternoons. Wear protective clothing and sweat your buns off!

Hello and welcome to Clay and Limestone. As you can see we are having a beautiful day, with fantastic October Blue skies. Let's take a look at a few Asteraceae and Lamiaceae blooms in the garden. Plus a surprise.

It wouldn't be Chez Cedar, if there weren't a few Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and Tennessee Coneflowers (Echinacea tennesseensis) still blooming in the garden!

The weather has invited the Coneflower to shine anew!

Echinacea purpurea couldn't let Tenn bloom without showing up, too!

Aren't they lovely? I am really going to miss the coneflowers. Don't even get me started on The Susans or all the rest of the flowers!


Speaking of The Susans. This will definitely be the last one in bloom; as you can see...she's looking a bit seedy! Very good news for the Finches.

Also, in bloom are the Salvias~~Mint anyone! The Lamiaceae Family has a strong voice in the garden.

Salvia azurea...always has a few friends hanging around. This plant is still blooming and attracting the best bees! Even the small brown skippers love to visit.

Black and Blue Sage/Salvia guaranitica also has a lot of friends! Do you think the wasp is checking out the unsuspecting moth?


Mexican bush sage, Mexican sage, velvet sage or Salvia leucantha...this sage by any name is still beautiful! The big bee thinks so, too.

I had to show you another shot of the Salvia guaranitica. It is intensely beautiful with its near black calyces. How do you like that cobalt blue?

I know you want to see the Azure Salvia one more time! Even if you don't want to see it, I do! Ready?

This Sage doesn't seem to have problems attracting company.


Salvia greggii This is the best photo I have ever been able to take of this salvia. Usually the flower face flattens out. Isn't it a pretty little flower?


Salvia coccinea 'Dreamsickle' or "Coral Nymph". I can't tell them apart and they are growing together! They are visited by fast moving skippers that would not stop for a photo. This is the season for all the salvias to strut their stuff and provide nectar for the last butterfly visitors to the gardens. Reason enough to invite them into your garden.

The Asters~~all natives except Aster tataricus ( Big Aster post).

Late one afternoon last week, the Monarch Butterfly stopped by for a visit. She's visiting one of our native asters (Aster patens). I followed this butterfly around for 15 minutes trying to get one perfect shot of open wings. Nothing doing! But I did notice that the Monarch visited every aster plant in the garden. Seriously, every one of the native asters. These fall bloomers provide the nectar that any late arriving butterflies need.

The native asters are prolific self seeders and know few boundaries! That is perfect for this garden!

They provide color for human visitors and food for flying critters.

Aster dumosus/Bushy Aster is hard to distinguish from A pilosus...

They spread by underground rhizomes and if you don't want them to crowd out other plants you will have to edit! Clay and Limestone has a small white aster, Aster divaricus, but it is not blooming right now. This could even be it! Not really, but I had you wondering!

Aster oblongifolius/Aromatic Aster/Symphyotrichum oblongifolium with three possible names could you forget it! It will always be Aromatic Aster to me! It's the foliage that's aromatic, but the flower brings in the bees and butterflies. The seeds provide food for cardinals, titmice, finches, grosbeak, sparrows, thrashers and towhees! Go aster!

Aster taraticus 'Jin Dai' not a native, but a lovely aster if you have the space. This guy is over 5 foot tall and possibly going to get taller. He is known to spread in ideal conditions...moist soil.

Another spot of the native aster in the garden. You can see it can get quite tall and floppy! I have liked this plant since the first fall I noticed it in the woodlands. It's a cheerful color in the shade.


Finally, here is a stunning little beauty that I had to post for my friends, IVG (Urban Oasis)and Shady Gardener. (Does Everything Grow Better...)

Tricyrtis formosana 'Empress' This is my first ever Toad Lily....what do you think of it?

Whew! Are you worn out? I almost couldn't stop myself from showing more!

Thank you for stopping by and visiting...If you want to see even more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, head over to Carol's at May Dreams Gardens to see who else is open for Bloom Day!

Gail



74 comments:

  1. Thanks for joining in, Gail! You've certainly shown the diveristy of sages and asters, but my favorite is the toad lily. In my garden it is the last to bloom, marking the end of the season...

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  2. Hi Gail, great show and commentary as always. I had to choose between being the first to pick you on Blot. or the first to comment. I am neither! LOL You have taught us all many lessons in taxonomy and aster and salvia diversity. I didn't know the leucantha was hardy here will have to try it along with the toadlily. Your chair with the aster is a wonderful spot.
    Frances
    http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/

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  3. Gail, I must say that you are a great photographer! Your close-ups are stunning!
    I love your Salvias and your Asters.
    Katarina

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  4. Happy GBBD and what a great display you've got. Love your salvias and the asters, well, what can I say? Mine is bigger. ;-)

    My coneflowers have finished flowering and my toadlilies have, unfortunately, croaked it. But there is still a lot in bloom so I'm happy. :-)

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  5. Good morning Gail! You have lots of pretties still going strong this bloom day, and your photos are lovely.

    Your tricyrtis is very nice. I have a 'lemon twist' added to the garden this summer - a struggling freebie from the nursery hospital that seems very content now that it's been freed from its nursery pot. No blooms this year, but we should have some next fall.

    I love all the asters! I really need to try asters again here - so far I haven't had much luck with them in this garden although they've thrived in previous gardens.

    I visited my mom again last weekend, and there were wild asters growing all over the place there! They're such pretty little blooms. They brightened up the forest floor, which already looked like sunshine littered with bazillions of bright yellow leaves.

    Enjoy your beautiful blue October skies today, and good luck avoiding the skeeters. We had a plague of them here after Ike blew through Chicago, but they're finally starting to die down, thankfully.

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  6. Carol, Good morning! I like the Toad Lily, too...it has all the spots you need! A very interesting flower. I have a lot of asters to show at this time of year! Thanks for hosting Bloom Day!

    Gail

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  7. Frances,

    Hi there...usually you are the first, you early bird! I loved your post on Semi's garden....the steps are wonderful. I am not certain that the S Leucantha will survive here! We will see, but I plan to try to over winter it. The asters do showcase the chair...now if the mosquitoes would leave it would be a good place to sit!

    Gail

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  8. Katarina,

    That is a nice compliment to read this morning! Thank you. Aren't the salvias pretty, the perfect late summer early fall plant. Thank you for visiting! Have a good bloom day, Gail

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  9. YE, Good afternoon! Hah, you are fooling yourself...my aster is totally bigger! The other normal sized asters are having a ball in the garden...we will see if Toad Lily survives the wet winter! Have a great Bloom Day, Too.

    Gail

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  10. Gardengirl,

    Good morning...Oh, you need to try the asters again. The wild ones take no trouble to have, but would possibly look too unruly in a calmer garden. The picture you painted of the woods at your mom's place is lovely...sunshine on the forest floor!

    I look forward to seeing your Toad Lily when it blooms next year...Next Year, we are already thinking of the next growing season. Next year in Chicago, too.

    Happy Bloom Day...to you!

    Gail

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  11. You have a lot more native asters than I do. I could probably grow most of them; what I mean is they don't show up on their own.

    But I am surprised at all the salvias thriving on clay soil. I thought they needed good drainage. Do most of them winter over for you?

    Thank you for stopping by my blog.

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  12. Great post for GBBD. And thanks for all the aster info. I need more fall color for shade but it's the butterfly info that is really valuable. Thanks for sharing.

    And yes, aren't toad lilies wonderful? Stop by my blog to see some other varieties.

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  13. Hi Gail, I definitely need to add more Asters to my garden next year. Yours are gorgeous, no wonder the Monarch visted them all. :) Great shot of Black & Blue Salvia, I can never capture that wonderful shade of blue on camera. You are lucky to still have a few lingering Rudbeckia blooms, mine are long gone. Happy GBBD!

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  14. I love your toad lily! Thanks for the "shout out!" ;-) I have one blooming today that was only "Tricyrtis hirta" when I purchased it (a discount buy). Wonder what it is? ha.

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  15. Congratulations on getting that Monarch to pose! They're not easy to photograph, are they? All your asters are amazing--no wonder the butterflies flock to your garden. I especially like the photo with the Adironack chair.
    I do love the salvias--I'm going to have to look for some of the varieties you've mentioned here. And I have a coneflower blooming, too! I thought it might be a little confused about the season with the warm temps we've had as well.
    Great Bloom Day post, Gail!

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  16. Hi Bloom Day Girl. You get the prize for the most info and photos I've read yet. I'm amazed at how many flowers you and I have in common. If you ever come to Oklahoma, will you stop by? I want you to meet my roses too.~~Dee

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  17. That Monarch sure is getting around today! lol... This day always makes me want to run to the Garden center to get more more more but heck, I still have 4 potted beauties I have yet to get into the ground! arggg... The Toad lily is awesome. My toads would love it...

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  18. You've gotta love the salvias and yours are looking fine. We have the same 'Dreamsicle' although I don't think I will plant it again. It is a bit light in the garden. I always enjoy visiting your garden. Is it really another bloom day already? Must get posting...

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  19. It seems as if the bees, butterflies & moths know that the end is near. It wasn't until I looked closely at my photos that I realized there is somebody in nearly every flower. I really like that Salvia greggii flower, it reminds me of a lady in a red dress curtsying. I usually distinguish Aster dumosus from pilosus by the size & the amount of "hair" on it, but the asters are a confusing crowd. You didn't fool me about Aster divaricatus, because I have it & it is quite distinctive. Mine's still plugging away, though the foliage is starting to turn orange. Your Toad is beautiful. Now you can join us collectors. ;-D

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  20. MMD,

    I can't ever fool you..you keep me on my wildflower loving toes! It's true almost every photo of the last bloomers are usually covered in visitors..just one more drink before they head home!

    I am going to search my Bloom Tag Collection for the name of the Salvia greggii...It's a keeper in my garden. It reseeds and winters over. Gotta love/hate climate change!

    Just what I need another addiction to plants! The Toad Lilies are certainly a different looking flower. If she over winters here...there may be more of her relatives moving here.

    Gail

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  21. Kathy,

    Glad you like the Salvias...here is their story! Most are in the raised bed with The Susans! Very amended soi~~ Black Cow Top Soil with soil conditioner and lots of leaf mold! The reds are on a serious incline/hill that has the best soil in the yard (erosion). So they seem to thrive there in spite of our wet winters. If anything were to stop them, it would be the wet soggy clay in winters. We are now Zone 7!

    Gail

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  22. What a lovely day you're having Gail!

    Autumn's well and truly here this side of the pond.

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  23. ms. wis,

    I had a lovely time at your blog! Toad Lilies are fascinating to me right now! But my heart still belongs to the wildflowers! I can recommend the wild asters and they will bring in the butterflies...they are fine in my shade conditions, in fact I think they shine there. Glad to be of help and thanks for stopping by!

    gail

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  24. What a gorgeous day indeed. The skies could not be bluer than they are in your first photo. We are seeing the sun here for the first time in five days. I'm so glad! I also appreciate the aster lesson. I had no idea the variety that were available. Until this fall I had zero in my garden. I can see I need to rectify that. The photographer in me loves the composition of the weathered chair with the native aster. Very picturesque. So much still going on at Clay and Limestone, a very good thing for all.

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  25. Racquel,

    I am glad you liked the B&B; that is the best shot I have ever gotten of it and the S greggii. They just flatten out most of the time! The asters are a real boon to the butterflies and I can't complain either. The last of the Susans will be gone soon and then it will yellowless in the garden!

    Racquel...have a fantastic Bloom Day!

    Gail

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  26. Shady,

    I only have one blooming, too! She's a stunner...MMD thinks I may become a collector! Let's see if it can survive here! I loved shouting you out! You and IVG are the Toad Lily "pushers"....must fight this plant addiction!;->

    Gail

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  27. Rose,

    I saw your coneflower when I stopped by the garden this morning! Aren't they still lovely! I wanted them to bloom until now bit they are July bloomers. I think Mother Nature gifted us with one more bloom. Payment for enduring droughts! I love the coneflower but prefer the regular rains!

    You will love the Salvias...try the S azurea...it is hardy in your zone and you can't beat the color and the food it provides pollinators.

    Have a delightful day, Rose!

    Gail

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  28. Dee,

    I will surely visit you while in OK. My husbands best college friends are in OKC. We need to visit them before too long...It amases me how many plants we have in common...you know I am from MO and a midwest girl at heart! I am drawn to the prairie plants!

    I am going to head over to your blog right now!

    Gail

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  29. I love the Toad Lily, going to try and find some for around here are they hard to grow or like other lilies?

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  30. skeeter,

    I hope your nurseries are way better then ours! They have run out of all the plants I want! Too bad more places don't encourage fall planting.

    The monarch is a busy girl...has to be a girl! You must put Toad Lilies on your list!

    Gail

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  31. Layanee,

    I can see that it wouldn't be able to carry itself in your garden. The darker ones look better, the reds and the dep blues. I do think that S azurea would be nice right in front of your computer. The bees and skippers would keep you amused! I will be visiting your blog soon, also I owe you an email!

    gail

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  32. vp,

    I must hope over the pond to see your place. Autumn isn't well and here, yet! We are lucky to have autumn extend into November! I think it's luck or maybe climate change!

    Gail

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  33. Darla,

    I have no idea! I loved it and it jumped on the wagon and went home with me! I am hoping it proves to be easy to care for! There are a few commenters here who have had it in their gardens a long time...Mr. MacGregors Daughter and Shady Gardener are two who might could give you more info. Mine is planted near the porch so I can make sure it gets enough water in our droughty summers! It likes a humis rich soil..what doesn't! Good luck...there are some gorgeous choices for yoy!

    gail

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  34. kathleen,

    I can recommend the asters to you Kathleen. It will bring in the bees and butterflies. I have never tried pinching the wild ones back in June, preferring them to flop and bob about wildly! But they might look better in a less wildflower looking space. I think they would look wonderful in one of your fantastic container creations!

    The chair and asters do make a nice composition...thank you. I like the gray and blue together.

    Have a lovely day!

    gail

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  35. Gail -- that's a LOT of blooms! WOW! I'll have to come back again to do a rewind! :-) Salvias are my faves...and I agree that it's difficult to photo a greggii and those are my true faves among salvias. Thanks! Cameron

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  36. Cameron, I am laughing because I had to cut out a few blooms! If you looked at the whole garden you can see that it is near the end, but there are dotted among those plants gone to seed these few lovelies!
    I am glad you stopped by! I am hoping you have a bloom day post up! gail

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  37. The bees are mighty busy around these parts too!
    Brenda

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  38. Those darn Monarchs, they are so camera shy with the open wings!
    All the asters, sages, salvias, etc. look great, but I love that toad lily!

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  39. Brenda,

    They are buzzing with activity here, too! Aren't they wonderful!

    gail

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  40. Cindy,

    It is a pretty interesting flower. Have you any?

    Gail

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  41. It looks like autumn is particularly lovely at Clay and Limestone. The salvias and asters are delightful but the toad lily is my favorite. I have several given to me by my late friend Amy and I just bought 'Alice Staub' at Houston's Bulb Mart. They've just started blooming!

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  42. Hi Gail,

    Just a catch-up post...I love the tree and sign for your mom, the butterfly on the asters...the embraceable bees and flowers...I love your blog, and I love you!

    We are still in the US - just finished spending a weekend with Sarah, and now are ending our stay in Columbia. We head back to Hong Kong on Monday. Its been a great trip but its strange to be in Columbia with out Daniel. Consolation is that we will go visit him in Taipei 2 weeks after we return to Asia.

    xxxooo

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  43. Happy Bloom Day, Gail! I was here earlier today, but I wasn't able to comment for some reason, and I come back to find many other happy visitors have already expressed everything I wanted to say. Well, never mind; I *will* say that I enjoyed all that you shared today, and the earlier Big Aster post as well. Thanks!

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  44. Such great color in all your photos. What time of the day do you photograph your plants? I'm guessing early morning or late evening.Salvia guaranitica is a favorite. I also have Salvia coccinea pink and the red variety as well. They are great reseeders for me.

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  45. MCOK,

    The Toad Lily means all the more that it came from Amy.

    Aren't they really quite charming in the differentness! I am not an orchid plant collector, so this form of flower is very new to me. Alice Staub is a beauty of a Toad Lily...I just looked her up! It's good to know they can grow further south, I was beginning to think they were a midwestern phenomena

    Cindy, happy gardening!

    Gail

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  46. Hey Susie, I try to shoot in the mornings and late afternoons, the afternoon sun is way to bright on flowers for their closeups. Even with the trees it cn be very harsh. The salvias are fantastic...and many reseed for me, too! Lucky aren't we?

    Gail

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  47. Nan, Thanks for returning and leaving a comment! I am totally in awe of the rich serving of beautiful plant combinations you are serving at your blog today! Delicious!

    Isn't Jin Dai an incredible plant!

    Gail

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  48. I love that toad lily! Mine are white, and I think I need some spotted ones. I think I love all your salvia even more - you have some spectacular ones!

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  49. What lovely photos Gail. I must remember to plant more salvias next summer. They last so long and aren't as finicky as some plants. My cone flowers don't last long here. They are long gone. Happy GBBD.

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  50. Such beautiful October blooms! I particularly like the last two shots. The chair with the asters in front of it, and the polka dotted toad lily. I've seen so many toad lily photos lately, and none have grabbed me till yours. Now that one I'd want in my garden!

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  51. Gail ~
    I do have a toad lily, although it suffered terribly this dry summer. I would water but it was never enough. I hope it recovers next year.

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  52. i love the chair in amoungst the asters. beautiful ,beautiful blooms

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  53. Kim, The salvias are very nice plants and in your part of the world would be very happy...just give them decent drainage. I am glad you like Empress, she is a beauty. In fact I was so taken with her I headed back to the nursery only to discover so were many other people...she was sold out! How did you discover Toad Lilies? Gail

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  54. Lisa, I wish the coneflowers were with us longer...they are so lovely...I suppose we could try to deadhead them. Have you had luck with that?

    Salvias are wonderful, especially this time of year and maybe a bit earlier for your latitude! The s greggiis can be treated like annuals and might surprise you with a reseeding. But they are such good attractors for butterflies and bees, that even if they were just annuals I would still plant them.

    Happy Bloom Day to you, too.

    Gail

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  55. marmee,

    Thank you! I think that photo did turn out ok, the perfect wild asters with the weathered cedar chairs. Are you ready for the change in weather?
    It will be here tomorrow!

    gail

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  56. MsRobin, Then you must get yourself a Toad Lily~~Empress is her royal highness name! There are many on the bloom pages today! A very unique and attractive flower. Thank you for stopping by, I loved your sky photos from Thursday...they were incredible.

    gail

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  57. Gail your Bloom Day post is just filled with so many gorgeous bugs and blooms! Here in my part of the world we also are experiencing blue skies and sunshine just perfect to show
    off my roses!I'm also listed on Blotanical..nice to meet you!NG

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  58. I am chuckling here .. I seem to be the last one almost all the time to catch up with your posts Gail : )
    It is so nice to see all your native plants like this .. and those temps you still have .. wow .. I don't think I could manage them ? LOL
    Beautiful pictures as always .. such nice close ups and details : )

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  59. Nature Girl, We are enjoying the continued bloom but it's just not right that temps should be this warm...mamma nature must have heard us, because here come the rains and cooler weather! Thank you for stopping by and checking out the blooms and bugs! I thought your roses and hydrangeas were wonderful.

    Gail

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  60. Joy, Hey there! I like finding your comments when ever they arrive! The same thing happens to me with your posts, I hurry over and there I am last in the que! The temps are normal now...in the high 60s with rain on the way. The high temps and mosquitoes were not fun. I will pop over later, I need to be sure I am the very last commenter;-)
    Gail

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  61. I just bought a toad lily also (were you enabled by Tina as well?). You were asking me about Salvia Leucantha - it is hardy for me and I don't do anything out of the ordinary to overwinter it. It gets a southern exposure so that might help.

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  62. Gail - what a beautiful bloom day post you have. There are many of my favorites in your collection, but my absolute favorites are toad lilies. I love that one - I had 3 empress lilies last year, but unfortunately the deer ate them. And the photo of native aster against the wooden chair is priceless. I'd love to sit there!

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  63. Who knew when a friend gave me a division of a Toadlily this spring that it would be the hot plant of October! Mine is just buds, so I can only hope it will be as cute as your toadlily, Gail.

    Your photos of flowers with insect accessories combine to make a lovely essay on the relationships between plants and pollinators - and those flat little salvia greggii petals area a real pain to show in a picture - but you were able to do it!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  64. Hi Gail,
    Lovely photos - it's interesting to see the plants in their groups. The Salvias are very interesting - they seem to be gaining popularity in the Uk at the moment.

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  65. Happy Mouffe,

    Salvias are very nice flowering plants, some of my favorites. You can't beat easy care, reseeding, over wintering and nectar for bees and butterflies. What are the current favs?
    Gail

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  66. Annie,

    The power of the internet? Toad Lily reigns supreme! A friend and I visited Cheekwood (our botanical garden) and she was totally unimpressed with Toad Lily! They did look a mess! The drought had not been kind to them. Which simply means keep the soil moist! Can't wait to see what your TL's face looks like! They are striking in photos!

    On the other hand, the salvias little face is nearly impossible to capture and I feel really lucky to have gotten the lines. I think the name of the red one was Cherry Chief? Could that be right?

    It's always good to have you stop by!

    Gail

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  67. Diana,

    The same deer that you feed malabar spinach and water? Those ingrates!

    I am glad you like that photo of the asters and chair, it is a nice place to sit and I do when ever it is NOT mosquito weather. That would be November through March!

    I hope you are doing well! I see you had some company stop by to entertain you! I think the dog people would love to show their doggie photos...you have to tell a few more Austin gardeners and the word will be out!

    Gail

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  68. Phillip,

    The Toad Lily pushers in my life are Iowa Victory Gardener (Urban Oasis), Shady Gardener (Does Everything Grow...) and Mr. MacGregor's Daughter!

    I think I will cover the Salvia with a nice loose leaf mold and see if it survives...thank you!

    Gail

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  69. Dear Gail, You did a great job photographing that red salvia... red and white... they just don't want to show up the details. I really enjoyed all your Asters... you've given me some possibilities to think about. The toad lily always draws my attention with its unique speckles... have seen lots of them around on Oct GBBD posts. As a matter of fact the coneflowers, the susan (thanks for one more glimpse), the monarch and bees are all a treat to see.

    I've tried for the past few months successfully but I finally couldn't resist any longer the black and blue salvia. Today while at the garden center I picked up one to plant in the middle of some herbs I'm putting in a shallow container bowl in the veggie garden. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it does here after seeing it on so many garden blogs north of me.

    Have I told you yet I'm coming to Nashville (Franklin)in a couple of weeks? I sure hope we can arrange a meeting. I will e-mail you the details.

    Always a pleasure to peruse Chez Cedar on Bloom Day.
    BTW, your adirondacks are as natural looking as mine... I like that.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

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  70. Aargh, I'm a day behind on Bloom Day--but I caught yours! I love the Dreamsicle/Coral Nymph salvia--I have most of the blues, but I havent' seen this one--it's beautiful. And I just love the buzz of the bees around the salvia plants--I can almost hear them in your photos.

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  71. Gail--love the salvia guaranitica, the tricyrtis formosana and the salvia coccinea! You have some gorgeous flowers yet! And I loved the tour!

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  72. meems,

    You will be so happy with the Black and Blue. I think it might be a good color addition to your garden. You have some great blues already. I hope it does well for you!

    When I bought the chairs I had to argue with the owner who wanted to cover them with poly to keep their cedar look. I wanted them to go to gray! That was many years ago!

    Let me know what you schedule is like....I could make a run to Leiper's Fork to see you and meet marmee, too!

    Susan the Last acknowledges and appreciates your visit! Me, too!

    Gail

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  73. Tile Lady,

    Thank you for coming on the tour with us! We always like your company! You are an appreciative guest! Gracious, too!

    gail

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  74. I just got some Aster T. from Lazy S, per your aster posts (God save the asters!). Looking forward to 5' and more! And since I have a perfect spot which is soaked in the spring and after rains, they should do well here in that clay.

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