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

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Garden's Not Seedy, Those Are Seedheads

All photos enlarge

The garden is looking rougher today than this time last year
~ especially after the summer the Middle South has had. Last year it was cooler and wetter. The Susans were still looking good well into September.

9/4/09 and still looking good

I don't mind that the garden looks wild~Those messy looking seedheads hold the future. They'll grow more plants for my garden and maybe even yours. More importantly, they'll provide food for the goldfinches which have begun to visit.

Right now the Echinacea purpurea is but a memory of its fantastic summer show, stalwart phlox is barely hanging on and the Susans are fading fast. The garden is taking on its fall look.

The grasses are just starting to come into their own. Tall Ironweed/Vernonia gigantea is blooming~He's a gorgeous 7 foot of asteraceae nectar and host food. I love that he's settled here and seems happy...Surprising for a moisture lover to thrive at C&L.
Sometimes, I wish ironweed bloomed with the goldenrods. What a picture that would make. But, this way there's nectar for bumbles and butterflies from now until frost.

We've had record numbers of Eastern Swallowtail, the anything but Common Buckeye, Sulphurs, Hairstreaks, Silvery Checkerspot, Pearl Crescent, Vanessa and a few who move to fast to ID.

More butterflies and moths are stopping by each day.

Hemaris thysbe/Hummingbird Clearwing moth stopped by

I am sure they have heard that autumn flowers are poised to explode into bloom.

I am happy to report that our delightful visitor, Southern Crimson Moth, aka, Stealth Chompers (here and here for more on those interesting creatures), has left us enough salvia to keep the hummers visiting regularly.

Many of C&L's fall blooming plants are of the purple persuasion~ex-asters, late blooming liatris and Physostegia virginiana. It's a fabulous plant in my garden! Purple punctuation points right now, but soon they will bloom together and the full effect is marvelous.

Each day brings more changes and more purples! It's a good thing, 'cause I do love purple...and it looks so good in a seedy fall garden.


Kim, A Study In Contrasts, here's a photo of Frostweed/Verbesina virginica
in my garden. You've probably seen it along the road, in thickets or even in empty field. It's a native of Ohio, too.


  1. Hi Gail, wild and wonderful! Fall is coming whether we are ready or not. The ironweed is fabulous, as is the Verbesina. But oh so dry. Aster season approacheth! :-)

  2. Lovely, as always. I am inspired to get some ironweed for one spot in my newly designed garden which is going to be sort of a small micro-sized prairie.

  3. I have that same frostweed-'weed'-didn't know what it was but do allow things like this to grow. It's pretty. That obedient plant is most pretty too. It is something I do not have but I do enjoy it! Have a great wonderful day. Still hoping for rain!

  4. Fall for us, in California, means rain, and planting season. I'm with you on the seedheads. Our perspective changes when we get with the whole process of a garden, and not just the prettiness of flowers.

  5. There's got to be some goldenrod that blooms at the same time as ironweed. We must investigate!

  6. I tried some iron weed seeds this year. No luck. Hmmmmmm I will try until I get some. Your garden looks quite happy with this dry weather. Happy Seeding.

  7. Wild and wonderful is right! Your garden is always a delight, Gail, no matter the season. :)

  8. Oooh... thanks for the photos, Gail! The verbesina and the vernonia are both on my list for next year now. I'll have to find seeds for both of them. :)

  9. gail,

    the ironweed is growing all around the farm in the tall wild grasses...it is beautiful. summer has done a job on the garden, hasn't it? i look forward to some rain in the fall or winter.
    hope all is well.
    happy september.

  10. Purple is one of my favorite colors in the garden! My garden is very depressing right now. Everything looks dead from the lack of rain and the hotter than normal temperatures we've had. I need to gather more seeds and start thinking about next year, hopefully I haven't lost too many plants.

  11. Great pictures! I see you follow your own advice about always carrying a camera...and so interesting how things are different each year.

  12. My tall phlox finally bit the dust about 2 weeks ago, but my coneflowers are still going pretty strong. I cut them all back when I went on vacation, and once it cools down here, they will bloom again. They are already starting.

    Everything else here in the sunny part of the garden, is saying its prayers that the sun and no rain abates soon. Things are not well. Except the stalwarts: lantana and plumbago, who frankly, could give a damn what happens weatherwise...I just wish I liked lantana more. I keep trying....

  13. Hi Gail

    Fabulous Photos.. Sunshine and Happiness.

    Gina Hams

  14. Very nice Gail...it's fun to imagine the future when you see all of the seeds drying isn't it? I find it quite exciting myself.

  15. My garden is looking pretty seedy, too, Gail, but nowhere as good as yours. Of course, I do remember seeing it in October last year, and how even that late in the season it looked beautiful. I think the word has gone out to all the wild things that here is a garden they can be happy in all year:)

  16. Glad to see a happy obedient plant situation! :-)

    Your bench and artwork/flowers is so pretty and lovely. Vernonia is one of my new garden loves. The bunnies cut down my "deer test" blazing star (ligulistylis) -- the one loved my Monarchs and planted behind my milkweed.

    Do you grow any climbing asters? I am wondering about that for my garden gate trellis. Of course, bunnies would probably cut it off at the roots!

    My susans have almost played out and the Goldfinches are having a grand time eating the seeds of those (as well as zinnias and coneflowers). My 'Prairie Splendor' coneflowers are producing another fresh flush of minor blooms.

  17. Cameron, I planted a Carolina aster last year, but it has been unremarkable in the garden~But, I have
    only watered it enough to keep it alive not thrive! I think Sweetbay, another blogger in your neck of the woods grows it and may be able to tell you more~ gail

  18. Thank goodness for those pretty purples in the garden this time of year. Fall is creeping in on us and just where did summer go?

    Isn’t the pileated woodpecker the neatest bird in our parts? I get goose bumps every time I spot one in our woods. They are the best. I am sure your favorite is the peahen right? hee hee… Girl, I tell ya, everytime I see a peahen, I think of you! There could be worse things to be remember for right :-)

  19. Same here, thank goodness the grasses are lovely and the wild asters are beginning to bloom. Seems like this was a hard year for gardening everywhere.

    Thanks for giving a name to the frost weed.

  20. Your garden is positively popping with passionate purple! Goldenrod would look lovely with it, I also love orange with purple. It just makes the garden glow with happy colors.

  21. Purple in the garden is just fantastic! This year my obedient plants were too dry to bloom very long, so it was a little disappointing but I'm confident they were battening down through a tough summer.

  22. Gail, I think your garden looks lovely and has a wild charm that all your visitors enjoy. I love the iron creature in your first photo. Your ironweed too. What a great plant. Our hummingbirds will sadly be leaving soon... heading your way I would guess. It is good to know they have gardens like yours along their way. ;>)

  23. So nice to see all those butterflies. I saw one of those hummingbird moths recently. Love those. I guess the drought and heat has caused your flowers to peak earlier than last year. It's been a tough summer all around. But wasn't this past weekend wonderful?

  24. Hi Gail, I especially like the first photo of the sculpture and bench. Very cool!

  25. Seedy is good, Gail, your lovely garden still alive and thriving. Purple/pink is the predominant color in waning garden too. But it's September and still summer!

  26. I agree...leave it a bit wild.
    If we don't, we end up just fighting Nature all the day long.

    Great photos!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  27. So much beauty Gail, food for wildlife, and promise of blooms in future seasons with all the seedheads of the waning summer garden.

    Purple's wonderful with the brilliance of changing foliage and the lovely autumn sunlight.

  28. Despite being September already, and the fact that the Echinacea are brown, it all looks awesome, Gail. It's the circle of life, on it's natural path into fall and winter until once more, spring will come and everything will be new! I do like to hang on to the seedheads, too...although I confess I've been removing them in order to get continued blooms on my shasta daisies, echinacea, etc. I may have pinched my 'final' seedheads by now, though...so whatever is left after this will serve the wildlife over the winter. Seedy is a good thing;-)


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson