That's just the sort of plant I admire in the garden, one that flowers for months and months without much (or any) external intervention.
I actually went away for a few weeks in September and left my garden to its own devices. We had a warm September here in Tennessee -- meaning plenty of days with temps in the 80s and practically no rain whatsoever (0.25 inches for the whole month).
And while the grass got some water from the sprinkler, the garden had to fend for itself without any irrigation. Here's how things looked when I got home:
|Red berries on the Aronia arbutifolia, Red Chokeberry|
|Autumn Fern (a.k.a. Japanese Shield Fern), Dryopteris erythrosora, I installed two of these in April in a partial shade setting. They seemed to struggle at first, but have since settled in nicely. Yep, it turns out there are ferns such as this that are remarkably drought tolerant once established. In fact, UGA recommends it as a groundcover for Georgia, which tells you it can take the heat (though it's also cold hardy to USDA zone 5). No flowers of course, but the new fronds have a beautiful copper color.|
|Baptisia australis, Blue False Indigo, this has pretty flowers in the spring, but it certainly doesn't fall into the Energizer flower category (the flowers only last a couple of weeks at most), But it's a trouble-free tough native perennial with lovely foliage that stays attractive all year. It is also apparently a host plant for the Clouded Sulphur butterfly, which I have seen in my garden this year for the first time. I just planted some new Baptisias from Prairie Nursery, so hopefully I'll have more Baptisia foliage next year upon which the Clouded Sulphurs can dine.|
|The Camellia sasanqua by the front porch has started blooming. You can't see it here, but the flowers attract a steady stream of honeybee visitors.|
|More big bees on Chaste Tree flower spike|
|Practically all the cosmos have fallen over, but they usually are tough enough to keep blooming even while lying prone on the ground. And as you can see here, the (slightly out-of-focus) small bees will keep visiting regardless.|
|You may not be able to tell from this photo, but this (self-sown) cosmos plant has actually fallen across the path, but it is still blooming its heart out. No deadheading required for weeks and weeks (sometimes months and months) of blooms!|
|Another clump of daylilies that was cut back to the ground in mid-summer and has since resprouted vigorously with clean light green foliage.|
|A feather found in the grass. Perhaps from a hawk?|
|One of my favorite plants just keeps on giving. Lonicera sempervirens, the native Coral Honeysuckle, produces non-stop orange-red hummingbird-attracting flowers from very early spring to autumn. The flower production has slowed dramatically now, but all those hummingbird (and butterfly) visits have clearly produced results, as the plant is now covered in berries at various stages of ripening. This photo shows all three stages of berries ripening from green to light orange to bright orange-red. I haven't noticed any birds feeding on the berries yet, but American Beauties says that bluebirds, waxwings and many other birds will eat the fruit.|
|There are some Aronia berries in this photo, but the intended focus is the lush mass of Melissa officinalis, a.k.a. Lemon Balm, that grew from three tiny sprigs that I planted in April. As you can see, the Lemon Balm has formed a thick weed-suppressing groundcover. And the foliage is darn pretty. The leaves have a nice lemony scent, and I've tried them in a salad and as "lemonade", but alas I could not detect much of a lemon taste. Lemon Balm did not flower this year, but it's supposed to have late spring or early summer flowers that are a big hit with the bees, so I'm hoping it will put on a nice flowering show next year if it feels suitably happy and established. Of course, the real question is how far it will spread and whether I will someday regret having planted it. Only time will tell...|
|Finally, a definite contender in the Energizer bunny category, this is Rozanne Cranesbill Geranium which has flowered for at least four months (early June through early-to-mid October) and will probably keep going until a hard frost with no deadheading or pruning required. (It accepts pruning if it rambles out of bounds, but no pruning is necessary to stimulate flowering.) What's more, I think the foliage quality actually improved on Rozanne throughout the summer and into autumn. One of the first plants I added to my garden, Rozanne has survived a couple of transplants and given me so much joy over the years. I think anyone who can grow Rozanne (hardy to zone 5), should give her a try.|