From the producer: October 10, 2008

Cooler weather must be on the way for sure, because my spiderworts are up. In a few weeks, I plan to move a few under the turks caps to fill those blank spaces this winter.  Their strappy foliage is as fun for me as the flowers they put on in March or so.

Last spring, I even moved a few at the last minute, and they kept on blooming.  But until CTG this week, I never knew I could use them in a stir-fry!

Yep, that’s right.  Last spring, a viewer asked how to use some of her native plant fruits.  In response, Andrea DeLong-Amaya, horticulturist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has a few ideas for us this week.  Along with the spiderwort stir-fry and other edibles, she introduced Tom and me to a new one, strawberry cactus.

By the way, maybe I’ll run into you at the Wildflower Center fall sale on Oct. 18 & 19.  Check them out for a list of plants that will be at the sale, including that cactus, spiderworts and many others.

In my garden, I’m spreading wildflower seeds and other spring-bloomers, and planting the lettuce gardens, one for us and one for Harvey.  I’m sure that rabbits have some of you hopping to reinforce your wildlife fencing, but in our neck of the suburban woods, we miss out on the fascination of deer and wild rabbits. So one little (neutered) pet bunny is fun to us. At least we have our share of anoles, like this youngster.

If you look real hard, you can see this bee on the ‘Hot Lips” salvia that’s finally showing off.

Behind it in the crepe bed, the big Philippine violets went crazy this week.

The zexmenia couldn’t resist joining in to show off against the lavenders and reds.

When I’m not lazy, it benefits from a good haircut after its flowerings in spring and
early/ mid summer.  Aside from keeping it under control, since it tends to sprawl, pruning promotes a fall resurgence.  It seeds freely in my clay soil, and is about as drought tolerant a plant I’ve ever met in semi-shade to sun. I am highly allergic to it, though, and if you suffer plant skin allergies, wear long sleeves for pruning.

A cloud of Gregg’s mistflower opened along Amelia’s fence bed.

Harvey likes this plant so much that I’m using it for his cage training treats. The butterflies love it, too, and I promise you I will get a shot of them on a weekend afternoon when they’re out and I have the patience.

On that too-shady side, the Salvia leucantha isn’t as rich as in full sun, but it didn’t want to be left out of the show.

Here it is with few ‘Teresa’ salvia flowers beyond.

There would be lots more, I know, if rain had favored us this year.  But everything is still alive, and trying its best, so that counts for something.  Only one new plant this year just didn’t make it, and that was my fault.

But the best thing about gardeners is their optimism, so onward to a new planting season!

Until next week, Linda