Six on Saturday – Second Chances and weird beginnings.

We’ve had rain on and off this past week and that seems to have have been the cue for some plants, well past their peak blooming period, to send out new growth.  Or perhaps it’s a desperate attempt to set more seed before autumn.  I’m not complaining, whatever the biological/evolutionary reason for it.  I’m just enjoying it. I also continue to enjoy the veggies and flowers that spring up on their own accord.  (I’m not referring to the bindweed that, without constant pulling, would happily take over everything!)  To see more Sixes from around the world check out The Propogator‘s site!

Island view Aug 18 2018
1 – First, the long view of my ‘Island’ – the garden surrounded by the driveway.  The volunteer sunflowers are in full glory but I don’t think I’ll let them do the same next year.  It really blocks the view of everything else growing behind them!  On the other hand, it helps creates a ‘secret garden’ effect; exploring the Island becomes a bit of an adventure.
Clematis viticella Etoile Violet Aug 18 2018
2 – This viticella Clematis, I think it’s Etoile Violette, finished blooming a few weeks ago.  But today, voila!  A few more bug eaten blooms have appeared!
Compass Plant Aug 18 2018
3 – I have several clumps of Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) that just get bigger year to year; last summer there was about two dozen tall flower stalks.  This year, for some reason, there was just one flower stalk!!!  And it bloomed meagerly for just a few days.  But, like the Clematis, this week it realized it better set some seed and here is the wonderful result.
compost Aug 18 2018
4 – I screened some compost last weekend and a gazillion tomato seedlings sprouted after the rain.  My compost piles never get hot enough to kill seeds – from tomatoes or, unfortunately, weeds; I generally have to throw pulled weeds that have seeds on them into the burn pile.  I’ll rake these tomato seedlings into the compost pile to add even more nitrogen.
New England Aster starting Aug 18 2018
5 – New England Aster (with a new botanical name Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) has just started to open!  Sad because it means autumn is truly on our doorstep; happy because it’s a glorious pollinator magnet.
trellis Aug 18 2018
6 – The volunteer cantaloupe has fully embraced  the trellis I built for snap peas this spring. If you look closely you can see a few melons quickly growing, like the one at the top of this post.  Another example of how volunteer plants sometimes do much better than those purposefully planted.



  1. I agree about the aster colour. I have the same problem with weeds in my compost, and goodness knows it gets hot enough here in the summer to cook an egg on the road (if one was so inclined) so I don’t know what the answer is.

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  2. How cool that several plants are doing it. I know that some do that sort of thing, and that many chaparral plants will perk up after a weird summer rain shower (which actually does happen every few years or so). In the chaparral and desert, it does not last long, but it is how they work. It is not as bad as it sounds. They just know how to take advantage of the weather.
    Are asters one of those popular and traditional flowers there? I know them only as cut flowers, and have never seen them in gardens. It seems like people from other regions are very familiar with them, like Joe Pye weed!

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      1. So besides being as cool as . . . well, asters, they bloom in late summer and into autumn! That is probably why they seem to be popular just before chrysanthemums.
        Goldenrod just showed up here a few years ago. I think I want to try it, just because it looks like one of those ‘wildflowers’ that people in the East and Midwest enjoy.
        Joe Pye week is something that I definitely MUST try. I do not know why, but I really like it. Perhaps it is because it is a traditional American wildflower.

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  3. I’m astounded at how many sunflower volunteers you had – bird feeder nearby? I’ve had the same issue w/an island flowerbed – do you plant it so you can see everything from the house or so there are surprises as you walk around it? I tended to feel the former until I walked around it, then liked the surprises as the back. Gardeners, eh? Always thinking we can do it better next year. And that aster, as everyone has said . . . such a great colour. I always love visiting your garden, Chris.

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    1. Three summers ago I had one volunteer on the Island – likely brought over by a chipmunk. Last summer I had three or four. This spring about three dozen volunteers sprang up! I pulled most if them but left these ones standing – both for the colour and for the birds. Yes – gardeners can ALWAYS do it better next year!! I started planning for next year in mid April this year! In September I’ll be moving at least one shrub and a few perennials; in October I’ll be planting more bulbs………..

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