Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just a Ramble...


My fall garden always surprises me. This is ridiculous since I'm the one that planted everything. I shouldn't be caught off guard by how much is blooming but I am. I get so busy with the start of the school year that I lose track of what's happening and stand on my patio in my pajamas come Saturday, amazed at it all.  


These little 'Dream of Beauty' asters were advertised as needing the ever elusive 'Moist but well drained soil'. However, when I gave them the closest thing to it I could, they almost died. They want to be hot and dry. 



Monarch on the verbena bonariensis

I've had numerous Monarchs in my garden this year


and five fat little caterpillars munching on the milkweed.


These tiny 'Snow Flurry' asters are cast iron tough. Any plant that can handle being stepped on by me and peed on by my four dogs is a keeper.


They are super low growers that can handle dry, bright partial shade.


Native white wood asters (eurybia divaricatus) grow through the variegated 'Autumn Charm' sedum. Both grow well in dry, bright partial shade, too. The wood asters are floppers and leaners so if you don't want them lying on the ground, let them ramble over a cooperative companion.


Northern sea oats, Solomon's Seal, sedum, blue stemmed solidago (solidago caesia), and asters in the shade garden.


 Yellow annual begonias thrived in this shady urn next to the massive Rose of Sharon. I always thought these were fussy plants but they were easy easy easy.


More white wood asters grow through blue plumbago under the Rose of Sharon. Both of these are outrageously tough plants, which is a requirement for staying in my garden. I have a strict "No Whining and No Divas" rule.


 'Piglet' pennisetum and blue mist flower


Blue mist flower grows every where in my garden, especially in the moist, sunny beds along the rain garden. It spreads quickly and I end up ripping it out by the handfuls every fall to keep it from taking over. But it's so pretty I always leave more than I pull.

 '
Native Short's asters are another fall bloomer that grow well in dry, bright partial shade. These quickly grew to be almost four feet tall. They might need to be renamed. 


These soft yellow zinnias were supposed to be three feet tall but never got the memo and are five feet tall instead. Overachievers.


'Serenade' Japanese anemones need less water than most anemones, which automatically gives them the coveted designation of Super Fabulous Plant of Amazingness.


I recently extended the sunny side garden by a few feet in depth. Since my dogs can't resist freshly turned soil or compost, I covered the extension with straw to help minimize the amount of soil they track into the house. Fall rains will help this area settle and the straw will decompose. After I've redesigned part of this bed, thinned out all the seedlings, and filled in the new areas, I'll mulch over the straw to keep the plants from heaving this winter.  I still need to remove the sod by the river bed.


I'm going to extend this area by another foot, but that's as far as I can go. My dogs have an invisible path that takes them from the patio to the dog run, where they chase squirrels and bark at birds. If I move the garden into their path, they'll just run everything over.


I have a huge container garden that I've been working on for years to get just right. This area becomes a wind tunnel during summer storms and everything I've ever planted there has been smashed or knocked sideways. But the miscanthus 'Little Zebra' has held up so well, I'm adding another one. Plastic tulips were the only other option.


This is a mid-sized lespedeza that I cut back every year. If we have a snowy winter, I can pile this spot outside my garage with snow without having to worry about crushing my plants. This plant was only 8 inches tall in March. It looks like a giant pink octopus but I find that charming.


I love how cool these flowers are.


Is that more blue mist flower?


 'Matrona' sedum and knautia with even more blue mist flower in the background


I planted this fragrant 'Fair Rosamond' clematis this spring and it finally bloomed.



And now for something completely different.... white mist flowers!


Fall blooming 'Starman' geraniums grow alongside blue and white mist flowers. Actually, half the garden grows alongside blue mist flowers.


In a plant smackdown, native obedient plant would smother blue mist flowers and leave them screaming for mercy. This plant will gladly take over your garden but the pollinators love it so I give it room to run.


Seed grown gomphrena without a blue mist flower in sight.

86 comments:

  1. I love your asters, especially that Autumn Charm combo.

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  2. Dein Herbstgarten ist wunderschön. Ich bin ganz begeistert.
    Gruß, Anette

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  3. So much lovely colour Tammy, and your posts always make me smile ! Everything still looks all pert, is there no flopping and sprawling allowed ? I am getting much more sprawling and much less standing to attention!
    So much to love - the soft yellow of those zinnias is fab, as are the 'Starman' geraniums and the white clematis.

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    1. My Monck asters are quite floppy despite being planted under a grow through support. They've crashed into a stand of - you guessed it! - blue mist flower. :o)

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  4. You have a beautiful fall garden! I love asters but thus far have found only one (A. x frikartii) that seems to handle my current irrigation limitations. I fall in love with Lespedeza every time I see pictures of it, only to look it up and, once again, decide that it would probably be self-defeating to try pushing my zonal limits even if I could find it. Now, Gomphrena I should have - I foolishly failed to plant any this year but next year it's on my list. Thanks for sharing your garden. I hope the school year is off to a good start.

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    1. Gomphrena is really easy to grow from seed. I'm growing it again this winter with seeds from Stokes. I want brighter colors that just pink and white. I'm not sure how well lespedeza would do in your heat/drought.

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  5. Hi Tammy, I love the Clematis Fair Rosamond and even though you planted it this spring, the fact that it is still alive and even flowering automatically makes you far better at growing these plants than I am. I've not come across a fragrant clematis before, what do they smell like?

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    1. I think Rosamond is just making up for the fact that she hadn't bloomed at all due to being planted in June. My other clematis are ready for lots of rain and a fresh load of compost. :o) The scent was a soft, sweet smell. It wasn't very strong at all.

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  6. Very pretty garden. You have a lot of colors going on (and IMHO they all look good with the blue mistflowers). I am discovering this year how readily the blue mistflowers spread. I planted one last year, and now I have a couple dozen. Next year it'll probably be a couple hundred. Any idea what species your white mistflowers are?

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    1. Conoclinium coelestinum 'Alba' is the name of the white mistflowers. Blue mist flowers should come with a warning label in our climate. But it's hard to stay mad long at an enthusiastic, beautiful plant. :)

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    2. Hmm, I didn't realize there was actually a white version of that species. I haven't seen it available around here, but I'll probably transplant some wild Eupatorium species to add some white next to the blue mistflowers.

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  7. I am not familiar with lespedeza, but it is lovely. I like the blue plumbago. I used to have some in another yard, and I should plant some in this yard. I am surprised your clematis is blooming this late.

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    1. I planted it in June and it's just off schedule. :o) Lespedeza is a super easy shrub to grow.

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  8. There's so much going on - you've planned it out really well.

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    1. Thanks! Native asters have become a life saver with all my dry shade. :)

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  9. What a lovely time of year in your gardens, so filled with blooms even into fall! You've done such a good job planning and planting things that allow you (and us too!) to enjoy your gardens late into the year. Thanks so much for sharing them with us! -Beth

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    1. Spring and summer get all the press but fall is wonderful, too. I still have several plants that are waiting in the wings and will finally strut their stuff in a few more weeks. :o)

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  10. Beautiful! Your garden looks so good and hope you have a late frost so you can enjoy it for a while.

    Send those Monarchs this way we are ready for them with plenty of food and shelter.

    My blue mistflower grew so well this year that it fell over and almost shaded itself to death. It will be back stronger than ever but the butterflies love it. Gomphrena must be the universal best flower ever for all conditions.

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    1. Mist flower does well if you shop it back mid-season. I love gomphrena! It's such a workhorse. I'm growing it again next spring.

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  11. Wonderful sights to behold on your lovely autumn Saturday mornings. I can picture you with a mug of coffee in your hand and a smile on your face. :) I'm stilll working on increasing the fall blooming plants in the shady parts of my garden (plenty of blooms still in the sun). The Blue Mistflowers are so pretty (the little ones I added are still blooming but very small)! You sure have a great collection of them! That Lespedeza is incredibly healthy ... and gorgeous!

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    1. White wood asters would do really well for you. They can take a lot of shade as do big leaf asters. Solidago caesia takes quite a bit of shade, too. I'm not sure what I did to make that lespedeza so happy. It's in a dry, well drained spot next to the reflected heat of my asphalt driveway! It does get bright afternoon shade and a deep soaking during dry spells.

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  12. Oh I am digging that gomphrena! Just beautiful! As are all of your blooms friend! I am definitely in need of some of those tough asters! They would fare well with the beans! Your garden is just incredible! Loving it all sweet friend! I am glad you were able to take some time from your busy schedule to soak it all in!!! Nicole xo

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    1. My garden is a balm, for sure. I came home from work today exhausted and feeling ick and headed for the garden. It was like having my reset button pushed. I immediately felt better. :o)

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  13. As you're wandering around I hope you're thinking - "Wow I did well". The garden is so beautiful. I love your soft colour combinations (with or without blue mist) - and that yellow begonia deserves to be grown in that exact spot again next year.

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    1. I love that begonia, too! A lot of fall gardens sometimes feel brassy to me so I like the softer tones, as well.

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  14. Your garden just blows me away. It's so beautiful !! I love all your different plants and the colours and textures. I especially appreciate the detailed plant descriptions . What zone are you? I am getting tons of ideas from your blog!! Hope you are surviving back to school! Oh by the way what colours do you wear??!? Have a good one! Chris

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    1. Honestly Tammy you are the best! Just read your comment still laughing my ....off! I had been waiting and hoping you would come up with something. Anal retentive mobster....priceless!!

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    2. It was all I could come up with! It looked brutal but tidy. As for what I wear - I wear whatever looks good. Howz that for helpful? ;o) I am a natural strawberry blonde with greenish gold eyes. I'm a bit of a mutant. However, chartreuse and yellow always make me look like I have the flu. I'm a zone 7A. :o)

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  15. Your late summer garden is absolutely stunning. So much colour. I love the small flowered asters. They look fabulous growing through the Sedum, I will copy that idea.
    I have never seen Lespedeza so solid with flowers.
    And all that Blue Mist flower. Ageratum is an annual here, does it survive over winter with you?

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    1. Thanks, Chloris! The blue mist flower is a tough native perennial also commonly known as hardy ageratum. It's Latin name is Conoclinium coelestinum. I think it would thrive in an English garden. If it's legal to receive seeds from the US, I will gladly mail you some. I have several million to spare. :)

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  16. A gorgeous late summer garden! At least you have a pretty plant taking over and not some ugly thug ;-) . The blue mist flowers look very delicate and mingle well with your other plants.

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    1. The blue mist flower is an excellent mingler and always invited to local cocktail parties. I do prefer it to several other enthusiastic plants that could have shown up instead. Every plant looks good with a blue mist flower. :o)

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  17. Your garden is looking beautiful! I'm going to have to look for those 'Snow Flurry' asters--anything that can survive dog pee is definitely welcome here:) Although, my new serviceberry is doing well despite its daily watering by Frank the pug. Love your Blue Mist flower, too; it goes well with everything. The Miscanthus looks great in the container, definitely better than plastic tulips:)

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    1. I wasn't too thrilled about the plastic tulips, either, but was getting desperate. ;o) My dogs are so careful about where they deposit their poop and pee. They make sure it's exactly on top of the best plants. Maybe they think they're doing me a favor by not peeing on the grass.

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  18. Beautiful garden! All flowers look so stunning. The white wood aster reminds me to my old aster collection that grew wildly on my parents garden when I was a little girl.

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    1. Thanks! Asters growing wildly are the best. :o)

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  19. You have such a wonderful variety of plants and you know them all by name. I am impressed. A truly beautiful garden.

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    1. I have a knack for remembering Latin names but don't me ask me to recite my times tables. Embarrassing... Thanks for the garden love, Ann!

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  20. Fabulous late summer blooms Tammy. I adore your asters especially and I agree they will grow in sunny drier conditions just as fast if not better.

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    1. Thanks! Native asters have to be some of the toughest plants out there. My 'Purple Dome' and volunteer frost asters are still waiting to bloom. I like knowing the show isn't over yet. :o)

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  21. How beautiful your garden(s) is(are) every time of the year! After looking at one of your posts, I get all het up to plant my own. Then I remember that I kill most green things and decide to just read your blog. It's safer for everyone and everything involved.

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    1. Too funny!! My current garden hides the scores of plants I've slaughtered over the years in the name of "learning how to garden". :o)

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  22. Your garden is really beautiful at this time of the year. I very much like your variegated sedum. As for the "mid-sized" lespedeza it makes mine a "mini-sized". It think the soil might be too poor where it is planted but it has a few stems of blooms.

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    1. Thanks, Alain! The soil the lespedeza is planted in is rich but very well draining. It's in a hot east facing spot next to my asphalt driveway and seems to love the reflected heat. It receives very bright afternoon shade for me but would probably want full sun for you.

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  23. Everything is look utterly gorgeous, I especially love your pink octopus! You do have some pretty plants. I have the same problem with the dog run, it's a waste of time trying to grow anything where they run ....I've learnt that too! I have blue mist flowers but they are annuals, is yours? Does it self seed, I wish mine would, it's lovely growing through the seedum.xxx

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    1. My blue mist flower is a native perennial called Conoclinium coelestinum. I will gladly send you some seeds if the agriculture cops won't throw you in jail. It's a super easy plant to grow and would love your climate. As much as I love my garden, I have to accommodate the needs of my family and that includes the furballs. There are definite limits to what I can do but that's ok. I love my dogs more than my garden.

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    2. That is so very kind of you.....goodness, looking at your comments it's going to cost you a pretty penny sending them all out. I would love some, thank you....I can't seem to find your email address....it's probably staring me in the face....xxx

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  24. You have lots of lovely plants. The verbena seem to attract lots of beautiful butterflies and is such a nice, tall plant - one of my favorite.

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    1. I love it, too. I always have loads of it but that's fine by me. The pollinators can't resist it.

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  25. Tammy girl I love the variety of Fall flowers you have mixing it up with each other .. they are having a party in fact!
    I have some blue asters that refuse to bloom more than a petal or two for some reason ... in fact I think a lot of my garden is not thanking me for the business of hardscaping right now .. too many feet stomping around sort of problem?
    Darn I missed those blue mist flowers in that last picture some how ??? haha
    Joy : )

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    1. I wonder if your asters need more sun? I wish I could say I had carefully planned every inch of this garden but so much of it just evolved. The plants deserve more credit than I do.

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  26. I love this post! You have five feet tall zinnias--holy cow. Mine only mound up and make a nice ball, but never grow tall. How cool. I also LOVE the blue mist flower and wouldn't mind if it were everywhere. It looks beautiful. So, I have a question: my sedum--the one that looks like that--is called Autumn Joy. Who has it right--do you know? I don't-:)) Tammy, I have a question that I'm going to put in my next post. EVERYWHERE in New England we saw these magnificent white hydrangea trees. (This was last week.) Do they grow where you are? What is the particular hybrid if they do? I have a Pee Gee tree, but the blooms cascade over. Maybe I need to just wait until they get bigger and stronger.....

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    1. The zinnias are in very rich, moistish soil in mostly sun. But they're also a variety that grows tall. I just didn't expect them to be 5 ft tall! The variegated sedum is Autumn Charm and the other one is Matrona, although it looks similar to Autumn Joy. It's foliage is a bit blue with a rosy edge. I don't have any hydrangeas except for one tiny hybrid I have stuffed in a pot. My shade is too dry and my moist areas are too sunny so I avoid them and don't know the names of the various cultivars or their specifics. :(

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  27. Can you spare me some Blue mist flowers? ;-)
    That clematis is a stunner.

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    1. She is quite a looker, isn't she? I'll gladly send you mist flower seeds. :o)

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  28. Congratulations on your success with the Monarchs. I've planted milkweed, but they haven't come. In fact I haven't seen many butterflies of any kind for awhile. Maybe my plants have lost their nectar! We were being visited about a month ago by lots Swallowtails but even they have abandoned us!

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    1. I wonder how the drought affects nectar production. I haven't seen many butterflies this year, either. :(

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  29. Your garden is really beautiful, Saturdays must be a treat just to sit and stare a while. How wonderful to be visited by Monarchs too. Really lovely!

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    1. Thanks so much! Coffee on the patio while still in my pajamas is my favorite way to start the day. :o)

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  30. What a lovely ramble through your garden overflowing with beautiful blooms....a great pick-me-up this morning since my garden looks icky right now.
    I especially liked the yellow begonias which I'd never seen before, and I love that white clematis to pieces.

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    1. I love that clematis, too! I couldn't believe how beautiful it was since sometimes flowers don't look quite as amazing in person as they do on their tags. I wish I had a spot for another one.

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  31. Your fall garden looks great! 'Dream of Beauty' is lovely, and 'Starman' geranium is gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! Dream of Beauty is a really tough nut. :o)

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  32. I laughed at your first paragraph--isn't it amazing sometimes what surprises a garden can bring? My ageratum spreads a lot too and obedient plant requires lots of "yanking out," but they are lovely. You have many beautiful plants to enjoy.

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    1. My garden always surprises me. There's always something new to see. Thanks for the garden love!

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  33. May your garden live on in summer as long as possible...it's a beautiful magical spot.

    Jen

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  34. I can't believe how much you have that is still in flower - well done you - my autumn garden is a total mess I am ashamed to say - I look to you for inspiration.

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    1. Every year I kept adding plants that bloomed at different times so the show wouldn't end when summer was over. Plus, asters do well in my dry shade. Maybe a little editing would help balance the bloom times of your garden.

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  35. I love the garden in fall--so many plants are at their peak (and my subtropical plants generally look good right up until the first hard freeze) and the weather is nice enough to enjoy it!

    I'm surprised to see tuberous begonias doing so well for you, they generally resent our summer heat!

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    1. Those always seemed like fussy, froo-froo plants so I'd avoided them. But that urn is in a shady spot so I thought I'd give them a try. I absolutely love that buttery yellow. They were completely effortless. I am definitely going to grow them again next year.

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  36. Where the heck does one find a "cooperative companion"?
    I told my obedient plant to go forth and multiply but it refused. What am I doing wrong?

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    1. Sedum is very tolerant and cooperative. It doesn't seem to mind at all when the asters shamelessly lounge all over them. Obedient plants want morning sun and tolerate bright afternoon shade in moist soil. They don't want to be dry or too shady.

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  37. One of the things I like best about gardening is the surprises. I must say I am liking the blue and white mist flowers. I have never grown them. The lespedeza is also really pretty and new to me. I must look it up and see if it is hardy here.

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    1. Lespedeza is hardy to zone 5. It's a really tough plant. I love my mist flowers, too, and can't imagine my garden without them. It's easy to forgive their invasive tendencies.

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  38. En route for some cuttings & seedlings. Put the kettle on!

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    1. Sounds great!! :o) If you want some mistflower seeds, let me know.

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  39. What a lovely autumn garden you have! The Lespedeza was new to me, beautiful flowers, and I love your asters. I also have some plants that didn’t get the memo regarding the correct height – my sunflowers were supposed to be 4-5 ft, but they are all closer to 8 ft and almost impossible to deadhead by now. I think the rest will be left to the birds.

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    1. The zinnias are in a rich, moist-ish spot so they are extra tall this year. Your sunflowers are huge so it's funny that they were only supposed to be 5 ft tall!

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  40. You've got a beautiful selection of asters. I grow a lot of the Short's Aster, but the White Woodland Aster (Eurybia) does poorly in my garden. Your white wood asters with plumbago is an inspired combination.

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    1. You must have much moister soil than I do. The white wood asters can take some serious drought and still bloom, as does the plumbago. Thanks for the kind words about the two flowering together. I really like that combo, too. The flowers remind me of snow with bits of blue blue sky peeking through. :o)

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  41. Your garden is looking fabulous, I'm sorry it has been a while since I visited last and it seems to have changed so much. I think your concept and mine of "dry" are very different, I know this because of how tall your plants grow. I expect you are in a humid area. Christina

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  42. Bloom away. My New England asters grow in the hell strip between the sidewalk and road. They get no care, and the cabbage months, er pollinators are enjoying them now.
    Ray

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  43. Your garden is as stunning as ever Tammy! And you always seem to be growing something new! PS...love the dog path pic. I can totally relate to that!

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