Posts Tagged Blue Mistflower
This past weekend, I was able to persuade Wonder Spouse, Ace Photographer, to join me in a walk around the yard. He took just over 200 pictures, and he’s still post-processing most of them. But he released a few finished shots to me now, so that I could show them off.
As the leaves begin to color up and tumble from the trees, the insects and spiders in our yard seem to accelerate their activities. Flowers buzz audibly as the diversity of busy pollinators gather as much pollen as they can before winter stops them cold.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the spiders seem to get especially busy now. Orb weavers in particular erect massive webs between trees big enough, I imagine, to snag small birds. Not that I’ve ever seen a bird trapped in a web, but I do wonder sometimes.
The Writing Spider I showed you before now has a name — Big Girl — BG to her friends. She has grown enormous feasting on butterflies. Their discarded wings litter the ground beneath her sizable web. Last week, I watched the tiny male move his mini-web ever closer to the object of his fancy. I think he must have succeeded in his quest, because now he’s gone, and BG is distinctly fatter — full of fertilized eggs, I imagine.
Wonder Spouse took such amazing photos of BG that I must show you all three views:
We are fortunate in the southeastern Piedmont to have a wealth of autumn-blooming wildflowers. And this year’s uncharacteristically generous rainfall is making for especially widespread and colorful displays. Our floodplain is full of the red spires of Cardinal Flowers, numerous yellow composites, goldenrods, Monkey Flowers, and Blue Mistflowers. Wonder Spouse’s shots of the Monkey Flowers are still being processed, but here are a few photos to give you an idea.
My Green-headed Coneflowers have gone nuts this year. If you’ve got room for a 4-5-foot tall wildflower in your landscape, I highly recommend this one.
And those Blue Mistflowers I mentioned are just getting gorgeous.
As the humidity levels begin to drop and the mornings grow cool and filled with cricket song, my mind turns to fall planting season. In my region, fall is the best time to plant most perennials and all woody trees and shrubs. Our usually prolonged falls give new plants plenty of time to focus on root growth before the ground freezes — if it ever freezes at all.
Most years, our Septembers are still hot and very dry, so I’ve tended to wait until October to plant new additions. However, this year, the ground has remained blessedly moist all season, and the heat has remained astonishingly bearable — no 100-degree temperatures at all (knock wood).
Thus, I feel comfortable encouraging my Piedmont readers to go ahead and start getting serious about fall planting. Local plant nurseries will all be advertising sales soon, but there’s one sale North Carolina Piedmont gardeners should be sure to put on their calendars now: The NC Botanical Garden’s Annual Fall Plant Sale. Members get first pick from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 27. The general public is welcome the next day, Saturday, September 28 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
Bring your own trays or boxes to carry home your purchases, and if you’re like me, only bring as much money as you can afford to spend. The wide array of vigorous native flowers, trees, and shrubs is more than most avid gardeners can resist.
I am a firm believer that there’s always room for more special plants in a landscape. Now is the time to survey your yard for spots crying out for color or shade or scent — or all three! Go forth, survey your yard. Then acquire the new plants that will help you realize your dream landscape.
Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum, formerly Eupatorium coelestinum) showed up on my floodplain about five years ago. I recognized it immediately from seeing it on my trips to the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, and I was delighted to see it volunteer its presence beneath a deciduous holly in damp, sandy silt deposited by occasional floods from the creek that borders our property.
When it first appeared, it was even smaller than the plant pictured above. Creek-deposited volunteer wildflowers come and go on my floodplain, and I wasn’t sure it would last, but I needn’t have worried. A bit of research revealed that this wildflower spreads by rhizomes (fleshy roots), and even has a reputation for being a tad aggressive in fertile garden soils.
Over the past five years, this clump of Blue Mistflower has spread, but I think its location likely prevents it from any takeover plans. It is suggested as a good groundcover for moist areas, and that’s exactly what my colony is doing. From August through October, the base of my 20-foot deciduous holly is completely surrounded by this low-growing, long-blooming lavender blue wildflower.
It looks a bit like the bedding annual, Ageratum, that you see in all the garden centers. But this wildflower is not related to Ageratum, and it’s a perennial, relying on its rhizomes to resprout and spread every spring.
Our native pollinators love the flowers, which is all the reason I need to welcome this beauty’s spreading ways. Add to that the lovely, long-lasting blue blooms, which come when native yellow composite flowers dominate the Piedmont landscape, and now you have a reason to find a spot for this beauty too.