September’s split personality

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

We asked for rain, and it came down in buckets. Anything with big trusses, like this Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ was laid low.

Macleaya cordata

Some tall things, like the Macleaya cordata (plume poppy), met a similar fate.

Leonotis nepetifolia

Once standing proudly a good 8′ tall, Leonotis nepetifolia now crouches on the ground. Before I had a chance to get out there and stake them, the flowering tips began to bend upward to reach for the light. Note to self: next year, stake early and stake liberally (yeah, sure…like I’m about to do that).

Lion’s tail

See what I mean? At this point they would look mighty peculiar if I were to stake the bent stems.

Chasmantium latifolium

I actually did stake the Chasmantium latifolium because last year it dipped over into the pond. Live and learn: the stakes need to be taller, with at least two levels of bamboo poles strung between them.


Waterlogged zinnias were dead headed, the plants freshly tied up to existing stakes, and these little flower factories are already pumping out new product.

Hydrangea Preziosa
Hydrangea Preziosa

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’ is turning many shades of dusky hues. Beaten down as it is by the rain, I needn’t hesitate to cut freely and hang the flower heads upside down to dry. I find all kinds of uses for them during the holidays.


The big mopheads fade to even more interesting colors.

Verbena bonariensis

I like the deep purple of the last throes of Verbena bonariensis, but most of them are finally flopping and must be cut back.

So the first week of September was soggy and it seemed that summer had ended with a flash of light and a clap of thunder. Hah! We are into the second week, characterized by temperatures in the 90’s. Our Texas friends laugh condescendingly, but we Oregonians (with a few notable exceptions) wilt and whine in such weather. I am circulating a petition for Indian summer: crisp, sunny days in the 70’s. Are you with me?

9 thoughts on “September’s split personality

  1. May I sign the petition please?! Sunny with crisp mornings and evenings is what I am craving! The oat grass I got from you at the Spring Plant Swap is doing really well, and I’m happy to see yours is flopping too. lol. I thought I might have done something wrong. I do love it’s movement in the wind. It reminds me of twinkling lights 🙂

  2. As long as the word summer is in there I’ll sign! This heat wave has been good for my soul, it’s heartbreaking when Labor Day truly is the end. Thankfully summer has had another moment to shine, the plants are loving every minute of it.

  3. Oh what a shame Ricky, you want to hang on to those last blooms, not see them beaten down ! At least the rain refreshes everything – even if, in your case, it has been a little over-enthusiastic ! We too have had rain in the uk, but luckily just enough to reboot everything including the roses, which have decided to bloom again in unison!!

  4. Count me in for signing your petition! Maybe a little rain, during the night only, to water in all of the things folks will be planting. While I’m not fond of that W season, it does help to clean up all of the late summer and autumn floppiness! (The season does it because heaven knows I’m to lazy to go out and do any fall clean up!)

  5. Jenni~The more the merrier: I’m sure your signature will carry a lot of weight. Glad to hear your sea oats is doing well.

    Alison~Cutting is easier than staking, but I haven’t even gotten around to that.

    Linda~Amen to that.

    Loree~You, my dear, are the “notable exception”, as if you didn’t know that.

    Jane S~I shouldn’t complain: the rain did more good than harm.

    Peter~I never do a major clean-up until spring, using wildlife as my excuse.

    Heather~You’ve got the right attitude.

    Angie~Consider it done.

  6. Yes, I like your proposal — no more high temps above 80, please! And gray skies would be awesome too. The rain made my crepe myrtle blooms flop, oh well. So weird — I just titled my latest blog post “split personalities” and then hopped over to see your post of a similar title.

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