The garden in late summer

There are a few blooms that were a welcome sight on my walk around the garden this morning. It’s late summer, and whereas in a more northerly latitude blooming would be ending soon, especially if an early frost comes in September, here in the subtropics, it is just beginning with the coming of the rains.

Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, is a plant that likes Mediterranean conditions, but did quite well even in my English garden, where it was planted on a south-facing well-drained site (more like water-starved as there was a huge Kanzan cherry tree not far from it). It flowered well into the autumn there and I’m hoping it will do so here too.  Bought recently, they’re still in pots, until the ground becomes softened enough by the rains to plant in. I love their tall spikes of flowers – blue in a certain light, a pale violet in others. The bees love them too –- and the air around the Russian sages is always full of their buzzing as they diligently and meticulously visit each open flower. Its grey-white serrated leaves are also scented, though sharper and more pungent than culinary sage. Although a close relative, Russian sage is not from the same genus (Salvia) as ordinary sage. I didn’t think it can be used for cooking, but checking online, there are conflicting views, both on the edibility/toxicity of the leaves and flowers. I would rather err on the side of caution and just enjoy this lovely plant visually. I have enough regular sage (Salvia officinalis) to cook with. (Please click on the thumbnails for a larger view.)

On the driveway,  patches of purslane — an ancient potherb — have appeared through the packed gravel, and apparently this plant has many health-giving virtues, thanks to its vast store of antioxidants. I am hoping the patches will knit together in time to create a mowless “lawn.” There are two kinds growing here – a yellow-flowered one, and a reddish-orange flowered one. The previous owners had a dog, so we won’t be sampling any of those growing on the gravel.

The agapanthus, bless its heart, is still in bloom. It’s been almost seven months since its buds appeared way back in February. It’s thrown up more than ten flowering stalks since then. Other than compost, I haven’t given it much by way of nutrition. I ought to really.

Agapanthus late Aug g.jpg

It was predicted to rain today; we got heavy fog instead, with the whole garden being veiled in it this morning. Well, fog is precipitation, and plants have the ability to absorb moisture through their leaves (via the stomata, the “pores” underneath), so I am not terribly disappointed. We may still get rain this evening from the clouds hovering over the coast that I glimpsed yesterday afternoon.

When I was living in Bonn and Leamington, where summer was defined as just like winter but without the definite certainty of snow or frost, rain was not something I looked forward to. But here, where the rains stopped around March this year and did not start again till fairly recently, leaving the clay soil cracking and hard as concrete, rain is a blessing indeed. Rain or sun, may you have the weather that your heart desires on this day.

Fog pines cropt g




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