Each season of each year brings something new to our weather table here in the Washington metropolitan area. One thing is for sure in our area, the weather is never the same. Sure we know it will be humid in the Summer but other than that who knows what a particular season will bring. The latter days of Summer this year were fairly cool and dry and then all the sudden it got pretty darn hot again which actually breathed new life into my tomato plants giving me some very delicious late season tomatoes! Nothing like a tomato sandwich in early October – that may have been a first for me using tomatoes from my garden.
Other things have also done well here at the end of the Summer especially some old standbyes such as Clematis paniculata. If you, or a neighbor, has this vine you know it comes up from seed readily throughout the garden. Sun or shade, it will perform. I like to let these seedlings grow in place and temporarily take over another plant or boulder or fence. In this case you can see it is growing over my Crimson Queen Weeping Japanese Maple. This is the second year I have allowed this Autumn Clematis seedling to grow over the Maple. I cut it back to about 12” high right after it finishes blooming to try and contain the seeds but most importantly to clear the Maple foliage so as not to adversely affect the plant. As long as I see no evident damage to the Maple I will allow this little seedling to continue. Another example is just to let the vine stretch out in the garden. It has such a beautiful carpet of deliciously fragrant flowers that it is well worth it to allow this vine to take over temporarily.
An unexpected late season performer this year was Hosta ‘Great Expectations’. In past years this guy was pretty crispy by the middle of September but here at the end of September this guy is still going strong. In this particular photo Hosta halcyon is in the background, which is generally one of the best performing Hostas in our area. The blue leaved Halcyon has the advantage though of waxy leaves which helps to fend off slugs and other leaf eaters. This particular area of my garden gets sun until late morning. Each year our area brings unexpected joy in our gardens – it just depends on the weather we have gotten.