I hate to watch the summer dwindle, but I'm not in mourning yet: my fall garden is in its glory. Along the weathered fence on the north side of our tiny yard, for example, is a narrow strip of rocky dirt too small for intentional cultivation. Yet some of the hardiest fall-blooming perennials thrive there, taking all summer to soak in the sun against the warm south-facing fence. They're weeds, really, but the truth is, every cultivated perennial began its existence in the wild. I call this my volunteer garden: in gardening, a volunteer is a plant not intentionally planted by human hands. These volunteers--solidago fireworks, which is a form of goldenrod, and eupatorium coelestinum, which is called hardy ageratum for its ageratum-like blooms--originated in a different, intentionally-planted garden elsewhere in the yard. Once these volunteers appeared in this narrow baking spot, bound by an asphalt driveway and a fence, and once I realized that almost nothing else would grow there, I decided to allow these volunteers to stick around once they appeared.
|Volunteers: eupatorium coelestinum (blue) and solidago fireworks (yellow).|
Elsewhere in the garden, aster tartaricus Jin Dai, often the last color in the fall, is just starting to hit its stride, and maintains a stately posture compared to the acrobatics of solidago fireworks:
|The fall garden: Aster tartaricus Jin Dai and solidago fireworks|
I may have carried my shorts up to the attic today, but I cut a bouquet, too. Here it is, and may it be one of many fall bouquets to come from this postage stamp of a back yard: