26 September 2012
Let me know which is your favorite.
Autumn has arrived and applauds is beginning to be heard. The subtle changes in the landscape are becoming more pronounced. But it’s only the end of September. Time is on our side: the punch of fall foliage is yet to be.
But I’ve been celebrating a summer and autumn jewel in my garden: Hibiscus coccineus, which acts as a magnet for some of my most cherished seasonal visitors: butterflies and hummingbirds. While I adore the delicacy and magnificence of this show stopper, I did not plant it. Apparently its arrival was fortuitous, because it beams with constant blossoms from July to mid-September.
I theorize that it was a stowaway on a cluster of swamp milkweed that I planted three years ago. Now the plants have spread, and I’ve gathered seed pods to help it become a permanent offering for wildlife.
In the Lens section are various shots of this luscious native plant. This deep orange or scarlet or crimson perennial is so alluring as to keep me occupied for long views. And fortunately it grows at the local botanical gardens where I go to meditate on the abundance of its charm.
This member of the Mallow family is a short bloomer. You can easily miss its brilliance, because it is in its glory for only a day. It rises toward the sun, getting as high as six feet or more. In my garden they are definitely elegant in their height.
In our seesaw weather this summer the plants thrived even though they are known to love consistent moist areas. While I watered them, they certainly excelled during Delaware’s dry, humid and intensely sunny days. But, of course, one of the benefits of native plantings are their adaptability.
Since I’m always discovering new information about gardening, the Hibiscus is now added to the list of edibles that I grow and nurture. It’s suppose to have a slightly acidic taste and makes a summery beverage that will spice the palette. I’ll wait until next year to experiment.
I have a long history with eating edible flowers. My favorites are: geraniums, violets, pansies, lemon verbena, nasturtiums, honeysuckle, and zucchini.
Needless to say, hibiscus are large rubies that glow daily, albeit for a brief showing. They need the sun’s radiance to bring them into their best. Regardless, these beauties have a quality that reflects the omnipresence of nature as giver of majestic jewels–jewels that perpetuate bounty for wildlife.
Noe: As always I welcome any comments about this post or any part of my blog.