Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer's Still On!

Every day for the past few weeks, the cool night-time temperatures have caused the early mornings to be dewey, if not completely foggy. Every morning the world is weighed down with water, heavy drops that will burn off by about 10 am. But for a while, its magical -- although it makes for wet walking. The spider webs are among the most beautiful parts; here are two from this morning, taken in front of a friend's house. Above is a crazy web that covered every part of the seed head of a foxglove; and to the right, a perfect orb web.

Gentian has gotten its purple color, making it the last new flower of 2009 (at least in my yard). I do expect the color to deepen some... I find them to be especially interesting because even when the flowers are in full bloom, they look like a bud that is getting ready to open. They never do. But they are insect pollinated, mostly by bees or other large bugs that can force their way into the closed-up petals. Later, these petals will dry up and become a pouch containing a bag-full of little seeds!

A late-summer surprise... Each year I plant cosmos. They are not, honestly, in my normal gardening style, but I cannot resist them. They seem almost whimsical to me, laughing in color and slender leaves. And they seem somehow untamed, despite their non-wild-ness. So this year, as in past, I bought some babies at our school/farm's organic plant sale, and they bloomed earlier but I didn't really mention them here, because I don't really think you can count, as a phenological occurrence, the blooming of a plant that was started in a greenhouse. They could bloom at any time. But we had three hearty ones that self-seeded from last year's dead heads. They emerged and grew taller than anything else in that garden, including the sunflowers. But had no flowers. Until this morning. This opened! (And there are many more buds tinged with pink where that came from.) So, after most of my annuals are past their prime, a little present for the end of summer. Yea!

Seeds on bigleaf aster.

ps -- went raspberry picking today. Made raspberry vanilla jam, which I hope will be very spectacular, since, even at the relatively low price of $3.50 per pint, one recipe used over $17 of berries, (not to mention a whole vanilla pod) and netted 9 1/2-pint jars of jam. I was excited to make it, though; I got the recipe for vanilla raspberry jam from the preserves of English heritage sites I got when I was there. I have never tasted such a jam... intriguing concept...

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