Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Slow Wane of Summer

Summer is waning, though in Charlotte we will have many more days of high heat before settling into fall.  Still, we can look for the signs of summer's end and anticipate autumn's approach.

Golden hips of pasture rose, Rosa virginiana, look like tiny apples, which in a botanical sense they are.  Both plants are in the Rosaceae family and their fruits are pomes which reach perfection late season.  Rose hips are edible and have a high vitamin C content.  You can make jelly from rose hips if birds don't get to them first.

This mix of deep hued flowers and foliage will continue to look wonderful until the leaves begin to change.  You can look at this scene and almost feel cooler temperatures coming.  Especially at your computer in your air-conditioned house!  Planning for deepening color throughout the season is something I'm working on at my house.  The folks at DSBG* make it look easy.

Mexican hat flower, Ratibida columnaris, is the perfect color for the garden transitioning to an autumnal palette.  Ratibida seeds are easy to find at your garden center in the spring.

North America Wild Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, pleasantly rustles when a breeze goes by.  Grasses like this one are nice for the garden all year, but particularly for the fall garden.  You can make pretty wreaths with grasses, too.  Or just put some in a vase with no water and let it dry naturally.  

There are so many varieties of daylily, it's unbelievable.  Thousands!  The good news for gardeners is that you can have them from late spring until early fall if you plan carefully.  DSBG has some of the tallest I've ever seen (over 6 feet!) and I'm thinking that might be just the thing to keep deer away from the buds.  Would they see them up there?  I hope not - I'm going to give it a try.

By the way, did you know you can eat daylilies? This late season, intensely colored one would be a nice choice - pretty on the table. Take a look at this interesting collection of daylily recipes and give them a try!  

*All photos taken at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC on Sunday, August 8, 2010.


  1. Daylily buds are delicious, I can see why the deer go for them. I have found they taste best a day or two before they should open. I don't harvest them, but working in the gardens I inevitable knock off a bud, so why put it to waste.

  2. I've never had rose hips before. Interesting.

  3. les, i nibble in the garden, too. i like the open flowers as much as the buds, but they have to be just open.

    meems, they are sour! but in tea with sugar or jam, good.