Sunday, September 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September

Happy GBBD from Central Texas.   At this very special time of year, heat-stricken Hill Country gardeners start seeing welcome signs of fall's approach.   Our last run of hundred-plus degree days broke on September 5; early mornings and late evenings are noticeably cooler, and high temps have fallen back into the nineties.   We've had a few spotty showers; humidity is high, and high mold counts are driving allergic Austinites crazy.  Drought-weary gardeners are crossing their green thumbs for rain from Mexico's Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid, and I've heard more than one gardener wish we could build a pipeline from Boulder, Colorado to the Highland Lakes. Although we've had worse summers here,  most of us have had enough of the heat and drought and are ready for fall's arrival.

Anticipation is in the air.  It's still too dry and warm for cool-season bloomers to flush into bloom, and the summer stalwarts have picked up on the subtle seasonal changes and have started to shut down bloom production.  Although few plants are blooming right now, make no mistake: it's gardening prime time in these parts.  Now's the perfect time to plant perennials, shrubs and trees, divide irises, move established plants to new locations, seed wildflower patches, and plant fall vegetable gardens. With time, rain and luck, October should be spectacular.

Here's what's blooming in my garden today.

Purple bindweed, a native morning glory (Ipomoea cordatotriloba). It pops up everywhere. Some find it to be a nuisance.

Esperanza or yellow bells (Tecoma stans).  I plan to prune this in winter to keep it small, bushy and shrub-like.

Blue cape plumbago.  After two years, my one-gallon starter plant is starting to form a nice big mound.

'Sugar Pie' Pumpkin.  The rule of thumb is to plant pumpkin seeds on July 4 for a Halloween harvest roughly 100 days later.   The pumpkin vines start really taking off around mid-August; male flowers appear a couple of weeks later followed by female flowers and fruit set in early September.  With enough pollinators, water and fertilizer, pumpkins should be ready for harvest around Halloween -- theoretically.  Like Linus from Peanuts, the Great Pumpkin has yet to appear in my pumpkin patch, thanks to the drought. Hasn't stopped me from trying, though.

Along those lines, my 'Hearts of Gold' muskmelon patch is still going strong, thanks to the shade cloth I installed last month. Although they're not blooms, I'm posting this photo of baby cantaloupes, because I'm pretty darn proud of them.  Looks like persistence may have paid off this year.

An unidentified varmint made a meal of my biggest melon, so I'm off to the store to get some hardware cloth to fashion cages for the remaining five babies.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Visit her GBBD page to see what's blooming in gardens all over the world.

Words and photos © 2009-2013 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. YES, I'm SO ready for fall! Your post reminds me that it'll be here soon. And hopefully some rain too. I've got that wild morning glory popping up in my garden too. The blooms are awfully pretty. Too bad it has such an aggressive habit. I've been pulling mine, with a tinge of regret.

    1. Admittedly, I pull most of mine, too. It is a reliable bloomer, that's for sure.

  2. Good luck with the pumpkins! I'd advise planting them earlier in the future. I scatter pumpkin seeds in the fall, and they reliably sprout in April. The first pumpkins start ripening in July, and there are always more pumpkins ripening in August, September, and October.

    1. The Aggies agree with you - I should plant much earlier than I do - in March at the very least. We like melons and squash, too, and it's hard to find room for all those running vines.

  3. I saw a funny picture once of someone who used a havahart trap to enclose their prize melon in a cage for it's own protection. I thought this was a pretty clever idea. I hope you get to enjoy your melon. I bet they will be awesome!

  4. Happy GBBD! I totally forgot to plant pumpkins this year so sadly we have none. Next year. Yours look beautiful! Great blooms!

  5. I always sit here and think "why does everyone else have stuff that's blooming while I don't?!" and then I think about it and realize that I do have things blooming...just not as prolifically. Your plants are gorgeous and make me jealous. ;)