There are so many surprises in my yard in late August and September. Swamp milk weed plants are growing in a tray of water are covered with tiny whitish pink clusters of flowers. The one’s that I have are the babies of another generation and have loved all the rain the last few weeks.  Another tall and very fragrant form of ginger is also blooming and adding more golden clusters every few days. This one is called Hedychium ‘Vanilla Ice.’ I bought it when it wasn’t even blooming because of its icy green and white variegated leaves. Now it’s taller that I am and has half a dozen blooming panicles. This is the blooming season for other gingers, and I passed a yard with Curcumas (Hidden Ginger) in full bloom.  They were stunning from the street. I made myself a mental note to buy a few.

Hardy hibiscus, late summer/early fall bloomers, are putting on a show now. Rose of Sharon is probably one of the most common and hardy, and they are great for attracting pollinators especially hummingbirds. I was gifted a solid white from my friend Fran Elliot.  It had outgrown its spot at her mother’s house on South Hermitage; we dug it up and planted in a likely spot by my driveway. She is not only pretty but a “mother of thousands.” Lots of her progeny have been passed along all over the Lowcountry. I also have purple, pink, and candy-striped varieties which were also “gifted” to me and have family histories from Hillsboro and Chapel Hill, NC to Williston, SC, respectively.

This is also the heyday for salvias: blue, purple, yellow, red, white, and pink. Keep them coming for pollinators and all the interest that they give to the perennial border or back forty. Most of them are not fragrant and can even be a little musky/sage-y when the leaves are crushed, but pineapple sage Salvia elegansleaves have a wonderful fruity scent that also can be used as a tea. After all Salvias occupy a large contingency of the mint family.

This is a good time to get out the scissors and cut some of the leggy perennials back. This will increase the number of blooms later and many can be rooted either in water or vermiculite/perlite/growing media. Oh boy! More plants.

Not to be excited only by blooms, I really can’t believe all the Golden Orb weavers that have set up housekeeping in the yard since the last time I cut the grass.  I am fascinated by their beauty and tenacity. While I’m out scouting for rain lilies and fern sori they are patiently waiting to catch dinner. Speaking of spiders, the cutest little green garden spider rode to town with Clara and me this morning.  Hope that it caught a few mosquitoes or fruit flies along the way. A few less of those wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Happy almost Fall.