A far-ranging collection of essays on gardening and life, meant solely to relieve this gardener’s daily frustrations and lamentations over gardening in general and particularly gardening in Kansas. Though I am an old gardener, I am but a young blogger (apologies to Thomas Jefferson).
Like others who took on the challenge of Gardening Gone Wild's September Picture This Photo contest, I had a hard time choosing between entries. The guest judge, Christa Nue, picked a very open subject, "Late Summer Garden," and then made it harder by providing examples ranging from closeups to colorful garden beds, to wild vistas. Late Summer and Fall subjects are apt to be more difficult in the Flint Hills, a landscape which is often at its best in Fall as the late cool rains turn the grasses and hillsides red in contrast to the late sunflowers and goldenrod that rise amongst them.
As an example, I briefly considered this more natural vista of wild goldenrod on the prairie. I got lucky with an early morning mist for this picture, taken across my neighbor's pasture. This golden, unplanned field is composed of a mix of native goldenrod species, including Downy Goldenrod (Solidago petiolaris), Rigid Goldenrod (Solidago rigida), and the ubiquitous Missouri Goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis).
When I think of a Fall garden, I often think of rose hips, so a recent picture of Rosa eglanteria hips appealed to me on a closeup level. Orange skin and wicked curved barbs, rose hips hold the essence of the fading sunlight.
And for a pure late summer flower show, nothing rivals Hydrangea paniculata in the Flint Hills. This cultivar is 'Limelight', no less interesting in late summer for the browning, drying petals, their demise hastened by the drought which still lingers. Seeing this, I remember why they're popular subjects for dried flower arrangements.
Roush GGW September Entry 'Goodbye Summer Harvest'
But, I finally settled on entering the picture at left into the contest; an overripe, overgrown, group of forgotten cucumbers on a fence. I know that the overall subject is a little unusual, but the title of "Late Summer Garden" suggested more of a vegetable garden feel to me. And in the end, I couldn't resist the papery, detailed texture of the dried leaves and prickly stems of these cucumbers. Make sure you look beyond the overall "orangeness" of the composition and click on the picture to see the full size version to appreciate the detail. To me, this picture screams, "Summer Is Over!"
(Rats, it's been automatically compressed because it is so large....really, the leaves look great in full size!)