Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last September sunset

Last September sunset
The last sunset of September, seen from our roof deck

The sun set on September last night.  Maybe not as spectacularly as the equinox sunset but in some ways, this one felt more final.  Where has September gone?  Where has the summer gone?  Where has all the warm weather gone!   Lazy summer days are behind us, and it's that time of year when nights get chilly, the garden starts winding down, and many plants prepare to go dormant for the winter.  The nice thing about many of the subtropical plants I grow is that they'll look good right up until the first hard freeze, which in my area is usually sometime well into November (and sometimes not until early December).

Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant'
Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant' will look good until Thanksgiving

This has been an interesting growing season, one that saw the death of two of my palm trees after a cold winter that devastated many gardens in my area.  My garden was also neglected because of my frequent trips to Buffalo after my father suffered a major stroke last fall (see The Roots of a Gardener).  But this year also gave me many surprises.  In particular, I had many begonias, both species and hybrids (including some of my own), survive the winter with minimal protection.  After my area's coldest winter in 20 years, this gives me some hope that my begonia breeding may actually pay off with some fairly hardy hybrids.

Begonia hybrid
Begonia unnamed hybrid, one of this year's surprises

Garden, mid-September
Garden in September

October brings another milestone: in a week I'll celebrate the one-year anniversary of my DC Tropics blog.  When I began this blog, just to occupy my time during last year's government shutdown, I had no idea how long I would keep it up; I truly feared I would run out of material in no time at all.  I needn't have feared; I had intended to write primarily about my own garden and my own plants, but in the last year I've taken several thousand photos and I've ended up writing about a variety of topics, including hardy palm survivors, Smithsonian Gardens, a Palm Society meeting, plant nurseries and botanical gardens, nursery trade shows, and plant diseases.  So who knows, I might have another year of blogging in me!  Thanks for reading; as always I appreciate any and all comments, and if you like my blog or any of my individual posts, please do share them on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media!

Hibiscus margarita
I've even enjoyed a drink or two (Hibiscus margarita, Tico restaurant)


  1. Glad you're sticking with the blog, it's wonderful to read about a gardeners experiences on the other side of the county, with many of the same plants I grow! Love that unnamed begonia hybrid, it's a knockout!

    1. Thanks Loree, blogs like yours have definitely inspired me and helped me keep going. Sorry to say the begonia hybrid isn't quite big enough, or vigorous enough, to merit naming but I have lots of others coming along!

  2. Congratulations on one year, John. I enjoy your posts and especially, seeing your pictures. Your efforts are appreciated.

  3. Happy first blog anniversary John and glad to hear you'll continue with it!