Tithonia flower

Warm Memories

We’ve had some lovely sunny and summery days here in September. There was even the chance to spend a day with friends out on a boat on the Norfolk Broads and another at a beach. After the caution of staying close to home for so long, these outings felt very good.

Now however, the weather has changed and summer is behind us. I can’t say I’m ready to welcome autumn yet, because our summer has been an odd one, with many more cold and grey days than you might expect. So I’m looking back at some images from past summers that might just bring a bit of warmth with them.

Helenium autumnale ‘Ranchera’ (Mariachi series)

The tithonia in the top picture (Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’) was photographed a couple of years ago, after a friend gave me some plants. They made a glorious display – the plants became tall and covered in the dazzling orange flowers and the bees loved them. It’s a plant I will certainly grow again.

The Ipomoea lobata (‘Spanish Flag’) shown below was given to me by the same friend and made a great companion for the tithonia. (I grew it up tripods of canes nearby.) I think I like the leaves of this plant just as much as the flowers – both are very striking shapes.

Left: Ipomoea lobata. Right: zinnia detail.

The red zinnia was from a batch I grew from a seed-packet of mixed colours. The results were a delightful range of pinks and oranges, with just a couple of red-flowered plants. I had a great time photographing these and wished I’d had time to grow them again this year. (Next year, maybe!)

Most of the photographs here were taken in previous years, except for the heleniums (second photo from top). It’s the second summer for this perennial but it has struggled a bit because it’s planted on a slight slope and the ground is a bit on the dry side for it. I’ll probably move it soon and give it a position that suits it better. It’s worth that bit of extra care just to see those delightfully twirly petals every year.

Below is the one photograph that wasn’t taken in my own garden. I’d love to be able to grow gorgeous dahlias like this one, but I know that the soil here needs a fair bit of improvement first. (And I’m glad to say that our main compost heap is at last able to be used for this. I never would have though creating compost would make me so happy!)

I hope these warm-toned flowers have brought back memories of summer warmth if you’re heading into autumn. And there should soon be some autumn reds around to make us smile.

An orange and yellow dahlia flower.

15 thoughts on “Warm Memories

  1. I never had heard of Tithonia until last year. It’s a beauty, for sure. My favorite among those you’ve shown here are the heleniums. I love the common names for our native ones — sneezeweed and bitterweed — and some of them are gorgeous. There’s a purple-headed one I’d be willing to fill an acre with; it’s just so beautiful.

    No need for warm memories here, though. We still have warm realities to cope with, although there’s some hope for lowering humidity next week. We’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, a purple helenium sounds lovely! It’s getting pretty chilly here at the moment – lots of rain and windy. That’s a bit different for us, but it’s good not to have to water anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your photos leave a warm glow.. they’re beautiful! I’m not familiar with Ipomoea lobata, it looks really lovely and celebratory. Are the coloured ‘flags’ bracts / flowers / leaves … not sure what I’m seeing there (?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s also called Mina lobata and yes, those are flowers! They’re a little weird and almost look like little pods, but they’re actually tubular. I’ve just come in from the garden, so I’m cold and I could do with a warm glow right now!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Tithonia did really well – it evidently loved the sunshine and I was careful to water it but our soil wouldn’t be very good for dahlias – yet! (I’m busy using the contents of our compost heap – the soil will be better eventually. Might take a few years!)

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  3. Lovely flower shots, Ann! We tried Tithonia once without luck. We’ll try again some day. We are being teased with some 70° days this weekend after several very chilly days. I am not ready for colder weather to be the norm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve! The Tithonia plants got big and flowered really well but needed quite a lot of watering. I’ll definitely grow them again when I find a bit of space for them. It has turned cold here and I’m missing summer already!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Syd! It’s getting a lot cooler here now. I’m not sure I’m ready to face thoughts of autumn and the transition into winter yet! But every bit of sunshine we get makes that easier. (And I have plenty to do before next spring 🙂 )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see it would be a challenge to get it all organized before winter. I had some similar issues in Virginia – in fact if I remember we had gobs of acorns all over our outdoor decks from the big oak trees this time of year. It was always something different every season!

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