Thursday, September 22, 2016

September Blues

It will likely not come as a shock to any of you that I love blue.  I hate neutral colors like taupe, oatmeal, linen, beige, greige (Satan incolornate), and wheat.  My neutrals are blue, green, and white.  Real white.  I love off-whites, but life is easier when you go with white.  Many people have needed to be hospitalized following an off-white induced mental breakdown.  Also any off-white that goes dingy is repulsive to me.  This serves as evidence to my theory that people surround themselves with the colors that make them look most attractive. 

She wears neutrals well 
Do you remember Color Me Beautiful?  You're a Spring, You're an Autumn, having your "colors read"?  If you don't recall, here is a gem of a YouTube video pulled from the archives of bad taste.  My mom was--or still is, I suppose, I doubt that "certification" expires--an expert on the subject.  So I always grew up knowing I was a Winter, having a firm grasp on what colors worked best for me.  In family photos, my siblings wore navy and I wore red, white, vivid green, or pink.  My sister sometimes wondered why I got to wear pink and she didn't.  I think my mom's friends all thought she put me in pink because I was gay.  So anyway, it's not that I think neutrals are bad.  They're just not for me and therefore I hate them.  I've always wished I were blond and had milky blue eyes and looked good in camel coats and Ralph Lauren buttery yellow.  So maybe my aversion to neutrals is actually just jealousy.  Whatever it is, they have no place with me. 
So given that my go to neutral is blue, I gravitate towards it in most areas.  Obviously I love blue and white porcelain and dinnerware.  Everything else I buy for tabletop has to pass one test: does it look good with blue and white? Luckily, the answer is always yes.  With the exception of some shades of purple.  Because more likely than not, there will be some blue and white floating around. 
While blue and white does work with almost everything, I have my favorite combinations.  Probably my favorite favorite is blue and white with sunflower gold.  Followed closely by blue and white with cranberry.  I love the combination with sunflower because it is so fleeting and perfect in September.  September is my favorite month.  To me, the color story that narrates September is  polished blue and white with wild, tired, and glowing sunflower gold.  It's spectacular when the world switches from invasive summer light to the long, golden rays of September.  The mornings are cool like an October day and the days are warm like an August morning.  You can go summery or autumnal and you're right either way.  For me, that means buying pumpkins and mums in white shorts.  A day when I can buy pumpkins, peaches, Goldenrod honey, and tomatoes is a very good day indeed.  Only in September. 
Those cheap Libbey glasses have proven to be an excellent purchase! 
I absolutely love goldenrod. I hope there's a pornstar out there who has used
that as a name.  Thomas Edison experimented with making rubber tires from
goldenrod, hybridizing a variety that contained about 12% rubber. 

Key Lime Pie for my best friend's birthday

A melon, corn, and tomato salad with grapefruit and feta

I don't have blue ice cream bowls! So I used these Bavarian
teacups and saucers.  I bought these for $50 when I was 20.
I've actually not seen this pattern elsewhere since.  

Now you have some insight why I am so excited about one blue plant in particular.  I am going to declare it the perfect blue-blooming plant for central Ohio in September.  It's a small title, I know.  But I want you all to try it next year and perhaps we can expand its claim.  The increasingly gold tones of September need blue to support them.  It's like the Kim to the Nene.  Both are good on their own, but their combination is the magic. Sidenote: Kim Zolciak is my spiritual leader and we have the same birthday

Annual planting here does not begin until after May 15.  Or it shouldn't.  There are always those people who go buy everything on the first warm day in April, but we almost always have a killing frost on May 14 or 15.  With often vacationing around Memorial Day, I wait until the first week of June to plant my annuals.  Surprise, surprise, I don't trust anyone to water them the right way while I'm gone.  The upside to this delayed planting is that everything is on sale.  The downside is that the inventory can be somewhat limited.  That actually ends up being kind of fun because it forces me to try new plants.  I used to stick to a palette of fuchsia, lavender, dark purple, and lime green with all my annual containers. Over the last few years, I've decided I prefer riotous color.  So I buy geraniums in coral, fuchsia, pale pink, and red--petunias in lavender, pink, and deep violet--verbena in red, blue, and pink--pentas in red and pink--lantana in yellow and orange--and this year, salvia.  I have grown Victoria Blue salvia before and thought it was fine, but it wasn't a prolific bloomer for me.  I had it in the ground and maybe it got too wet.  So since it was like 150 degrees in the greenhouse,  I didn't think about it all that long and got the last ten Salvia 'Black and Blue' they had.  As you know, I'm not a I'll just buy one  kind of guy.  I loved their intense blue blooms and figured they were worth a try. 
I loved the immediate height they gave my containers.  In the following weeks, I was highly skeptical.  The blooms faded and it appeared no new blooms were forming.  The plants were bulking considerably, but only in leaves.  I am an aggressive fertilizer with annuals, so I knew they had plenty of calcium (I use a fish and seaweed emulsion and add a few tablespoons of whole milk).  I decided to give them one more week after the 4th of July before I pulled them.  They were growing so much that they were blocking the geraniums from getting light. Apparently salvias respond to threats.  Within that week, they went insane with countless spires of bloom unfurling toward the sun.  They went from scraggly bunches of green to shrub-like masses of blue.  I love them because they are so saturated at every turn.  The leaves are deep and healthy emerald, the blooms are clear and vivid cobalt, and the calyx is strikingly black. 
The best photo I could get.  I asked my brother to take over hummingbird
photography for me.  I lured him over with a six-pack of his
favorite beer (it's disgusting)
I asked him to get one with the bird, the salvia, and the lantana.  He asked
okay, where is the Atlanta?

Are they not just the most adorable little things? 

Their beauty is not even the best part.  The hummingbirds! The hummingbirds go absolutely insane for them.  I've never had a hummingbird feeder because I don't want to mess with making syrup for them all the time, and of course a bird feeder is a sizable commitment. With the cleaning and restocking and guarding from squirrels.  While I've always admired hummingbirds, I've never really interacted with them.  I was absolutely delighted when I looked from the sink one day and saw a hummingbird darting between blooms.  I went over to the window to examine and saw another. Starting in early July and not ending until September 21, from sunrise to sunset, there have been at least three hummingbirds at my salvia.  Even in the rain.  At first, they were very skeptical of me and Barbie and would flee when they heard the door open.  As weeks passed, they became comfortable and almost social.  I kind of felt like a fat and tan Snow White with birds swirling around me at every turn.  Did you see this bird migration map from Cornell?  It is indeed mesmerizing.  There is also this one that has each bird numbered.  Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are 81.  Of course, anything good for hummingbirds is inviting to butterflies.  I've also tremendously enjoyed the rush of butterflies. 
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

I think this is a Cloudless Sulphur.
Not a Gypsy Moth as it kind of appears to be
Barbie and a Black Swallowtail last summer 

All information on salvia suggests that they like very dry soil.  I have mine in small containers that bake in the sun all day, so that is likely why mine seem to benefit from a deep and thorough watering every day.  Also it could be because I am a habitual over-waterer and feeder.  God forbid anything under my care not be stuffed to the gills with a drink in hand.  Whatever the case, mine are very happy.  Although the hummingbirds abruptly left, I am going to leave the salvia for as long as I can.  I think the stunning blue will be an excellent foil to the rust, gold, and burgundy of mums.  Assuming it ever cools down enough to plant them. 

July 30

September 21. I did stake them. Once in June and once in late July
 That's only two plants!
Yessssss.  Sorry, but I don't give a fuck about Halloween.
I've dated too many Scorpios

Did you discover a new favorite plant this year?