Fall Garden Improvement Over Summer

Crepe myrtle in early morning light by bell tower.
After the long drought, when even the crepe myrtles didn't bloom, life is coming back to the garden. Our 20 ft. tall pink crepe myrtle finally burst into bloom.
One year old cabbage from the refrigerator.
This cabbage was one we grew last fall and harvested it in November, 2011. It's been in the refrigerator and so finally last night, I cut it up and cooked it. Amazing that cabbage will keep so long! A pan of corn bread and some ham, what a fall supper!
Just as good on the inside!
Achocha flower and baby achocha fruit.
I've written about achocha several times over the past years. You'll find it in the Lost Crops of the Incas book. This one is from a friend in Bhutan. Nichols Garden Nursery sells the seed from my start (you'll find a link to them on my website under "Looking for Plants?") It's another crop that doesn't like heat and this has survived but not fruited until now. It likes the 55 degree nights and 80 degree days and I'm hoping to have a small crop before frost.
Achocha vine, not nearly full size because of the drought.
Bitter melon fruit.
Bitter melon flowers.
Bitter melon is another vegetable that evidently doesn't like hot and dry. It's from Southeast Asia, a staple of many Asian dishes, but this one has stalled all summer until about 2 weeks ago when it also burst into bloom and started producing fruit.
Hoja (pronounced Oh-ha) plant just beginning to bloom.
Hoja Santa, from Mexico, which should love heat, has also just begun to grow and flower. The leaves smell like root beer and are used for wrapping chicken or pork in the leaves and grilling on the barbecue, as well as in soups, wrapping tamales and Oaxacan Mole Verde. That little white streak in the center of the photo, is the flower.

Hibiscus 'Maple Leaf' has tasty leaves for salads.
The Maple Leaf Hibiscus won't bloom, our seasoning isn't long enough, but the young leaves are great in salads (like French sorrel). One of the red leafed hibiscus lived over the winter last year but that's unusual.
Mexican salvia, don't know the variety.
Even the various salvia varieties I grow, have been stalled for months and just now coming into bloom.
Butterfly on orange zinnia.
The butterflies have survived, so have the zinnias. The fall garden is looking much better than most of the summer garden. With shorter days and cooler evenings, the herbs and flowers are playing catch up. It's good to see life still goes on after such an awful summer.

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