Tuesday, October 27, 2009

slapped in the face by fall

I was actually starting to embrace the idea of fall, before escaping to sunny California where I willingly stepped back into summer, complete with flip flops and sun burns. What a shock it was to return to the Pacific Northwest. As we drove north along I-5 the mountains of Southwestern Oregon were alive with fall color, I have to admit it was beautiful.

I couldn’t help wondering what my garden would look like, I checked the Portland weather a few times while we were away (it’s an addiction), there was a lot of rain and some wicked winds. Saturday, the day we returned, we lucked out with sunny skies…what a treat. Several plants in the danger garden are showing the effects of the cooler temperatures, including Clifford (Magnolia macrophylla)…who doesn’t really impress with his fall color. His leaves turn golden with splotches of brown, it’s the same with the Hosta leaves you can see on the lower left.
The Tetrapanax leaves are also starting to turn gold. But the Echium is hardly fazed (it's the big green mass below with the pointy leaves). Unfortunately it’s going to take a very mild winter for this one to make it till spring. but a girl can hope. Can you believe I brought this plant home from the NW Flower and Garden show in Seattle on an airplane? In a small tote bag?
The Solomon’s Seal has turned golden…
And the Peony foliage… Eucomis Oakhurst falling every which way.
And this one remaining upright… sort of...This silly Abutilon has more blooms and buds on it now than it has had all summer!
The same for this fuchsia, which I bought on a whim three years ago, and it refuses to die.
I left town thinking the Canna maybe frozen mush when we returned, not the case.
The same for this Ensete Maurelii. I have given up trying to winter over this plant and just replace with a new one in the spring. This one hardly seems to notice summer is over and is going strong. Perhaps I’ll try, just one more time, to winter one over.
There are still a few green tomatoes hanging on. I realize they are never going to ripen but they look so full of possibility. And the Fatsia Japonica blooms are looking so “sputnik”…I love them at this stage.
All in all things weathered the two weeks without me just fine. The garden has progressed effortlessly into fall, now I need to catch up.


  1. Love the look of the fallen leaves...but does that mean a laborious chore of picking them out of the gravel? The fatsia IS spacey-looking. Divine!

  2. You picked the perfect two weeks to be gone: the rains were timed to water your garden effortlessly.

    I love that shot of the solomon seal with the hydrangea above it, and the green eucomis with the lovely gray spiky plant (is that Sammy?) in the background.

    And, yes, how DO you get all the leaves out of your pebble mulch?? My beds become a terrible mess with large red maple leaves everywhere.

  3. Hi DG~~ I recognized right off the Magnolia, then checked your previous post for your reply. Thank you. This plant is going on my wish list, stat! Looks like your Tetrapanax did quite well reaching toward the sky. And behind your Solomon's Seal is the coolest hydrangea with the nodding purple bracts. Very nice. My red Abutilon is the same way, shy all summer and now strutting its stuff. I thought they preferred heat. And ditto for the demise of my Ensete. In my case, death by ignorant-user error. Love your Echium too. Glad to hear everything fared well while you were gone.

  4. I'm thinking I'd make fried green tomatoes...

  5. ricki, don't even get me started on the leaves in the gravel. I watch them fall in our neighbors grass. So neat and tidy and rake-able. Inevitably there are a few calm days and they just continue to lay there...taunting me. And then the wind comes and then they are my problem. I SO want to go rake them when it would be so easy to do! The husband thinks this would be rude. Rude? To rake their leaves in their yard? What do you think?

    Jane, Sammy appreciates your recognition! The key is to get the leaves when they first fallen (well ok, really first "blown") into our yard, then I can scoop them up pretty easily...they stick together and are easy to deal with. A broom works better than a rake. After that any that remain once they are dry and crunchy just sort of "disappear" (with a little nudging from me) into the gravel. I figure they must be breaking down and delivering some nutrients, right?

    Grace, I so glad to hear you've added the Magnolia to your wish list! Another benefit is that the leaves are super easy to pick up when they fall, being so huge.

    Dan and Deb, I'm thinking the same! Got a good recipe?

  6. I made fried green tomatoes for the first time last night. Dredge inflour, then into a bath of whupped egg, then cornmeal. Saute in canola oil until the crust is golden and crunchy. Yumm!

  7. Fall looks good on your garden, I agree with Jane, great shot of the solomon's seal. So the ensete isn't going to overwinter? I suspected as much, but some hopeful plant tag said it might make it in zone 8, so I had been thinking I'd be able to save it. Have you tried bringing it in the garage or basement before, or have your past attempts been outside? I'm not sure how heroic I should try to be with that plant. I'd like to see it a little taller than it was this year if I could get another year's growth on it.


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