Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wishing you a thrilling Halloween!

Halloween is the carefree, act like we're all kids again, holiday. How can you not enjoy that?

And to celebrate naturally I had to send the Ornamental Cabbage and Kale Challenge out on a high note...remember tomorrow is the deadline to send in your entry photo! (spiky plants at gmail dot com)

Colorful leaves scavenged from nearby trees...

Accent the purples...

...and greens of the OC&K just right...

Upon bringing it all inside though I realized some light was needed, hence a few Lunaria seed pods were added.

This is a new vintage addition this year. I just now realized we should have named him, but haven't.

I adore the fact he sits atop a tuft of pleated crepe paper.

May you all have a thrilling Halloween!

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Some favorites for the end of October 2015

All year long this poor Phlebodium Pseudoaureum (Blue Rabbit's Foot Fern) has been largely ignored. Sure I watered it, but I failed to realize just how fabulous it was looking until moving things around after building the shade pavilion greenhouse. Somewhere along the line it's started sending out huge leaves.

None of these photos accurately capture the powdery blue/green color of the leaves. It's subdued yet spectacular.

The creamy colored spores add to the beauty.

I remember when I first saw the fuzzy rhizomes I thought some small furry critter had died in the container.

Although many sources list this fern as hardy to USDA Zone 8 I am here to tell you that's not necessarily the case. I've lost a couple in the ground. Only last year did I have one manage to live over and barely. Now in October it's finally managed to push out enough leaves to be noticeable.

If you're in a USDA Zone 9 climate with a shady moist place to plant a nice glaucous leaved plant like this then do it! Otherwise keep it in a container where it can be protected as needed.

One last look at the fern as I call your attention to that orange container further down the wall...

Aralia cordata 'Sun King' is my second fav this month. He's quite large since I bought him back in June.

The light yellow-green color brought a nice brightening effect to a darkish corner, although he has "greened up" a lot in the last few weeks.

The golden tone had made him a perfect peek-a-boo backdrop to the Schefflera leaves (photo taken in August).

If I'm lucky those little blooms will develop into dark berries.

Hardy to USDA Zone 4 and eventually reaching 3ft x 3ft this shrub makes a great addition to a shady garden...

Now let's look at a couple of favorite plants in the ground...

When I planted out this Senecio articulatus in May it was only a couple of long, leafless, segments, now look at it! (ignore the photo-bombing Yucca rostrata leaves)

In a few places it's suffered from some creature's hunger.

But that doesn't seem to have slowed it down much, and in fact it's fixing to bloom (for a lengthy description of the flower read the description from the Ruth Bancroft Garden here).

The folks at Cistus Nursery say: "Fun-on-a-stick, this intriguing, succulent, South African daisy produces articulated stems of succulent blue with small, three-lobed leaves. They go deciduous after producing sweet-scented, pale pink shaving brush flowers. For winter rainfall areas with thin soil. These are easy to grow in bright light though would prefer to be damp in the winter and dry out a bit in summer...but seemingly impossible to kill no matter what you do. Very sculptural in a pot or as a strange ground cover where temperatures seldom fall below 20 °F. Frost hardy in USDA zone 8B/9a."

Damp in the winter? Huh, No wonder mine always looks a little sad come spring, I've been overwintering it with the same tough love regimen I give my other succulents.

And finally, Ficus afghanistanica.

This came to me labeled as Ficus afghanistanica 'Silver Lyre' but I wonder if that indeed is the case, as its leaves tend to be greener than the 'Silver Lyres' I know. Whatever it is I love the deeply cut leaves and how they play so nicely with the blue/green centers of the Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' growing beneath it.

Again the fine folks at Cistus Nursery say: "Eventually might reach 15-20' in height; can easily be kept smaller with pruning. Sun to part shade. Very drought tolerant once established. Frost hardy to the upper edge of USDA Zone 7 so far." You know I'm counting on that part about being kept smaller with pruning...

So do you have any garden favorites for October? Please share them with us!

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Operation Embrace Autumn, it's been easy

The back garden, last week...

This was going to be the year I stopped mourning the loss of summer and fully embraced the beauty of autumn. Well honestly I feel like a bit of a faker because this autumn has been nothing short of wonderful.

Up until last Sunday things had been dry, very dry - it felt a little crazy to be watering at the end of October - but the temperatures have been mild and we've had lots of moody foggy mornings followed by sunny afternoons. Appreciating the season, and the garden, has been easy.

Isn't it odd, the different color changes on the same plant? (Solomon's Seal)

My fellow blogger Grace (Gardening with Grace) recently wrote these words on her blog: "My Garden Looks Like Crap. Contrary to most people, I'm not terribly fond of autumn. It's not that I don't love the brilliant foliage and the golden, slanted sunlight. It's that fall is a messy season. I mean, come on. I spend months trying to keep my pathways clear and my beds and borders free of unnecessary detritus. And then it all goes to hell in a hand basket in October, reinforcing the futility of this thing called gardening. It's like splattering paint all over my canvas and it's depressing."

I'd never really thought it out like that, but she's got a point about the mess. As you've all probably figured out I am a tidy gardener, the mess is contrary to my nature.

The fall of Clifford's leaves is just beginning. There will be days where they blanket the garden.

Some of the Syneilesis aconitifolia leaves managed to briefly color up nice and buttery, but most of them went right to the brown phase.

Mr. Big, my largest Agave americana 'Variegata' has been pulled from the tall green container and put into the shade pavilion greenhouse (he just sits in there, cachepot style). The large A. ovatifolia has a custom hut to keep him dry on wet winter days.

The stock tank pond is looking rather sad, but it's still serving a useful purpose as the local bird population is desperately seeking out water sources. They love perching on the sturdy branches of the Aeschynomene fluitans that coils around the tank.

The Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida' is another plant that doesn't really color up much for fall.

Instead the leaves just turn a crispy brown and fall from the tree.

Look, a tiny bit of color on the Persicaria runcinata 'Purple Majesty' (or is it actually P. microcephala 'Purple Fantasy'?)...

I love this view of the back of the house. It's random and a little Jarmany.

This is the time of year where I can finally see all the places the Virginia Creeper has creeped to. No more hiding behind its green camouflage.

Evidently I'm mostly drawn to plants that don't do great autumn things, the Hibiscus syriacus 'Red Heart' just kind of gives up the ghost.

Of course it has ideas that maybe, just maybe....

Staring at this vignette one could almost believe it's still summer...

I picked up this pair of Dodonaea viscosa 'Purpurea' at Garden Fever's fall sale for some ridiculous price like $3. It's been fun watching them color up, they weren't nearly so vibrant when I bought them.

You might remember mention of a hanging planter being stolen off the front of the garage. I left the hooks empty for a couple of weeks but decided I just couldn't let the bad guys win. Of course I did take the precaution of wiring these in place. A determined person could still steal them but at least it would take more effort than simply walking up and grabbing them.

In each container is a Sedum ternatum 'Larinem Park'.

A tiny Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Ogon Nishiki'.

And a Adiantum venustum, which for me has always been evergreen over winter.

Out front the neighbor's Dogwood leaves decorate my garden.

I must remember to lift this Agave americana var. medio-picta 'Alba', as it's pretty wimpy when it comes to winter cold. Oh and notice all the Cerenthe seedlings in with the Sempervivum. They've gone crazy!

Oh! The Echeveria needs to be removed too. I'll just cut the stems off even with the ground.

Keeping up with the falling Dogwood leaves is nearly impossible. I do try to keep them away from the succulents once the rains start up - which it appears they've done.

The color of the Cotinus always catches me by surprise.

This year it's got a pumpkin to balance out the brightness.

I like that it doesn't all turn fiery at once.

This combination is currently making me very happy. Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’ with Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata' and Blood Grass/Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron'. Oh and that's Daphne 'Briggs Moonlight' in the back.

And speaking of Yucca, the 'Bright Star' is ever so slightly coloring up with pink tones. It's time I be deciding what I'm going to do with this over the winter.

The cabbage and kale I planted back in late September are holding up quite well.

I'm happy to say that I'm enjoying them all immensely.

And the colorful Amsonia hubrichtii too.

Even the yellowing Tetrapanx leaves aren't annoying me.

I came home late the other night and this one was lit by a streetlight, it was quite the amazing thing to see.

The stupid Styrax japonicus are in the season of dropping their leaves and seeds. A car parking in front of our house, or someone walking down the sidewalk, results in a pop pop pop sound, as the seeds are smashed. I could sweep daily and not make a dent.

From this view everything looks pretty much the same as in August, except for the blazing Amsonia by the front door.

There are at least five Echium wildpretii looking gorgeous in the front garden - if we have a kind and mellow winter just think of all the blooms next spring!

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.