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.

43 comments:

  1. Yep, your garden is still looking fabulous, even with the dogwood leaves and other detritus scattered about. That is a fabulous shot from below the Tetrapanax leaf.

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    1. I should go out there this morning and take a video, it's rather animated with leaves and rain flying about. Sadly that Tetrapanax leaf bit the dust (colapsed) but there are several others ready to take it's place.

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  2. I love the fall because it brings and end to the endless summer. But I do NOT love the leaves that seem to be blowing into our yard from all around. Maybe it just feels that way, but keeping my rosette-forming succulents tidy is hard enough with everybody else's detritus. Still, the warm light of fall is so inviting...

    BTW, our nurseries don't have ornamental kale and cabbage as interesting as what you have. In general, we seem to get half the plant variety that nurseries in the PNW carry.

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    1. "...we seem to get half the plant variety that nurseries in the PNW carry" This is what everybody who is not in the PNW says (and it's probably true).

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    2. Perhaps you both should consider moving to plant nirvana?

      Gerhard I feel your pain! (re: the leaves that blow in from others gardens)

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  3. You do have some beautiful fall colour! it looks as if the cotinus is the protagonist regarding to colour. I´m happy you´ve had a nice fall that almost looked like more summer!

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    1. Indeed it has been quite summery at times, today however is a blustery rainy mess. There won't be many leaves left on the trees after this storm moves through.

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  4. Were the privets evergreen? If not I imagine things are much tidier in autumn now.

    Still, I can't envision you in a garden that gets blanketed by leaves or needles from a large tree. I think you'd go a bit mad. :)

    BTW, why does nobody think of brown as a desirable color in autumn?

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    1. The privets were not evergreen, and their leaving definitely removed a major source of little leaf litter, as well as yellow pollen dust in the spring.

      As for my garden getting blanketed, it does, and I do - and it's not just an autumn occurrence either. This happens during the summer months: http://www.thedangergarden.com/2015/08/oh-what-mess.html although not always in such a dramatic fashion. Sometimes it's spread out. Then there are the maple leaves and needles from the neighbor to the south (same one who has the dogwood).

      As for brown, I wrote a plant lust blog post singing its praises: http://plantlust.com/blog/2014/12/brown-is-a-color-too/

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  5. We may get all your rain this winter--which may or may not be a bad thing. I do hate the mess of fall, though it is November when that happens here. Very little autumn color, unless that color is brown.

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    1. I certainly hope we are good neighbors and share copious amounts of rain with you. Enough, but not too much. The mess gets punched up a notch in November here - or whenever the first freeze hits. The goo of frozen foliage has a special kind of ugly.

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  6. I like splashes of colour and contrasts between the red/oranges and green. You've got that in spades. You're doing a great job embracing autumn. I do love the prettiness of it but not the mess. And most of all I do not love what comes next.

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    1. Indeed. Autumn would be an entirely different beast if "W" didn't come next. Skipping right to spring would be amazing.

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  7. I'm in love with your Amsonia - and wishing I had gotten around to planting more Echium this year (sigh). Your new containers look really nice - love the combo.

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    1. Do you have any Amsonia? If not there's no time like the present to get started! Mine were tiny tiny little things when I first planted them. And who knows if the Echium will even make it? I may end up with lots of soggy ugly piles of used-to-be-beautiful foliage.

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  8. Your garden wears autumn well! It's as lovely as ever. I'd like to be a tidy gardener but seem to be quite a slob in my garden. Oh, I mean artistic, yes, that's it, artistic.

    That shot does look very Jarmany (Isn't that a European country between France and Poland?) Happy autumn! All too soon will come the the long cold darkness...

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    1. No, we're skipping the long cold darkness this year! (if only...)

      Thanks for the kind words, and you're right about your garden...artistic!

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  9. I always enjoy seeing your garden, it's bright colours and contrasting foliage. It is always so neat and tidy.

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    1. Oh Karen you should see it today...not so neat and tidy...

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  10. I have every finger crossed that your E. wildpretii will sail through winter and bring great drama to your already dramatic garden !

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    1. Thanks ks, I'll take all the finger crossing I can get. If they do bloom and set seed...wowsa! The future could be very dramatic indeed.

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  11. I like the mess of fall. It has a 'Jackson Pollock Threw Confetti at an Awesome Party' kind of feel to it. I still love that we actually have the same persicaria. Wonders never cease.... :o)

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    1. Ha, that's a great description of fall, I love it. I bet we have more than just that one plant in common....

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  12. We've still not had a killing frost in the city. Finally got some rain and the color is glorious. This will be a memorable fall for us in so. wisconsin. But if you want to see leaves matting in the garden, come on over. Your garden always looks perfect to me.

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    1. Sounds like your having a lovely autumn, when would a killing frost normally have occurred?

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    2. Sept. 27 to early Oct. is typical first frost. It's really rare to have gone so long, regardless of being in the city.

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  13. There is so much to love in your fall garden, Loree! I'm glad you're learning to embrace the season. I couldn't help thinking of the subtitle of "Dr. Strangelove" when I read your post, modified to fit the circumstances of course: "How I learned to stop worrying (about fall mess and the coming colder weather) and love the season." It's easier for us to love fall in SoCal - we don't have to haul plants under cover and can rejoice in the cooler (frost-free) weather (that is, if said cooler weather ever comes to stay).

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    1. You read my mind Kris! (re: the Dr Strangelove subtitle) Here's hoping November will bring cooler weather and just the right amount of rain.

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  14. Stunning autumn colours. The cotinus and amsonia especially. The blue area with agaves and purple cabbages is still going strong - it's a really nice composition!

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    1. Thanks Amy. The sun came out yesterday evening and lit up the Amsonia and Cotinus, along with several trees on the block, just beautifully - everything was glowing. A nice contrast to today's grey rain.

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  15. Fall is perhaps my favorite season in my own garden, but not so much for the few accent deciduous trees and shrubs which do color up, such as the Crape Myrtle'Tuscarora', which this year is also blooming heavily now for the first time in years. But the real deal is all the giants coming into bloom, Tree Dahlias, Montanoas, Verbesina turbasensis, Fuchsia boliviensis, the various Plectranthus, Nerines and the dozens of bromeliads.

    What I don't appreciate are the much shorter days and having to turn the heat on in the house, it's harder to get the same amount of gardening accomplished. I can't imagine all the work moving plants under cover, I generally just take my chances with the few things I grow that can't take our zone 10 winters, and enjoy the tropical looking Gingers and Heliconias that bloom away in November anyway. Hopefully the winter storms won't be high wind events, and the Tree Daisies and Tree Dahlias will last until January.

    Your garden is looking fabulous, and ever so much more manicured than mine. Fallen leaves don't quite bother me as much, once a week sweeping is the most I can manage. I'm guessing the warmer and dryer than usual fall weather up there is the real reason fall is feeling better this year, up until the real cold hits and all the tenders need moving indoors.

    David in Berkeley

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    1. I finally broke down and turned the heat on here yesterday. I don't like that "buttoned up" feeling the house takes on this time of year. I keep the windows open as long as possible. Indeed the warm, dry, days helped me transition - much nicer than just having the door slammed in my face. As for moving of the tenders that's already happened - with the exception of the few things planted in the ground, and in fact I took advantage of a warm, dry, day yesterday and lifted several things.

      Hopefully the real cold is still several weeks away...

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  16. I'm glad you're having a lovely fall, even if abnormally dry. I like the idea of wiring the hanging planters. I should do that with mine out front. Just in case.

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    1. A little peace of mind is a good thing!

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  17. I love that second to last picture of your front garden. Also the color on that Cotinus - wonderful. But how about that Quercus dentata - those leaves are definitely suitable for Halloween. Looks like multiple hands with long fingers reaching out to grab little kids.

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    1. Oh my! I like the way you think...next year those Oak leaves are going to play large in my Halloween decor!

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  18. I will forever after view it as the Jackson Pollock Season. Attitude is everything.

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    1. Isn't that just be best description? I'm going to hang on to it too.

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  19. It all looks fantastic, and I totally hear you about that pain-in-the-ass tree Styrax. Walking in my backyard is like walking on marbles.

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    1. So I take it you didn't plant the Styrax but inherited as well?

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  20. I'm with you. I hate fall gardening and I hate the mess. Gone are my perfectly edged borders and spotless paths. Everything looks like a shit pile, so I completely ignore it all come October.

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