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!
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