There are few things glowing in the garden in late October. The Japanese maples are the last of the trees to share their radiant colors and they are just in time for Halloween. This small red maple is planted along the drive under the canopy of a white pine grove. Its name has long been forgotten. The name of this yellow Acer palmatum "Omurayama' is one I happen to remember for some unknown reason. These maples sit in relative anonymity during the summer months although they both have remarkable textural interest for those who pay attention to such things. In the fall, they complement one another as you can see. Behind the fishpond bench shiny tulip bulbs have been planted for spring entertainment. This is a parrot tulip called 'Rococo'. It is described as 'cardinal red with purple and green feathering'. Very appropriate for a parrot tulip. Just in front of the bench, between the flat field stones of the patio, there is a quiet cover of moss which is as inviting as a Persian carpet. It is a bit too chilly to walk barefoot on that moss now that cool weather has descended but sitting on the bench, contemplating the scene, is quite meditative. The grasses by the pond are shining in the lower angle of sunlight creating a sharp vertical element next to the velvet carpet. A short distance away, the purple beautyberry stands out among the shrubs in the back border. This one is Callicarpa japonica. There are several species and cultivars available and this shrub can now be found in many gardens. That purple, well, it is quite royal I think. The berries of this shrub do not persist throughout the winter but they do add needed drama at the end of the season. Here in Rhode Island the days are getting shorter and the angle of the sun is much lower in the sky. The chipmunks are very busy running to and fro to their stone wall which frames the garden. There are just a few acorns this year and they are busy claiming them for their stash. There are still chores to be done but I feel like hibernating already. The next big drama could very well be the first snowfall. I hope there is something in between purple berries and white snow. The garden always makes me wait and see for myself.
Frost signals a seasonal finale. The exuberance of the garden is gone and the gardener is left with subtleties. The small blooms and berries of fall would be overlooked in the abundance of the summer garden but late in the season, after the frost, their significance increases. Who would even notice the tiny purple flowers which develop on the mint plant if they were to appear among the peonies, roses and delphiniums? Color has shifted from outrageous orange to warm bronze and copper. The bright foliage of the maples is now underfoot. Scuffling through this debris brings the scent of childhood and the memories of raking the bounty into a plan view of a child's home. Doors, windows, kitchen and living room all made flat on the ground with neat rows of raked leaves. How powerful is the scent of fall? It is transporting. Mom and I walked through the leaves in her yard yesterday and reminisced on those long ago days of childhood. She has seen 91 autumns, a feat many of us will never achieve but one to which we can aspire if only to gain a bit more knowledge of the garden and the seasonal cycles. This season has been one of bounty. The last of the tomatoes are in the trug and the vegetable garden is holding some late season treasures. Fall tomatoes are not perfect but their tang is as appreciated as that of the very first tomato. Swiss chard, kale, brussel sprouts all shrug off the first frosts of the season.The last flower and the last fruit of this season's garden is close at hand and all are treasured along with the knowledge gained from the passing of yet another season.
The summer really is gone and there is the sweet smell of decay in the air. There has been no frost here yet which is a bit unusual although blackened foliage in the valley a mile away tells a different tale. The star of the fall garden in New England really is foliage but I do have some late blooming annuals and perennials which just hate to give up and they do add some late drama to the landscape. There are few of us who don't have the 'Pink Sheffield' chrysanthemum starting to bloom. Its apricot flowers blend well with the bronze, copper and reds of fall. The hydrangea flowers and foliage are quite an attraction for the local white tail deer but there are a few which have escaped their attention. This Hydrangea 'Vanilla Strawberry' started to bloom in late June and has not been without a bloom since. It can be a bit irregular in growth but a quick snip with the pruners shapes it nicely. Tiger Eye Sumac often turns a quick, drab brown but this year it has some nice color. This Perennial Trumpet Spurflower, Rabdosia longituba, has arching stems and airy panicles of pendant flowers. It does not photograph well but in the landscape it is almost black light blue and glowing. It grows in dry shade in my garden and is worth seeking out in mail order catalogs. Yesterday it was quite warm here and the butterflies were active. It has been a while since I have seen monarchs here but there were several in the garden. This one is gathering nectar from the Verbena bonariensis. Fall is upon us and the sleeping lady is ready with her garland of sedum flowers. I look forward to seeing your bloom post. Leave me a link via comments and I will visit your garden this Bloom Day. Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.
I take them for granted, these ferns. They seem to be impervious to deer, drought and drenches. They form large colonies and they are a problem if they invade the perennial border. I pull some out each spring but I leave those along the driveway and also those that crop up in crevices which would be seem to defy any robust plant growth. Robust they are though. This fern is Dennstaedtia punctilobula or the hayscented fern. It is deciduous and it is at the end of its growth cycle. It turns yellow and then brown and then it disappears under a heavy snow. I do take them for granted but now, they remind me of their presence with the golden light they share brightening the woodland on a drismal day. I think the fall color is a bit early this year. Usually it peaks around the second week of October but already the bright bits and pieces are appearing along with large swarths of color. It seems to happen overnight. This Virginia Creeper is also a native and it loves to climb the white pines. Along with the coloring of the foliage, there are a few bits of color left in the garden. The monkshood is blooming as are the toadlilies and the bright pink of persicaria. This one has bloomed steadily since early July. It is Persicaria amplexicaulus 'Golden Arrow'. Behind it is a Hosta 'Stained Glass' which is one of the few the deer have not nibbled to stalks. There won't be much left to see here in just a month. Well, perhaps the ryegrass which is up in the former corn patch. It is quite green. I cannot complain. I did pick another basket of tomatoes today. October 1st and tomatoes are still ripening. The vines are pretty tattered and most have blackened but the fruit is ripening. It was a good harvest this year.