The walk around the garden reveals this little chick-a-dee sitting behind this bamboo. He looked as if he were wired to the branch he was so still but his little eye is checking out the camera. It was a cool afternoon and is currently only 36F. The weather station needs a new battery so temperature ranges are interrupted. I have a macro lens but no telephoto lens so I did get pretty close to this little creature. The last picture is adjusted but the other was taken from about two feet away. I think he was too chilled to move. On another note, the pulmonaria is very green under the foliage of this Parrotia which has turned bright yellow. I actually have two Parrotia persica trees but this one is Parrotia persica 'Pendula'. The common name is Persian Parrotia...that is descriptive isn't it? One would think that the name comes from exotic birds nesting in its' branches. Not so, it was named after F. W. Parrot a German plant expert. It is native to Iran. This is, perhaps, a better view of this small tree. It is hardy from Zones 4 through 8 and is one of Michael Dirr's favorites according to his information in The Manual of Woody Plants. Both forms are quite pleasing although the straight species is planted in too much shade at the end of the long border. It is growing slowly and is quite an elegant tree. Since I fear the big oak is in decline, it may not have to wait too much longer for more sun. Do any of you have any experience with this tree?
High 44 F
Low 30 F
Another chilly day here today. A walk in the garden resulted in a few snapshots of some bright foliage remaining. I know many bloggers received their first snowfall and I feel lucky that we escaped the white covering. I am just not ready. The furniture needs to be put away and the bulbs...a post for another day, have all arrived and are ready for planting. In the meantime, the Heptacodium miconioides or Seven-Son Flower is sporting red. I have limbed this up a bit high so that I can enjoy the exfoliating bark but the sepals have their red coloration and are still visible and interesting in spite of being sky high. The other plant in the garden which is sporting crimson is the Vaccinium corymbosum. While these are supposed to be highbush blueberries, they are not very high. I planted them at least ten years ago and they are stunted and small but the color is nice and they aren't taking up too much room. One of my many plant failures! This year they are beautiful shades of red, pink and yellow. The fall coloration of the highbush blueberry makes it a good substitute planting for the Euonymus alatus or burning bush which has been widely planted here and is now considered an invasive species. This plant is native to Northeastern Asia and central China and was introduced to this country in 1860. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil types and will tolerate sun or shade. I have never seen any seedlings from the three plants in my garden but they were given to me by a friend who dug up the seedlings from her garden . It is perhaps the brightest red plant in the northeastern landscape in the fall. The density and shear number of the leaves make it a focal point in the landscape and while it is no longer in favor, it is still beautiful. A scary beauty, just in time for Halloween.
High 63 F
Low 48 F
Thursday marked the day not only of the first frost, but the first freeze. 25 F is more than a frost. Finally the impatiens have surrendered their plump cells to wrap their limp arms around the container. The dahlias can finally be put to bed in a blanket of peat moss for their winter hibernation and if I remember where I put them (in the box, in the cooler, in the barn) they will be resurrected next spring. Athena looks a bit sad to see the season end but she is sporting perennial sedums and will rest inside for the winter. Frost crystals are beautiful and ephemeral. Each plant has a different textile pattern. Some flowers are doomed once the crystals form but others such as this calibrachoa, bounce right back. This squirrel has a weeping larch coat to keep the frost off his back as the sepia tones of autumn march on toward the black and white landscape of winter. Is it time to put the Christmas lights up yet?
High 63 F
Low 39 F
It seems there has been a recent visit from a garden elf as evidenced by the above picture. This elf leaves coppery fiddle heads in her wake. Does anyone have any idea where these might have come from? I am thinking they look very familiar and I think I saw them over here. Hmmm, my thanks go to the elf. Another addition to the garden this weekend will be this Amsonia hubrictii which Gail and I discussed during her visit here. I have the Amsonia tabernaemontana and have long wanted this one which does grace the cover of Nan Ondra's great book, Fallscaping. The fine foliage and fall coloration make it desirable but do you think it looks better with this Heuchera 'Caramel' or the contrasting 'Obsidian'? The pink muhly grass is not hardy here so that option is out. I could put it with Pennisetum but the forms are much the same. I am not sure where this will end up but I am kicking myself for only picking up one of these amsonias. This one I am going to call 'Gail's Pick' since she encouraged the purchase. I had just dropped Gail off at the airport and stopped in at a garden center to check in with a customer and these were right there in front of me. Sometimes you have to just seize the moment don't you think?
High 71 F
Low 48 F
Tucker leads the way!
A walk in the field and the woods was in order this week after the weekend of rain. The smell of fall is in the air and the mushrooms are growing with abundance in the woods, on the pine bark mulch pile and on decaying logs. I really wish I had time to take a mushroom class. They are all so different and so interesting. This one, while blurry, sorry, is a beautiful purple. The moss is looking lush after the rain and Tucker and I discovered this turtle poking along in the woods. It seems that he is trying to find a way under this log. The woods wind around the back of the field to the water hole which Tucker can never resist. He does work up a sweat with all the sniffing that goes on while he is walking with me. The Jack in the Pulpit foliage has disappeared in favor of the bright red seed heads. This plant is poisonous if ingested but the bright red seems to signal danger. We came out of the woods into the field which is yellow with goldenrod. It is just the beginning of the golden days of fall.
I didn't work in the garden at all this weekend and sadly it has been too long since I have done anything more than a bit of deadheading and vegetable picking. The lawn is shaggy from the rain and the veggie garden needs a bit of cleanup. The pesto needs to be made and on, and on, and on...All will get done, or not and that is just the way it is. Still, there are plants blooming without any added attention. These amaranthus have no beautiful flowers but then they really don't need any do they? The Cornus kousa is sporting red berries which I find almost as interesting as the white flowers it produces in June. Colorful fruit is always an added bonus. This gentian, it looks like a bottle gentian but the tag is hiding, is azure blue. So blue, that I think there should be a larger group of this plant but then we are always wanting a few more plants aren't we? Maybe this spot of sapphire is enough of a surprise in the garden. With the approach of fall, the scents in the garden are heavy and musky and Tucker loves to take a moment just to smell the season. Each season does have its' own scent and perhaps every month has a scent. September is scented with the ripeness that is the prelude to decay it seems to me. I wonder if , stripped of all other senses, I could tell the month by the fragrance in the air. What about you? What does your garden smell like this month?
High 80 F
Low 50 F
This is the time of year of great temperature disparity. It is chilly in the morning but as the day progresses, layers must be shed. The garden doesn't seem to mind. The blue plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, is showing its' fine colors and while it is blue, the flower buds are definitely red, creating a nice contrast. This nice little ground cover blooms in full sun or partial shade and, while it is listed hardy to Zone 6, I have never had problems with it in my 5b garden. It fills the gap over the spring flowering bulbs and produces nice foliage well before the blooms appear. Another late blooming flower is the Tricyrtis formosana ' Amethyst' . It is best up close as it has very small, orchid like blooms. I guess you could mass these plants for better effect but the intricate little blossoms do draw one closer to them. The form is a bit gangly but they are unique flowers well worth a second or third glance. The gentians are also starting to show color. This is a new species which promises to be a beauty (I promise to dig out the tag when it blooms). Lest you think that there are only small flowers blooming this time of year, the disco series of Hibiscus are blooming with flowers so overblown and large, they look otherworldly. I am never sure if I like this Hibiscus as it lacks subtlety with it's frisbee sized flowers but they are hard to ignore. What do you think of these Hibiscus and do you have any in your garden?
High 79 F
Low 59 F (so far)
I am fortunate to have a pool. I don't show it on the blog much as it seems a bit showy to do so but there it is. I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy a swim every few days or so. Tucker loves to swim. He uses it the most but when you live in the country with limited diversions, a pool is a very nice thing to have. The gardens around the pool include a border on the left side which has assorted Lilium and daylilies and also some annuals. It looked great when the lilies and the huge delphiniums were in bloom. It needs some cleaning right about now and looks best in a long shot. The veggie garden is on the other side (on the left in the second picture). Since the area has to be fenced by law because of the pool, even in the middle of nowhere, it is a good area for the vegetables. It is not too big which is why the corn patch went in last year. The pool garden is a separate room because of the fence. I love the gate which the EM made. It is simple and frames the view both into the pool area and looking out toward the ledge border. A sense of enclosure can be a very good feeling don't you think?
Low 66 F
It is difficult to capture the heat in the garden. This top picture was taken on the morning walk. It was truly a summer morning even though the calendar is not up to speed yet. The peonies are in full bloom and in danger of dropping the petals quickly due to the heat. The gardener is sitting in front of the fan and the gardening chores must take place in early morning or late evening. This is like Austin, TX I would imagine! How does one take a picture of a peony which will not bore the readers? I mention this as there are so many gorgeous pictures of peonies posted right now that it is hard to be original with a peony photo. As a blog reader, I delight in seeing pictures from all over the country. The variation in color and form abounds. As you will see, some of the peonies have petticoats which are much fuller than others. This picture shows the talents of the Equipment Manager. The inexpensive arbor in the barn garden fell to the ground this spring. The EM put his welding talents to good use with this project. The goal was to have an overhead structure with an unobtrusive appearance. I think he succeeded admirably and the clematis which were temporarily growing on the tomato stakes have started to twine around the rebar. What is better than rebar! Well, I guess it would be having someone who can bend and shape it! Speaking of bending and shaping, the high temperatures are pushing flowers quickly to bloom and past and also doing some bending and shaping of their own. This last picture tells the tale and it is just about how many of us are feeling right now.