Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall color here and there

Visiting in Ohio, enjoying the amazing colors of fall.  Many of the leaves are already down.  Today I saw a huge ginkgo, spectacularly golden.

Back home there is very little sign of fall, but this blueberry is on some otherly schedule. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chocolate cosmos

This perennial cosmos actually smells like chocolate.  It is a good example of a plant that requires good drainage.  I know if a plant description says needs good drainage that it probably is not going to make it through one of our soggy winters in my silty soil.  The solution is growing in a pot. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lemon tree, very pretty : )

Robby and Candace gave me a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree for Mother's Day. It is blooming now.  When the front yard is finished I think I want a cluster of pots, lemon, pomegranate, and bay leaf trees.  But right now the lemon tree is next to the rosemary and the combination of scents, lemon blossom and rosemary, causes me to pause and take a second whiff each time I walk past.  This is an amazing plant combination, maybe too good to change. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Down but not done

When I cut the vines from the smashed arbor I laid the clematis vine on the ground.  It just kept right on blooming!  The crazy thing is so did the cardinal climber, and it had been pulled out by the roots and chopped off the arbor. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creeping Charlie

When Robby was born the hospital gave me a two inch pot of Creeping Charlie, which is a house plant here as it does not like frost.  I have, however, kept one growing outside for several years.  Last week I dug out a hosta, more beloved of snails than of me, and put Charlie in the ground.  I need to get some clippings going before frost, but right now he is very happy in the new location. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good bug

So tickled to get this shot of a praying mantis eating breakfast. I hope he was eating a fly, although I couldn't quite tell what it was.  Why they call them praying, instead of preying, is beyond me. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


My doctor always says gardening is not exercise.  Next year he can come pull out my tomatoes!  : )   Every fall it is a challenge to decide when to pull the tomato vines.  This year I grew indeterminant plants, which means they grow to be giants.  It was that, mainly, that had me out this morning ripping them out.  I did save a basketfull of green tomatoes that will ripen on the counter.  Not as good as summer vine ripened tomatoes but as good as anything in the stores.  Because the vines grew so large they sprawled all over and the snails have been feasting on and ruining every turning red tomato.  So just as well they are in the bin and out of there.  Now I won't have to wonder if I will end up having to pull black slimey frosted vines. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy thought

Sitting here drinking my morning tea, I suddenly remembered I have a clump of sparaxis.  I saw the emerging leaves the other day and thought what are those?  : )  Sparaxis!  They are not my favorite spring bulb, but the sudden thought of the reddish clusters made me happy enough to sit down to record it.  Actually, sparaxis come in a range of colors, but I pull out offending pinks and keep the gorgeous reds.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall blooming perennials

Perennials that wait for fall in our mild climate are rare.  For example, given the chance mums will bloom in June.  Pinched back until August, they will wait to bloom until October or November.  Mine are just budding. 
Some that wait on their own include Eupatorium 'Chocolate', as discussed below, Japanese anenome, asters and heleniums.  My aster is done for the year though, as is the helenium.  Evidently fall to them means early September.  I need to look into the pinching them. 

Other fall bloomers are Sedum 'Autumn Joy', and soldagio, goldenrod, neither of which I have tried, so I am not sure when they actually bloom here. 

I want to try the fall blooming bulbs, Schizostylus and Nerine, but have not been in the mood to shell out the $$ for an online bulb purchase.  They both come in reds. 

Of course there are always the continously blooming salvias, rudbeckias, dahlias and phlox, along with others I am probably forgetting.   

Friday, October 8, 2010

Eupatorium 'Chocolate'

There aren't many perennials that are truly fall blooming here, as the perennial bloom season begins so early for us.  That makes this one all the more special. This year since I did not pinch back the perennials, 'Chocolate' has sprawled, spreading cocoa foamy tufts of flowers across this shady bed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Arbor down

Evidently the extra water weight from last night's rain was too much for my arbor. This morning it was lying on the ground.  The clematis were at an all time great fall rebloom, but at least the fall did not pull them up by the roots as I at first feared.  The cardinal climber would have bloomed another month, then turned black with the first frost.  So overall the loss is not as bad as it could have been.  We knew the arbor, $5 from Michael's about five years ago, was on its last legs : )  having already rusted through and been re-stabbed into the ground earlier this year.  There is a plan to build a new one of copper pipe.  At some point.  You know how it goes. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Missed opportunity

I just realized that as I was moping around wishing the hot weather would go away I was missing one of the things I like most about gardening.  Planning!  Gardening can be just like Christmas!  : )  Plot and plan for the next season, put those little seeds or plants or bulbs in the ground and then wait for the great unveiling! lol  Love it!  Of course Christmas may come and go with little recognition of the One for whom we supposedly do it, but in the garden there is no denying the Master's hand.  So this year the books stayed on the shelf, and only last night did I bring one out, Plant Marriages, because I am moving some things and recreating.  I have seeds, bought a year ago.  I knew I had seeds and was just waiting for it to cool off to plant, rather than reveling in what and where and how.  Too bad I missed some weeks of pure enjoyment. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cool season timing

It is late for cooling down.  Winter annuals need to be growing well before cold weather.  It is quite a trick to get them in after that last hot week, so they don't sit there and fry, yet early enough that they get enough sun to get up and going.  I like to get things in by the end of September but today was the first day cool enough to even think about it.  So I was out most of the day, except for some heavy phone time for work.  I overhauled one small bed, which took a good 3-4 hours.  Next I probably need to get seeds started and the bedding annuals out.  I also need to plant bulbs, and all those bulb related things, corms, etc.  I just remembered yesterday that I have ranunculus I saved from last year.  Then there are the cool season veggies, broccoli, peas, and all the leafy greens.  I saw today I do have 3 tiny chard plants trying to grow.  Interestingly, some seeds want to be sown at 80 degrees, then want some good cold for a period of a month or two.  Our late warm season and short cold make these easy to do outside. If the cloud cover continues, the next few days should be fun.  : )

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Late summer/early fall?

While the calendar may say it is fall, I think summer is still with us.  We went for a drive through Yokohl Valley to Springville today and the hills were beautiful in all their shades of brown, from the ecru barley to the deep umber of the oak tree bark.  My favorite is the burnt sienna of the buckeye trees. They are dormant with that amazing reddish-cocoa color all summer.  Come cold weather, the leaves will drop and the buckeyes will shed their husks, hanging through the winter with that same rich color against the bare grayish branches. Fall is so fleeting here, no more than six weeks, usually less; it would be nice if it lingered a bit.

We had a splatter of rain last night; it moved me to tears.  So silly! : )  But half a year with no rain at all makes even a splatter something new and amazing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 1 flowers

Continuing from February 1:
Wax begonias

Continuing from March 1:
California poppies

Continuing from April 1:
"little tree" Solanum atropurpureum


Continuing from May 1:
Verbena bonariensis
Pomegranate tree
Annual Lobelia

Continuing from June 1:
Hydrangea macrophylla
Echinacea 'White Swan'
Dahlia 'Bishop's Children'
Fuschia 'Gartenmeister Bonsteder'

Continuting from July 1
Verbena, ground cover
Crepe Myrtle
Phlox paniculata
Agastache rupestris

Continuing from August 1
Cardinal Climber

Continuing from September 1

New for October 1
Aster 'Purple Mound'
Japanese anenome
Eupatorium 'Chocolate'
Still to come, mums (which did get pinched back to keep them for later bloom)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lady Emma Hamilton

Meet Lady Emma, my new rose.