October 15, 2014
This morning I cut a few flowers for a vase just before the skies opened with welcome but rather gloomy rain. My Japanese anemone (Anemone robustissima) flowers are just the right shade to blend with mauve English roses. At center is pale 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh.'
I also included deeper pink 'Sister Elizabeth' roses, though they don't last as long in a vase.
Snowberries and sprigs of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) fill out the arrangement, and a few leaves of lady's mantle (Alchimella mollis) make a ruffle around the base.
Although they look sweet and delicate, Japanese anemones generally spread aggressively, so I have limited them to one corner of the garden.
Two types of white roses had a few blooms open, so I added 'Meidiland White' and tiny 'Francine Austin.'
Here is a full view of the arrangement, which makes a cheery contrast to the wet, grey, cool weather today.
October 8, 2014
Although we have awoken to a few frosts so far this fall, most days have been warm and sunny. Above is the view from the bench in the northeast corner looking west. It felt like a little bit of heaven sitting out there, so I made myself get up and go grab the camera to capture a memory.
The roses in the front yard have sent out some crazy octopus arms. 'Eglantyne' is especially bad about this in fall. I cut off the highest ones already, some of which reached seven feet tall.
Daylilies in the side yard have turned yellow, and the roses have quieted down after their September flush of bloom.
I have been busy transplanting things along the path in the backyard. The plants recently uprooted, divided and replanted include Astrantia, Astilbe, Veronica and Geum. My husband kindly transplanted large clumps of Siberian Iris (like the one above at bottom left) and removed hostas to make room for bronze fennel to attract more Swallowtail butterflies. I also dug up Colchicum cilicicum bulbs from the front and replanted them along the path. Now I'm warmed up to plant all the bulbs coming in the mail, right?
These next few shots were taken from an upstairs window. Thousands of adorable, tiny red crabapples adorn the 'Royal Raindrops' trees. Each one will try to grow into a new tree next spring, and my kids will earn a lot of pennies pulling them up.
This is the area shown in the first photo, though that one was taken in late afternoon and this one in the morning.
As the honeysuckle grows up the side of the swings, I just slide the black zip ties up to hold the stems at the top. Yesterday I trimmed around the bottom to confirm that I had room for two more 'Pink Delight' peonies right in front at the base. I also ordered 'Rivida', whose seed heads are supposed to ripen to red, which will be fun in arrangements.
This angle shows a lot of little plants that have yet to fill in their space, but it'll happen eventually.
I keep feeling drawn outside throughout the day to enjoy what's left of the garden before most things go to sleep. This last shot shows plenty of green left on the east side of the house, but soon the moss in the path and a few evergreens will be all that's left for winter.
September 29, 2014
There are still quite a few flowers in the garden despite an early frost on September 12. Above is a cluster of Colchicum cilicicum, which are the most vibrant of the Colchicums I grow and my favorite. Their tulip-like leaves grow in spring and disappear in June, then the flowers pop out in September. These have multiplied rapidly in the last few years, so I plan to transplant some to the backyard.
I don't know the exact name of these pale Colchicum, but they've made nice clusters that have kept the bees happy on sunny days.
My delphiniums are in the middle of their fall bloom. They bloom first in June, then I cut them down to the ground, and they send out new shoots that put on a second show in September. The ones above are 'Pagan Purple' from Dowdeswell's New Millenium collection.
These 'Green Twist' delphiniums, also from Dowdeswell seed, are growing in part shade. A few days after taking this photo, I noticed they'd all flopped over - despite the wire ring I'd set up around them - so I lopped them all off and put them into a vase.
My roses have also had a nice fall flush of blooms, especially 'Sister Elizabeth,' above.
'Francine Austin' is trained as a climber, and its petite blooms are a useful ingredient in many of the flower arrangements I make with other English roses.
I planted annual 'Green Mist' Ammi visnaga this spring, thinking it would work well in arrangements, but the flower heads are usually too large for the tight nosegays I often create. I'm planting milkweed in this spot next year to attract more Monarch butterflies - I enjoyed watching one last week on one of the butterfly bushes.
'Limelight' (above) and 'Little Lime' hydrangeas are pinking up with the cooler temperatures. They are a great filler in arrangements, but I often find a wasp or earwig hiding inside the inflorescence. Ewww.
Here is a fuzzy photo of one of my 'Scarlet Pearl' snowberry shrubs (which seem to be some other variety since they don't match Monrovia's photos). Supposedly the berries persist all winter, as birds do not eat them, but last year they all turned mushy brown when the weather got cold. They're pretty for now, though.
These 'Farmington' double asters are cheerfully blooming along the backyard path. My other aster, a dark violet one, hasn't yet bloomed. It had better hurry up or the frosts will zap it.
Speaking of frost damage, my Let's Dance 'Big Easy' hydrangeas were the only permanent casualty of the frost earlier in the month. Other plants lost flowers, but these little shrubs are especially tender and many of their leaves turned brown and crunchy.
After killing several types of Japanese anemones - I think they're not quite hardy enough for our winters - I finally planted A. robustissima, and it has survived for several years.
Wall Germander (Teucrium) has subtle flowers that keep the pollinators happy.
Finally, this is a shot of 'Amethyst Falls' oregano, which has been blooming for several months with these interesting flowers.
The last flowers to show up in my garden are the fall crocus (Crocus speciosus and C. 'Oxonian'), which should pop out soon. By the time I finish planting all the tulips, alliums, and other bulbs I've ordered, I'll be very happy to take a break from gardening for the winter.