Tag Archives: autumn garden

Wordless Wednesday – Yesterday

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Listen for liquid bird song at 16 seconds. Maybe Brown Cow Bird?

More of the liquid bird song.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

Quick Autumn Color

Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet Bronze’ (Snapdragon)

Remember the TV show where a contestant was given the chance to choose and keep as many items as she could shove into a shopping cart in just one minute? That is how I felt Tuesday when I stopped in at a favorite garden center, Southern States, while my husband waited in the car.

I have grown some snapdragons from seeds for the first time, but was looking for the immediate gratification of fully blooming plants.

Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet Bronze’ (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet Bronze’ (Snapdragon)

I took the last Erysimum on the shelf. I grew ‘Sugar Rush Red’ once before and it did well for a couple of years.

Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red’ (Wallflower)

I have not planted pansies in recent years, though a few pop up in springtime from past lives. These will be bright and cheery and the white dianthus will make a nice companion.

Ultima Radiance Lilac Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)

At the end of five minutes my cart was full and I had to rush on. Sometimes you can buy a little happiness.

Corona™ White Dianthus (Dianthus chinensis)
Ultima Radiance Lilac Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)
Sorbet® XP White Viola (Viola cornuta) Common Name : Horned Violet
Sorbet® XP True Blue Viola (Viola cornuta) Common Name : Horned Violet
Erysimum ‘Sugar Rush Red’ (Wallflower)
Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet White’ (Snapdragon)
Antirrhinum majus ‘Speedy Sonnet Bronze’ (Snapdragon)
Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket Mix’ (Snapdragon)

On The Run Purchases

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Glow

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement composed of materials collected from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Glow

The weather continues to feel very summery but autumn reveals itself this week in the bright, yellow glow of Swamp sunflowers currently dominating the western border.

The sunflowers are the focal point of this Monday’s vase.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)

A lichen-covered branch from the river birch out front is used for structure and visual texture.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Glow

This arrangement really is a lot of fun in person but its personality proved difficult to capture in photographs.

In A Vase On Monday – Autumn Glow

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)

Materials
Flowers
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)
Lichen-covered Betula nigra (River Birch)
Container
Oasis Lomey 11″ Designer Dish, black, round
Three floral pins (frogs)
Black stones

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)

The Swamp Sunflower has its attractors, including this Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus).

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – November 2016

Governors Park Foliage

Governors Park Foliage

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) is hosted monthly on the 22nd by Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.

Inside my autumn garden the foliage I wish today to note is this Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily). Flowers should precede the leaves, but sadly did not. These were planted a couple of years ago.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

I thought I would share a couple of scenes from a recent walk around the neighborhood. For the longest time it seemed we would have very little fall color and the leaves would simply drop without marking the occasion. Suddenly last week trees along the highway and inside my neighborhood lit up to make it really seem like autumn.

Specifically there are lots of colorful red maples that have been planted in rows along the sidewalks. They have turned bright red and look beautiful in the glow of the sun. But I really love the older trees.

This post oak is one of the grand remnants of an old farm, an anchor to the past on the land where my subdivision now sits.

Governors Park Foliage -Quercus stellata (Post oak) North American species of oak in the white oak section. Native to the eastern and central United States.

Governors Park Foliage -Quercus stellata (Post oak) North American species of oak in the white oak section. Native to the eastern and central United States.

Many of our houses face an elliptical-shaped common area (the rest are tucked into cul-de-sacs). Within this loop are several groves of old trees, hardwoods as well as pines. The trees in the image below approximately mark the midway point of the loop. Behind the trees sits a pond where occasionally a blue heron spends time.

On Friday when I stood at the south end of our “meadow park” looking north, the sky was blue, yet eerily darkened by smoke from wildfires in the western part of the state.

Governors Park Foliage

Governors Park Foliage

When I reached the grove of trees pictured above I took a few more minutes to gaze upward through the treetops. As peaceful and lovely as it was, the scent of smoke was overwhelming and I hurried along home.

Governors Park Foliage

Governors Park Foliage

By Saturday morning shifting winds had cleared the air. Meanwhile the fires are partially contained but have scorched thousands of acres.

Many thanks to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for reminding us the important part foliage plays in our gardens (and surrounding environs). Check out her foliage and that of other gardeners across the globe.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2016

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) is hosted monthly on the 22nd by Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. For the past two months my sun scorched foliage was largely uninspiring, but October brings a new perspective to the garden.

When I visited my cousin last weekend in the N.C. mountains she sent me home with a huge hydrangea, rooted especially for me from one that stood at my grandmother’s back stoop and filled my childhood self with delight many years ago. I planted it against the fence on the south border near some trees, where it should get morning sun and afternoon protection.

Hydrangea macrophylla (from my grandmother's)

Hydrangea macrophylla (from my grandmother’s)

Nearby and around the corner Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ is switching to autumn color.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers' (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Much of the foliage of interest in the garden at this time of year comes from a flush of growth from plants that died back or fared poorly in the summer heat. Fresh leaves on columbine, candytuft, Lamb’s Ear, yarrow and iris all add to the garden’s recovery.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

 

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) and Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) and Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

I am excited to see Anemone coronaria returning, though this is not spreading as I had hoped.

Anemone coronaria

Anemone coronaria

A couple of different Chrysanthemums bring not only beautiful flowers this time of year but also some welcome green.

Chrysanthemum 'Sheffield Pink' (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’ (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

Chrysanthemum with Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Chrysanthemum with Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell) does not bloom well in its current location but after several years it is forming a nice mat of ground cover which I would like to extend to other areas of the borders.

Veronica spicata 'Pink Goblin' (Speedwell)

Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)

Betula nigra (River Birch) and Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) are front yard trees with interesting bark.

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Betula nigra (River Birch)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

I bought another Iris domestica (blackberry lily) in early summer but never got it planted. Looks like it really wants to survive. Also, see how green the fescue grass is? After aerating and reseeding, it no longer resembles its brown-patchy self from August.

Iris domestica (blackberry lily)

Iris domestica (blackberry lily)

Hedychium coronarium has bloomed poorly this year, but continues to form flower buds. The leaves are quite beautiful. I think I will move part of it to another location where it can have more water.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ brings reliable color and texture to the garden throughout all seasons.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Planted along the corner of the front porch Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is a great evergreen shrub for year-round enjoyment and has late winter, sweet-scented flowers as well.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

To wrap up today’s foliage review I chose this gardenia hip. The orange color will deepen in the coming days.

Gardenia hips - Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia hips – Gardenia jasminoides

Many thanks to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for reminding us the important part foliage plays in our gardens. Check out her foliage and that of other gardeners across the globe.

Finding Connections

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Needed to spend time in the garden this morning, just wanted the connection to the natural world.

Several asclepias tubersosa were reintroduced to the garden last year. The seed pods of this one are showier than the flowers were earlier this year and I got lost studying them for a good long while.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-6

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-9

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-4

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-7

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-3

 

Eventually I moved on toward the front yard. For the past week the pair of crape myrtles at the end of the walkway have been shifting from green to rich orange and golden hues.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

I do not have the right equipment for taking good bird photographs but this pair caught my attention. Northern red cardinals are generally very patient at the feeder and seem content to share. The small bird is, I think, a Carolina wren.

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Behind the feeder is a passalong Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea) which lost its leaves a month or more ago for some reason. It usually has nice autumn color. Instead of leaves, random white blossoms brave the season at the tip top of the shrub.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Later in the morning, yoga class was overflowing so our mats were closely placed. During our practice we breathed in and out together, sharing our space and our energy, and connecting with ourselves and with each other.

These connections and the ones found in the garden in the early morning light carried me through the day.

Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I have not shown the garden along the southern side of the house in a long time. The Southern Side Path is a narrow border with a winding stone walkway, that provides access from the driveway down to the main garden in the back yard. If you walk down the path, turn around and look back up toward the street, this is the view you will see.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden

(Be careful not to turn your head to the right or you’ll see the neighbors’ house looming large.)

Standing in the distance near the street and not really part of the border, a Betula nigra (River Birch) is visible. This tree began losing lots of its leaves several weeks ago, but after some heavy rains came it decided to hold on to the rest of its foliage a while longer.

In the foreground, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ usually has a few flowers this time of year, but the weather has been especially encouraging to it this autumn. Behind and underneath the clematis is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In front (not visible) are planted Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

In between the clematis and the river birch are a host of odds and ends. A few are:

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Amazingly, these and other plants that grow here are all ignored by the deer which make their way between the two houses quite often.

Sitting along the path just in front of the dark green Wintergreen boxwood shrub, (Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’), is the current star of the Southern Side Garden. It is the fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) .

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Last winter was exceedingly cold so when spring arrived I was concerned whether the Ginger lily had even survived. Fortunately by mid-May a few stalks had emerged. Through summer it never grew as full nor tall as it had during the previous two years, but finally today a flower opened.

I had been eagerly watching this tender perennial for quite a few weeks, hoping it would bloom before a frost could wilt it back to the ground. I was curious when it bloomed last year. In checking my photo records I noticed the set of dates when I took pictures of the flowering ginger lily. An unscientific but interesting observation is that for the previous two years the ginger lily had flowered much earlier than usual and for an extended period of time.

Dates Of Photographing Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) Blooms In My Garden
October 18, 2008
September 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009
2010 – ?
October 13, 2011
September 2 – November 2, 2012
August 10 – November 7, 2013
October 17, 2014

Leaving the Southern Side Path, turn around and come inside the main garden. Here yesterday, I again attempted to capture the elusive monarchs. This time a couple of the butterflies were nectaring on the Zinnias, which made it easier for me to get close and get a picture from the back with the wings open.

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

I particularly liked this image which not only captured the eyes clearly, but recorded pink reflections cast from the flower onto the underside of the wing and thorax of the butterfly.

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Patterns In Orange And Black

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

A handful of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) arrived to the garden a week ago. Most often I have observed them dancing between the swamp sunflower and butterfly bush where it is difficult for me to get close.

This afternoon I set out to photograph three monarchs as they fed on Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the southern border.

Lantana and Monarch

They stayed put until I tried to move in, then each flew up high, away and settled again a few feet further, often on the opposite side of the fence where the lantana peeks through. When I switched to video the one in my viewfinder sat perfectly still until it sensed I had turned off the camera. I had to laugh.

I chose a few of the photographs and cropped them to reveal some of the detail.

Lantana and Monarch – 1

Lantana and Monarch – 1 detail

Lantana and Monarch – 2

Lantana and Monarch – 2 detail

Lantana and Monarch -3

Lantana and Monarch – 3 detail

First Morningtide—October 2014

Lantana camara (Common lantana) In Southern Border

Lantana camara (Common lantana) In Southern Border

Today’s early sky wore a draping, heavy fog. Dewdrops coated every leaf, flower and blade of grass. Would you agree the first morning hours are the the best time in the garden?

The lawn was covered with dozens of spiderwebs courtesy (I think) of Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider).

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

In the Southern Border everlasting sweet pea flowers continue to form.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)  is new this year and has seemed slow to get growing. On the other hand, long established Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) is very aggressive.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)  and Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) and Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

An interesting and delicate-looking fungus popped up today. I could not figure out its name, but a friend who has been studying all things fungi identified it as Parasola plicatilis.

Parasola plicatilis

Parasola plicatilis

Tradescantia used to be one of my favorite passalong plants, admired for its pretty blue, three-petaled flower. It became roguish in my current garden so I am always trying to dig it out or at least cut it back to keep it from flowering.  It is much tougher and persistent than I am though. Tradescantia is growing all around the garden, but this happens to be in the northwest corner of the Western Border.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

I actually bought this white Tradescantia. Although white ones are found wild, this may be a hybrid. It does not have the tendency to wander.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

The dogwood leaves picked up some autumn color this week. A bird (presumably) found and chewed one of these red ripened berries. Next year’s new buds are forming.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy) has performed extremely well this year. Now its color is evolving through brick red and rusty hues. Notice the Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ shows up frequently around the garden.

Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

Roses need more care than is included in my normal “water twice and leave it alone” gardening philosophy. Rosa ‘Iceberg’ did poorly in the spring and I began thinking about taking it out of the garden altogether. This morning I found this excuse to delay.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

New lupine leaves look very healthy.

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

Though I have never seen one growing around here, I have always wanted to grow a lupine. It comes from long ago because of reading a book about The Lupine Lady to our young daughter. On a whim back in April I purchased a container of Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’  from a local nursery and for some reason (probably because the tag said it would be 5-6 feet tall) I put it toward the back of the Western Border where it was pretty much out of view. It did have several flowers but never gained its expected height.

May 15, 2014  Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

May 15, 2014
Lupinus ‘Woodfield Hybrids’ (Lupine)

If anyone can offer lupine advice I would appreciate your ideas. Did I end up with a dwarf variety or is this normal in the first season? Should I relocate it to the front of the border?

This photograph does not capture the foggy feeling but here is a view of the early morning garden.

Garden View With Fog In The Distant Sky

Garden View With Fog In The Distant Sky

Gravitating Back To The Garden

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Autumn arrived this past week bringing a succession of cooler days and rain, lots of steady rain. Fortunately Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), a native which reached over 10 feet tall before finally blooming about five days ago, managed to withstand the rain without falling over.

Yesterday the sun returned and I felt the pull to get busy in the garden again.

For many months I have often felt disengaged from my garden and as a result the flower beds have wandered through spring and summer with only minimal maintenance. But recently I took some time to enjoy the garden and my outlook changed.

Yesterday and today the weather was so pleasant, we ate every meal outdoors overlooking the borders. This morning while talking to our daughter in California, I sat in the garden on the bench next to a group of tall, colorful zinnias . As we chatted the birds chattered also and the chimes sounded gently in the breeze.

Looking around the last couple of days I noticed how things are still very green and how, despite my inattention, the garden continues to work well as a peaceful respite, at least when I take time for it.  Before long I really wanted to get to work, so this afternoon I spent a few hours cleaning up, trimming away some overgrown spots and pulling lots of weeds.  The time passed quickly and quietly—it was very satisfying. It is not that I have not kept up with some of the essential chores all along, it is rather that today I felt connected again.

Last spring I planted a dahlia at the back of the western border, thinking it was going to grow very tall. It grew slowly and soon got lost behind more aggressive players: Tradescantia, Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’, Physostegia virginians (Obedient plant), and a recently blooming, tiny white daisy-like flower I believe to be native Boltonia asteroides (false aster) or perhaps it could be native Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster).

Dahlia peeking out above Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Dahlia peeking out above Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

I gave the dahlia some breathing room and placed a peony ring around it for support—better late than never perhaps.

Dahlia After the Cleanup

Dahlia After the Cleanup

Here is another embarrassing, entangled planting to the left of the dahlia. My goal was to pull up all of these plants today, but first I wanted some before images. As soon as I entered the border to take pictures I noticed a colorful orange and black butterfly that seemed not to mind the weedy, unruliness of this area.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

As I moved in with my camera it alighted on an echinacea and I realized it was not a monarch as I had hoped it might be. I did not recognize this butterfly.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Nectaring On Echinacea

I managed one more photo as it prepared to take off. Tentatively I identified it as American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), but would appreciate help in confirming it.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

In the end I pulled up most of these plants, but the false aster (if that is indeed what it is) was teeming with wasps and bees, so I felt I should leave them some food.

Wasp on Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Boltonia asteroides (false aster)

Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

I hope my gardening enthusiasm lasts for a while. Blue skies and lower humidity really help.

Early Morning Views and Notes

After several chilly nights today will be much warmer, reaching a high of 70°F. The time changed on Sunday, clocks set back, making the evening darkness felt more intensely.

The extra hour of daylight was reassigned to morning (sunrise today was at 6:44). At quarter past seven the suns glow on distant treetops was visible from an upstairs window. Still, the meditation circle and indeed the entire garden waited in shadow for the sunlight to reach.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Scenes From The Back Steps

At the southwest corner, growing too close to the ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress, is a Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud) sporting golden color.

Early Morning View

Early Morning View

The circle of soil in front of the bench is where we recently removed a small (but growing too large) Red Maple that was not in a good location. For now I will plant some daffodil bulbs and a spiral of pansies.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) in the northwest corner lost many of its leaves when rain and winds passed through Saturday. Its scarlet leaves have been exceptionally colorful this year and the rusty-hued flowers of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop) further up in the border unexpectedly reinforced the strong red. I am trying to notice combinations like this to employ for greater impact.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

The foliage of the Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) along the meditation path also works well in echoing the dogwood’s color.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

The neighbors’ Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) has been unattractively brown all summer, due to a fungus, I think. Finally its brown hue seems more seasonal.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

In the meditation circle itself the cream/pale yellow pansies stand out much more than the blue and purple ones, another effect to remember when planting here. Subconsciously I may have remembered the white Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) that bloomed effusively in the circle for a time.

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

Meditation Circle Early Morning View

October Sunday Flowers and Insects

An old favorite pass-along plant, this Chrysanthemum has been part of my garden(s) for more years than I can remember. Found the first flowers just starting to open today, bringing sweet memories of the person who shared it with me. The flowers are small and grow from a woody stem.

Chysanthemum

A transplanted Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) began blooming several weeks ago bringing a fresh greenery and fresh blooms to the fall garden and attracting insects.

Gracing its flower was (I think) a Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus).

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Soon a bee moved in to join the party.

Bee on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Bee on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The bee and the butterfly shared this flower for only a second or two before the bee settled down on a nearby flower.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Revolving The Evolving Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle - 01

Nests of ants have become recent squatters and the voles appear to have returned to the meditation circle. But there are no signs of deer jumping the fence this year, so after avoiding them for years I am taking a chance with pansies and violas to add some color to the meditation garden this fall and winter.

Delta Premium Pure Primrose (White to pale yellow)

Delta Premium Pure Primrose (White to pale yellow)

Delta True Blue (medium blue)

Delta True Blue (medium blue)

Viola (purple) - detail

Viola (purple) – detail

I spent most of the day fixing up the meditation circle, which has been on its own since spring. Since creating it in April 2011 I have tried to rely mostly on evergreen perennials to mark the walls of the labyrinth, but results have been uneven.

After planting the pansies and violas in-between the perennials, I watered them in well. With luck they should last until spring. maybe by then I will have a new inspiration for the meditation garden plantings.

Meditation Circle - 02

Meditation Circle - 03

Meditation Circle - 08

Meditation Circle - 09

Meditation Circle - 10

Meditation Circle - 04

Meditation Circle - 05

Meditation Circle - 11

Meditation Circle - 12

Meditation Circle - 13

Meditation Circle - 14

Meditation Circle - 15

Meditation Circle - 16

Meditation Circle - 17

Meditation Circle - 18

Plants in the Meditation Garden October 1, 2013

Pansy ‘Majestic Giant Purple’
Pansy ‘Delta Premium Pure Primrose’ (white to pale yellow)
Pansy ‘Delta True Blue’ (medium blue)
Viola sp. (purple)
Penstemon ‘Husker Red’ – seeding everywhere
Penstemon ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue) – did not bloom well this spring, dying out
Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) – died out last year; replanted in spring, also dying out
Mounding Thyme – developed black areas from center; two completely died, some are recovering. Trimmed today.
Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Violet’ – (annual) planted in spring, only now blooming.
Dianthus ‘Ideal Select White’ – several died; relocated two further into center. Needs deadheading constantly.
Dianthus (salmony-pink color) – one died; bloomed most of summer but not attractive, needs deadheading constantly.

Garden Walk In Early December

During a late afternoon ramble through the garden I noticed the simple dignity and beauty of this fading Clematis flower.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

For the most part I have been letting the plants die back naturally, leaving seed heads for the birds and winter interest. This suits my gardening style and is a good way to postpone cleanup chores until at least January.

Four and five-foot stalks of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ criss-cross and lean along the southern side path, each topped with brown cones. At the base its large leaves are in various stages of change.

Seed heads of Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Seed heads of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Leaves of Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Leaves of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

This fall there have been several brief periods of cold nights and a couple of hard frosts, but soon the weather warms again. A small Spiraea transplant, after experiencing this transition from cold to mild temperatures and detecting a similar amount of daylight as in spring, sent out a few more flowers this week, even as its leaves turned rich red-orange rust and rosewood.

Spiraea Blossoms

Spiraea Blossoms

Rust-colored Spiraea Leaves

Rust-colored Spiraea Leaves

In many areas mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) soften the garden at this time of year and fill the beds with soft greens, reds, yellows and burgundies.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The cold temperatures have damaged many of the sasanqua blooms, but the shrubs are full of buds and continue to brighten the northeast corner of the house.

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Almanac

Fifty-two degrees at 4:50 pm. Overcast most of the day. The sky was deep blue and clear during my garden walk but the sun was low and most of the garden had fallen into shadows. Chapel Hill and about two-thirds of the state are in a moderate drought with little chance of rain forecast. Temperatures will edge back up into the seventies by the weekend.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – October 2012

It is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and here are some examples of the variety of foliage in the October garden.

Strongly patterned leaves of Arum Italica are maturing this month in a shady spot under the camellias.

Arum italicum

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge) has been growing in a large pot on the patio since spring and is my first and only Euphorbia success.   It needs to go into the ground soon. Having never reached this point before I am not sure how well it will overwinter.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) has been expanding its territory recently and has sent up shoots among the Sweet Alyssum, a dainty annual. At this height the lime-green young leaves add nice textural contrast to the tiny white flowers of the Alyssum and they are nicely fragrant.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum)

Autumn leaf color has become quite noticeable only in the last five days. The complementary hues found in this leafy pair added a touch of boldness to the garden this week. This particular tree has been an underwhelming performer, but in general, Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) is beautiful in spring and fall.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Gentle mounds of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) fill part of a border near the back steps. Round-lobed leaves range in color from pale green to a coppery russet pink, accentuated by dark red stems.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage)

Purchased on a whim because they were on sale, three new trees were added this month in front of a south-facing portion of privacy fence. Online resources describe Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper) as having a pyramidal form; however, these seemed very narrow at the store, which is what I liked about them. Also, the plant tags appear to have understated the final height and width, and oops, it may not tolerate heat and humidity very well.  I believe I could find a lesson in all this—instead I planted them anyway.

At least the foliage has an interesting texture and is soft, not bristly nor prickly.

Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ (Juniper)

Thanks to Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month.

October Blooms Inventory

October 15, 2012 update. As everything listed here is still blooming today, I am connecting this October 9 blooms inventory to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for October 2012. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting.

Fall is coming in spurts. Pumpkins sit on porches in the neighborhood along with ubiquitous potted chrysanthemums in yellows, golds, rusts and burgundies.

Oddly though my garden has lots of pink, including this Phlox paniculata, one of several that I noticed blooming today in a back part of the border, miraculously undisturbed by deer.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

The ground is soggy. The garden has been heavily saturated again for the last few days as rains fell and temperatures dropped. Today’s high of 58°F is quite a change from the 88°F of a week ago. Tomorrow the weather will warm up to 72°F and by next Tuesday the temperature is projected to rise again to 80°F.

Rain held off during the day, but dense clouds reigned this afternoon as I inventoried which plants are blooming in the garden today. Some plants are fading fast. Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) can just barely qualify as still blooming, but there were a few red petals so I counted it! Other plants are still producing fresh blossoms and will keep going until frost, such as Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily). There actually were a few stray flowers on the large Spiraea shrub in the western border.

  • Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
  • Ageratum
  • Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon)
  • Aster
  • Buddleja davidii  (Butterfly Bush)
  • Camellia sasanqua
  • Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
  • Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia ‘Stargazer’
  • Dianthus
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)
  • French Marigold
  • Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’
  • Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)
  • Gaura Belleza (™) ‘Dark Pink’ (Butterfly Gaura)
  • Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)
  • Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
  • Lantana camara (Common lantana)
  • Lavender
  • Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)
  • Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess®’ (Sweet Alyssum)
  • Meadow Sage ‘May Night’
  • Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
  • Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)
  • Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) 
  • Penstemon  mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
  • Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
  • Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
  • Salvia splendens (Scarlet Sage)
  • Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
  • Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)
  • Spiraea
  • Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ (Purple Heart)
  • Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
  • Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
  • Zinnia

I have already thought of a few plants not listed here, but the inventory is fairly complete and putting it together today made a rather interesting exercise. Click an image to see these at a larger size in gallery view.

Camellia Sasanqua

Autumn is the time for Camellia sasanquas and on Tuesday I noticed the first blooms of the season. Colored a milky white and tinged with rosy-pink edges, the open flowers of this species are 2-3 inches across.

Camellia sasanqua

The variety name of this particular Camellia sasanqua has been lost, but even nameless, it is a carefree, reliable fall bloomer. Maintained at roughly 6 feet tall, at this time of year the plant is full of buds and promise.

Camellia sasanqua

Camellias are evergreen and for that reason this and several other Camellias were purchased around 2003 to hide utility equipment at the northeast corner of the house. The dark green leathery leaves, as well as its dense form, make Camellias work very well for screening hedges. The blossoms are an exceptional bonus.

Camellia sasanqua

Planted tightly adjacent to the shrub currently blooming is Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide,’ which will produce bright red flowers by November.  Sometimes cold weather will damage the flowers but most often there are plenty of red blossoms to float in glass dishes for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

[There is one other Camellia in the garden, though not a sasanqua. It stands further down toward the garden entrance and is a late winter-early spring variety, Camellia ‘Coral Delight’ (C. japonica × C. saluenensis).]

Someday I plan to add more Camellias to the garden. In particular I admire the white formal double flowers of Camellia sasanqua ‘Autumn Moon’. It really is lovely and I believe more white flowers are always useful. There is an open house this weekend at a local camellia nursery—maybe I will have a chance to visit and explore the Camellia world a bit more.

November Observations

The air is cool, yet the day is a bright sixty-two degrees. In the southern side garden, sunlight strikes the Perovskia Atriplicifolia and the Pink Muhly Grass, setting them ablaze. The Jackmanii Clematis too captures the sun, while Cosmos and Cleome fill the afternoon shadows.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Pink Muhly Grass, Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Clematis, Cosmos

Cosmos

Cleome (Spider Flower) and Cleome

The southern side path is also home to Tradescantia (Spiderwort), a nostalgic, old-fashioned favorite plant in this garden.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

The southern border is filled with Chrysanthemum and Sweet Pea today. The chrysanthemums are expectedly just so close to opening, but it is a surprise to see the pink of the sweet pea at this time of year. There are too many eager growers in this border, all with the same growth habit and all reaching similar heights.  Others competing for attention and space here are Salvia ‘Blue Sky,’ Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ and Tansy. The ‘Blue Point’ Juniper hedge needs sun though and some of these plants must find new homes.

Chrysanthemum and Sweet Pea

Along the back of the garden, the western border features a Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush) that, having looked rather scraggly all summer, finally produced some lovely blooms.  The fragrance is not appealing and this plant can be invasive, so it may not be a permanent presence in the garden.

Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)

In the northern border a few Echinacea or Purple Coneflower continue to bloom, even as nearby specimens brown and fade.

Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)

Along the northern side of the house, Helleborus is coming back into focus, as is Arum italicum, which died back during the summer. The strongly patterned leaves of the arum and the plant’s unique shape make it interesting even when not in flower.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Arum italicum

A final garden observation for today is the lovely Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide.’ There are only a few blooms so far, but the promise is there for a prolific flowering.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

September Finale

The garden revived during September. Relatively cooler temperatures and generous rain showers encouraged plants to extend their bloom periods. As the month wanes, the September garden looks exceptionally better than in many years.

This endearingly fragrant Iceberg Rose is particularly lovely this week.

Planted beneath the rose is a broad mound of Nepeta or Catmint.

In front of the border and close to the Nepeta, Meadow Sage is staging a welcome comeback.

It is easy to see that blue flowers are favorites in this garden. Another deep blue, this in the form of Tradescantia (Spiderwort), is reblooming, while Autumn Joy Sedum contributes a soft pink hue.

Setcreasea pallida or Purple Heart was crowded out all summer by Monarda (Bee Balm) and by encroaching nandina. At last though the Purple Heart has succeeded in blooming.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) was introduced to the side garden from another section earlier in the spring.  It seems to get enough sun now and generally has been thriving in its new location all summer.

The combination of Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) with its Pink Muhly Grass neighbor forms an interesting garden texture.

Nearby, the reblooming Jackmanii Clematis adds a touch of the exotic.

Angelonia thrived in the meditation circle even during the hottest part of the summer.  An annual, it has become a bit leggy. Perhaps it needed a strong shearing to maintain its shape and keep it blooming more vigorously.

A strong favorite in this garden, Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) is an example of perennials touted as drought-resistant. Nonetheless, the extra rains have really kept these blooming much longer than normal. American Goldfinches and other birds love this plant.

The only hydrangea that survived in this garden performed very poorly this year again. Perhaps it is time to transplant to a new location. Fortunately though, on the screened porch a hydrangea has bloomed all summer, even as it sits in its original plastic pot simply tucked inside a clay pot. The flowers are gaining a beautiful burgundy hue.

Chrysanthemums bring a beautiful deep red to the last day of September.

A Few Days Into Autumn

Fall 2011 began September 23 and the time since has been filled with many rains. The moisture has encouraged continued flowering in the garden. After a brief shower early this morning, the sun has been in and out of clouds all day. The temperature is currently eighty-five degrees.