Tag Archives: late fall garden

Late November

It was 24°F. when I left to teach yoga this morning. After class I braved the still below freezing morning temperature to explore the recently cleaned up garden.  Usually I wait for late winter/early spring to begin the clearing, but I hired some gardening help this year because the garden has gotten out of control. Voles had destroyed a Blue Point Juniper hedge and those trees were dying all summer.  Finally now they are all removed and the southern border looks very exposed.

Southern Border

Now I can see the outlines of the beds. It is not really a clean slate because there still are many aggressive plant roots biding their time, but for now I feel relieved. The meditation circle is free of obstacles and I can reset the stones and enjoying walking the labyrinth once again. My last minute bulb ordered arrived just before Thanksgiving and I can start getting them in the ground.

Meditation Circle

A dwarf Itea with its nice fall color was revealed during the clean-up. Inexplicably the shrub was planted several years ago at the back of a border, where it is hidden most of the time.

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Confused, little mixed-up daffodils found the weekend’s 60°F. warmth encouraging enough to peek out. They don’t seem phased by the deep chill.

Daffodils

After the clean-up there is little left in place to offer unexpected blooms, but a couple of dianthus flowers stood out in the sunlight.

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – November 2015

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

It is time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

Admittedly, I am a spring gardener and even this month’s welcoming mild temperatures and mostly sunny days have done little to reignite my interest in gardening for this year; however, after an uninspiringly hot, dry summer followed by several weeks of rainy deluges in early autumn, November has ushered in a calming, peaceful charm to my little garden.

After a couple of light frosts touched the plants, some of the more delicate specimens quickly retreated. Overall there is still a generous amount of green, but Hydrangea macrophylla offers an embarrassed blush, having never flowered this year.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Artemisia in the side garden retains much of its integrity.

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Anemone coronaria had a fine blooming season this spring and early summer, then it completely died back. It has achieved fresh new foliage in the past month or so.

Anemone coronaria

Anemone coronaria

Iberis did not bloom well this year, but the green leaves have revived. Achillea is extremely aggressive but I like its fern-like foliage.

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow) and Iberis sempervirens

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow) and Iberis sempervirens

Planted in late spring this shade-loving Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba) survived the tough summer and is now forming berries.

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Also in the shade nearby, the ever-so-slow-growing Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box) sports dark green foliage.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

In several places Daffodils are emerging. I used to worry about this odd behavior but they always manage.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Foliage of Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ adds nice texture and color to the border. Only a few leaves at the top of the plant suggest a rainbow. I have not grown this plant before so perhaps it will continue  to develop richer colors in the leaves, but the variegation is already quite nice.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

A few branches of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) display red leaves, but most have simply turned brown.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

More red leaves, these are from the dwarf Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers.’

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

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

I moved a lot of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ out of the meditation circle and into the borders.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

There are plenty of fresh gray-green leaves of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) around the garden.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Yesterday I planted three Gardenia jasminoides (cape jasmine) purchased from a farmers market vendor. The leaves on these species gardenias are much larger, thinner and less glossy than my other gardenias.

Gardenia jasminoides (cape jasmine)

Gardenia jasminoides (cape jasmine)

Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

Frost And Glisten

 

Frosted Thyme In Meditation Circle

Frosted Thyme and Angelonia In Meditation Circle

Thyme in the meditation circle was dressed in white in the chill of early morning. Soon petals, leaves and berries glistened as sunlight reached the garden.

Frosted Thyme In Meditation Circle

Frosted Thyme In Meditation Circle

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Salvia nemorosa 'May Night' (Hardy Sage)

Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood) and Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) and Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

 

By 1:00 p.m. the afternoon was sunny and mild at 62°F. (17°C.), perfect weather for planting some new gardenias I bought at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh last week. I bought three old-fashioned Gardenia jasminoides (cape jasmine), but now am second-guessing whether they will be cold hardy.

A Garden Review of 2014: Late Summer and Autumn

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Busy with family events this week I missed making a Monday vase and am behind reading favorite garden blogs. But I prepared this entry ahead so I could stay in touch and complete the last exercise in this 3-part review.

As the days grow short and we head toward winter, I have been finding cheer and smiles through a 2014 garden review project suggested by Cathy at Words and Herbs. In the past two weeks I revisited my Spring and Summer gardens. For the last installment of this project, I have selected some things to share from Late Summer and Autumn.

September

It is amazing to watch certain plants awake each year to achieve great size and presence in the landscape.  At mid-June, a full two weeks before the first flowers opened, Lantana camara (Common lantana) was merely a round clump of greenery, but once blooming it began attracting insects and hummingbirds. By Early September lantana fully dominated its corner of the southern border in color and mass.

Showing plenty of leaves, Lantana camara (Common lantana) June 12, 2014

Showing plenty of leaves, Lantana camara (Common lantana) June 12, 2014

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana)  in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border September 3, 2014

Facing west: Lantana camara (Common lantana) in the Southern Border and Zinnia in Island Border September 3, 2014

Tucked nearby blue Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) looked stronger than usual this year.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) september 3, 2014

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) September 3, 2014

A yellow passalong iris began flowering again in early September and continued through October.

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

By mid-month a few more Chuck Hayes gardenias flowered. Unfortunately the shrubs never regained their vigor this year so they are on a long list of things that need attention.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

September temperatures were still hot. Autumn officially arrived on September 22 and the day before had been almost 90°F/32°C. The garden was still very green and Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) was full of those funky-colored purple berries.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

In September the search to fill a vase each Monday kept me more in tune with the garden than normal and I began during this time to gravitate back to the garden, appreciating its varied offerings.

Meanwhile Everlasting Sweet Pea rebloomed better than it had in spring and Obedient Plant was in its prime.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) seems cheerfully content.

In A Vase On Monday September 1, 2014

In A Vase On Monday September 1, 2014

Occasionally I found a few fresh blooms of Echinacea around the garden to include in a vase, but most of them looked rather tired. Despite the flowers’ ragged appearance American goldfinches were to them attracted anyway, as was this American Lady. This was the first time I had noticed this type of butterfly in the garden. It was not a strong year for seeing butterflies.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) September 27, 2014

Native Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) reached over 10 feet tall before finally revealing its sunny color. The bright yellow blooms attracted many pollinators and made the western border positively glow.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border September 27, 2014

October

A heavy fog moved in the first morning of October and the lawn was covered with dozens of spiderwebs (Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)).  Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) and Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy) added rich red hues to the garden.

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

Agelenopsis sp. (Grass Spider)

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

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

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Hylotelephium telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy)

Hylotelephium telephium ‘Herbstfreude’ (Autumn Joy)

My favorite red this year was the Blue Bell Dahlia. I planted it in the Northern Border back against the fence, expecting it to be much taller than it actually was. It grew to about 3 feet tall.

Dahlia 'Blue Bell' October 16, 2014

Dahlia ‘Blue Bell’ October 16, 2014

The dahlia’s dark red flower featured prominently in most of my In A Vase On Monday arrangements during October, including one that is my favorite from the whole year.

In A Vase On Monday-2 In A Vase On Monday-3

Monarchs appeared in the garden during the second week of October and kept me chasing after them with my camera for days. Lantana and Zinnias were their favorite nectaring plants as they loaded up to continue their fall migration.

Lantana and Monarch (detail)

Lantana and Monarch (detail) October 10, 2014

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia October 17, 2014

After many years of wanting to grow Spider Lilies as my grandmother had done, I finally ordered some bulbs and planted them this fall. When the foliage emerged I realized it will be next year before I see them bloom.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily) October 22, 1014

At mid-October I was pleased to see the Jackmanii Clematis flowering again in the narrow Southern Side Path along the side of the house.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden October 17, 2014

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

The fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)  opened around this time, also located along the Southern Side Path. This year only a few flowers had time to fully develop before getting nipped by cold.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) October 17, 2014

As the end of October arrived Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower) rallied to produce a fresh display of pristine blossoms and a few blooms of Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’ appeared. Like the Hedychium, this highly scented camellia was a casualty of an early cold snap, but for a few days it looked nice outdoors and paired well with White Swan for an indoor arrangement.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana-Jiman’

November

In the first days of November the autumnal colors of Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) were remarkable.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

A passalong Chrysanthemum starting showing color mid-October and had come iinto full bloom the first week of November, just as the temperature fell slightly below freezing overnight for the first time this fall.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

A bargain purchase of red Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) gave the meditation circle some much needed color.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) In Meditation Circle

A few days later seed pods of asclepias tubersosa were fluffy and inviting.  The pair of crape myrtles at the end of the front walkway were shifting from green to rich orange and golden hues.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-9

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Using Crape Myrtle leaves as a beginning point, somehow I was able to find plants representing each season of the year to include in the “Four Seasons” vase on November 10.  “Four Seasons” referred to the annual cycle in the garden and was my way of helping mark the first year anniversary for Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday - Four Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – Four Seasons

By the end of November the garden had settled in for a rest, while I began looking ahead to spring with dreams of hyacinths and Anemone coronaria.

Rainy Meditation Circle

Rainy Meditation Circle

Fall 2014 Bulbs - Hyacinths and Anemones

Fall 2014 Bulbs – Hyacinths and Anemones

A big thanks to Cathy for hosting this 2014 garden retrospective. Visit Words and Herbs to see her own reviews along with links to those of other participating garden bloggers.

Spring Optimism

Fall 2014 Bulbs - Hyacinths and Anemones

Fall 2014 Bulbs – Hyacinths and Anemones

Last year I ordered Anemone coronaria for spring delivery and they arrived very late from the inexpensive catalog company. Disappointingly, only one or two survived. Christina suggested a fall planting might work better so in early October I found a reputable source and placed an order with Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. By the time the box arrived last week I had forgotten about the order. It is so easy to surprise myself!

I also bought some richly colored hyacinth bulbs from a local garden center. The packaging is well-designed to appeal to customers like me, but this was not an impulse purchase. Each spring one or two hyacinths from a single package planted 13 years ago emerge to remind me I really should get more hyacinths. Finally I have listened.

After a busy week with family visiting I thought today would be perfect for planting some spring bulbs, but the garden is waterlogged.

Rainy Meditation Circle

Rainy Meditation Circle

Instead perhaps I should use the time to figure out where in the world I thought I would put these bulbs.

Fall 2014 Bulbs
Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’ (12)
Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’ (12)
Anemone coronaria ‘Admiral’ (20)
Anemone coronaria ‘Bride’ (50)
Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ (50)

 

A November Note

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) pops up all over the place often with subtle color variations. This deep red-violet is one that caught my attention early this afternoon. This little insect also found it interesting.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

It is well into November and some perennials continue blooming, mostly Echinacea. Pale yellow Chrysanthemums still brighten the southern border and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and one unknown sasanqua are laden with fragrant flowers. Rosa ‘Iceberg’ has been lovely for several weeks.

Several camera-shy butterflies visited the last of the zinnias today.

Zinnias in November sunlight

Recently opportunities to spend even a few minutes in the garden have been rare. There are still many autumn tasks to complete—irises and daffodils to plant, weeding and mulching to finish. The garden is not waiting on anyone to get a list of chores done. It is shutting itself down gradually and gracefully, as if ready for a nice rest.

There has been no rain for a few weeks. Several light frosts have left the thyme in the meditation circle briefly coated in white, but today was a warm and sunny 73° F.