Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Autumn Fun From My Garden

At this time of year in this hemisphere, we focus on the dead (All Hallow's Eve/All Saints/All Souls/Día de Muertos) and on the dying of the light, the dying of the year, the passing of summer.  Liking to buck trends, today I'll focus on living and beginning against the odds, living among the dying, or at least dying beautifully.  How's that for a theme to string together a bunch of random photos?    

This unnamed dahlia, picked up in a four inch pot, longing to be set free in larger quarters, has rewarded me with lots of these cool blooms and continues to pump them out, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it's cold outside.  Maybe it's quite aware and hoping to reproduce before it goes dormant for the year.  Someone keeps cutting the spent flowers,  undoubtedly frustrating the plant to no end.  This tuber is a keeper! 

Some of the repeat blooming roses are still going at it like 'Marjie,' a sport of 'Cecile Brunner.'

A fun jumble of stuff.  Abutilon megapotamicum on the left is blooming in colors that go very well with the oranges of the Acer foliage.  Smoke tree on the right with rain covered "smoke."

New violas will share their sunny little faces all winter long and into the summer.  Hopefully they'll be happy and seed around if they can find any empty space, a rarity in my cramscaped garden.

Every year's surprise is which tropaeolum speciosum will have lived/died, where it'll pop up & if it'll bloom or not.  More surprising is the survival of this one in a pot and the fact that it just started blooming in the fall. The large terra cotta pot in which it was planted to climb up a very blue Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt's Blue' which Squak Mountain Nursery's website describes as "Simply a ravishing narrowly columnar accent or articulation plant with the most breathtaking powdery blue sprays of fine foliage."  More surprising because the pot crashed down and broke during a winter storm and wasn't repotted for a week or so.  Something (too much water during this summer's heat wave?) killed the Port Orford Cedar but the tropaeolum speciosum came back with gusto and climbed the evergreen(well everbrown now.)  Perhaps, once frost claims the tropaeolum, I'll spray paint the dead cedar.  I'm afraid to try and replace it as I don't want to disturb the tropaeolum roots.  More tasteful options might be to simply cut the tree to soil level and replace it with a trellis or put another evergreen in a pot atop the grave of the previous one.

The others all bloomed at the "correct" time this summer.

The promise of more to come.

Come on mild winter!

My persimmon tree, freed from the shade by this year's timber bamboo grove reduction, finally set fruit which was starting to color up nicely.  Dreams of seeing the bare branches laden with mouth watering persimmons after leaf fall and enjoying home grown fruit were dashed when the squirrels, quite numerous since the leaving of our previous neighbor, who trapped and relocated or shot them, decided to beat me to it. Okay, this doesn't fit the theme.

Alien-looking buds of Fatsia japonica always thrill!

Acer japonicum 'Green Cascade' is putting on quite a nice color show. 

Pots by the back steps, mostly occupied in the summer by tender plants are mostly ready for winter. The gardener needs to plant a couple of black plastic pots in the ground and the others need to be planted in the ceramic pots in which they're sitting. The objet d'crap also need to be rearranged as well and maybe that misfit brown pot moved to a different location.  Gardening's a process, right?

Glass mulch.  The self-imposed rule was that none of these could cost more than a dollar.  They were sitting around already, having been found at the dollar store, on the side of the road in "free stuff" boxes, and at Bedrock Industries. The moss covered concrete sphere in the back appeared in my back alley a couple of years ago. All are less than seconds with major flaws, cracks, dings that are against the soil.

What's thrilling/disappointing you in your garden this autumn?


  1. In answer to your question: "Not much is thrilling me and my lack of enthusiasm for doing anything out there is disappointing me!"

    But hey! I really like the photos here and especially your d'crap grouping!

  2. What a great attitude! There's always some pretties to show, Isn't there? Love the colors of the dahlia, the maples, the tropaeolum. The viola is the dearest, though.

  3. Not much is thrilling me out there at the moment either. Well, I am having occasional fun in the greenhouse, potting stuff up, grooming and watering plants. I have a dead conifer out there too, the Sunlight Lace Hinoki cypress that I moved out of my front bed into the back last spring. But nothing as pretty as your Tropaeolium to climb it. I'm still suffering from back and shoulder pain, so I'm not doing much gardening.

  4. Sorry you've lost your Lawson's cypress 'Pelt's Blue'. You must try this lovely blue dwarf again. My Dahlias are looking "done". The unnamed variety in the first picture is a looker!
    My Garden Owner also sees 'little faces' in viola flowers. I delighted him with new winter plantings with exact color combo yours.

  5. Oh no! Not your persimmons...darn squirrels. There's a tree a couple blocks away that is positively covered this time of year, it's quite the sight.

    Thrilling me = I recently spotted a tiny Euphorbia lathyris seedling coming up. Heidi (Dragonfly) gifted me a pair of plants back in 2011 when I was there with the Seattle GB Fling group. They bloomed and died the following summer, after spitting out copious amounts of seeds. Three years later one of them has finally germinated...

  6. You have my heartfelt sympathies with respect to the persimmons. I love the glass mulch.

    I'm disappointed I've observed no fall color here this year. We never get much, which makes the few plants that turn color all the more special, but the weather has been just too warm to get any color this year (at least not yet). I'm thrilled that we've finally finished digging up the soil in the backyard and have distributed the first 3-cubic yard topsoil delivery. Roto-tilling, laying flagstones, and digging up the former lawn area in front await!

  7. You have some nice foliage and flowers for autumn. Sorry about your Port Orford Cedar. I'm a little surprised that even in your area it has problems. The heat inland stresses them out and makes them susceptible to Phytophthora root rot. My parents have a screen of them planted along part of the fence line, and I think they are starting to succumb. My grandfather just finished removing his large specimens last year, which all died one after the other of root rot.

    I was just examining my garden last weekend for things that die gracefully vs. looking like not-so-hot messes. In the former category is Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'. In the latter is bearded irises. I'll be doing my own version of your post next week, after I have a chance to do a bit more examining.

  8. That Flame Nasturtium is beautiful. I couldn't grow it as a perennial, but might consider it as an annual. Thanks for the idea. Love the description of the Cypress--so dramatic. ;-) And your theme is excellent. I always notice those types of plants, too--the underdogs, the flowers before the frost, the plants that bloom in March, etc. For example, most of my Hyacinth Bean plants are kaput, but I noticed a lovely little bloom that kept catching my eye for about a week. I don't think any pollinators were around to allow it to set seed, but it sure was a pretty little bloom. Great post, as always!

  9. What a 'Green Cascade' , Peter! Lovely! What's disappointing me this autumn? ---- Nothing except apples : they ALL were bad, were eaten by insects.

  10. Love all the color in your garden. I believe your violas will do well. The wild ones grew rampant in our orchard through ice, snow and being mowed all the time.

  11. My rose 'Cassie' is disoriented as to time - thinks it's June and is blooming like crazy. Great color in your garden - I love the Tropaeolum. Squirrels are just evil.

  12. No killing frosts as yet, but the rains have discouraged some things from keeping up the good front. It's mostly flaming leaves, bright berries and tassled grasses that bring a smile to my lips when they are not wrapped around a cup of hot cocoa by the fire. You still have plenty to smile about, it seems.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.