Thursday, November 24, 2016

Around the Garden in November

Happy Thanksgiving! Life here this November has been fairly quiet and very wet. We've had multiple days of rain, preventing us from any large projects. Between downpours, however, we relished every minute of being outdoors. Here's a recap of the month so far, another grab-bag post of what's happening around the farm.


The last of the fall color. The tree with leaves still on it is a Cornus nuttallii or Pacific dogwood. This view is from the deck looking towards the gate in the southwest corner.


I do have one small Before and After to share. This photo was taken one year ago when we got the truck stuck in the mud dropping off plants to the plant prison. Oh my. Facilities Manager not happy.


Here is the base of the deck as of last week. My plan was to remove these pavers and replace them with flagstone and clean it all up a bit. It's not obvious in this photo, but the ground slopes here, making it slightly annoying to walk on.


There was some gravel laid down here earlier this summer, more to keep dust and mud at a minimum. 


Here is the whole path. I have a vision so hang in there with me.



Last week we picked out about 15 medium-sized flagstones of our local Camas basalt. The sloping ground was cut into and leveled off. Soil that was removed was mounded up on either side of the path, creating low berms to plant in.


After the path was dug out, some gravel went down to allow for adjustments while placing the stones.


Playing with rock placement. At this point, tired of the mud, Facilities Manager is taking a nap.




Finished path (mostly) with gravel back-filled between the stones. 


As seen from the driveway. On the right side we removed some sod to create a curved edge and I added three Carex muskingumensis 'Oheme' or palm sedge as well as three cistus, though they are difficult to see. On the left I added a prostrate cistus.


You really cannot see any of the cistus I planted! We'll just have to wait for these fabulous shrubs to fill in.


Let's look at the Before and After again. This is November 2015.


 November 2016. On the left, two Panicum 'Cloud 9' were gorgeous this summer, now at the end of their year. On the edge is a Callistemon viridiflorus or green bottlebrush plant, an evergreen shrub from Tasmania. It's been in the ground there nearly a year. New to that area are several Thymus 'Foxley' for groundcover and some sedums. The graveled ground is now level and much more comfortable to walk on.


Looking towards the right or southeast corner of the property. The blue spot on the left is the cover for the fire pit to give a sense of perspective. The tall green plant in the center is Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather'.


The rest of the stones were used to finish this path on the other side of the deck. It's much nicer to walk on steps and gravel rather than mud.


And now for something completely different. My gardening friend Pam Penick of the incredible garden blog Digging recently had an Agave ovatifolia named Moby do what they eventually do. It bloomed. That meant the end of Moby, but the beauty of it is that in its death, it produces many baby Mobys. Pam was so very kind to share the joy with many gardeners and friends. This package arrived for me last week and really made me smile.


There they are! Two baby Mobys. They are potted up and I will thoroughly enjoy watching them fill in their pots and eventually become residents of Chickadee Gardens when they're old enough. Thank you, Pam, the generosity of gardeners makes my heart soar. 


On to some blooms and foliage around the garden. This is the Eupatorium 'Elegant Feather' close-up. These plants are about 7' tall. Amazing for their first year in the garden. I like these nondescript flowers, when seen in a mass they look like waves pointing their foamy caps in multiple directions.


See what I mean?


Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers' is finally turning fall colors.


Here, the Cornus nuttallii leaves seen close up show the rich hues. I am so thrilled to have this native tree on our property. We actually have three, but this is the largest and most spectacular of them. The are notoriously difficult to grow, but luckily for us they were already here. 


And the Echinacea purpurea keeps on pumping out the blooms. Silly flower.


This may not be such a spectacular sight for many of you, but for me it is. I had been, up until now, cursed when it came to California poppies or Eschscholzia californica. Seeds of this and other native wildflowers were sown earlier this summer and it turns out the poppies like it here. The idea was to cover the ground with something other than weeds until the perennials and shrubs fill in, so I am very excited these have taken off. Plus, the bees love them.



My mystery pumpkin did not turn out to be the fairy tale variety I had hoped for. It's a mystery to me what these are or where they came from, but here they are. Not bad for a volunteer seedling. They did not have a chance to ripen as the seed sprouted much too late in the season for that. Still, we enjoyed watching these grow.


Last but not least, Facilities Manager's GREEN chicken coop now has residents! No vacancy! We adopted four hens from a family who was selling the farm. These lovely ladies are from left to right: Frida, Betty, Effie and Blanche. Say hello, girls! More fun with chickens to come.


I leave you with an image of a perfect fall day, wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are, whatever you are doing. I know there are challenges we all face these days and some of us are not fortunate enough to be able to celebrate. With that in mind, I believe that every day is a good day to be grateful for what we have, for you never know when life might change it all for you.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting, and happy gardening, whatever amount you can get in these wet fall days.





23 comments :

  1. Barbara H.8:39 AM PST

    Lovely post! And a much improved walkway, too. I found you recently. I'm a former Portlander (gone 9 years in last August) who now lives in NE Alabama, which actually reminds me of Oregon a lot. Summers, however, are too hot, too humid and often too dry. Your property is very enticing.

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    1. Thank you Barbara! We are appreciative of the improved walkway, especially with all the rain we've had...less muddy feet!

      Where in Portland did you live? What brought you out to Alabama? I love hearing others' stories. Thanks for reading and commenting! Happy Thanksgiving.

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  2. That path is a big improvement! I have a small area where I want to put in gravel and stones in a similar fashion. I love the names you picked for the chickens, especially Blanche for the black one (so fun!) Glad you're having success with California poppies, they're my favorite annual, and yes, the bees just adore them. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Yes, we agree...thank you Alison! Thanks for the approval on the chicken names, we were going for old fashioned little old lady names...I love the girls - they're so fun.

      So I'm not the only one with California poppy issues, eh? That's so interesting. I've tried the mikado, copper pot and others so many times I had almost given up. I'll save seeds if possible for you, Alison as this strain seems bullet proof. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. I'm amazed by the progress you're able to show with each and every post! The chickens are an exciting addition and I'm envious of the California poppies, which I've had lackluster success in growing here, in SoCal, where they should grow...Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you Kris! Chickens! We love the girls. They are very sweet, although haven't been out roaming yet as it's been one rain storm after another around here.

      You too on the poppies? They should be fabulous for you. Maybe your soil is too good? That's all I can imagine, as your garden is spectacular. Happy Thanksgiving to you goo!! :)

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  4. Last photo is beautiful, in one year your garden made an amazing progress. I like the path with steps and gravel it looks natural and of course no muddy shoes anymore.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thank you Janneke. I do like the steps with gravel too as I use that route a lot. It saves on mud clean up inside the house. Oy!

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  5. I had beginner's luck with my first poppies, so was unprepared for them to be difficult here. Finally, I have a few, which I am encouraging to live long and prosper. I can't believe your before and afters after only a year! I only began to see that kind of progress after 10. I'm with Alison, getting a giggle out of a black hen named Blanche.

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    1. Go poppies!

      I'm glad people like Blanche's name, I was quite tickled with it. She was the first to be named, I think she told me her name telepathically.

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  6. The new path looks great! Ok, I hadn't been that impressed with Eupatorium 'Elegant Feathers' before. I mean, why would I want something that big that leaves a huge hole in winter? But your photos might be bringing me around. I'm still waiting on fall color on the Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen' I planted last year. I might actually need to plant it somewhere drier. We'll see.

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    1. Thank you, Evan! I know what you mean about the Eupatorium and I still am not 100% happy with the huge hole it will leave for winter, but it's so stunning and adds such dimension right now that I'll leave them. I may move them somewhere else when other shrubs fill in so the Eupatorium doesn't shade them out. I love the plant, though.

      Oh, the hydrangeas. They do like some sun, these got much less water than the other hydrangeas on the property, so perhaps you are right....less water? More sun? These colored up really late, though.

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  7. wow, your garden looks as great in the Fall as the summer!!

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    1. Why, merci, Miss Fifi! If you saw it in person you might change your mind :) There is mucho mud out there right now. Oh well. Bring your dad out again some sunny fall/winter day and meet the chickens!

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  8. Wow - you guys knock them out, like others eat popcorn - by the fistful! Nice job on the pathway. Hope you had a great T-day, T! I love, and agree a 100% with this last bit of wisdom: "...every day is a good day to be grateful for what we have, for you never know when life might change it all for you." I'll call you tomorrow to see if we're still on for Monday. :D

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  9. What a lovely post. And thanks for pointing out the blooming Eupatorium. I'd have missed mine otherwise. Cheers.

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    1. Thank you Patricia! Those flowers are quite petite, easy to miss. Cheers back atchya! :)

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  10. What a difference! I'm amazed at how quickly things are filling in.

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    1. Thank you Garden Queen! Things are growing very quickly around here...I'm a little worried that I'll have to start moving things around to accommodate them!

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  11. You are amazing. The new path and all of the projects you've done are inspiring. Oh my, Eupatorium 'Elegant Feathers' is a stunning plant. Looking forward to hearing about your chickens, such fun and silly birds. Hope your Thanksgiving was as perfect as that last picture!

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    1. Oh Peter, you are too kind :) -- the Eupatorium is sooo freaking cool, if you have room for one they add a lot of drama and height to the border. Hope your Thanksgiving was good too! I love your story about the Tofurkey and the bouquet in the box. Good stuff on your blog!

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  12. I'm loving the progress on your garden projects. It's such a transformation already! I'm glad, also, to see my package arrived safely, and I hope the little Moby Jr's grow well for you. :)

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