Thursday, September 21, 2017

The End of Summer at Chickadee Gardens

It's been a very hot, dry summer at Chickadee Gardens. As it seems that these days we have two seasons rather than four - that is to say a wet season and a dry season, I realize it behooves me to document the end of summer since the rains have officially returned. I was able to catch literally the last dry days this past week, some infused with wildfire smoke. 

Please know that I welcome the rain with open arms as we have gone nearly four months with no precipitation. I am, however, fearful of a repeat of last autumn, winter and spring and our record rainfall. Time will tell, but for now I savor every last drop of summer.


A view of the labyrinth garden from within its circle. Beyond is the vegetable garden and orchard.


 The area I call the meadow has filled in considerably. This is full of grasses, asters, alliums, verbenas and other easy seeding perennials. I plan on doing a little adjusting this fall to make it easier to see beyond some areas, but generally speaking it will be on the free and easy side. More than anything, it's for the pollinators.



 Another view of the labyrinth garden with Teucrium chamaedrys or germander on the left, Solidago 'Fireworks' is the tall plant in the background.



 A sweet visitor feasting on a sunflower's seeds, a black-throated gray warbler. Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' in the background.


 Detail of Solidago 'Fireworks', just beginning to bloom, so wonderful for late-season pollination.


 My river of Sedum 'Matrona' - my favorite upright sedum.



 Bloom of Macleaya cordata or plume poppy.



 Late summer and early autumn is the time for grasses and asters to shine. Here Panicum 'Northwind' simply dazzles. Asters to the left and Coreopsis rosea in the foreground.



 The same path looking the opposite direction. Pennisetum 'Karly Rose' on the left.


Panicum virgatum 'Cloud 9' on the left, behind the sunflower is, I believe, Miscanthus 'Malepartus'.


 Detail of Panicum virgatum  'Cloud 9'.


 The reverse of the sunflower from two photos ago. Here, our farm name, Blue Jay Lane Farm, earns its name. The sunflowers really are planted by and for the birds.



 I couldn't resist another photo of Panicum virgatum 'Cloud 9' partly because of the Dorycnium hirsutum or hairy canary clover just below the Callistemon viridiflorus.


 Detail of Dorycnium hirsutum or hairy canary clover.


Just on the other side of the canary clover is this bed with my favorite of Arctostaphylos, A. 'Saint Helena' glowing in the evening light. 


 A few more grasses, here Muhlenbergia rigens or deer grass stuns. These are amazing when the light catches them, and to think I have a whole row surrounding the fire pit. I knew they were supposed to be great but this is amazing and they're not even fully grown. Patience is paying off. Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point' from Xera Plants edges this bed.


 Another shot.

Facilities Manager Update: A few weeks ago the hens would have this area scratched up and messy. I am pleased to report the hens love their new yard, and Miss Tamara rests more easily these days.



Asters are also going strong. Here, Aster ericoides 'First Snow' (Asters are now classified as Symphyotrichum, but I can't get into that) does its thing in a white area of the garden.


 More asters - no i.d. on these but they are more like a hedge.



 Another hedge of asters, these are quite likely a native aster, Aster subspicatus. I moved a few seedlings from the old garden and, well, they did this.



 Stipa tenuissima or Mexican feather grass with Festuca 'Beyond Blue' in the dry creek bed area.



 Impromptu late summer bouquet, tied onto the garden shed support. Allium seedheads and panicum flowers.



Late summer usually brings the goldfinches. Here, a few gorge themselves on sunflower seeds.


 Here they are at the water cooler, having a party.


 Calluna vulgaris 'Velvet Fascination' continues to impress.



A view of the fire pit and gravel garden beyond.


 I just love the way guara picks up the evening light.



 A new favorite sedum has white blooms - Sedum 'Stardust'. 



 The wildfire smoke can be detected in this photo of the labyrinth garden.



Parts of the veggie garden are winding down. The cauliflower served us well and is finished. The cabbage has been harvested and is becoming sauerkraut, and the beans continue to produce as do most other veggies.


A couple surprise melons I did not plant (intentionally). I believe these are watermelons mixed in the strawberry bed. Silly melons. 


The pumpkins are coming, the pumpkins are coming! Maybe the Great Pumpkin shall visit our little sincere pumpkin patch this year. Oh boy, I hope so!


 A little 'Winter Luxury' pie pumpkin.


 That corn! The tallest in front is Paraguayan chipa and tops out at over 10 feet. It's a flour corn to make the Paraguayan national dish, chipa. We'll have to bust out the Paraguayan cookbook. OK, we have to find one first, then bust it out. Blame Facilities Manager for having starry eyes about growing "interesting corn varieties."



Pa, that's some tall corn. FM says twice as tall as Ma!


Last but not least the evening light catching some of my favorite plants.

I am a little melancholy that summer is officially over, but I am also a person who loves autumn, especially if it's dry. We'll have to wait and see, but so far it's been a cool, wet week and the plants are happy for it. Sure, some of the taller grasses have flopped over in the rain, but all in all the rest of them are breathing a collective sigh of relief. We are also breathing better as we have been incredibly busy this past summer and we welcome the break from watering. Also the wildfire smoke which has been very oppressive has finally dissipated.

These moments between the seasons are the ones I think excite me the most, even if in a very subtle way. I guess it's more accurate to say they move me. I feel a sense of comfort knowing the new lettuce has been planted for a fall/winter crop, the pumpkins and squash are coming on and beets continue to be delicious. I love seeing the crazy amount of birds in the garden this time of year as well as an abundance of honey bees, bumble bees and many other native pollinators. It's an insect superhighway out there and I am privileged to be among them.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting! We love hearing what other gardeners are up to and to read your input. Happy gardening, everyone and happy autumn!
 


30 comments :

  1. Anonymous8:26 AM PDT

    I'm in awe. Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you! I am humbled :)

      Delete
  2. What a fine summer in the new garden. Yes, flowers for the pollinators -- but those incredible grasses for our pleasure! Can't wait for that deer grass to fill in. It looks like you've been here years already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been a fine summer, Denise. OH, the grasses. I'll keep you posted on those deer grass - amazing plants. Do you grow them?

      Delete
  3. It is amazing how quickly the new garden has grown and filled in. I love it. It would be nice to see the view from the deck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Barbara! I'll include a shot from the deck next time just for you :)

      Delete
  4. Like Barbara, I find it remarkable how quickly your garden is filling in. I love all the grasses and your avian visitors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nature is amazing, it has filled in rather quickly. The birds are wonderful to live with, they are so busy and bring such life to the garden.

      Delete
  5. oh my , oh my. Your gardens are just splendid. I would never want to go inside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you KS! I am humbled. I do spend every waking moment I can outside, I have abandoned my house chores to be a garden vagabond.

      Delete
  6. It's looking so wonderful in only its second year. Just think how thick it will look next year when it's even more mature. I will never call those starry flowers anything but asters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not alone in my disdain for calling asters anything but. Asters always. Did you see your Eupatorium 'Elegant Feather' in the photos? They amazingly came back, albeit late, but better late than never.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful T, just beautiful. Your vision is reality! So, did that double heart on the sunflower (image with the Blue Jay) just happen on it's own? Fabulous photo either way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Loree! The vision is closer and closer! Yay! The heart on the sunflower, I put there as a love note for Facilities Manager. You can write on them when they're done flowering...it's quite fun. OK, so we don't get out much any more and that's entertainment to us. The bluejays have been gorging themselves the past few weeks, I just got lucky with that shot.

      Delete
  8. Your garden looks amazing! Love how many birds you have. I wish we had that many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rebecca! The birds really do bring life to the garden, we are fortunate to be among so many.

      Delete
  9. Gorgeous! You've created your very own paradise for you and all the wildlife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laura! I appreciate the kind words. We are trying to garden for the wildlife, so I'm glad you picked up on that :)

      Delete
  10. Amazing and so impressive what you have accomplished in such a short time. Those grasses are great exclamation points in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shirley! The grasses do add some architecture which is important while the evergreen shrubs are still small. Plus they add movement to the garden, a bit of extra life.

      Delete
  11. So fabulous, Tamara. I feel the joy in everything your write. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Patricia! :) I'm glad you're feeling it! xo

      Delete
  12. How is it that you have no weeds? You make me wish I had a bigger, full-sun area to garden. Your whole garden is drool-worthy, Tamara. Really exceptional!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Umm...clever photography? I DO have weeds, to be sure. The "Labyrinth" garden doesn't have many because it was formerly landscape fabric with 6" of sand on top, but they do fly in from outside. I am just diligent about weeding - but it's hard to keep up on 2 acres.

      Having full sun is wonderful, I've never really had that before.

      I hope you can come visit someday, Grace! You're always welcome!

      Delete
  13. For a new garden, your garden looks amazing. So much autumn beauty: the grasses, asters and the river of Sedum 'Matrona', really love it. But when you were busy with the lay out and creation of this garden I knew already that it would be great. I still remember the blogpost about the construction of the fire pit and the gravel garden, it is how shall I say, well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janneke! The autumn feel is really in the air, I always love this time of year if it doesn't rain. Your words are so kind, yes - you've been following along from the beginning, hanging in there with me. Thank you again.

      Delete
  14. Beautiful garden, Tamara. What a privilege to armchair-enjoy it from the poop deck! Those goldfinches look like pets 😊. I just want to snuggle them. Love the design around the fire pit, tied it in with a sweep of gravel path.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Alyse! Come over and visit, neighbor! The birds are great, they have a lot of personality, to be sure.

      Delete
  15. It's gorgeous. I can't believe you've only been there for a couple years!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your garden tours are always such a visual treat. It seems like only yesterday (probably not to you) that you moved and started this garden. I'm impressed with how gorgeous everything looks!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!