It seems this time of year lends itself to broad sweeps of landscape. Perhaps it's the warm tones of quickly changing leaves juxtaposed with still bright greens of grasses and other plants in the garden. When given an opportunity I find myself wandering around in awe of all of this color. I love looking at the big picture now more than ever, but those tiny details still catch my attention. Here are some of my observations this season both on grand views and tiny ones.
Someone requested a picture of the view from the deck. Here is one angle.
Besides trees and shrubs turning color, most perennials are still standing, adding their own contribution to autumn.
I do notice a few small details in plants that are still flowering. Here, Penstemon 'Red Riding Hood' has not only been incredibly hardy but this thing doesn't know when to quit. The hummingbirds appreciate the late-season supply of nectar.
The sun has been especially kind this autumn by making many appearances.
Facilities Manager hides behind his miscanthus mustache.
And oh, how about that Miscanthus sinensis 'Malepartus'? Incredibly upright all season long. Rain does not seem to phase this giant grass.
Helianthus angustifolius or swamp sunflower. Mike at work turned me on to this lovely large plant (this is only a year old, it will reach several feet high) that really begins its show in November and keeps going until a hard frost knocks it back. It can't be beat for a late shot of yellow. It is a native of the Eastern half of the U.S.
The bark on one of my no i.d. Japanese maples simply glows. Anyone care to chime in if they have an inkling as to its cultivar?
Parthenocissus henryana or silver vein creeper. This year it finally put on some good growth and turned colors. Here's what the Great Plant Picks website has to say about it:
Parthenocissus henryana is an outstanding vine for Northwest gardens. Its distinctive leaves have three to five leaflets with beautiful silver veins decorating them. The leaves have deep burgundy undersides and are often flushed with purple as well. This vine develops spectacular red fall color-strongest in full sun-before dropping its leaves for winter. Silvervein creeper is self-clinging, attaching to garden walls or trees (which it will not harm). It is especially effective along a dark background or against a contrasting wall. Unlike most vines, Parthenocissus henryana is suitable for the lower light conditions of north-facing walls or woodlands.
Several weeks ago I stopped by Means Nursery and bought one of these white pine shrubby things. They have no i.d. but are clearly some form of Pinus strobus. I thought I'd pick up one, expecting to pay around $40 which is cheap for a 10-gallon shrub of this size. Turns out it was $4.99. Facilities Manager high-tailed it to Means the next day and bought five more plus two tree versions of the same plant. He planted them all. Thank you, F.M.!
Here is one in the landscape. They each add so much where they are, I am so pleased. The two new pine trees now live in the chicken garden. It's a good thing they are so large, otherwise the hens would have destroyed them by now.
A little detail did catch my eye here. Asclepias tuberosa or showy milkweed seed pods. This is the signature host plant for monarch butterflies.
Facilities Manager had fun with FM2 (his doppelgänger) during October. He steadily moved it down the edge of the property along the road day by day, just enough to make you scratch your head in disbelief. When Halloween arrived, FM2 was smashed inside the gate as if it had closed on him. Now FM2 is posted among the last remnants of the veggie garden which was quite successful this year. Thank you, veggie garden!
Aster pringlei 'Monte Casino White'. I can't say enough how much this lights up the meadow garden when all else is pretty much finished. It's like a twinkling light when seen from a distance.
This is the western swale. FM recently removed several filbert tree limbs from this side of the white fence. Come deep winter this scene will look practically tropical.
Looking towards the southwest corner to neighboring trees beyond our fence.
Near the northwest corner at the top of the property, in the shade garden.
Part of the gravel garden looking due east.
Wide shot of the western swale of the property.
The big leafed maples have been especially colorful this year. That's not always the case. Last year I remember brown then leafless trees straight afterwards.
It's just so golden around here!
Looking towards the northwest corner at the labyrinth garden edge. Hopefully a path will run through here someday connecting it to the veggie garden.
In the spirit of last week's post of small before and afters, here's a tiny bit of progress on the "Himalayan Mounds" (now more like the bumps). This grass shelf in between the two mounds of soil got a bit of a haircut.
It was removed, leveled out and gravel added so it's more like a ramp. It feels more inviting as if you were supposed to take a stroll along the gravel area.
Here it is from behind. No more drop-off of grass. Eventually, I will place flagstones in the gravel to make a path and add more fescue grasses. The plants on the mounds are filling in nicely, although it will take a few years before they really cover them, I'm sure.
While I was at it, I "edged" the gravel garden - that is to say I cleaned up the weedy edge, dug a shallow ditch and filled it with gravel to form a barrier between the plants and the field grass.
Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) lit by the afternoon sun.
Last but not least, a view of Hobbes' tummy. This is how he's carried in when he's obstinate and runs off when it's time to go inside. This way, he doesn't kick his way out of going inside and launch off of F.M.'s belly back to the catnip. I know, he looks pathetic but believe me, we make it up to him once inside. FM says it's like carrying wet towels fresh from the washer. Not to worry, Hobbes purrs the entire time. He just likes hanging--and we mean hanging---out with FM.
There's a broad look at some of the gardens at Chickadee Gardens this week. I've got to soak it all in before winter arrives and we're left with just the bones of the garden. That will be a good time to evaluate the evergreen trees and shrubs, so stay tuned!
Thank you for reading and as always, happy gardening!