Early Autumn at Chickadee Gardens

Just around the edges we detect autumn in the garden. The low light, angling in such a way as to illuminate those grasses and asters, marks the passing of summer into cooler nights and shorter days. Let's take a visual journey around the gardens this week at Chickadee Gardens and see how things have changed.

At the edge of the meadow and labyrinth gardens, asters, grasses and amsonias catch the morning light. I have to stop and catch my breath when I see this, it really fills me with such a sublime sense of being a part of nature. It may be messy for some tastes, but, for me, the contrasting forms and textures read like a painting with passages of light and dark.




Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), the spiky plant, is incredibly statuesque this time of year. This West Coast native is now a favorite, not only of grasses, but many plants. An unknown Japanese maple that was on the property but in poor shape when we moved here has filled out and is beginning to turn warm tones.


Before I headed to work the other day, this scene needed photographing.


Matrona Avenue did really beautifully this year. I have several photos of this to share.


I originally planted three Eupatorium 'Elegant Feather' in the same area, I have since given two away to friends as I saw this would spread quite nicely. As an added surprise, my friend Loree of the Danger Garden gifted me an additional plant that I have planted in a rather wet rain garden area.



Grasses such as  Bouteloua gracilis on the right, Miscanthus s. 'Cabaret' on the left are a big part of Chickadee Gardens this time of year. The yellows of Solidago 'Fireworks' also contribute to the abundant feel that fall brings.


A spider web on solidago or goldenrod.


Sedum 'Matrona' again.


A view of much of the labyrinth garden with Carex comans bronze forms on the left, the groundcovers are Dianthus hispanicus and the blue-flowered shrub is Caryopteris 'Dark Knight'.


Nassela tenuissima (syn. Stipa t.), or Mexican feather grass and Festuca 'Beyond Blue' are two more grasses I grow. The frothy white flowered plants are Erigeron karvinskianus 'Profusion', a mildly self-seeding filler that I am most happy with for this low-lying shrubby area. Also mixed in is an unknown aster in the foreground, I kept it because it's really short. The tree seedling in there is Arbutus menziesii or a madrone seedling. It took a while to i.d. the mystery seedling when it was very small, but it eventually gave up its name as it grew. I am thrilled as these are not only native and very difficult to grow in cultivation, they are gorgeous trees. Look them up if you wish.



Santolina virens in the foreground, S. 'Lemon Queen' behind it. Both are in full baking sun with little water and despite that fact have flopped open, but I really don't mind the flopping in this location, out on the edge of the garden where it seems appropriate. At first I thought of dead heading both of these but decided to leave the brown buttons for a little bit of contrast. In early spring they will both be pruned hard to maintain a compact form.


A solitary Rosa pomifera (that has fantastic hips, by the way) and a Buddha. To the left, under that upright small water vessel for birds, is Lucy's grave. That's her oak tree. The Franklinia alatahama that we planted for her is in a different, wetter location.

The rose will grow as will the Ceanothus gloriosus under the oak. I must be careful not to plant too much too close together while it looks sparse because I don't want to be digging out too many plants in the future and creating more work for myself. In some situations, it's okay to "overplant" because I use some perennial and annual plants as fillers as shrubs mature.



The edge of the labyrinth looking towards the house. Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' on the right, Helenium 'Mardis Gras' on the left, Sisyrinchium striatum is the strappy iris-like foliage in the middle.


As this holds such a prominent spot in the early autumn garden, it gets another photograph. Solidago 'Fireworks' is one our honey bees really appreciate.



This isn't really a show-stopper, but it's pretty. A seedling volunteer of Penstemon 'Husker Red' turning lovely shades of orange and red for fall.


More hints of fall color in this Acanthus. I think it is A. spinosus, it was given to me at a garden blogger's swap with no tag.


The native cascara trees, Rhamnus purshiana, are starting to turn colors. They are really quite stunning and a great small tree that birds flock to. They eat the small berries and just generally hang out in them. The small flowers in spring are also a favorite of bees.


Although Carex testacea or orange sedge looks autumnal year-round, this particular plant is super-orange right now.


The Japanese maple in the background is a nice contrast to the cool colors of Carex comans.


One little shrub that was a throw away from work is starting to grow after two years in the ground. It's Cornus sericea 'Hedgerow's Gold'. The fall color is just coming on. If you have space for a deciduous, suckering shrub, this is a brilliant addition to the fall border. Also, new stems are colored red in winter, so an added bonus of winter/spring color.



This is our Franklinia alatamaha or Franklin tree, just planted for our sweet Lucy.



The edge of the labyrinth looking east. Many asters, grasses and alliums are easy-care and bountiful.


Even the leaves of plume poppy or Macleaya cordata show some fall coloring.


Stipa gigantea is stunning all season long, well into winter. The Coreopsis 'Full Moon' in the foreground and a second plant behind the stipa, is going to be relocated later in the fall due to its floppy habit. It's fantastic for the first couple of months in spring and summer, but it gets so tall, even in full sun, that it does this.


Guara in the foreground along with Sedum 'Matrona' (I have it planted in many places throughout the sunny gardens to tie them all together) and Salvia officicinalis 'Purpurascens'.


Hebe 'Quicksilver', more Sedum 'Matrona', Festuca 'Beyond Blue' and Nassella tenuissima along the dry creek bed.


The red shrub is Itea 'Henry's Garnet', the pink flower is Schizostylis coccinea 'Oregon Sunset'.



A final shot with some full sun-loving plants in the gravel garden.

This summer has been hot hot hot, and as much as I love summer and being in the garden, it was almost too much at times. I admit to feeling relief with the cooler weather and a bit of rain here and there. I especially love fall color, so hopefully my planting choices from the past couple of years will start to pay off in this regard. Little by little, step by step, it's becoming a full-fledged garden and as much as I am an impatient person, I love watching it slowly change.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all! Happy gardening and happy autumn.

Comments

  1. Tamara, your early fall garden is as astounding as your spring and summer displays, which isn't something many gardeners can manage. I love the mass of Helianthus blooms.

    If you're still able and willing to do so, I'd like to see if I can arrange procurement of the Callistemon viridiflorus we discussed earlier. I don't have a direct link to you but you can reach me by email at kspeterson100@msn.com (at your convenience of course!).

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    1. You are very kind, Kris, thank you. I'll be in touch soon (traveling right now ), I have a Callistemon for you :)

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  2. Girl, your garden is gorgeous. I like that first photo. It is organized chaos. I see a beautiful painting. You have the touch, not only there but everywhere. I wish I could see your garden in person.

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    1. Organized chaos, I love that term! Your words are too kind :)

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  3. Those first several photos with everything backlit by the sun... I had to pry myself away because it's everything an early autumn garden should be IMO. So wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Alan! You are so kind. I love autumn light, it's very special indeed. Cheers!

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  4. I am so happy now to have my very own photos of your beautiful garden.Is it possible that it looks even better than it did when Gerhard and I were there ? I'm very fond of fall gardens and yours was just made for it !

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    1. Thank you Kathy! I'm thrilled you were able to visit. You are welcome any time! Cheers!

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  5. Having been to your garden twice in the last few weeks adds such a different element to reading/viewing your blog posts. I love the familiarity that I now have. Oh and that Acanthus! Great color....

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    1. I love that you are familiar with our home, that is a good thing.

      That Acanthus...I know! Who knew?

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  6. Your garden is beautiful year round and especially striking in it's autumn fullness. You must be proud of the incredible amount of work you've done in such a short time. Has the previous owner ever come back to see the transformation?

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    1. Thank you Peter! We are pleased that Mother Nature has been kind to Chickadee Gardens. The former owner did come by 2 years ago in winter, so not much had changed. I'd be curious to know what she would think now!

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  7. What a venture into your garden..I had to pause at times to take it all in♡

    Will be lovely to buy the puzzle..when it is released *hint hint*

    Thank you again..a big relief from all the chaos these days⛅☀️🌥

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    1. Ha ha...a puzzle...I'd never thought of that. Glad you enjoy the pix I enjoy sharing. xoxo

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  8. Yay! Volunteer madrone! I love that! You pull off a Carex comans lawn so much better than I do. The two masses of it I planted turned into tangled messes from planting too close. Your Santolina are showing better regrowth than mine did, even with the flopping. I haven't checked to see if they've resprouted after cutting them back.

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    1. Isn't that volunteer Madrone cool? I hope your Santolina pull through. ..most of mine were cuttings from you! I love reading your blog and learning so much about what does well for you. Thank you, Evan!

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  9. Bravo! Love it all. Especially all your wonderful grasses which just make the autumn garden sing with movement and rustling. And of course the low angle back-lighting of grasses--oh my! Great choice of the Franklinia for Lucy. A very special tree for a very special girl. Perfect. xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Gina Bean..

      xoooxxxxxo

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  10. It looks amazing, T! I just love it - but then again, I have loved it at every other time of year, too. I think you probably got that Acanthus from me. If you ever want more, just say the word. I made the mistake of letting it go to seed one year. I still get seedlings that soon will be looking for a permanent home. Hope you're having a great vacation. We miss you at Joy Creek!

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    1. Thanks Anna Bean! Coming home soon xoxo

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  11. Anonymous11:46 AM PDT

    All your art training is showing. The garden is truly a work of art.

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    1. Thank you, oh Mystery Commenter! ;)

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