Cool Plants, New Plants and the Veg Garden

Last week we looked at some autumn changes in the garden, but before we get into full-blown autumn glory, let's capture a look at a few choice plants. Some of these are new additions to Chickadee Gardens, others are just fantastic and deserve a photograph. Finally, the veggie garden is winding down; we are most grateful for its bounty this year. Come along with me now and explore some moments from Chickadee Gardens.

While on the Garden Blogger's Fling in Austin this spring, we were treated to a swag bag that included a gift certificate from High County Gardens, which I had heard of but never ordered from. This is one of several plants I ordered online, Salvia reptans 'Autumn Sapphire'. It finally bloomed and, oh, what a color. It's a total winner for me so far, growing quickly to a couple of feet tall. It's lovely to have flower color this late in the year.

Cheilanthes sinuata or wavy cloak fern, an evergreen fern for sunnier locales. Native to the Southwest U.S., it does best with cool roots (under a rock) I have learned. 

Caryopteris 'Dark Knight', a sub shrub that blooms very late in the season and whose colors are most welcome this time of year, just like the salvia.

A silver scene in the gravel garden includes Festuca 'Beyond Blue', Lupinus albifrons, and Arctostaphylos 'Saint Helena'. 

This crazy small groundcover is finally blooming with decent-sized blooms. Grevillea lanigera 'Costal Gem' is a beauty, its evergreen heather-like needles are an added bonus. I like this plant so much we've propagated it at the nursery. Hopefully, we will have some to sell soon.

Fine silver foliage of Scuttelaria orientalis v. pinnatifida compliments the soft yellow of its flowers. Here it is paired with Salvia o. 'Berggarten'.

Schizostylis coccinea 'Oregon Sunset' flowers are a gorgeous shade of coral.

Speaking of corals and sunset colors, this recent addition of Rosa 'Mutabilis' from Anna of the blog Flutter and Hum (and a fabulous co-worker, too!), adds a spark of color to a wilder section of garden borders.

A robust aster from Cistus Nursery years ago, Aster ageratoides 'Ezo Murasaki' darker stems add another level of interest to asters. Okay, I know I should be identifying it by its proper genus, Symphyotrichtum, but I am stubborn. Asters for me, please.

Speaking of asters, this is my current favorite, Aster ericoides 'First Snow', and as the name suggests, its form is similar to heath. Tiny white flowers by the thousands cover this plant right now, in September and October.

Another new plant to me, Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy'. Apparently it reaches 4 - 5' high and wide in time and is a very late bloomer. The contrasting dark bracts with the paler purple flowers is a tone-on-tone winner for me, as are its cascading inflorescences.

It's a winner. 

While visiting Texas this spring, I found wildflower seeds of Zinnia tenuiflora or red spider zinnia. This beautiful flower was mentioned in botanical documents as early as 1801 according to Seed Saver's Exchange, who offers these. They grew like champs and have no powdery milder and are extremely upright. They are taller than the 2' they are listed at, at least for me. I'd say they are actually 3', easily. I adore this sweet flower and hope it reseeds. If not, I will buy more seed and sow them again next year.

Very simple, small, tall flowers that are completely trouble-free.

A repeat plant, Sedum 'Matrona' pictured with Penstemon 'Firebird' (which I have had for several years). The latter I cut back after an initial spring bloom and it fully rebloomed for me late in the summer, while the flowers are still holding on in October. It is also a semi-evergreen plant for me.

A wider shot with Dianthus 'Frost Fire' in the foreground. Pennisetum 'Karly Rose' in the background.

On to the veggie garden. Bean poles and Mina lobata, "exotic love vine" (really), an annual vine, takes over one of our chairs on the zocalo.

See what I mean?

Some of the raised garden beds. By the way, I did not plant any nasturtiums, they are all volunteers that I gladly let sprawl about. They are edible, after all so fit right into the veggie garden scheme.

More self-sown nasturtiums and kale that I did plant, although FM isn't a big fan. Mostly the chickens receive a daily dose of kale and they like it. 

Lettuces I planted late in summer are coming up to provide for us through the winter.

Lots of squash and pumpkins this year. This is a Kuri squash or Japanese Hokkaido squash. The few we picked so far have to cure for a while before we eat them, but in the mean time they are very attractive just to have around the house.

As I type this, Facilities Manager is canning sauerkraut from cabbage grown this year. Apples have been harvested as have a few of the winter squash and corn for drying. There is a bit of magic in all of this that autumn brings, as well as work, yes, but it's the kind that reaps great rewards. I love that we are able to grow so much of what we eat, it is a privilege and we are most grateful. In fact, for my mum's recent 80th birthday party, we made home-grown coleslaw, beet salad, caprese salad to go with her picnic-themed lunch. It was tasty, I must say.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we do love connecting with gardeners everywhere! Happy autumn and happy gardening one and all.


  1. Wow! You ordered a plant from High Country that actually lived and flowered, that's kind of amazing to me. Given my own history with their plants, I think if I had gotten a gift certificate from High Country I would have been highly tempted to either give it away to someone else or toss it in the trash. Your autumn garden looks so good. Right now I'm so busy trying to work on areas for next year, I haven't even noticed what the rest of my garden looks like. That seems to be my usual behavior for autumn.

    1. I had grest luck with HCG, too bad you have not. I wonder why. Well, it's about time that I do The Great Fall Rearrange myself, wish me luck!

  2. Your new additions are wonderful. I'm a sucker for blue-flowered plants and your post has me thinking of trying Caryopteris again, even though it wasn't happy during its earlier visit.

    1. Oh, those blue ones get me every time. Caryopteris has been easy for me so far, it's in pretty well-drained soil and just a touch of high overhead afternoon shade. Good luck with it, it's worth trying again, imho.

  3. Anonymous2:31 PM PDT

    The beat just goes on...and on at your place. So many perfect little vignettes make up the whole.

  4. It is a fine fine veg garden indeed. Beautiful and functional.

    1. Thank you! We love it...all of us...FM, Hobbes, the chickens and me. :)

  5. I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed some of that garden bounty!!! (and what is it with men and kale?)

    1. Yay for sharing the bounty that nature brings....xo

  6. I would be delighted with the meal you made for your Mom. It sounds wonderful. Your garden is always an inspiration to see. It is gorgeous.I like your fall vignettes. All of those different salvias. Most I have never heard about. Wonderful.

  7. I really love your garden. Honestly. Plant choices, combinations of colors/shapes, the natural-looking "controlled disorganization"... all wonderful. You definitely speak my language. Yet there are so many plants I have never seen before and cannot locate here. Do you special order them, or are they readily available where you live? Drool.

    1. Hi there, I'm so thrilled you enjoy pix of the garden! Yours is a stunning garden too, I might add from what I've seen on your blog.

      I actually have an advantage of working at Joy Creek Nursery - we grow a stunning amount of plants in small batches, so I always have my hands on something new to me. (We do mail order, by the way.) I am very lucky this way! Plus there are amazing nurseries in Oregon. Cheers!


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