Autumn Color, Autumn Projects

Back to plants, I say. We have enjoyed a most lovely autumn with some rain and much in the way of color. While a lot of it is long gone, still, color clings on and I managed to photograph it as well as a couple small projects we've been working on. I give you early autumn at Chickadee Gardens.

In the background, Panicum 'Cloud Nine' glows, having turned from a silver green to shades of gold. I love this grass, despite its tendency to flop at the first sign of autumn rain. In the foreground is Muhlenbergia rigens or deer grass and an unknown chrysanthemum. 



The three Japanese maples that were here when we bought the property just get better. I'd considered ripping them out at first because they looked so sickly. Not any longer.


The "shrubbery" area in the western garden. In a year or so when plants finally grow and fill in, there will be many more photos to share. For now, in its infancy, this is as good as a photo gets.


I now have three fothergillas in the garden, I'd take a hundred if they were offered because they do this in fall. 


 The tail end of the grape vine (on the fence) autumn show. In the foreground is our native Viburnum trilobum.


The Amsonia hubrichtii has finally grown to sizable proportions after three years. 


My favorite pumpkin that might ripen in time for Thanksgiving, Musquee de Provence. We have about five of these giants this year. I couldn't be more pleased. 


An overall view of the labyrinth garden showing fall color on Sedum 'Matrona' in the center and Oscar the agave being overtaken by rosemary which is supposed to be prostrate. It has been pruned since this was taken. I'll show it who's boss. 


General autumn goodness. The corn this year did well, we grew a few new varieties, one was totally black - Maiz Morado and a green one, Oaxacan Green, among others. 


We had a Lagerstroemia or crape myrtle at the old house that we loved, and we were lucky enough to receive one from my friend Anna of the garden blog Flutter and Hum. It really put on the color show this year. Lagerstroemia 'Natchez'.


The golden plant in the center is Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' from Xera Plants


While not exactly fall color, this Salvia 'Phyllis Fancy' is stunning, I need to add a few more to the garden. It makes the garden feel like it's high summer . . . almost. 


A borrowed view past the fence into our neighbor's orchard.  


Another shot of the sun catching leaves just right.


The Franklinia alatamaha that we planted for our dearly departed Lucy has smashing color despite the fact that it's very young. I hope this tree does very well for us. Cross your fingers. 


Yes, we do use it sometimes.


A dewy morning and the rising sun. The tree in the foreground is Quercus hypoleucoides or silver oak that has grown considerably this year. The tall plant center right is Eupatorium 'Elegant Feather' and the one in front of it is a juvenile Arctostaphylos x densiflora 'Sentinel'. 


Cardoon seedheads. 


Panicum 'Cloud Nine', both of them. 


PROJECTS
Now on to a few small projects. Here's a "before" shot of the gravel path and its uneven grass edge on the left.


This section of "grass" has been troublesome from the beginning. It's saturated clay in winter and dry as a bone, covered in weeds in summer. FM has added gravel over the past couple of years so we could walk on it in relative cleanliness, but it was still quite messy looking. He recently cut out a straight line of sod and added more gravel, cleaning the whole thing up. Eventually I'll add some sword ferns along the grassy edge closest to the house, an area that is basically in constant shade being the northern side of the house.


Much, much better, FM, thank you! That's what this autumn and winter will be all about for me - cleaning up edges, making paths and adding gravel to the muddier locales.


Since we visit Lucy's grave often, we have worn out a path under the oak tree. I recently made a more permanent path. I was glad to do so.


I had this idea that we needed a path with a contrasting direction to the bulk of the garden to not only separate a large area of "grass" but to give direction towards the main garden and add visual tension. It also serves as an entrance of sorts, visible from the driveway.


Facilities Manager dug it out over the course of several days (that's hard work, moving wet clay with rocks in it) and I'm so excited. In this photo at the end of the path, I've dumped two wheelbarrow's full of quarter ten gravel. This is going to take a lot. Good thing I got 7 cubic yards of gravel for my early Christmas and birthday presents.


 This took 31 wheel barrows full of gravel. I predicted 30, FM predicted 20. I win a milkshake of choice. Sweet.


Last but not least, the shade garden grows. I am in the process (a long, slow one) of adding paths through the rows of straight lines of trees to create a meandering, moss-covered path. This will likely take the best part of autumn and winter, as I am much slower than Facilities Manager. Step by step. That's how I roll.

It has been a lovely autumn so far with enough rain to satisfy most plants and enough color to keep me staring in awe of what leaf color and a shift in light can do. This winter I look forward to finishing up a few projects, tidying edging along garden beds to give a more polished look and just general garden maintenance of cleaning out bird feeders, raking leaves off of pathways (when the trees are finally finished with their show), re-graveling paths, feeding the birds and watching critters. We may even do some cooking of all that wonderful food we harvested from the garden, which, by the way, is still going strong in the form of broccoli side shoots, same with cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, leeks, celeriac and more. We are blessed.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting! Happy gardening, everyone!

Comments

  1. Awesome job on that path, Facilities Manager! An I love at photo of the Panicum. I hate to say it, but that rosemary does not look prostrata at all. It's one of the few plants that do really well here, self-rooting all about. If you were closer, I could give you all you want!

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    1. Woo hoo...FM is a keeper, I tell ya. And the Panicum...oh, so pretty when it does not flop. Yes, I had a feeling about the prostrate rosemary. I wish I could get the real deal from you - although I did notice that it is starting to cascade down the edge of that bed, so maybe there's hope?

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    2. I hope that you are right and that it might cascade yet, but the variety that we have here is already prostrate in the little 4-inch pots at the garden center. It never has an upright habit, even when small. Hopefully, yours is different!

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    3. Oooh, I wonder what I have then...it was sold as R. o. 'Huntington Carpet'. I would rather have what you describe! I guess I'll have to wait and see what it does. Do you know what variety you have?

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  2. Beautiful autumn photos, and that new path from the driveway...brilliant!

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    1. Thanks, Danger! I kind of feel like the path idea was a stroke of genius. Or inhaling too many tractor fumes.

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  3. The garden is looking fine Boss. You and FM make a good team. Your paths are making me look at my garden in a mind of a new path. Hmmmmm...

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! We DO make a good team, we feel. We are very lucky that way.

      The path thing...they present themselves at the oddest times - the ideas of where they should be placed, I mean. I wish I would have thought of it three years ago, but here it is now. I'll watch to see if you have any new ones in your future ;)

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  4. Your garden is gorgeous. I think the Facilities Manager needs a union. That's a lot of path digging!

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    1. Ha ha...I bet he WOULD like to form a union. He and Hobbes, the two boys (and Sweet Pea the turkey) could be the International Brotherhood of Chickadee Gardens Path Building Guild. Hobbes is the head supervisor.

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  5. Great photos of the autumn colour. The paths are a big success. I really like the straight edge of the one by the house and the gentle curve of the one that leads feet and eyes to the main garden.

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    1. Thank you, Pat! I like the paths, too - they are so helpful! A lot of work, but they define beds and tie it all together, we've learned.

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  6. Your fall colors are amazing!

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    1. Nature is amazing...isn't it? Fall color has some magic in it.

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  7. Your garden looks splendid in all seasons, Tamara. Fall is a very different - and much more colorful - experience in your part of the country than mine. The leaves on the few deciduous trees and shrubs I have generally go straight from green to brown. My persimmon trees used to color up but that hasn't happened in years now as our temperatures are remaining warm much later in the season. But, without any fear of frost, I can continue planting. Your Callistemon seems to be settling in happily. Thank you again!

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad your Callistemon v. is doing well. I hope it grows beautifully for you! Say....the surprise flowers you sent me are still going strong. Can you believe it? They must be magic!

      It's a pity you guys don't get much in the way of fall color...but I guess it's a tradeoff, right? You also can grow so many cool plants that aren't hardy for us and are sooo drool-worthy.

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  8. Anonymous2:54 PM PST

    I see you have been putting these beautiful fall days to excellent use.

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  9. Love your new gravel paths! I'm still putting in new paths, 9 years after putting in my beds. I don't know why they didn't occur to me at the beginning, but they didn't. Retrofitting them myself is hard work.

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    1. Well, isn't that interesting? Things, ideas, they come at the strangest moments and I don't have any clue from where. That spark of inspiration - maybe it comes from staring off into space after hauling path-making material for hours?

      I love seeing your new projects, Alison - it's comforting to know that other crazy gardeners find new projects to kill their muscles, too.

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  10. Gorgeousness! Fabulous job on the paths...31 wheelbarrows is a lot of hauling.That pumpkin made me think of Disney's Cinderella pumpkin coach!

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    1. Aw, thank you Gail! 31 wheelbarrows is a lot, indeed. And the pumpkin - I think it is sometimes referred to as the "Fairy Tale" pumpkin, so you are spot-on!

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  11. I love your new path! What a lot of work and a lot of gravel. I have lots of gravel in my back garden and I love that my feet never get muddy when I'm out there. Alas, I did not dig mine out as you have, so the gravel keeps sinking into the dirt and has to be added to every 4-5 years. But it is always worth the effort. I wish I had a Facilities Manager to help with some of the grunt work here. Your gardens look absolutely lovely for this time of year!

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    1. Thank you, Custom Comforts! Oh, gravel is fabulous...we have a few paths like you describe, and it is totally worth the effort to re-dress them every so often. Digging out soil is totally grunt work. Uggg...

      If you offer Facilities Manager chocolate malts then he'll likely do grunt work for you...just sayin' ;) Thank you for reading and your kind words, they mean a lot.;

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  12. Love your garden, the path work looks great!!

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    1. Why, thank you Bear and Briar! I'm thrilled to see you have a fabulous blog! Come on, everyone - head over to his blog to see the MASSIVE grunt work labor going on in his fabulous garden. Cheers!

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  13. The meandering lines of your new path across the grass really turned out well. great job!

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    1. Hi Hans, thank you so much and thank you for reading! I'm glad that the lines of the path turned out well...it's always kind of nail-biting - if I dug too far in and ruined the curve or just generally dug out too much. Once the sod is out, it's hard to put back.

      I wasn't familiar with your blog until now, it's lovely! I used to live in Santa Cruz, so it's nice to revisit it through your photos and see those gorgeous succulents.

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  14. Love watching the progress of your fabulous garden, Tamara and David! Just curious about the purpose/benefits of digging out the path first? I have been just putting down layers of cardboard and graveling over that. Questioning my method now, but I'm not sure I can handle the digging out part physically.
    Your Franklinia looks beautiful! Lucy would be so proud. I have a Gordlinia, which Franklinia is one of the parents of, and it has similar gorgeous fall color right now. And I got my first flower this year- such a nice surprise.
    Can't wait to see how your shade area takes shape!

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    1. Hi Gina! Thanks for the kind words, we appreciate it. As far as our path-making method, it's all about weeds. We do it this way to cut down on the amount of weeds potentially coming up through the soil - a landscape designer once told me that paths should be a minimum of 6" deep for this reason. Plus, I have manual labor in the form of Facilities Manager. It would take me a month to dig that out, to be sure. I'm certain your method is just as good, Gina. Don't sweat it! Whatever works.

      We are stoked about the shade garden expansion, we're going to let the paths be moss-covered rather than gravel. We'll see how it all plays out in the coming months.

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  15. Hooray for brilliant leaves and slanted rays! 31 loads of gravel, huh? It tires me to even think about it, but it sure was worth it - the new path is beautiful as it winds its way through the garden. Can't wait to walk on it in person. (Might just have to pay you a visit soon - I miss you!)

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    1. Yes, gravel is heavy. But we think of it as a slow-paced workout. Plus, once it's done, it's pretty much done - meaning it might need a little sprucing up now and again, but it doesn't need to be rebuilt. Those are the kinds of projects that are hard, but once you dig in and it's done, it's amazingly rewarding. Come out and visit! Please! I have squash for you!

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