Late October

 Winding down from a long, extended summer, we are finally beginning to feel like autumn. The rains arrived and I am relieved. That means I can breathe deeply, relax for a moment and record some images of nature. Here is a visual diary of the end of October in the garden. Enjoy!

Sunflowers have a special status here. They are never planted by me, but they are one volunteer that is allowed to stay for the birds are responsible for their placement. Looking closely at this image, there are no longer seeds attached to this particularly large flower. The chickadees have already feasted.

Shall we call the color of the grass "autumn buff" and pretend it's supposed to look like this? In any event, I really don't mind for it comes back every year. Plus, we're slowly eliminating chunks of it, so if it dies, that's okay.

Agastache rupestris and Yucca rostrata. I took the agastache for dead; however, it finally emerged in June.

Silphium perfoliatum stems

The last of the summer-dry days for now.

My Florence fennel in the veggie garden flowered; the pollinators are pleased.

Wiry stems that move in the breeze.

Spiky textures juxtaposed with softer leaves behind.

Wider shot of Silphium perfoliatum surrounded by drought-adapted shrubs and perennials. The area in the foreground, the "buff colored grass," will soon enjoy a bit of a make-over.

The pumpkin and squash harvest was quite good this year. Pictured is my favorite pie pumpkin, Winter Luxury. Yummy.

Sun lovers at the base of the deck.

Can you see the chickadee in her tiny birdbath? They love this little thing and prefer it to the larger baths the big birds tend to dominate.

More moody sunflowers

Lobelia tupa gets better every year, even well after it stops blooming. Parthenocissus henryana, silver vein creeper is climbing up the pole.

Appropriately named Arctostaphylos silvicola 'Ghostly' is looking rather good, appreciating the heat of an extra long summer.

Dahlias I grew from seed. I had no idea they are so easy! I'm sold.

Autumnal colors and textures in a rather hot part of the garden.

Foliage textures in layers.

Rather crunchy Santolina 'Lemon Queen' has a Halloween-ish look to it.

A good portion of this grassy area will be planted in the coming weeks with heat-loving, drought-adapted perennials. I'm excited to begin.

Leptospermum namadgiensis looking pretty even after an extended dry period and very little to no water. Tetrapanax papyrifer in the background.

Golden autumn light shining through Stipa gigantea flowers.

Grape leaves

Southern edge of the garden as seen on the last of the hot October days. The rain came the very next day.

Charming Helianthus angustifolius blooms so late in the season that I don't mind yet another yellow composite flower.

Brachyglottis greyi with Hylotelephium 'Matrona' dried flower heads in the background.

Chip Drop has been good to us this year. Much of the western woodland is now adequately covered, a state that will help to retain moisture in the soil.

A sweet Franklinia alatamaha tree in memory of our sweet Lucy girl. There are a few hardy fuchsias in there too for a little punch of color.

There you have it, a brief snapshot of the end of the super long dry summer as we transition into a (hopefully) wetter November.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you. Happy Halloween!


  1. Yeah for the rain. Who would have thought only a few months ago you'd be begging for it to stop. Even though it's dry your garden has a soft end-of-season grace to it. It struggled but endured. I tried dahlias from seed this year too and was so surprised how easy they were as sources said it was only one for experienced seed starters. Definitely not my experience.

    1. It's crazy, Elaine - there are seemingly two seasons now, extremely wet winter and extremely dry hot summer. Thank you for your kind words about the garden, it does feel nice to be in even though it's in the end of its glory for the year. Me too on the dahlias - I mean why not? A pack of seeds at $4 that gave me dozens of beautiful flowers for cutting is a good bargain in my book. Glad you had the same experience - easy peasy!

  2. Congratulations on the rain! I'm envious. I wish sunflowers would plant themselves here - so far, that's never happened and I've a hard time even getting the seeds I've planted to grow. Your seed-sown dahlias are very pretty. I've heard other extol their success in growing them from seed too so maybe that's something I'll try next year to supplement what I grow from tubers.

    1. Oh Kris, I hope you get rain. My gosh. How long can this go on? I wonder why the sunflowers are hard in your garden. Hmm...maybe they get eaten first? I think here it's a matter of volume - there are a lot out there so inevitably some will survive the squirrels. Easy on the dahlias, I highly recommend growing from seed. The thing is you won't know what the flowers will look like until they bloom but that's kind of fun in my book.

  3. Anonymous7:44 AM PDT

    Rain, glorious rain: it miraculously improved my attitude :-D, not to mention the garden's. I love those giant Sunflowers! I have to start them from seed, which is fine since they're so easy. Rabbits consumed 5 of 6 starts, but all I need is one to make me happy. The birds LOVE them (as evident by the neat pile of shells).
    You have a nice pumpkins and gourds harvest. How big is your pumpkin patch?
    The 'chip-drop' dressing makes the woodland area tidy and "spiffed-up".
    Good luck with Franklinia alatamaha tree. I read up on it a bit and it said that it's extinct in it's natural habitat. More the reason to wish it success in your garden.

    1. Happy about the rain, me too, Chavli. I haven't had to touch a hose for a whole WEEK! How wonderful is that? Yes, the sunflowers are so fun - and loved by the critters. It kind of makes me laugh how the squirrels stash them all over - in trees (which sprout), in our compost pile (which sprouts), in my potted plants (which sprout). I just laugh. Our pumpkin patch is, oh, an area in our veggie garden (which is quite large) that is about 30 x 30' - squash vines get big as you know. That also includes birdhouse gourds, butternut squash and delicata squash. The Franklinia tree has so far been very happy (4 years now) - and we pay special attention to it. Thank you! Cheers

  4. Anonymous2:59 PM PDT

    Hard to pick a season but I may love this one most of all in your garden.rickii

    1. Autumn is special, just like you, Rickii. xo


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