"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

End of month view October 2009 and Happy Halloween.

I decided to start taking an end of the month view last month. Probably the main difference this month is that the leaves have started falling, and things are beginning to look bare. Maybe next month the leaves will be raked, and I might even tell you that the bulbs were planted below it!

In this picture you can see the strange way the Japanese Maple 'Orido Nishiki' is changing and loosing it's leaves. The lowest branches still have the variegated leaves in their usual summer colors. Below though it's easy to see that many of the top leaves have fallen and buried plants.

The leaves on the ground are still pretty and colorful.

They mix with the leaves of our other Japanese Maple and Dogwood. I wish they would stay looking this pretty, but soon they will be dry and brown.

Some of the pretty leaves still on the tree.

This is Heuchera 'Caramel' that I planted towards the end of summer. It's lost most of it's caramel coloring. I'm not sure if that's normal or not. I sure hope it returns to it's other coloring. Does it make you think of caramel apples, a favorite at Halloween?

One of our ghosts blowing in the wind. It was very windy while I was taking pictures and almost every leaf was blown off the Dogwood today.

Princess Gracie, who thinks she is Queen, even begrudgingly wore her costume for about 10 minutes this morning to say "Happy Halloween!" I'm not normally someone who dresses her dog and my husband says he won't be seen with a dog in a costume, but it's fun to try it on her each year. She's a good sport about it.

Tonight the girls will go trick-or-treating as Cinderella (Littlest Gardener) and a pageant queen (Sweet Pea). We don't usually get many trick-or-treaters on our street so I always make sure to buy candy I like, I'd hate for it to go to waste! :)
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Bright spots in my day.

While most of the flowers in my garden are just finishing up, I did manage to find some fresh looking flowers. They are especially nice to see since aside from a few dry hours a couple of days ago, we're back to rain and more rain. After seeing so many beautiful flowers blooming inside other bloggers home this past winter, I've decided that this fall and winter I'll be trying more indoors here too. Normally I'm not very good with indoor plants, they usually die from too little or too much watering. I've already begun fertilizing my African Violets and I noticed how much healthier they looked almost right away, even better I've seen that one is forming flower buds. I've started one Amaryllis so far and found a Christmas Cactus to try too. Hopefully this will be my year for them to bloom and add some color inside.
For now I'll share what is blooming outside:

Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue' decided to give me one last fresh flower while the rest are fading into their pretty fall coloring.

Dahlia 'Pretty Lady' has quite a few more buds opening, and I hope they get a chance to finish blooming.

One of the Zinnias 'California Giants'. There are quite a few others blooming as well.

This Dahlia 'Arabian Night' is actually a very deep burgundy color that never shows very well in pictures.

Clematis 'Josephine' is still hanging onto her flowers too. The more the blooms open the "frillier" they become.

Some of the many Pansies I've been planting. These are in my window boxes and are called 'Skyline Copperfield'. They really vary quite a bit in color, some have much more yellow in them.

One of my very favorites that has been on my blog many times is Verbena bonariensis. I think this may be it's last time in bloom until next year. Most have gone to seed and now the birds are enjoying them.

Visit Tootsie at Tootsie Time to see what else is blooming this Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Color in the Puget Sound area.

I've been patiently waiting for my favorite Japanese Maple to finish changing into it's most beautiful fall colors. It seems to start overnight and then quickly turn golden yellow right before the leaves begin falling. I noticed this year that the Japanese Maples in my yard seemed to change in sections. One part would be red while the lower branches were still covered in bright green leaves. I'm not sure if it is caused by weather or the amount of sun they got, but it does seem strange this year.

In order to get a picture of the top of the tree I actually had to go to the front yard to take the picture. You can see just how tall this unknown Japanese Maple is here. Our home is a one story and the tree goes far above the roof line. I think because this part of the tree gets the most sun the top leaves turn this beautiful orange color. The bright red leaves to the left are from Japanese Maple 'Orido Nishiki'.

I was able to get most of the tree in this picture in the backyard. It practically glows with all the golden leaves.

The trunks and branches of this tree are covered in lichen and moss which adds to its beauty. The leaves on this part of the tree are a rusty yellow.

I love the yellow ceiling in this part of the yard. The branches are just thick with leaves.

And now the leaves are slowly falling to reveal the first blue sky I've seen here in days. Soon our deck will be covered in leaves, and the sweeping and raking will begin.

To visit Dave at The Home Garden click on the Fall Color Project picture above to see Fall in Dave's garden and all over the world.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Just as the garden slows down, the birds return.

Our yard has been very busy lately with birds visiting and looking for food or a quick bath. I always seem to notice a big increase in bird activity here in very early spring and again in fall. I really look forward to these visitors as things slow down in the garden. One big reason I got into gardening was trying to find a way to attract different types of birds to our yard. I've got all different types of feeders throughout the front and backyard. Sometimes it's hard to keep focused on what I'm doing inside because of all the action taking place just outside the windows.

The Robins haven't been around for awhile, but they seem to come back to use the pond as a drinking spot. I love how they sit and rest on the fence while they decide what they're going to do first. Pond or birdbath?

This day it was a quick dip in the birdbath.

Dark-eyed Juncos are our most common visitor. They are always somewhere in the front or backyard. This little guy sat on the peak of the garage roof calling out for the longest time.

Stellar's Jays can be heard long before they're seen around here. They try to hang off the smallest of feeders trying to decide which has the best food. This one usually ends up being their favorite and they don't mind sharing it with the squirrels, even though I wish the squirrels wouldn't use it.

I thought this Crow looked kind of spooky posing on our neighbors antenna. There are hundreds that fly over our neighborhood every evening to where they roost at night. It's a little eerie to see that many birds flocking together at once. I told my oldest daughter that a group of Crows is called a "murder of Crows". She was just fascinated by that term.

This feeder has been the one emptying the quickest. The Black-capped Chickadees and Nuthatches fly back and forth from our Dogwood tree taking seeds.

I had grown these 'Mammoth' Sunflowers for the birds. When it fell over from the weight of the flower head I pulled it out and put it near another feeder. I saw this squirrel taking chunks of the seed head running back and forth to bury his treasures. After he finished with it, the birds joined in to take the seeds he left behind.

Other regular visitors here now are: House Finches, Northern Flickers, Bewick's Wrens, Sparrows and Rufous Hummingbirds. Most of these visitors will be here all fall and winter. I always enjoy the life they bring to the yard once most of the garden is in hibernation until spring.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

This is why I call it therapy.

Today was one of those days that I woke up feeling crabby, wanting to sleep in but my youngest daughter deciding she was ready to get up hours before my body wanted to. The sky was gray and and my mood matched it. I decided that since it was at least not raining I'd go out and start some of the fall cleanup that I've not been able to do. Once the yard waste and our side yard were overflowing with branches and plant debris it was time to come in.
A little later I decided that I'd just go outside and take some pictures. I noticed some things that I hadn't noticed while I'd been cleaning up. The more I took the time to look around, the better I started to feel.

Noticing the neat color changes on the new Ninebark (Physocarpus) 'Coppertina' was the first thing that caught my eye.

Not far from it was the Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechola macra) 'All Gold' that I noticed was taking on this purplish-red color.

I saw that the Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' had a flower blooming on it.

Looking down our path I realized that the leaves that had fallen at the far end actually looked pretty from here, not as annoying as they seemed when I looked out our bedroom window this morning and saw them from another angle.

I took the time to look up at our large Japanese Maple to see how much of had already turned yellow.

Then birds started landing in the Mountain Ash behind our yard to call to each other about the berries. As the Robins enjoyed their feast other birds came to our yard to eat from the feeders.

The smiling face of our Woodland fairy made me feel happy that she looked just perfect against the Pine tree bark. A tree that usually drives me crazy this time of year with all the needles it drops everywhere. Looking at how pretty the bark is, made me like this tree again.

And the reward of seeing that the Oriental Poppy 'Princess Victoria Louise' that I transplanted during the heat of the summer and then never remembered to water, actually is still alive. Even better was that the place I moved her from I accidentally left roots behind, which also have new growth coming up.

I realized after taking the time to see the rewards the garden gave back to me on a day I started out in a bad mood, I suddenly felt happier and refreshed. This is my therapy and this is why I need my garden and why it's worth all the work. And I'm sure the ice cream sundae helped some too :)
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Still going.

It's not as easy as it was a month ago to find a lot of flowers blooming. Nothing new is blooming now but there seem to be certain plants that just don't want to give up and continue to put out new flowers. Roses, Fuchsias (both annuals and hardy type), Dahlias, Zinnias, Cosmos and Red Valerian are all still going strong. Other plants like Verbena bonariensis and Cleome are finishing up and I'm leaving them so I can save seeds from them.

A fuchsia in one of the planters. They look so pretty covered in raindrops.

Geranium 'Rozanne', which was a recent addition, has quite a few new buds. I can't believe it took me so long to discover this plant!

Zinnia 'Green Envy' is becoming a little more yellow now.

Cosmos 'Sensation' show no sign of stopping blooming. The plants are huge and can't support their own weight anymore.

The unknown pink rose. I noticed a trail of pink petals on the way to school this morning. I think my oldest daughter must have sprinkled them as she walked to school.

I saw that this Dahlia has just started reblooming. It ended up getting covered by one of the huge Cosmos. Now that the Cosmos has flopped over this Dahlia is getting more sun and blooming once again.

I'm going to chance it again and not dig up the Dahlia tubers. I planted these a year or so ago and even after our very cold and wet fall and winter they still all came back.

I don't even remember planting this white one. I tend to plant pink Dahlias so I was surprised to find this one blooming this summer. There are a couple of other Dahlias blooming as well, but I'll save their pictures for another day.

Fertilizer Friday is hosted by Tootsie every week. Visit her to join in or see what else is blooming inside or outside other gardeners homes. It's going to be a fun challenge to see what I can find blooming outside each week.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Fall for the Fairies.

I just never know for sure goes on in my garden when I'm not looking. Tools disappear, seeds sprout where I didn't plant them or plants that I thought were dying suddenly appear to be coming back to life. Are there garden fairies at work?

I noticed these mushrooms in our grass yesterday. They look like a miniature mushroom forest, perfect for fairies to hide in.

I'm not sure if this would be considered a fairy ring, but it is interesting to see they are growing in a circle. Celtic folklore says fairy rings are created by fairies dancing at night. It's kind of fun to imagine that fairies were dancing in our yard.

Maybe they wore dresses made of fuchsia flowers?

I know fairies just might be living in our garden. We've see signs of them. Sweet Pea has built them several homes throughout the backyard. This is part of the village she made for them under the Japanese Maple tree. We noticed that fall has come to the fairy village.

The leaves on their tree have turned a brilliant orange.

They've emptied out their plant pots. Cedar needles and leaves have covered the ground.

They've been collecting acorns and chestnuts too. Sweet Pea said they use the nut halves as cooking pots. I hope the squirrels don't discover them, or perhaps the fairies took them from the squirrels?

I'd love to wake up one morning and find that instead of dancing, the fairies planted all my bulbs and cleaned up all the Cedar needles. Then I know I'd believe in them!
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