Tis the season for orange

The view from the back deck is changing.  As fall color moves down from the mountains into our valley, the woods and weedy edges of the yard are losing the tired green of a droughty fall and going gold.fall color from the deck

Dry soil and warm night temperatures don’t make for good fall color but there’s still plenty to go around, and inspired by this last hurrah I trudged out to my trusty favorite nursery, Perennial Point, and cracked open the wallet for a mum, ‘redbor’ kale and some pansies.  I’ve been trying to stick to a budget, and mums and pansies that may or may not survive the winter don’t fit well into the spending plan.  Still it’s always nice to bring home even a small patch of instant color.fall porch color

The budget is helped immensely by home-grown pumpkins and cornstalks, and a couple butternut squash fit in perfectly until I draft them for soup duty.  The pansies in orange and purple are not what I’d pick in spring, but seemed a perfect fall theme. autumn porch decorationsOrange is definitely the color of the season, and now that the front stoop has been re-decorated (by someone over the age of seven) I’m starting to notice orange all over the place.

The last of the Tropicana cannas are managing to get in a couple more blooms before frost cuts them down (any day now)tropicana canna with ninebark

These seed grown marigolds (I believe Sophia mix… although they don’t look too mixed) did well in spite of neglect, soccer balls, and drought, and I’m almost a little nervous about saying I really like them.  Orange marigolds…. a color and plant frequently looked down upon by more refined gardeners…. perfect for my yard!  orange fall marigolds

Another looked-down-upon plant which I love is ‘Tiger Eyes” sumac.  The wild version of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) provides most of the color in the backyard but I try to keep those weeds back a ways.  Here in the front, the slightly more refined chartreuse foliage of ‘Tiger Eyes’ is almost acceptable.  I can easily ignore its suckering ways when it glows like this.sumac 'tiger eyes' fall color

Here’s another one poking up by the house.  Even I think it may be a little too wild for a foundation planting, but until something better comes along the sumac stays. It actually looks good right now with the blues of the spruce, catmint and fescue grass.  Between that and the rusty chrysanthemums and orange amaranthus it almost looks like I planned it this way.  If anyone asks I’ll say I did 😉  orange mums with blue foliage

The rust colored mums stick with todays orange theme but it’s the purple ones I like best.  There’s a little fading in the blooms to give some depth and even without pinching they keep to a low mound.  I’m really appreciating the chrysanthemums in general this year and spring may bring some new additions.  How can I not like a plant which never got a drop of watering or fertilizer and still puts on a perfect show?purple and orange mums

I’ll have to enjoy these last splashes of color as fall starts to fade.  We’re on borrowed time as long as the frost stays up in the mountains, but our days are numbered.  This weekend the smart gardener will bring his tender plants indoors.  The other gardener will remember his plants just before bedtime and regret his procrastination as he fumbles with muddy plants, a flashlight, and cold fingers in the dark.


15 comments on “Tis the season for orange

  1. Cathy says:

    That “other gardener” reminds me of someone I know… 😉 You’ve got some lovely colour – I think that Sumac near the spruce looks great, and the Mums are a lovely splash of colour too. We haven’t had a frost yet, as the woods shelter us. And next week is forecast to stay mild.

  2. Amy Olmsted says:

    Great color around your house! It’s the same here and I hear ya when you say ‘we’re on borrowed time’! No frost here either but next week for us is looking very frosty. I have a few plants still waiting to come indoors…..as soon as I find a spot to squeeze them in that is.

    • bittster says:

      Hi Amy, I’m glad you commented since somehow I wasn’t following your blog! I fixed that up right quick and really enjoyed the cyclamen post. Also seeing your anemonopsis picture again reminded me that I wanted to look into that guy too! thanks

  3. pbmgarden says:

    You have a beautiful view of the mountains from your back deck. The Sumac is putting on a nice show. (I love those little marigolds too.) Not much color around here yet so its nice to see fall arrive at your house.

    • bittster says:

      Yes fall is here for sure. The mountain view is the upside to the construction behind us, when we moved in the view was blocked by trees….. which I miss, but the view makes it a little better.

  4. Annette says:

    Nothing wrong with being a bit wild at times, Frank. I absolutely adore Rhus and would you believe it, in some countries you can’t get it anymore due to its suckering. I just go over the unwanted bits with the lawnmower and cherish the splendid colour in autumn. Got a Chrysanthemum too on the market yesterday. Red with yellow eyes, couldn’t resist. Your borders still look great and I hope the frost stays away fro another while. Will you dig up the Canna and overwinter it inside? Your decorations look very inviting. Trees are still very green here, only chestnuts, cercidiphyllum, parrotia, euonymus, hamamelis are turning fiery red. Sorry, it’s been quite an essay ;), have a nice sunday!

    • bittster says:

      Always glad to see your essays! I’m surprised that rhus would be unavailable, but can understand how it might be too invasive in other areas since it does seed enough around here. I guess I’m lucky it’s such a common native in this area.
      I went to the nursery intending to get even more mums, it was probably a good thing they were nearly sold out and all the leftovers were past peak! if there was a red with yellow eye I would have snapped it right up, the fully double ones seem to dominate the market here.
      I should be spending my Sunday outside moving plants in for frost protection, our warmer weather will end next week and a killing freeze is forecast for next weekend. The late fall was a nice treat but it looks to be ending. When it does freeze I’ll bring in the cannas as well as far too many dahlias, elephant ears and other non-hardy roots. We’ll see how much longer I have the enthusiasm for this kind of gardening!

  5. Boy do you have the color this Fall. We are still pretty much green although temperatures are finally dropping. Mums are great at this time of year. I have some still pretty tight, but they should open this week. I leave them from year to year. They look a bit rangy, but I love them anyway. I used to cut them back, but then they bloom when it snows.

    • bittster says:

      I’m surprised we are ahead of you! The lakes must really temper your seasons a bit (except for the snow part!)
      I think ‘rangy’ is a good look for this time of year and better to enjoy the blooms now rather than under ice.

  6. All I can say is AWESOME!

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