Christina at Creating my own Garden of the Hesperides is the host of a monthly look at the importance of foliage in the garden, and for some reason this celebration always sneaks up on me. Fortunately this month it falls on a weekend, and a rainy one at that, so rather than start projects inside and waste the weekend doing all those boring things which end up on a to-do list, I’m going to sit and relax with a coffee while reviewing the beautiful week that was.
We were back in shorts and T-shirts this week as summer returned for a few days. The ground is on the dry side but it was still perfect for just puttering around and thinking about getting ready for winter. I should be doing more than just thinking though since each year I seem to add more and more stuff which needs winter protection. Fortunately the first step was taken and all the succulents have moved up under the back porch for a quick look-over before moving on. A few go into the garage, a few go near a window in the basement, but they all go into a cool spot which won’t freeze over the next several months.
I kill plenty of these each winter and these survivors can all handle the conditions which I put them through. Cool, dry, and dimly lit… although I would give them more light if I could… A little shot of water maybe once every two months (if I remember) and if they make it good. These do, and in the low autumn light I love the way their various foliage shapes and colors go together.
The light of autumn has also been very kind to the foliage and flowers of the grasses. Their colors just fit at this time of year and it’s kind of a sunset of the season with all their reds and pinks and yellows.
Another grass which is doing well is this spiteful clump of pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). It’s been doing particularly well this year and I bet it’s because I evicted its two lazy neighbors and told this clump it would be next if it doesn’t shape up. They always look miserable for months and then only flower just in time to get killed by frost. I think they’re just not well-suited to this latitude and I’m trying out a selection called ‘Fast forward’ which is supposed to bloom earlier… but so far it’s been on exactly the same time table. Maybe next year after it’s become better established, but this spring I was just happy enough it survived its late autumn planting.
The foliage on the muhly grass does absolutely nothing for me and even with this late season show I already had plans to replace it. To this end I bought another grass, a giant bluestem (Andropogon gerardii ‘Red October’) with purple summer foliage and bright red autumn color. My fingers are crossed and so far so good, but I’ve heard stories that it’s a bit difficult to establish from a later planting.
Autumn foliage is showing up all along the street as well. The summer lushness has faded and things are beginning to call it a year.
Also calling it a year is the front border bed. Because of the dry summer I gave up on it in July but it still looks fine even without the annuals I usually add for some extra color. Less work is always a good thing, so maybe just maybe I’ll do the same thing next year…. unless I dig it all up and replant everything. Why keep things simple?
I better stop here. The sun is out again yet there’s a bitter wind blowing until tomorrow morning. I suppose I can take today off from the garden but tomorrow if the sun shines I’m sure I’ll be out there again. In the meantime please consider giving Christina a visit to see what others around the globe are enjoying in their gardens. Enjoy!