Who says you can’t change your ways? I know a guy who’s been passionately anti-autumn for decades, and has actually been know to get hostile and crabby, short-tempered and moody as the day length shortens and a cool crispness taints the summertime air. That person is changing. He might even have said “Fall isn’t all that bad”, and smiled at a dewy morning lawn and a river valley full of mist as he sat on the back deck and had already sipped through at least half his morning coffee. Prior to the coffee he was still kind of luke-warm about the change in season, but at least he was out there enjoying it rather than mumbling about the frigid ten day forecast.
Ripe berries and a touch of autumn colors on the dogwood
“Maybe it will kill some of the mosquitoes” was the delusional hope
The front border is looking exceptionally neat and well-groomed
No, the mosquitoes aren’t going anywhere, but fortunately they weren’t completely rabid the weekend before last when the local garden club, the Backmountain Bloomers, paid a visit to the Sorta Suburbia gardens.
‘Bengal Tiger’ cannas with the yellow daisies of Heterotheca villosa ‘Ruth Baumgardner’. I like this plant more and more every year.
I was absolutely thrilled that the club came by, and even more thrilled that a few more showed up than I had expected. A muggy, buggy, September afternoon isn’t exactly prime garden visiting season so even a group of four felt-bad-for-you-so-we-came visitors would have been something special. There were more visitors than that, so I hope I didn’t come across as too desperately excited 🙂 (I don’t often get visitors you know)
Purple hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab) seedpods in the front border. I threw a few seedlings in amongst the fennel forest, and I think they looked nice enough.
So that was the big excitement. It was a nice balance to the insane cursing and swatting I experience every other day as I try to beat back the bugs and not catch West Nile while everyone else is getting Covid. That would be just about right, I’m never any good at following the trends.
Colchicum cilicicum and some Colchicum ‘Disraeli’ coming up nicely through a few floppy chrysanthemums
With all that said, the garden does look nice. There’s been enough (actually way more than enough) rain and I really gave the garden a once over of weeding and trimming. Plus now there are more fall-bloomers than ever, and it’s really given me something to look forward to as everything else crumbles and dies prior to winter’s kiss of death… -ok i said I didn’t hate fall as much as I used to, I never went as far as to say I actually liked it-
Colchicum ‘Autumn Herald’ coming up through the creeping thyme.
Colchicums are a big part of what’s become good about fall. The earliest ones help distract me from the earlier and earlier sunsets, and then I have the mid and late season ones to look forward to. Right now the Mid season ones are just hitting their stride.
Colchicum ‘Glory of Heemstede’ according to my label… love the darker color and checkering!
Let me just share a couple pictures and talk less 😉
Colchicum ‘Jochem Hof’ is the name I have for this one. For some reason colchicum names and IDs are notoriously muddled, and even a good source may give you a misnamed bulb.
‘Faberge Silver’ is a newer variety with a nice blend of white and pink
‘Nancy Lindsay’ is a favorite and also a great grower here. I have a few bigger patches of it and still feel like I could use more 🙂
‘World’s Champion Cup’ has large goblets of bloom, often with a white highlight.
Colchicums aside (for just a minute), the backyard was also looking decent in its late summer colors.
The edge of the tropical bed always looks good with a few cannas, but for the most part it’s been neglected this year. What a shame considering how lush it could have been with all the rain (as demonstrated by the lush green of the lawn)
The potager was also looking nice, even if it was mostly out of control. Ten foot tall Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Persicaria orientalis) has a way of demanding attention, and although no one asked for seeds, I guess in MY garden they liked it.
The pergola has almost disappeared under the vines and overgrowth of September
I of course liked showing off the castor beans and complaining about my dumpy seed-grown dahlias. The black eyed susan vine was also something to be admired, but maybe my visitors know there are cooler colors out there, so plain old orange wasn’t so impressive.
My hiding spot in the now mosquito-infested potager. Hopefully with long sleeve weather approaching I can safely hang out here again without losing a pint of blood.
Thankfully no one asked the awkward question of why there weren’t more vegetables.
The Japanese morning glory Ipomea nil ‘Fuji no Murasaki’ has reseeded mildly enough that it doesn’t scare me like regular morning glories. Let’s hope it stays that way.
One last part of the garden which I was proud to show off was the nearly completed sand path which now runs around the back side of the house. I think my visitors might have appreciated it more if it weren’t so overgrown, but if they only knew what a muddy mess this path was just three weeks ago I think they would have been more appreciative of this solid and dry passage.
The finished path. There’s still plans afoot for this end so we will see…
My friend Lisa asked about the sand, and in the nicest way I think she was trying to figure out what if any thought process there was behind this decision. Sand is nice at the beach, but anyone who has slogged a couple hundred feet through it knows there might be better path options out there, so let me point out this is the crushed sand usually used as a paver base, and it actually packs down fairly well as a path. When I went to check out the ‘crusher run’ which is a rougher mix often used for paths, I saw this and thought it might be worth a try. So far so good I think. It has a nice clean look and is mostly crushed Pennsylvania bluestone so I like the mellow color as well.
Recycled retaining wall blocks on the right, recycled composite decking as an edging on the left.
Even with a bit of a slope there were no washouts after our six inches in two days rain event.
You can see some of the slope here. The grass looks crappier than usual because I had to raise the lawn about four inches to meet the edge. I’ve been filling in this part of the yard for years to bring it up.
Actually there was more erosion in the caladium sand bed than there was in the sloped walkway. I suspect there was just an extreme amount of runoff from the concrete, so hopefully that’s a one time deal.
It’s still ‘Year of the Caladium’ along this side of the house
Here’s yet another gratuitous caladium picture. They haven’t liked the cold spell we had, and then all the rain didn’t help, but they’re still awesome 🙂
Mixed caladiums in need of a winter home.
Cooler weather had me thinking about what to do with the caladiums and also where to go with all the other pots which have accumulated around the garden. I started to hear an echo in my head of ‘Oh, that just goes into the garage over winter’ because I think I said it dozens of times as an answer to wintering over questions. It started to make me wonder…
‘Alice DuPont’ still looks great. In general most of the deck still looks decent, and I really don’t need fall to come by.
So will it really all fit into the garage? A quick count of pots quickly went over 100, and that wasn’t even counting anything under six inches or anything on the deck. That’s a lot of overwintering, and that’s almost even stressful, and when I deal with stress I take cuttings. So on Sunday I added another two flats full of little potted cuttings to bring in. Maybe they won’t all make it. Maybe I’ll find some kind of other space… doubtful… but with a suspicious box on the porch this afternoon and vague memories of bulb orders, I think a few pots of caladium tubers are the least of my worries.
Have a great week 😉