Another sign of Autumn… spider webs
Another sign of Autumn… spider webs
I enjoy mixing textures in the garden and try for combinations of chartreuse foliage next to burgundy foliage, next to gray foliage, next to dark green foliage, etc. Broad leaves next to grassy, flowers with groundcovers at their feet. But I have a bad habit of planting new plants too closely together, which causes me no end of extra work, but in some cases it works to my advantage. In certain areas of my garden we have what I call a “tapestry” of shrubs/trees/perennials all close together creating a wall of blooms that come and go throughout the season.
This area is at its peak in the autumn, with the gray “Boulevard” cypress, Smooth Sumac, Itea “Henry’s Garnet,” clerodendron tree, Osmanthus, Deutzia, Pampas grass, Sedum “Autumn Joy,” hellebore, autumn crocus, and summer spireas. That’s a lot in one area, but it works for me.
We were just sitting down to a late summer bbq in the backyard when I noticed something odd on the wasp nest we’d seen in the tree nearby. It’s a huge wasp nest and with my camera had been able to admire up close at the amazing textures they had created. A few weeks later we noticed it looked like it had had an internal explosion of some sort – but most likely just a branch fell and sideswiped it. All that work gone in an instant! Nature is fascinating.
In the garden, October is one of the best months for me. Like May, the garden changes on an almost daily basis. I love grabbing a cup of coffee and wander around the garden, making notes, taking photos, and just enjoying the changing foliage colors. We’ve planted 15 Japanese Maples just because we love Autumn colors so much. We also have about 7 red maple trees, plus a variety of other trees and shrubs that turn in the fall, so we have something turning color for about two months.
The weather here in the PNW is still a tad too warm, and a whole lot too dry, for it to feel like full-on Autumn. We have kindling and newspaper in the fireplace ready to go on the first rainy, cool evening. We always look forward to the first fire of the season! There is nothing like that smell, and the sounds of the crackling wood. aaaaahhhhh.
Several shrubs and trees have already started turning color – the red maples are looking a darker burgundy that bright red right now. My funny witchhazel has one half turns beautiful oranges first, then the other half turns oranges a few weeks later. I think half developed from the root stock, but it extends the color nicely. So many are still just starting, I will be out wandering the garden more than I should. I probably should be working or doing housework. But enjoying nature at such fleeting moments seems more important to my well-being.
It’s early Autumn in the garden. The weather changed drastically practically overnight from hot and dry to cool and damp. It’s at that stage where it’s too warm for a fire, but just warm enough to leave the bedroom window cracked at night time. I’m putting away the summer decorations and starting to change over to Autumn colored accents. I love decorating for the fall.
The garden is looking much, much happier with the little rainfall we’ve had. It was a very hot, dry summer here in the PNW. A few roses have some reblooms, the clerodendrons are pretty much done blooming. The only crocosmia still going is the lovely dark yellow “Solfaterre” which would look even better if I planted some autumn crocus in front of it for next year. Always planning! I have pockets of autumn crocus planted in various spots throughout the garden. I also like it next to a creeping burgundy sedum, and in front of a big stand of sedum “Autumn Joy.” Autumn Joy is the standout right now. It is at its peak. The ornamental grasses haven’t bloomed yet. The hypericum “mystical orange” has passed its orange stage and gone straight to black – a little early for Halloween decorations. I would plant more asters as they are so beautiful this time of year, but the deer seem to find them and enjoy them on their salads. We’ve had a doe with two little toddlers hanging around the yard lately.
A few maple trees are starting to show signs of turning into their fall colors. The Shasta Viburnum is usually the first shrub to turn color, but it hasn’t really started quite yet. Usually I’m thinking “no- no – don’t turn color yet! it’s too early!” but not this year. It should color up right on time. I personally don’t want to see fall colors until it is cool outside and I am in the proper Autumn Mood.
I love the pattern created in the branches of a tree we recently cut down. A woodpecker had left it’s mark in very orderly rows.