Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Fall Dilema

 One would think that after 20 plus years in the same garden , the fall regimen would be, if not carved in stone, at least proceeduraly consistant. And yet , every single year as mid-Sept comes around I stare at the gardens indeciseively, as if I'd never considered or performed a 'fall clean-up.'
 There are plenty of overgrown, bloomed out and floppy plants here but I've come to appreciate seed heads and brown stuff more than I ever did in the past , and find it harder to bring myself to start wantonly chopping and slashing away. So here is the balance: No frost for another month , maybe two, so the tender stuff still prevails, yet I still need to find space for all the cool plants bought at the fall sales , also leaving room to dig holes for the bulbs before it starts to rain every other day and the garden turns into a gigantic water feature.Still have several mature shrubs that I want to remove --mature enough to require (yet unscheduled) hired hands . Grasses must remain unmolested. I must predict the first frost so I can have the pop-up greenhouse ready to go for the Echeverias , fuchsias, kalanchoes .Can't put them in ahead of time as they will burn up in our early fall daytime temps. Birch tree has to go, but I'll enjoy the fall foliage first. Hate my entry garden, but the Birch has to go before I can fix it.Dug up Clematis armandii today, to be replaced with Passifora edulis. Passiflora will have too much shade until the Birch tree goes. Passiflora edulis will have to be watered every 5 minutes until the Birch tree goes. I have my pansies for winter, but it's too damn hot to plant them and I have to hide them in the garage. I have Clematis tangutica but I have to move Betty Corning which is in it's spot. It's too damn hot to dig up and move Betty Corning, and I can't plant C. tangutica til I finish painting the arbor where it will live. It's too damn hot to paint the arbor.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bloomday September 2012

 I'm bringing up the rear this bloomday, as most of it was spent in airports, airplanes and cars, followed by watering everything that was a-droop while I was out of town. It seems like just about everything is either in bloom or just on it's way out, these are just a small sampling.

Caryopteris 'incana' is one of my favorite new plants this year, with its dark purple flowers and clean green foliage . I particularly like the round flower buds on this one. I love my 'Summer Sorbet' , but the flowers are super showy on this variety.

I can't seem to bring myself to cut these Artichoke flowers down yet.

  'Wendys Wish' is one of many Salvias in bloom in my garden now. I keep hoping it will survive the winter here--most sources list it for zone 9, but it has yet to overwinter for me.

Salvia ugilinosa

Rooguchi was featured in May Bloomday, still a few more flowers to go !

I was surprised to see new flower spikes on Erygium 'Jade Frost', after deadheading the spring bloom.

Penstemon 'Raven' ..a non-flopper..thumbs up !

As always, many thanks to Carol at May Dreams for hosting this monthly bloom-a-thon ..

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Some Things You Just Don't Throw Away

 I think I might have at least a couple more of these packed away in a box somewhere .2001 and 2003 are missing, and the eldest is 1999. They sport a price of 5 dollars on the front, but the noticeably heftier 2000 version is 8, and for your extra 3 bucks you got essays by no less than Helen Dillon, Thomas Hobbs, Jamaica Kincaid, John Greenlee, Penelope Hobhouse, Allen Lacey, Ketzel Levine...well the list goes on and on. All issues feature the fine prose of Dan Hinkley himself, and a look back at 1999 reveals full day classes conducted at the nursery on propagation (two sessions, Dan Hinkley) Garden Design (Raiche and McCrory) more garden design (Whithey and Price) summer pruning (Dan Hinkley) .Glory days. When the house catches on fire, or the river breeches the levee, I'll grab the cats, the photo files, my glasses, and the Heronswood Catalogs.
 Just for fun, I searched Ebay.. maybe I'd find 2003 ? The search turned up a big zero. I googled it. Several results concerned garden writers,bloggers and other nurserymen consulting their old Heronswood catalogs for  reference. I can relate to this, for that is exactly how they are used here. If I want to look up a plant I consult the Sunset Western Garden Book first, and follow up with Heronswood. Sadly I found no one hawking their back issues.  I suppose no one wants to part with them, or there are people out there who don't know what they have. Or maybe it's just me ?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Visiting Annies

 The holiday weekend has been particularly chore heavy here ..I prepared myself an ambitious list which included such drudgery as garage cleaning, e-waste recycling, painting an exterior arbor, floor cleaning..etc etc. I awarded myself a morning off and motored down to Richmond to take advantage of the last day of Annies Labor Day Weekend 20% off sale.Because fall looms on the horizon I chose the jaunty little red wagon instead of the double decker jumbo cart -the last time I tried this 'thrift' tactic I ended up swapping the wagon for the big cart about halfway through my shopping. Today clearer heads prevailed. One flat and one flat only ...but carefully chosen with only a couple 'impulse' purchases.I'm optimistic that all the new kids will be planted in time for the October trip out to the coast to attend  Digging Dogs fall sale.

 The light was pretty bad for photos, but pleasant for shopping. The succulents were in their late summer glory.

I can only dream of Aeonium excitement here..only a 40 minute drive north of Annies is winter death for many of this genus..and I want them all!

My Echeveria subrigida does not look like this dinner plate sized number. Sigh.

Fabulous Graptoveria

Orostachys..a personal favorite.

Vignettes everywhere..

And so much to choose from !