Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Winter..


 Gardeners are prone to exclaim the current years weather as the craziest ever seem, ominously strange, the most unique in decades..etc. I am no exception to this attribute. Every year brings new challenges , new first frost/last frost dates, new rainfall totals, new wind events and for those who live outside of the mild bubble of my zone 9 climate, snow accumulations, ice storms, and actual frozen ground.
 This fall might actually qualify as a real deviation.

 2 frosts in October. Caryopoteris 'Summer Sorbet' shed it's finery, now in November it is growing it's spring foliage.



Verbena bonariensis views it's winter nap with disdain.




 Daylilies die back, grow new folige, send up scapes.



I often have the odd rose blooming in November, but Sun Flare  is favoring me with a full mid-summer blast.


Plectranthus shrugged off the frost and keeps blooming.


 Wendys Wish is usually a few sticks with blobs of black leaves by now.

 Verbascum ? C'mon , what does this mean for my spring display ??


Thursday, November 15, 2012

BloomDay November 2012

If only every Bloomday were on a weekend . I came home from the office for lunch today and rushed around taking some pretty uninspiring photos of those who still soldier on.

 Lobelia laxiflora -I love this plant though I've done it no favors in my choice of location. It can be thug-ish in frost free areas , but it dies back far enough here in winter to restrain it's enthusiasm.




Though we have had a few frosty mornings, Wendys Wish is still pumping out the blooms . I loose this plant every year and have to replant, but I think I've finally found a spot where it can give it's all til the bitter end.



I love these Sanvitalia procumbens, and though they are allegedly an annual they have persisted here for several years. They bloom all summer and make a great edging.


 I planted this Salvia for it's foliage , as it is such a late bloomer I figured it would bite the dust before I saw a flower. It's common as hell here and it's name escapes me at the moment.



Penstemon 'Raven' ...what a great plant this is .. no flopping , lots of blooming.


 The roses continue to send out flowers , though they are beat up by rain and frost. This is 'Golden Celebration'..



Thanks as always to Carol , our hostess !

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pop Goes the Greenhouse.

 When daytime temps were in the mid-80's only a few days ago, a frost event can sneak up on even the most organized gardener. Which I am not, incidentally. It was noticeably chilly when I left my office yesterday, and after viewing the forecast from the National Weather Service, (the only forecast I have any confidence in ) I spent an hour scurrying around moving succulents and begonias into the garage and the house, and putting container fuchsias under the eaves. This morning the roofs were frosty and the bird bath was an avian skating rink. Strangely, the Dahlias were unmolested .A light frost then, but a frost none the less, and action was required. Time to haul out the greenhouse !


 It spends the summer folded up into disc and stuffed into it's case .



It comes out of said case significantly easier than it goes in.



The first step is the pop-up..stand back !


One of the critters shows an interest, always on the lookout for a new napping spot.


The next step involves getting inside and putting in the roof support pole. One tries to perform this activity when the neighbors are not looking out their kitchen windows. Lucy Ricardo comes to mind.



Successful installation of both the roof pole and one of the pairs of side poles is complete. 


Voila !


Two or three of these seedling mats provide my heating system , only to be plugged in when overnight temps are predicted to drop into the 30's or 20's. Still longing for a 'real' greenhouse though..this will have to do for the present.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Over at My House

A review of the blogging year thus far indicates that I have rarely posted about my own garden in 2012. This seems logical to me, as I started out the spring removing several mature shrubs (or more accurately I hired out the removal ) and while I enjoyed my garden this summer it seemed somewhat barren, with little worth sharing.

 It's enervating to start over in a garden; there's nothing that has as much promise for a gardener as a nice patch of emptiness. My spring demolition was only the beginning, I have since removed several dayliles, 4 rosebushes, a very mature 'dwarf' muhgo pine, and a couple miles worth of Geranium sanguineum. Attempts are ongoing to hoik Pennisetum 'Bunny Tails' but I fear this may have to be penciled on to  the expanding 'hired-hand' list. In addition, I have tree issues that need to be addressed -these invariably strain the budget , but less so than having an old deteriorating tree fall on the roof.

 No frost yet , so all is a bit blowsy as it waits for the inevitable.  These chairs sit on a concrete patio that once was the pad for a gazebo.



This was a 'dig area' last weekend, the foreground was a sea of sanguineum, and a 15 year old Graham Thomas rose was in front of the birdbath. G. 'Johnsons Blue' is to the left of the birdbath--I have a sentimental attachment to this plant -it really should go but I can't bring myself to apply the shovel.





This Stipa gigantea is one of my favorite grasses, it spent the summer with an artichoke, Verbena bonariensis, and a Cotinus that I coppice every winter and seems to display increasingly octopus like tendencies in summer.




The Euphobias are volunteers, the guy on the right is on the hit list --the only plant I have ever known to completely engulf and emasculate a PeeGee Hydrangea.  Note the pathetic Pee Gee  flowers sticking out on the bottom.

 The Salvia 'Mystic Spires' here is at the end of it's run. This is a great plant but I want shorter stuff here..pondering my options.



Another angle of the area in photo 2. I will be moving this birdbath and will install a fountain here in it's place, since this bed has electrical access near by. The Rudbeckia will be moved too- it was a volunteer and is flush against the concrete of the walkway. Hope it survives the move, it has easily been blooming for 6 months.


 Some of the succulents are hardy here, the rest spend the winter inside or in the pop-up greenhouse.