Last week’s wind and rain had the locust leaves coming down like snow.
Sunday, October 6:
Sunday, October 6
Wednesday, October 9: Mark took advantage of a break in the weather on Tuesday to turn the garden pots upside down to let the rainwater drain away. Another inch of rain fell the next day so it was perfect timing.
Perfect timing for the pots but the rain overflowed the gutters which told us they were stuffed with leaves. You can clearly see the line in the leaves where the water came over the gutters. Mark typically gets up on the roof to clean the gutters a few times in the fall but the rain has kept things too wet to do that.
Sunday, October 14: No denying the season anymore. Note how much more the deck is awash in little golden Locust leaves.
The ground under and near the biggest Locust tree is covered in leaves.
Since it had been dry for a few days and rain was again predicted for Sunday night, Mark got up on the roof to blow down the leaves and scoop out the ones in the gutters. The view before he started.
You can see the problem!
Once the deck was buried in all those additional Locust leaves, I told Mark that I would deal with them.
He blew them into a great mass which I then attacked with a broom, a rake, a huge dust pan and big plastic contractor's bags.
Once the garden dies back and I clean everything up, then I will take my bags of Locust leaves and put them down on the garden as fall mulch.
I don't usually put down a fall mulch on the assumption that the snow will be the protective cover. But last winter's lack of snow suggests that I should not count on snow to do the job. I'm not taking any chances this year.
In honor of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day: October, 2018:
Toad lilies have always been the last flowers to bloom in my garden. This autumn''s frequent rain, cool temperatures and gray skies have pushed their bloom time back even later. Look at this gorgeous clump of big fat buds ready to burst open. But this week's overnight lows are liable to end this display before it's had a chance to begin.
Another clump has one lone flower open.
This is a different variety of Trycirtis hirta called 'Miyazaki'. The stems are more arching which makes them perfect for this location. I don't know if it's the variety or the sheltered spot under an evergreen tree that makes this clump always bloom before the others.
Whatever the reason, this clump is always beautiful and is the one I can count on to flower before frost cuts it down.
T. 'Lightening Strike' and T. 'Lemon Twist' are shorter varieties that also bloom early enough that frost is not an issue.
After our torrential August rains, I was hoping for a little drier autumn. Autumnal moisture is good preparation for trees, shrubs and evergreens before we head into the next season. But it seems like frequent rain is our new normal; or at least that's the case this year.
It rained Saturday night, Sunday night and most of Monday for a total of almost 3 inches in the last three days. Of course, it filled up all our stone basins (above) which is lovely for the birds and other creatures. But all this rain has filled up other containers that have always drained properly after big rains.
One of the pair of big pots that hold large Hostas near the front entrance has gotten plugged up. What you see in the above image is standing water in the top of the pot. I use a layer of pine cones as decorative mulch in these big containers. It takes two of us to tip the pot and pour the water off.
I had hoped to leave these plants in place until the end of the month. But the fact that this pot keeps filling up every time it rains, means I need to get these Hostas out of their summer home and back into the ground before they rot. Just one more sign of a strange gardening year.
We had our first frost warning of the season Friday night. The temps got colder than I thought they would here in our urban garden. We went down to 34 degrees F. (1.11 C.), just two degrees above freezing. But I decided I was not going to take a chance that all my late bloomers would come through unscathed. I went out Friday afternoon to cut the first toad lilies (Tricyrtis) that had opened.
I divided and moved my clump of this toad lily — Tricyrtis hirta 'Lemon Twist' — in August. This variety only gets about 18 inches tall (45.72 cm.), has large yellow flowers and gray dots on the leaves. But as a result of moving it, I am not getting many flowers. I am, however, finding scorched leaves. Thus another move is probably on the list of early spring tasks. I added a few fronds of Adiantum venustum and a sprig of the last Thalictrum 'Splendide' flowers.
The Thalictrum sprig started out in this arrangement of Tricyrtis and Cimicifuga. I have a number of clumps of Cimicifuga; all of them dark-leaved varieties as each newer and darker variety was introduced. But for this bouquet, I stripped off all the chocolate-colored leaves.
Tricyrtis myazaki grows in quite a horizontal fashion. They are planted under a pine tree and growing out over our stream. Both conditions make them hard to get at for cutting but they always are the first group to come into flower. After I took these photos I decided I did not like that little spring of Thalictrum, so I pulled it out and added it to the yellow toad lily vase.
As I was wandering the garden to see what was in bloom to cut for a Monday bouquet before this potential frost, I came across this stem of Epimedium 'Waterfall' foliage.
The striking red veins on the yellow leaves seemed like the perfect partner for the drying flowers of Sedum 'Matrona.'
The Kirengehsomas and Hemerocallis 'Steeple Jackie' are finished and the toad lilies and Japanese Anemones haven't started flowering. This is the moment for the Cimicifugas planted throughout the garden to shine.
I enjoy Sedum flowers the longer the season goes on as the colors darken and the heads start to stiffen and dry, making them perfect for indoor displays.
Not quite ready to join the party are these Tricyrtis whose buds are still tightly furled. It is one of my favorite plants because its foliage is so dramatic all season long. The flowers have become almost an afterthought for me.
This lovely little branch of oak leaves landed at the end of our driveway along with loads of acorns. The acorns especially are a common occurrence at this time of year. We have to sweep them up they are so numerous. They make loud crunching noises as we drive over them on our way in and out. It's much more rare to find a small branch in such attractive condition, so it seemed only right that it have its moment starring in a vase today.
Having a big old bur oak tree at the end of our drive always makes me think of Aldo Leopold's quote from his famous book, "A Sand County Almanac":
"He who owns a veteran bur oak owns more than a tree. He owns a historical library, and a reserved seat in the theater of evolution. To the discerning eye, his farm is labeled with the badge and symbol of the prairie war."
The annual Autumnal Equinox will kick-off at 8:54 p.m. today, September 22. The weather turned overnight on Thursday with winds and more rain and a drop in temperatures. Today's predicted high is 65 degrees F. (18.33 C.) with an expected overnight low of 46 degrees F. (7.77 C.). There are still a few things blooming and a number in bud, but the surest signs of the season are fallen leaves no matter where you look.