29 October 2010

Skywatch Friday and a Blaze of Late-Autumn Glory

As with many of my friends and fellow gardeners around North America, I've been dealing with some erratic autumn weather this October. A week or so back, I despaired of having any real good foliage colour in the garden. But the past few days, the wind has died out, we had a couple of very good rains, the evenings have been cool and the days warm. Thursday we were bathed in a crystal blue October day here in the Annapolis Valley, and my camera and garden called me to come out and visit.

The past couple of years, my Hamamelis 'Diane' hasn't displayed much for fall colour because the wind has beaten the foliage off. But this year, the plant has been settled in and growing since 2007, it put on a lot of growth over the summer, and decided to reward me in just the past couple of days with some very satisfying colour.

Much smaller in shrub size at this time, but no less beautiful, is the native witchhazel in my garden, Hamamelis virginiana. It has cast its leaves, but a couple of them lay gleaming in the soggy grass nearby.

It's always fun when you learn about a new plant, acquire that plant, and then discover it in many different locations. This is the Gro-low Sumac (Rhus aromatica), which I read about in the course of doing my book research and which I soon after located and planted. There are a number of these low-growing sumacs planted out in Wolfville, and as they start to put on their fall finery, you can see why. I'm partial to the common Rhus typhina, always, so I knew I'd love this one too.

While I love lilacs in general, most of them flower and then are sort of uninteresting the rest of the season. Not so the dwarf Korean lilac, Syringa meyeri 'Palibin'. Not only does it sometimes put up some late-season blooms, it rewards me with a lovely buttery foliage colour, sometimes suffused with pink. I notice when checking the spelling of the cultivar name that many people don't report fall colour in their 'Palibin', so I don't know whether it's because we have colder weather, or what the story is. But you can bet I'm going to find out.

My hydrangeas are putting on some really interesting colour displays this year, and the most spectacular showoff is the awesome 'QuickFire'. I don't even know how to describe these colours other than mesmerizing. This shrub is planted not far from Miscanthus 'Malepartus', which is actually doing a good colour echo right now.

Some of the perennials are taking this opportunity to throw a few more blooms. The always tenacious catmint 'Walkers Low' is covered in drifts of tiny blue-lavender flowers.

And there are still a few amazingly blue stems of Eryngium planum, flat sea holly, sending up a cooling contrast in the lower front garden.

Finding a flower on my Ozark sundrop (Oenothera missouriensis) this afternoon was a complete surprise and thrill. Even though a bit bedraggled by last night's rain, the flower is still marvelous.

The warm weather prompted quite a bit of insect activity, including this moth on a fall chrysanthemum.

And to finish off the day, the sun rewarded us with an awesome Bay of Fundy sunset, the perfect way to celebrate Skywatch Friday.

30 comments:

  1. Being a tropical gardener, the many-splendored colours of autumn in colder lands never fails to amaze me. It is so stunning to watch emerald foliage, blush and glow like this.

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  2. Wonderful autumn colours! And a great sky to finish off the day.

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  3. lovely post with beatiful colours, you sound as if you have some of the problems I have with strong winds, beautiful sunset, Frances

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  4. We are having changeable weather too. The past couple of days have been extremely windy and before that we were enjoying 21 Celsius afternoons. Lovely colours on the leaves.

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  5. Dear Jodi, What an exciting collection of shrubs you show here for autumn colour. I too love the dwarf Lilac and have noticed its golden glow in autumn but have found it fleeting and never considered it as a shrub for autumn display. Yours looks beautiful here so I must reconsider.

    The skies you show with that fabulous magenta strip are truly amazing.

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  6. Beautiful, jodi -- I honestly think that our fall colour is just coming into its own! We may have missed some of the startling reds and oranges this year, but there's still much colour to enjoy. I love that you have so many "fall plants" in your garden -- beautiful in any season.

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  7. wow! i love the colours! and the pinkish sunset too! :)

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  8. There is certainly a show of autumn finery in your garden, Jodi. We had a hard frost this morning, so I'll be curious to see when I look around the garden just what remains. Gorgeous sunset!

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  9. Love the detailed walk through the late October garden. This phase passes too quickly.

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  10. Wonderful SWF shot! Love the colors & that sky!

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  11. What a show you are having! Wonderful color and great to learn the names of these plants so one can go searching for them. We are having some good weather aren't we...perfect environmental conditions to give us the color. I always thought it was frost that did it..but I was wrong. Thanks for that.

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  12. Love, love, love the autumn leaves! Texture and shape and hues all crisp and crunchy. Beautiful sunset - it's all good!

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  13. Simply beautiful Jodi : )
    My sunrise yesterday was a gift as well .. our weather has been so erratic and unpredictable I don't know what is coming next ! eekkk!
    Other .. than .. Halloween !!!!

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  14. Oh I do miss all the fall color. I grew up in Wisconsin and remember well all the piles of leaves we would gather and then jump in them over and over. Seeing your blog (on blotanical) photos brought back wonderful memories!
    Thank you for sharing these.
    Carla

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  15. Thanks for the walk through your autumn garden, Jodi...while out on the marsh yesterday, I was stunned by the gorgeous colour of the wild rose bushes...varying in shades from deep, deep burgundy to brilliant gold. Still lots of colour to be found!

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  16. The fall color in your area is mighty fine this year Jodi. Those golds and reds warm the heart. We had our first frost yesterday. Fall is finally here. Not a lot of color due to the drought but there is enough to make one realize it is that time of year. Cheers.

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  17. Lovely post Jodi! It is so true about our shrubs giving beautiful fall colors. I too love the colors of the Korean lilacs. Stunning sky photo! Have a good Sunday! ;>)

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  18. Hello Jodi first time I have looked at your blog and so interesting to get a close up of various plants that I know but not that well and come away thinking aha now i know a little more.

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  19. Sea Holly is something I keep forgetting I'd like to grow.

    Lucy

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  20. I haven't tired of fall colors yet. These are beautiful photos. I also like the sunset photo.

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  21. Wonderful fall color and stunning autumn sky, jodi. Happy November :)

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  22. I love your fall colors, but dang if that sunset's not pretty great too!

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  23. Hi Jodi, just found your blog whilst stumbling around in the ether - what a find! I love the detail and information about the specific plants. It's so refreshing to see photos of plants out of season as it were - like the asters - as usually books etc only give you the high points, which often only account for a couple of months of the year. I'll be back soon.

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  24. Hi Jodi, each one of us experiences the effects of climate change, and i hope we all be conscious of our ways. It really is depressing. I can read from the blogs of all our friends that these changes are so drastic and symptomatic already. But even if your autumn colors are not what you expect from previous years, i still love it because we dont have that here. Most especially your last dramatic sky, isn't it ominous? just joking. I have some dramatic skies also in my previous than present post. thank you.

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  25. That is one beautiful sky and so glad your witchhazels have colored up a bit more this year.

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  26. Because I named my daughter Diane many! years ago, I finally planted the Diane witch hazel. However, the year has been so dry, and it was so hard to keep it watered, I do not know whether it will survive. I hope I didn't tell her I was planting a namesake.

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  27. Hi Jodi,
    You sure do have some beautiful fall foliage.

    Yes, our gardens provide us with opportunities to discover new plants and their habits. It's always fun to see what surprises our gardens offer, too.

    Thanks for your nice comments on my last post. I seem to not be content with one blog design, and have to get in there and change it from time to time. I was going to keep the brightly colored leaves until closer to winter, then find a winter looking themed background, but the dried flowers caught my eye, and I made the change while waking up one morning.

    I like your daisies, too. Oh, and your SkyWatch photo was awesome! I love the pinks and blues!

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  28. Great post and beautiful foliage! I really liked your moth on a chrysanthemum picture too!

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  29. Great pictures Jodi!!
    I loved our Maple leaves so much I made a new wreath:)
    Come and see for yourself.
    - Cheers Gisela.

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