29 September 2007

Autumn miscellany part 2

A stroll around the garden this morning revealed more interesting treasures. My favourite new echinacea, Green Envy, is still putting up new flowers, to my great delight. I hope this plant multiplies and is as tough a performer as its relatives, because I sure do love it.

Penstemons have never been a favourite of mine, but because I built that chocolate and wine garden this spring, I decided to put in this variety called 'Sour Grapes.' I'm really glad I did because it's a beautiful colour, rich and vibrant, and the plant has been extremely vigourous in growing. Because it's new to me, here's hoping that it overwinters well and comes back next year with as much vigour; my previous experience was with 'Husker Red', which I found a vast underachiever.

A fabulous 'Paprika' yarrow that I bought this summer has settled in well--so well that it has put up a huge bounty of new corymbs of flowers. It's planted with a similarly coloured helenium, some brilliant orange asiatic lilies, and several daylilies in similar sunset colours.

This spring I got excited at Glad Gardens and purchased two phormium, or New Zealand flax, in wonderful shades of terracotta, rose and bronze. They've been outside in containers all summer, but are soon to come indoors and live in my office--where I can shut the door and keep little phormium-sampling cats at bay.

One of the Proven Winners Colourchoice shrubs that really impresses me is Sunshine Blue Caryopteris. The golden foliage really makes the flowers seem more blue than purple, don't you think?

Like others, I always wait eagerly for the apples to start. Most of the summer apples leave me less than excited, but I do like Sunrise, an apple bred in Canada with Golden Delicious and Mac in its background. I dislike Macs intensely as Macs, but they work well for this apple's taste. The only thing with Sunrise, as with other summer apples, is that it doesn't keep well; but the Cortlands, Honeycrisps, Galas and Cox Orange are soon to be coming along.

Kate of Kate Smudges put me on to the beauty of gas plant, or Dictamnus seedheads earlier this summer; right now they are especially striking, with their pods opened up to release seeds. I understand from a local nursery that these plants are hard to get (and will be very expensive next year as a result) but I've had mine for four years now; it's not huge, but it IS a strikingly lovely thing, fragrant and distinctive in the garden.

Just as we have seedheads to signify the true arrival of autumn, there are buds--beautiful, fat buds--on the horse chestnut tree that is my longsuffering spouse's pride and joy. This tree has grown nicely in the past year or two, and it looks like next year it's going to really get some height and breadth to it. It's one of our favourite trees, even though the leaves get rusty later in the season.

There are still plenty of things blooming--and plenty of chores that need doing--in our garden. Today I managed a little bit of weeding and cleanup, and tomorrow, weather permitting, a little bit more. And of course the most important question of the week is where to plant that new Chamaecyparis Nootka glauca?

And I haven't even started really plotting out the bulb planting!

Sigh. A gardener's work is never done, is it? What's on your must do list?


  1. I must weed, that's on my list. I enjoyed the tour through some of your garden today.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. I have 'Paprika' too, and what a great idea, putting it with heleniums! Those are new to my garden this year and I need to relocate them next spring because they got much larger than I expected and they aren't in a good spot right now. Guess where they'll be going?

    I need some of that penstemon, too. Love it!

    Sorry to hear you didn't like 'Husker's Red' because it does very very well for me. I've got it in two different spots, one shady and one sunny and it does great in both! Very robust.

    I'm not even going to comment on that lovely wonderful 'Green Envy' echinacea you have there. But it is aptly named, as far as I'm concerned. ;-)

  3. Green with envy? Sure am. Maybe next year I'll get that Echinacea cultivar...I hope, I hope, I hope.

    I'm with you on Husker's Red. I'm not impressed with it at all. However, I have a species type with red flowers I like a lot. Need to get out the tags that came with the plants, which I've stored in a plastic box (Yeah, I use the term "store" loosely) to tell you more.

  4. I'm completely intrigued by the Dictamnus - have you ever been tempted to take a match to it? I'd say "I wonder why we don't have one?!" but have a feeling I'd get to work tomorrow and find that we have a grove of them! (wishing for that anyhow!) I'm also envious of Envy and as for what's "on the must do list" - number one is to get over this infernal cold I've caught! - Then we'll start taking container plants back into the greenhouse - the phormiums can wait though!

  5. Lovely, as always. I learn so much from your blog (I take notes!). :) My only chore is to empty a few pots that are my balcony garden. Despite a few cold nights, things continue to bloom and though they look straggly in places, I haven't the heart to completely compost them quite yet.

  6. Jodi: Ditto on the 'Green Envy' Echinacea! Looks great! I also have a couple of penstemons which continue to bloom. I am hoping the overwinter! What's on the 'to do' list? Well, somehow I ordered 550 bulbs. What was I thinking? They haven't arrived yet but I am planning on planting 50 per day! LOL Some are tiny so that should be okay! Also, cleaning up gardens, aerating soil and adding compost. Oh, did I mention golfing also? Too much to do and too little time and I do have to work! I'm going to go take a nap!

  7. Well, as of two minutes ago my "To Do" list changed to include finding a spot for 'Sour Grapes' penstemon! I love that rich color, and was similarly disappointed in 'Husker's Red.' (Okay, so part of my disappointment might have involved the flowers being light pink when they were listed on the tag as white.)

    Your 'Paprika' yarrow is a lot richer in color than mine. Do you have yours in full sun? Mine are in a Western exposure, so I was wondering if that might affect the color. It doesn't make them leggy or floppy at all, thankfully.

  8. Hi all and welcome: I'm still sick with diverticulitis so I've been slow at answering messages and reading other blogs, but hopefully a few more tonight.

    Carol: weeding never ends, does it? I have lots to do too, but it won't happen for a few more days.
    Kylee, some of the heleniums are shorter; like around 2-3 feet rather than 4-6 feet tall. They are charmers, regardless of how tall they are or what colour, aren't they?

    Dirty Knees, it's weird about Husker Red; it does real well for some and not for others (glad it did well for Kylee, but I hated it!) I know what you mean about "storing' labels...have the same situation here...

    Kris, hope you're feeling better; and no, I haven't tried lighting the gas around the gas plant. it's just such a lovely plant, though, and I wish mine was in a more predominant place--but it REALLY doesn't like being moved so i won't touch it.

    Nancy, have you had frost? It came very close here this morning, and I saw some patches of frost between here and Windsor when I was going to my mother's this morning too. I haven't turfed my containers yet--they're still doing pretty well so like you, I can't compost them yet.

    Layanee, sounds like you've got a lot of bulb planting to do! I don't have that many bulbs--not yet, anyway.

    Kim, yes, my Yarrow is in full sun, although not til later in the day. The other thing that can affect colours in plants is soil composition, mineral content, etc, with some plants anyway. Sour Grapes is delicious and I hope that I find others that are just as nice.

  9. Pretty envious of that echinacea of yours. ;-)Love Penstemons, mine are white and doing great. They are not all that hardy so in August I take cutting that root easily and they overwinter in my greenhouse. So far though my Penstemons have survived 3 winters over here. But I have to admit to it being not as cold as with you in NS.

    The yellow leaves really make the Caryopteris flowers more blue than they really are. This shrub I have to buy again as I had one in my previous garden too and it's a favorite of mine.

    Apples!!!! Now you're talking! I had my first harvest this year from my ballerina trees. Loved the Flamingo apples, they are a deep burgundy red, the flesh (do you call it that?) is pure white and it's juicy, sweet and fresh, with a firm bite. In short I'm in love with this apple as it's the yummiest I ever tasted.

    To do list: 1)enjoy the garden 2) harvest some crops in the kitchen garden, 3) plant bulbs (you can never have too many bulbs), 4)weed.

  10. Hi Jodi,

    I hope you're feeling better by now and maybe can pull a weed or two ;-] The colors in this post sure fit in with the fall spectrum - I like the 'Paprika', too.

    My must-do list for this morning is to water some of the beds - some of the other Austin gardeners had weekend rain, but not my garden, and we're still topping the 90ºF/32ºC mark each day.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


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