Flowery Free For All

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October sees the garden in transition. Some parts of it seem sort of messy and out of control.
Above: Pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is a fluffy pink cloud. I like the yellow maple leaf floating in the middle.

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There are many, many flowers, but most are small in size. The yellow sulphur butterflies are everywhere, supping on the orange tubular blooms of Cuphea ignea. There is one now, just above my fairegarden watermark.

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Here is another, dining on an orange zinnia.

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Three species of Cuphea were planted in and in front of the Dahlia box. For once, the Dahlias are not the center of attention. The Cuphea ‘Purple Passion’ and Cuphea micropetala inside the box join the soldier straight row of Cuphea ignea growing below at the base of the old deck boards. Hummingbirds and bees of all sizes, shapes and colors join the butterflies at this nectar bar.

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Let’s go over to the other side of the back gardens, the steep slope behind the main house to see what is going on there.

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There are various asters, wild ageratum, Japanese Anemones all blooming splendidly, but the eye cannot look away from the pink muhly grass at the top of the hill. Soon the sheffies, post about them here, will be joining in the fun. You can see their buds just below the dark foliage of the knockout rose, also just coming into flower.

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On the other side of the slope stands the shed and its plantings. There are many dried seed heads of New England asters and various Eryngiums, among others. This year we are saving seeds more than usual in preparation for when/if we move when my husband, The Financier retires in the next couple of years. Saved, packaged and labeled then stowed in the freezer for the Genesis, the garden will begin again. Maybe. As a former girl scout and girl scout leader, our motto of Be Prepared has served me well over the years.

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Fall is definitely here, with the miasma matrix of grasses and tall perennials drawing the crowds. Heading back to garden beds behind the garage that are slightly less steep, the lone teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, post about it here, stands erect in the Gravel Garden.

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Along the garage side, the repurposed wheelbarrow planter is slowly being switched over to violas that will last through the winter and bloom bountifully in spring. But the lantanas, gomphrenas and alyssum still look so nice, I couldn’t bear to pull them just yet. Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ are blue petticoats along the pathway to the back. In a minute, the sheffie mums will be joining them. Asters and mums make good chums, by the way.

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More seedheads, these are Rudbeckia triloba joining more Cuphea ignea. Last fall I took cuttings of the cigar plants after seeing how they were favored by the hummers, flutterbys and buzzers. The pieces rooted quickly and easily and grew inside the greenhouse/sunroom during the cold months. Thirty-eight well rooted plants were set out this spring and have thrived. This will be repeated, although perhaps some will reseed or even prove hardy. Ever the optimist. The pink spikes behind are Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’.

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Toad lilies, Tricyrtis ‘Empress’ are blooming as never before. A story about them can be seen by clicking here, if you so desire. These are planted more for the gardener than the pollinators. I love them.

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Sitting in the chairs, sometimes with the camera in hand but more often unencumbered, watching the butterflies and buzzers flit and bob happily, the thought came to me that this garden is an oasis of flowers in a sea of mowed lawns and clipped evergreen shrubs in the neighborhood. It is alive with wings and even creepy crawly things, a place where nature rules supreme, weeds and all. Except crabgrass. I hate crabgrass.

Frances

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16 Responses to Flowery Free For All

  1. What a wonderful garden meandering…your words and pictures made me feel like I was walking right along with you for a personal tour. Only difference being that it would take me quite a long time to move from one spot to another. You’d have to be giving me continuous nudges to stop lingering. Yes, it is hard to pull one’s eyes away from the mesmerizing muhly and yet there is so much more to take in. I’d feel like that golden maple leaf being drowned by fall beauty!

    What a wonderful comment, Michaele, thank you! It means a great deal to me that readers get the vibe that my garden gives to me all the time. The photos don’t ever do it justice and my camera skills are poor, but the garden seems to shine through anyway. I would not nudge you at all, for I get lost looking at one flower for hours myself.
    Frances

  2. Helen Johnstone says:

    Are you sure you havent photoshopped the Pink mulhy grass it is so electric and vibrant! Your garden looks wonderful even though Autumn is sneaking up behind us

    HA, Helen, you are funny! My photos do not even begin to show how brilliant the pink muhly grass is. I wish you could see it in person! The garden looks better than ever this year, not sure why. Could it be the kazillion hours I have been working on it these 13 years, or is it just the extra rain we had earlier?
    Frances

    • Gwen Ochoa says:

      I love your pink Mulhy grass because of you and Shangri La (a botanical garden here in SE Texas I have gotten some Pink Mulhy grass. It is very tiny right now but in a few years~~~~~~~Thanks for sharing.

      Hi Gwen, thanks so much for that and good going on getting some of the pink muhly for your garden. It takes a while to get going. My largest clumps have been in the ground for over 10 years.
      Frances

  3. I am glad you are saving seeds. The garden is always in flux, as is the gardener, tinkering, tweaking, trying new plants, combining old plants in new ways. One thing I always get from reading your blog is the sense that the garden is never done, and it speaks to the gardener.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for visiting and those kind words. Since you have been here and seen the garden, in April, you know what I am talking about with the slopes and masses of mixed up plantings. About the seed saving, I have saved seed in the past of many things, just for fun. I am serious about it now, saving large sacks of them for a future garden of bare soil. Maybe. Gardening is a process, it can never be done.
    Frances

  4. Layanee says:

    Oh, I do love the blooms of fall especially when frost is late in visiting the garden. Lush and earthy as well.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for stopping by. We will have frost at the end of October and it will kill the coleus is about all. Then it will be warm and wonderful for another month or more. We are lucky in zone 7a, yes.
    Frances

  5. Dee says:

    It’s lovely Faire. That shot of the sulphur butterfly on the orange zinnia is priceless.

    Thanks, sweet Dee. The sulphurs flit very fast, not staying very long in any one place. The zinnia has more one stop dining opportunities, it seems.
    Frances

  6. Alison says:

    I look forward to seeing photos of your amazing river of pink Muhly every year. Its vibrancy never fails to stun me. I planted several plugs of it in my front garden last fall, but so far there is nothing to show for it but blades. Maybe next year! Hard to believe you are seriously thinking about leaving this garden and starting over yet again. I did it 5 years go when we moved here to Washington, and it would be really hard for me to leave my garden again.

    Hi Alison, what a nice thing to say, thank you! The muhly is stunning, especially when the sun is shining. Those plugs will be flowering size in a couple of years, or sooner! and make the big splash that you are looking for. We have moved many times, a couple of houses I thought we were going to stay at forever. Nope. At least I know how to pot up plants for the Noah’s Ark move, now! HA
    Frances

  7. That first pictures looks like someone spun pink cotton candy in your garden. Fairies must have been busy.

    It does, doesn’t it, Lisa? That is several plants growing close together. It almost looks like you could walk on it.
    Frances

  8. JamesA-S says:

    Yay!
    It’s Muhly Month again!

    Hi James, nice to see you here! Yes, it is time for the pink muhly show again. It will be beautiful for the rest of the year as it fades from peak pink to purple bruise to pale pink to biscuit. :-) Is it still not available in the UK and Europe?
    Frances

  9. bittster says:

    That muhly grass keeps getting better and better, wow! How can anyone be satisfied with a dull lawn after spending a couple minutes on a chair in the middle of this oasis!?

    Hi Bittster, thanks for those kind words. The muhly is having a very good year on the slope, funny that the driveway stand is not so good, yet.
    Frances

  10. I was really taken by the Pink muhly grass which is really new to me, I am off to the internet for more information and sources for this plant.

    Hi Charlie, thanks for visiting. The pink muhly should be much more widely planted and is hardier than most sites state. It needs good drainage and a warm, sunny spot to be happy.
    Frances

  11. Lola says:

    I hate crabgrass too. I have 2 Muhlys going. Hope they will bloom soon.

    Hi Lola, I hope your muhly gives you lots of pleasure!
    Frances

  12. Love your muhly grass..just beautiful. Reminds me of barbe à papa(candy floss?). and of course the whole of your October garden coming into bloom…
    Ronelle

    Hi Ronelle, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. The pink muhly does look like cotton candy, I think that might be what you are thinking of? October is a splendid time in my garden.
    Frances

  13. I adore that pink grass!!

    Hi Horses of the sun, cool name, and thanks for stopping by.
    Frances

  14. Rose says:

    So much still blooming in your garden! And yet, my eye, as always, is drawn to the Pink Muhly. It’s such a vision of pink perfection! I discovered the other day that we have some white Muhly grass growing in the nursing home garden where I volunteer. It made me think–dare I try some pink here? One of these days I might finally get brave enough to try a few plants here.

    The thought of moving from this garden paradise would make me sad, but it’s good that you are preparing for the possibility. I’m sure there will always be a Faire Garden, though the location may be changed.

    Hi Rose, thanks so much for the kind words. There is only one way to find out if you dare plant anything anywhere, and that is to do it! As for the moving, I have done it before and will survive as will the garden. With each move there has been a great deal of experience and learning. I will use that to create a new, improved Fairegarden. I am the garden, not the other way around.
    Frances

  15. Balisha says:

    That pink Muhly grass is absolutelyl beautiful. Does rain beat it down and spoil it? I loved my visit here this morning.Everything is always so lush at Faire Garden.
    Balisha

    Hi Balisha, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. The rain does beat down the muhly, as it does most of the taller grasses, but it rebounds when the sun dries it out, as do the others. Lush is the word here, there is a lot going on!
    Frances

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