Even as I write this, it does not yet feel like October here in the Fairegarden, but the calendar states otherwise. Warm or cool, the yearly tableau of pumpkins on the little bench on the front porch is a favorite craft, with roasting done later for pies and other goodies. The top left pumpkin was just cut from the vine, a leaf is still attached. It was a volunteer from the compost pile. We usually get at least one pumpkin pop up to grow and produce a fruit. A post about such good fortune can be read by clicking here.
October is the season of the grand finale for the Dahlias. More of these beauties have been added each year and the raised box where they winter over nicely is full. New for 2013 is Dahlia ‘Atropurpurea’ from the wonderful Scott at Old House Gardens.
This gorgeous specimen, Dahlia ‘Mystic Spirit’ was purchased as a potted plant during the garden blogger’s fling of 2012 at B.B. Barns in Asheville, North Carolina. The foliage is dark and the color is divine.
A couple of years ago I decided that there were enough oranges and reds in the Dahlia box and thought that Dahlia ‘Bishop of Leicester’ with dark foliage and white with lavender steaks on the blooms would be a good addition to all the hot colors. It was ordered from Plant Delights Nursery and has grown well.
The one Dahlia out of several seedlings planted out that has survived for several years from the original sowing of a packet of Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’ seeds from Thompson and Morgan is over six feet tall and a robust blooming machine. The pollinators and hummingbirds adore the single Dahlias, the better to be able to reach the nectar, my dears.
Planted this summer was a three gallon pot of Salvia leucantha. Lime was added to our acid soil at planting time and the location is the most protected spot available here. I am hoping to cheat on the zone and create a USDA 8a instead of the normal 7a for a return next spring. A hummingbird visited this big boy recently and completely ignored me while I was standing just inches away. The little bird stopped right in front of my face, trying to decide if I might be a source of food. Sadly, I did not have my camera, which would have spoiled the moment anyway. My heart did a flutter as the beating wings created a breeze that brushed my face. Ahhhhh…
Beware of fuzzy caterpillars! Do not touch or try to pet any hairy catts or you will get a sharp and painful sting. I speak from experience. This
vandal, er creature feasting on the purple cabbage may be the larvae of the acrea moth. If anyone thinks this is not correct, please feel free to correct me. It does provide a nice color combo.
I was overjoyed to see this Gulf fritillary butterfly visiting the Verbena bonariensis. It is the first sighting of the season. The larval food of passionvine, Passiflora incarnata is allowed to grow more places than it deserves here just to accomodate this orange flutterby. Hooray! This plant was featured in a Wildflower Wednesday post that can be seen by clicking here.
For over a decade the area now known as the Gravel Garden, story about how it came to be can be found by clicking here, has been a slovenly mess come fall. Plants have been added and removed ad infinitum in order to achieve the vision. This might be it, or as close as we can come and still have year-round interest.
Easy peasy lemon squeezey is the peegee hydrangea standard maintenance. No tweaking with this one. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ is never fail for glorious gorgeousness. I love how the pristine white florets fade to pinky green in the fall before turning to toast. The top parts are all cut to the nub in late winter or whenever I get tired of looking at them, which doesn’t usually happen for a while. In the beginning, more pruning was done during the growing season, written about here, but I like the results of no pruning, as was the method this year. The spider web in the lower left quadrant was a serendipitous surprise!
A few plants are grown here for the delightful berries rather than the attractive flowers. Rosa chinensis ‘Angel Wings’ is such a plant. Grown from seeds purchased from Renee’s Seeds, these small bushes display tiny red hips that will last all winter. Over the years, the group of seedlings have become nice sized and full of hips but no, they do not look fat! A post can be seen by clicking here, for those interested in learning more.
For once, the pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is not shouting for attention at the top of the steep slope behind the main house. The sun has not yet lit the fire of desire on the pink inflorescences, but the morning light has painted the fall dogwood leaves in watercolor memories as the chlorophyll washes away before they drop gently to the earth. I guess fall is really here.