October Bloom Day-New Friends And Old-Blog Action Day 2009

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This mid October Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, (thanks Carol of May Dreams!) finds the Fairegarden is full of things that would like to be shared. First off is the idea that color can only come from flowers. Wrong! Foliage is a much longer lasting painterly touch of bright hues out of doors, some lasting the year around, like our favorite heather, Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’. It is even a living thermometer of sorts, turning red in the cold and bright golden yellow in the warmer months. The best time is the transition period in spring and fall when both colors shine brightly.

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Every plant, every flower has a story waiting to be told. Like the new this year seed started in the sunroom/greenhouse pink forget me not, Cynoglossom amabile ‘Mystery Rose’. This was one of those impulse purchases, as so many seed orders are, that confound reason. Why this was added to the order is a complete mystery, maybe that is why this is so named. A biennial as are most forget me nots, the few flowering plants produced were left to self sow and have given a nice patch of babies to be moved to desirable areas over the cooler months. Most bloomed in late spring, but this one decided to bloom perhaps spurred on by the recent rainy cooler weather. To continue the theme of colorful foliage, the Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica makes the point quite well. It will go dormant in November and return with renewed vigor in April, just in time to help hide dying bulb foliage.

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Like the family of Salvias, who experienced a population explosion this year. Diligent study of every plant on offer at our beloved Mouse Creek Nursery found a treasure trove of sages. There will be a post, or more than one of them about the Salvias during the down time of mid winter. Some are very late bloomers, barely going floral before the first frost, like this three foot tall rosebud sage, S. involucrata bethellii. The common name comes from the resemblance of the bud to a rosebud before opening to the familiar trumpet shaped Salvia bloom. The stems are reddish and the leaf veining slightly so. The tag read “Pink Beth” and it may not be hardy, but there is always hope.

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Likewise the Cupheas that were added after the one from last year staged a comeback. Again Mouse Creek was offering a nice array of these interesting plants, sold as annuals in small and affordable pots. They have all done very well with the featured bat faced cuphea, Cuphea llavea being the showiest. There will be a mid winter post about these. The hardiness is questionable but the visiting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees have requested a steady supply be added each year. Will do. Visible at the bottom left of the above image is another evergreen grass type plant that offers color, a subdued bronze, the entire year, Carex buchananii. The cultivar name is not known, so many have been added to the gardens here and many have sprouted in the gravel the ancestry is untraceable.

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Lessons were learned about Dahlias. While the double or multipetaled flowers are lovely, the singles have been quite hardy to return year after year. They are also preferred by the pollinators, including the hummers, so new additions will need to be of the single type.

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Both the yellow and this red were grown from seeds of D. ‘Bishop’s Children’. More seeds have been ordered. A lesson learned is that these are heavy feeders and require extra applications of the timed release granules to continue blooming into fall. The cooler months of fall see the best performance, with those nasty harlequin bugs gone or asleep. Those insects were a huge problem this year on many plants and will be squished as soon as we see them next time. It was not realized what bad guys they were until the entire ornamental kale crop was destroyed while we were on vacation. Next they moved to the dahlias but the gardener was by then on high alert. Grrrr.

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Stalwart friends like Thorny, Rosa ‘Grootendorst Supreme’ continue to thrive. The bloom time for this rugosa is nearly all year. He resides in the middle streetside bed and has not been pruned in a few years. At this point the clippers cannot even get close to the thorny branches so he is allowed to run wild and free.

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In the same bed as Thorny are several wildflowers like asters and goldenrod that just appear by themselves to join the liriope, daylilies and the black seeded Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’. Don’t plant this grass, no matter how appealing it may be, even if someone tries to give it to you for free, or offers to pay you to take it. There are mounds of it growing directly in the asphalt street that get run over regularly by cars and trucks without harm that originated from the promiscuous seed throwing efforts of one purchased plant. It does look attractive in fall and winter, particularly covered in hoarfrost. The burgundy grocer’s mum bravely throws up a few flowers each year, nothing like those huge mounds that can be had for a pittance offered on every corner though.

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Do plant this grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, if it is hardy in your area. Let’s create so much demand for this grass that it will be the Endless Summer of grasses, sold by the truck loads to nurseries and big box stores, available to all. Why this is not already the case defies all logical thought. For those interested in such things, the nearly bare stems that are waving hello to the muhly are Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’.

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The search continues for the perfect flowering companion that will bloom before and during the big show without detracting. Lantana is a good choice, beloved by pollinators, but not this orangey one. It might be called citrus something, the name was not written down.

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Lantana is an annual here but readily available in many colorways. L. camara ‘Irene’ would have been a better mate for the muhly and will be placed in that prime location next year. There are four plants of Irene around the weeping blue atlas cedar behind the mailbox. There should have been six plants to fill this space.

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Some familiar faces have just now come onto the scene, like Crocus speciousus. The fall blooming crocus add delightful lavender color to the duskier colors of turning fall foliage. The saffron crocus, C. sativus is just barely peaking up out of the ground, quite later than last year. It was feared it was gone, eaten by vicious hungry voles that are terrorizing the gardens, but no, it is just late. Last year we had already harvested the good bits and written about it here. Whether another post will be published this time around will be determined by the weather, image quality and harvest.

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And Camellia sasanqua ‘Chansonette’. It was startling to find these blooming so early. No wonder it was assumed that they just weren’t blooming well under the cover of the tall pine trees and surrounded by the ever larger growing Viburnum x rhytidophylloides ‘Alleghaney’ shrubs sharing the space. The blooms had already come and gone when the search for them was conducted in November to December. Those Viburnums are going to need some pruning to give the Camellias a fighting chance at flowering. The image was taken with the flash, for that area is quite dark even on those recently rare sunny days.

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New flats of violas have been added for new genetic material and fall to spring color. The gene pool of the knot garden gravel self sown violas that have a yearly beauty pageant in May will include some colorways of this flat of V. ‘Antique Shades’, it is hoped. Other colors have been added to containers to liven things up. These fall planteds will have gigantic root systems come spring and be able to bloom happily amidst the bulbs, if the squirrels can be kept from digging them up. Forts of rosemary twigs around the plants seems the best method of defense.

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Faithfully returning wildlings shine in the fall. The morning glories on the large hedge of Pyracantha have put on the best show in several years. Two factors may have influenced this, the severe pruning of the hedge mid summer that allowed more light to hit the seed laden soil beneath and excessive rainfall.

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The wonders of one little Cobaea scandens seed that has covered the large arbor with vines and flowers offers a comparison of images, this photo by the old camera, Canon powershot A720 IS…

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…this one by the new camera, Canon powershot sx1 IS. What do you think, which is the better capture? I have already decided but would be interested in your take on them.

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These orchids were shown last month on bloom day in bud.

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They have now opened. Starr Wars, Paphiopedilum (Starr Warr x Maudiae) ‘Pisgah’ x Paph. Dark Spell ‘Wolf Lake’ above, and Raven, Paphiopedilum Raven ‘Forever More’ x Paph. curtisii ‘Imperial Purple’ shown first.

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These special few, Paphiopedilums and three Cattleyas, in bloom is Pumpkin, Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’) are safely ensconced after being cleansed of bugs and other bad things with the dip of death. Not all the orchids were brought inside to the greenhouse/sunroom however. There were some tough choices made in order to have more space for seed starting with the heat mats and grow lights and propagation attempts with cuttings from tender mother plants like the gold leaved Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’. It is time to move onward, as ever.

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Today is Blog Action Day, recognizing that climate change is real and happening right now. “When you ask what you as one person can do to make a difference, the answer is quite simple. Plant a tree, minimize the lawn in your landscape, design a garden with drought resistant plants (if you live in an area that is lacking in water) and stop using all chemicals in your landscape. Addressing even one of these issues will have a positive effect on the environment.”, so says Frannie Sorin of Gardening Gone Wild. I could not say it better myself and urge all to follow these simple steps.

Frances

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66 Responses to October Bloom Day-New Friends And Old-Blog Action Day 2009

  1. hayefield says:

    A glorious display of color for this time of year, Frances. Your pink muhly is looking even more magnificent now. (And yes, that pink lantana might be the perfect partner to try next year.) Of all the beauties you shared, I’m most enchanted by the Cobaea scandens. It’s a vine I try every year but usually don’t have much luck with, so I’m enjoying yours vicariously. I think I prefer the image you took with your old camera, by the way, but they’re both great.

    Hi Nan, thanks. The muhly does improve with age, something I didn’t realize until I started taking more photos of it for the blog instead of just enjoying it in the garden. You should try the cobaea. My secret was to pot it up right from the seed starter try in a biodegradable quart size pot in the greenhouse and plant that right into the soil outside when it warmed up. It was already several feet high by that time. Getting the seed to germinate was the hardest part. The alba broke the seed coating but didn’t root. The old camera has a much better macro feature. The new camera has the superior zoom and that’s the way they are used around here. 🙂
    Frances

  2. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! What I like most about your photos, is the feeling they convey…they are not merely a photo snapped in the garden, your photos linger…it is as if you shot it and you are still standing there. Happy GBBD! H.

    Thanks Helen, what a wonderful thing to say! Much appreciated. 🙂
    Frances

  3. Frances, i agree that blooms are not everything and foliage alone can make you fascinated with BUT looking at flowers you shared in this post i think otherwise. Yes the grass you shared was awesome and never seen one before.

    Hi Muhammad, thanks. Maybe foliage plus flowers is the way to go. The muhly is always popular and still looks great even though it is past peak blooming. It fades well. 🙂
    Frances

  4. October is good for your garden it seems, with so much in bloom. I love that grass and will have to check its hardiness. Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    Hi Carol, thanks, yours looks great as well with those Asters. I am new to the aster fan club and can’t say enough good things about them. A friend was given some of our muhly who lives in zone 5 PA and has kept it alive for several years in a protected well mulched spot, good drainage is key. 🙂
    Frances

  5. Les says:

    I am glad you do not push ‘Moudry’, what a noxious weed. It took me years to get rid of it, but I still keep an eye out for it. I like the first shot of your Cobaea, it seems to have more detail. Happy GBBD!

    Hi Les, thanks. I would never push that stinker Moudry, it should be banned. That said, it does serve a purpose in the island bed composed mostly of gravel from the old driveways where little else will grow. And that said, funny how many things DO grow in there. It cannot be gotten rid of, I don’t have the energy required. I keep planting daylilies and asters in there, they can duke it out.
    Frances

  6. Urban Green says:

    WOW! You got pictures to die for. They are amazing!
    Whirling Butterflies, what a beautiful name and just the perfect plant to have. I’m going to dream about these beautiful pictures tonight.

    Thanks so much Urban Green. The Gaura flowers really do look like white butterflies on the wiry stems. Pleasant and very sweet dreams to you. 🙂
    Frances

  7. Gail says:

    Fairegarden has outdone itself this October! The gardener has much to feel proud of~~ Frances, after I got over my initial reaction of “These photos are marvelous and oh, my gosh, look at the bloodgrass, cuphea, forget me not, crocus,rose, lantana, etc, etc….”…” I thought if it weren’t raining we would be finishing our coffee and walking in the garden! Sigh! Have a delicious day~~it rained all night and is still raining! gail

    Thanks Gail. We will have that coffee and walk and it won’t be raining, let us both hope for that. Still raining here too. Good luck with your day and don’t over do it! 🙂
    Frances

  8. Darla says:

    Oh Frances……what an array of color here. Yes, I agree there is so much beauty in foliage. I have never seen pink forget me nots, I have the blue. Maybe white lantana would pop with your grass? Thanks for the ID on the Sheffies, they grew in my Mom’s gardens for as long as I can remember. Of course, once she passed, I have scooped up as many blooming reminders of her I as can!! She’s always swaying in my gardens on the gentleness of the breeze…..

    Hi Darla, thanks. That is so wonderful to have your mother’s flowers in your garden, and sheffie is such a fabulous plant, your mom had good taste! (And a very sweet daughter) 🙂
    Frances

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a plethora of blooms you have Frances. I just love seeing those cuphreas blooming in all of the southern gardens. Batface is my fave and I have grown it before. We must all do our part to adjust to the global warming and hopefully slow it down. Our world is achangin.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Even as annuals, the cupheas are blooming machines and beloved by the hummers as well as the gardener. Our drought-flood syndrome is in full swing in the southeaster US. A bit hard on farmers and gardeners that translates into everyone being affected.
    Frances

  10. Lzyjo says:

    Go simple steps! I love doing small things for conservation, they really add up! Isn’t it lovely seeing the viola’s again! It was great seeing your saffron crocuses, I had nearly forgotten about them!That heather is AMAZING!! AND so is the rosebud sage, camellia, and that gorgeously red rugosa!! oh, did I forget to mention the muhly grass? It looks like a waterfall! Just spilling over the driveway.

    Thanks Lzyjo. Simple is the best, I agree. Those crocus are not the saffron, but they do bloom in the fall. The saffron look very similar but have those red stigmas that contain the spice. They need another week or two, maybe all this rain has slowed them down. The muhly is always a waterfall with all this rain, have I mentioned it is raining? 🙂
    Frances

  11. Dan says:

    Very nice photos and descriptions; and the dialog with the bird photos was fun. I found this blog from a search that I run on the Cannon IS camera. I also have the A720 IS and have considered the new model with its 20x optical zoom. Thank you for your note on the macro – as I was under the impression that the macro on the new camera was even better than the A720. I have taken many closeups of flowers and bugs and would like to have even more macro. I put my photos on my blog . You may appreciate some of them as I take many flower shots too. Again, very nice photos and text!

    Thanks Dan, and welcome. In my opinion, the macro on the A720 is much better and easier to use. Bear in mind that I am a point and shoot on auto kind of photographer, but take hundreds fo pictures of the garden and have learned what works best as to lighting, etc. The 20x zoom is wonderful and that camera is used for the bird photos and some full garden shots. It’s macro and super macro is not as good and the cheaper model at my skill level.
    Frances

  12. Janet says:

    Good morning Frances, I too am not happy with Moudry…it is coming out. With hope I won’t leave too many (if any) babies behind. If only we knew.
    I like the first of the two photos. I thought your Canon was the one I was looking at, but it IS the SX10 that has my eye.
    Wish we could grow Calluna, a bit too warm here though.
    Happy Bloom Day.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Out with Moudry! Hope you don’t have too many to pull. I do. The sx10 is a great camera, wish it was the one I have but oh well. I’m surprised you can’t grow the Callunas, we are on the southern edge or maybe not even on the range at all. Someone forgot to tell the plants they weren’t suppose to grow here. 🙂
    Frances

    • Janet says:

      Forgot to comment on your orchid photos….. Almost xrated! O’Keefe has nothing on you!

      HA Janet, thanks. Those orchids are so sensual looking, they make one blush at the close ups. Must remain scientific demeanor! The term orchis comes from the Greek, meaning testicle. 🙂
      Frances

  13. All the pictures are stunning. You truly have great photography skills. I like the way you bring out the colours and add life each object that you photograph. I heard that the canon powershot is a great camera but I think you need skills too. I am still trying to figure out how to take good pictures like these.

    Hi Autumn Belle, thanks so much. It is not so much skill as experience with the photos. I still am only point and shoot on auto, but have learned the best lighting and how to situate myself to get a better image. I still am taking a hundred shots to get one good one and don’t know what made the better ones be better. Take lots of pictures, try to be as still as possible. I do love the canons though. 🙂
    Frances

  14. tina says:

    Love that muhly-it is simply spectacular. Your camelia is awesome too! Yeah for the blooms! Lovely blooms at Fairegarden for sure.

    Thanks Tina. We are lucky to have so many things still in bloom, constant rain or no. 🙂
    Frances

  15. I looked and looked but couldn’t decide which picture is better. Maybe the second but the first didn’t have the color wash out any on the foliage. Great blooms! I’m with you on the Muhly grass!

    Thanks Dave. The 720 just has a better macro with my skill level. Let us be ambassadors for the muhly. 🙂
    Frances

  16. Bravo Frances, what an excellent suite of blooms. I especially love the Dahlias…of course and those single flowering are so beautiful, they are almost as beautiful as the zinnias.

    Tyra

    Thanks Tyra, you are so sweet. The single dahlias have been the winners this year. I can’t wait to get those seeds started for next year’s crop. 🙂
    Frances

  17. Love your Salvia! Most S. involucrata cultivars are roughly zone 7 hardy, so I think it’ll probably come back.

    Hi Joseph, thanks and welcome. That is great news about the Salvia. We do have the good drainage many of them require and have our fingers crossed it will return. Our black and blue does return well after finding the right spot for it. We killed a couple before realizing it needed the drainage to be excellent. Glad we kept trying to grow it. Argentine Skies has done well too.
    Frances

  18. Pam/Digging says:

    Ah, the muhly show continues. I love it! And I agree that ‘Irene’ lantana would be a good companion for it. It’s my favorite lantana color.

    Thanks Pam, the muhly is constantly wet anymore, but looks lovely hanging down like a waterfall. Last year was the first time we noticed how long it remains a focal point, even after the pink has peaked. What was I thinking with that orange citrus lantana when Irene was right there in the tub of pots to be planted out? Now we know. 🙂
    Frances

  19. rosey pollen says:

    Frances,
    More and more, I am beginning to love the grasses and the visual element they provide to the garden. I have a very short season so I have to rely on different plants than Southern Gardens for late season interest. So I appreciated what you said at the beginning of our post about color being attained from other things besides blooms and flowers.

    I really enjoyed the display you shared, you really have a wonderful talent for gardening and photography,Frances!

    Rosey

    Such kind words, Rosey, thanks so much. Grasses add so much to the garden in so many ways. For me, the movement they offer plays a huge role, makes the garden seem more alive! 🙂
    Frances

  20. What an abundant bloom day post you have Frances. I wouldn’t even come close and it is made all the more difficult by the ongoing monsoon floppage. The snow was cancelled this morninng, but they are wishy washy about these things a lot. I bet it will be back in the forecast by the end of the day. On again off again.

    Hi Christopher, thanks. We also have monsoon floppage, lots of blooming things were left out because of that. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday. I will call you then. 🙂
    Frances

  21. nancybond says:

    Of all the beautiful plants you’ve showcased, Frances, nothing makes me want to scream, “I want that!” as much as your muhly grass. I love the way it cascades, almost like a waterfall, and provides such a spectacular background for other colours. Gaw-geous! 😉

    Thanks Nancy, it is a good choice to scream about! The rain makes the mass planting of it by the driveway nicer, not so much to single plants along the knot garden boxwood hedge, they are more floppy.
    Frances

  22. Tatyana says:

    Hi Frances! Lovely bright post! Thank you! I like how you mix flowering plants with grasses. As for the muhly grass, I convinced our local nursery to order it. They didn’t even know about this grass.

    Ah, Tatyana, thanks, that is music to my ears to hear about your success getting a nursery to order the muhly. It needs to be more widely grown where it is hardy. Mine is the only patch in town, but I have spoken to Ruth at Mouse Creek about it and she is on board too. She has seen my driveway planting. 🙂
    Frances

  23. Lovely, lovely, lovely – as always, the Muhly Grass just wows my socks off. Why can’t it be hardy here? I also love your Camellia, another plant I must admire from afar.
    As for the photo comparison, I prefer the first photo, it has a bit more clarity.

    Thanks MMD. The muhly is worth wanting, the camellia not so much. We are borderline on the hardiness for camellias even though the nurseries and big box stores are full of them. The plants live okay, but the flowers are more often frozen and ruined than not. The Chansonettes are under a bunch of other trees and shrubs and well protected, but the same siting that protects them makes them not visible from the paths. The leaves are nice though. The 720 takes the better macro, hands down. 🙂
    Frances

  24. Frances hi,

    I think I prefer the first photo (cobaea) but there’s nothing in it. The angle’s ever so slightly different on the second.

    More power to the muhly campaign!

    Hi Rob, thanks. The first photo is better and clearer to my eye as well. I will continue to beat the drum for the muhly! 🙂
    Frances

  25. April says:

    Hey there! I am starting a seed swap. If you are interested please leave a comment on my latest post. We would love to have you! The more the merrier!

    Hi April, thanks, I will look into it.
    Frances

  26. lotusleaf says:

    Hi Frances! Your Muhley grass looks so dream like. In contrast, the close up pictures of orchids seem to be from another planet! Apt name- Star Wars.

    Hi Lotusleaf, thanks. That is a contrast, the fluffy muhly and the waxy orchids, good one! 🙂
    Frances

  27. Lona says:

    What an array of color you have in your beds yet. I am not a planter of grasses but I love that Muhlenbergia capillaris. What wonderful clouds of pink fluff. Beautiful.

    Hi Lona, thanks. If ever there was a grass to win you over, it would be the muhly. It has a lot going for it. Not too large, easy to grow in well drained soil, very well behaved and then there is that pink. 🙂
    Frances

  28. Alice Joyce says:

    I love cupheas! They tend to thrive here, although the showiest varieties die out, and the stronger keep going ;~D
    Muhly grass is stunning, yours, that is!! I have no where to plant it. Tried it out in a couple places, but alas 😦
    Your garden is so full of treasures. Breathtaking to see on this rainy morning in California. Such a change when the rains arrive. Lovely post, Frances….

    Thanks Alice. You have the perfect environment for the Cupheas, we don’t but it has done okay anyway and I will plant them again. The hummers were always hanging around them. Hope you didn’t get washed away with the rains. The muhly does like to be planted in a large wad. 🙂
    Frances

  29. Carol says:

    After posting my Blog Action Day Post, I am delighted by all or your joyous colors in blooms! It is so important to have this day aside as one to consider our options and act as we can to make change. Your fabulous gardens are proof enough of what treasures we must protect… to be able to create our individual paradises … how fortunate we all are. Yours is a particularly wondrous paradise Frances. Thank you for all you do! Magical photography!

    Hi Carol, that was a great Blog Action Day post. Well done. My gardening ways have slowly come around to the no spray, little untreated lawn way of thinking. I can already see the results in the abundance of wildlife along with the health of the plants. It benefits us all.
    Frances

  30. Jean says:

    Nice post Frances. So many interesting plants to look at. As for the difference between the two photos, I’d say the bottom one shows a little more detail but I like both of them. That rosebud salvia you have is really interesting. And yeh, more nurseries should carry the pink muhly! Thanks for alerting me to Blog Action Day. I try to do something positive for the environment as often as I can!

    Hi Jean, thanks. It is hard to decide about the two photos, depends on what part of it you are looking at. I think we are preaching to the choir as far as the garden bloggers are concerned. We can get the word out to others through our own platforms, even if it gets only one person to stop and think about how they can change things themselves.
    Frances

  31. Kanak says:

    What a fascinating series of photos! Loved them all. Your heather and grass look awesome! And morning glories in those colours are a delight, really!

    Thanks so much, Kanak. Glad you enjoyed the blooms on this bloomday. 🙂
    Frances

  32. Wow, you have a lot going on! Loved my visit as usual. The close ups of the orchids are wonderful.

    I am enjoying the combination of autumn foliage and flowers too, although I didn’t feature it in my blog post this time.

    As far as I am concerned, Harlequin bugs can be consigned to perdition forever. They also like cleomes, so watch out for them there if you have any. Not just kale, but ANY brassica is fair game for them. . . I hate them with a passion. The harlequin bugs, not the brassicas. . .

    IMHO, the old camera caught the Cobaea better.

    Hope you have time to visit my gbbd.

    Thanks Hands. You too have been busy! Those Harlequin bugs are new here this year, I didn’t realize how much damage they could do. Now I know and have no problem squishing them. Sometime we are very hard hearted. I will be thinking of you and the changes that are happening with your friends and loved ones. 🙂
    Frances

  33. Miss Daisy says:

    Loved the tour! And I do love the Whirling Butterfly grass. I’ve been seeing it more and more in my neck of the woods. You take great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks Jen. The grass is pink muhly, Muhlenbergia capillaris. The wiry stems on this side of the driveway are the Gaura Whirling Butterflies. Both are wonderful plants. 🙂
    Frances

  34. Noelle says:

    Hello Frances,

    I am so happy that I recognize many of the plants you have because we grow them here (AZ) as well. The Muhlenbergia, Gaura, Lantana and Cuphea I have grown as well.

    I love the ‘Firefly’ Heather. I enjoy watching certain plants change colors in response to temperatures.

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful glimpses of your garden.

    Hi Noelle, thanks. That is so cool that we both can grow these plants even though our environments are so different. It is a testament to not thinking you can’t grow something until you have tried it, or killed it three times as the saying goes.

  35. Whoa! Some knock your socks off color still going strong in your garden, Frances. And those orchids! Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Linda, thanks. There is still a lot going on, and the fall colors have not really kicked in on the deciduous trees and shrubs either. Then it will be a veritable rainbow. 🙂
    Frances

  36. Rose says:

    Thanks for the tip on Blog Action Day, Frances; I am doing my part to minimize my lawn by continually digging up more turf, but it may take the rest of my lifetime to do it:)

    So much gorgeous color in your garden right now! I wish I could see it in person–we were probably within an hour of your house, as the crow flies, last weekend. But I thought you might be gone, and even with a crow to guide me, it would have taken a little longer than Husband was willing to spare.
    I vote for the old camera’s shot of the Cobaea, but both of them have convinced me to check out this plant for next year. Here’s hoping the nurseries also come up with a Muhly grass hardy to zone 5!

    Hi Rose, getting rid of lawn to make larger flower beds certainly qualifies. Gardeners are really good about that one. I do wish you could have come by here too. Next time, bring Becky. The Cobaea is seed grown, started in the greenhouse in late winter. You can do it! I have a friend in zone 5 PA who has some of my muhly growing in his garden for several years now. It is in a protected spot that is well drained and sunny. It can be done. 🙂
    Frances

  37. Gayle Madwin says:

    I must admit that your pink muhly grass is truly gorgeous. I’ve been trying to restrict myself to its non-pink cousin, deergrass, because that’s what’s native in my area – but the pink version keeps tempting me.

    Hi Gayle, thanks. Depending on your definition of native, the pink muhly is a native to the SE US and will grow in your area. It is a trade off with the natives here as well. I have a certain vision of how I want the garden to look, and that includes some friendly exotics that behave themselves. The bees and pollinators have no problems with them either. I believe there is room for both. 🙂
    Frances

  38. Phillip says:

    Everything looks great – I love the heather and the dahlia.

    Hi Phillip, thanks. I love those two as well. Firefly always brings a smile. 🙂
    Frances

  39. Joanne says:

    Lovely post. I prefer the single simple Dahlia they seem to fit in a small garden better than big bousey ones.

    I love your grass and haven’t seen it here in UK.
    Any chance of smuggling some out in the post to uK. Sssssh!
    Perhaps I should see if there’s some on the internet another to do job for my list.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. The single Dahlias are exquisite and more will be added next year. I think all of the UK gardeners should demand that the muhly be offered in your areas. Tell those nurseries about it! 🙂
    Frances

  40. stevesned says:

    I’ve raved about the Muhlenburg grasses in the past and I now see you are 100% correct – as good as they looked last year, they have developed into something else altogether.I love that grass and I have definitely jotted it down to use. Hey – I’m a Southerner now!

    Congrats on your awards @ Blotancal, Frances. I hope you realize your reception was deserved. By the way, your photography is a dream. I always love visiting here. Hopefully,now that I am situated, I can do more of it. It’s always such a delight.

    Hi Steve, thanks so much and so nice to see you. The patch of muhly by the driveway was spread more at the lower end to fill in better and the whole thing mulched. It is definitely fuller this year and will continue like that for a few years, I hope. There are plantings on the other side of the muhly bed now of various taller perennials as a test to find what will grow and work the best before and during the muhly bloom. Still a work in progress. Glad to hear you are including it. We need to get the nursery industry to carry this grass for the regions where it is hardy. It meets the easy care drought tolerant criteria nicely. Thanks for those kind words about the Blotanical wins too, and I hope to get caught up with your fabulous writing and projects. 🙂
    Frances

  41. Patsi says:

    Your blooms always amaze me. Can’t get enough of the muhly grass…it’s like a landmark to your blog.
    Great to know about the Japanese blood grass…I can’t stand the look of dying spring flowers. It’s now on my “thinking about” list.

    Hi Patsi, thanks so much. I would love to see the muhly in more gardens where it is hardy, a great plant. The blood grass is good for hiding the daff foliage here along the long wall, but you still need the talent of blinding yourself to the bad bits and focusing on the good. 🙂
    Frances

  42. Catherine says:

    What beautiful pictures! The Orchids are just amazing, I love those super macro shots. I think both Cobaea shots are great, I might say the first one seems to show the color a little better.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. I like to get up close and personal with those orchids. The detail of the insides is interesting. 🙂
    Frances

  43. You have so much to see in your garden! I really love that vine (and the SX10 photo has crisp stem focus while the Powershot has crisp bloom focus. I use face finder on plants!)

    I covet the bloodgrass, but there has been so much controversy here about whether or not it is okay. One nursery had it and wouldn’t sell it to me, not even for a container planting.

    Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Thanks for the explanation of the differences in the camera shots, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I am sorry about the bloodgrass, your conditions must be different than ours. I wish it would spread more here. I have to dig and transplant it to get the drifts of it. Something must be different there.
    Frances

  44. chuck b. says:

    I’m totally with you on dahlias needing to be the single type. Some Crocus sativus bulbs I ordered who knows when recently arrived–very exciting to have two fall blooming types!

    Hi Chuck, thanks. Every fall I think that more of those fall blooming ones, don’t have any colchicums yet, should be ordered. Then I forget until the next fall.
    Frances

  45. Jenny B says:

    You have so much going on in the garden, I don’t what to comment on first! The Heather “Firefly” is stunning, as is the Japanese Blood Grass–very striking. The Dahlias are almost plastic in their perfectness. Thanks for the tip on singles attracting more pollinators. Old Thorny Grootendorst reminds me of my Lady Banks. She has taken over–and she ain’t no lady! I am in lust with your pink muhlygrass! MUST-HAVE-IT-NOW! Good to see someone else enjoys Morning Glories–so many can only see them spread and can’t appreciate what beauties they are. But the crowning glory of your garden has to be the Orchids. Georgia O’Keeffe move over! Those gorgeous shots should come with an X-rated label! 😉

    Thanks Jenny, you are too sweet! We do pull many of the morning glories, they want to rule the world, but we need to have some blooming for the joy they bring. The orchids are special, aren’t they? Very sexy flowers. 🙂
    Frances

  46. Amy Emerick says:

    Wow! All of your blotanical awards are so well deserved. I enjoy your blog and each time I visit I am amazed at the beautiful photography and nature. Even a “weed” (nutsedge) would be pretty on your blog… 🙂

    Hi Amy, thanks so much for those kind words. We do have plenty of weeds, and many of them are quite photogenic, including netsedge! HA 🙂
    Frances

  47. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances, this is a wonderful post! The heather is beautiful; I didn’t realize it changed color. I love the antique shades of the Cobaea. The first photo looks a little clearer to me, but both are beautiful.

    I’m a big fan of Muhlenbergia too.

    Your orchid photos are outstanding!

    Thanks Sweet Bay. Not all of the Callunas do the color change, some, many are green all year. Look for the golden foliage ones, they are more likely to change to reds. Firefly is by far the prettiest though. The Cobaea opens light green then turns purple right before falling off. There are purple petals scattered under the arbor, it needs a photo taken, if it would stop raining. 🙂
    Frances

  48. joey says:

    Aumumn blessed, dear Frances (you lucky gal)! All is lovely but your fall crocus won my heart 🙂

    Thanks sweet Joey. Those crocus are a wonderful surprise each fall, they come up really quickly and bloom immediately before the foliage shows.
    Frances

  49. Cheryl says:

    Your photos are unbelievably gorgeous. I love that whispy muhly grass too! I wish I had your space…and your camera! Beautiful post!

    Thanks Cheryl and welcome. It looks like you have plenty of flowers at your place too. 🙂
    Frances

  50. commonweeder says:

    What a gorgeous October garden. I thought I was doing pretty well, until early this week, when we had the first of three hard freezes. I managed to pull out all the annuals, but it is SNOWING this morning, and I still haven’t dug up the dahlias. Or cut back the peonies. So I had nothing to show for bloom day. I did have a fair amount to say about Blog Action Day.

    Hi Pat, thanks. Sounds like winter snuck up on you. I will surely check out your BAD post when time allows. We have had our first freeze already too. 🙂
    Frances

  51. Jen says:

    OK, time to get out my pen and paper and start making up my “wish list” for next year! There is so much to look at here, but I really find myself drawn to that muhly grass and I do love the lantana with it – even orangey! That heather in your lead photo is just perfect for now. BTW, I like the old camera shot, but the second one is no slouch,either.

  52. Hi Frances, What a great place for your orchids!! You know, it’s been so cold around here these past couple of weeks, that I’ve been in a dither about getting my Fall Work done! (Finally got the chance to work outdoors today!) yea. Anyway, I need to make a couple more concrete garden balls… I keep giving mine away! ha. 🙂 Have a great day!

    Hi Shady, thanks. The orchids like that little room, or the paphs and catts do anyway. We are behind on our outdoor chores as well, it has been raining for weeks and then I was out of town. I have some projects to do if it will warm up. We had both better get busy! 🙂
    Frances

  53. Raji says:

    Frances…if i ever find “Muhlenbergia capillaris” , I am going to buy it…I have never seen it anywhere other than in your blog..Your garden is a paradise…thank you fo r sharing …

    Hi Raji, thanks so much. Good luck finding the muhly, if enough people ask for it, maybe it will be more widely available.
    Frances

  54. TC says:

    I’d love to line my drive with Muhlenbergia capillaris! If only it were hardy here. 😦

    As for the differences between the two shots with different cameras; the one taken with the sx1 IS seems to be a little more crisp.

    (Sorry I’ve not stopped by in such a long time. These early hours as a school bus driver has affected my schedule much more than I figured.)

    Hi TC, so nice to see you, and no need to apologize! These posts are not going anywhere, we still get comments on some of the older ones and are happy to get them. You deserve a medal for being the driver to the precious cargo, thanks for that! Maybe you can find a suitable substitute for the muhly, a sweep of grass is a great driveway planting. Just in case someone leaves the pavement, it won’t really hurt a plant that will bend rather than break. 🙂
    Frances

  55. Hello, hello Frances!! what beauty I see here, love nature in your pictures!!! I´m updating with my blogger friends after a while of rest from internet… so nice coming to visit you, it´s a real pleasure!!!
    Have a beautiful weekend
    María Cecilia

    Hi Maria, thanks. Welcome back and we are very glad you enjoyed your visit. 🙂
    Frances

  56. Megan says:

    Wow I am smitten with that grass! So glad I clicked through the link on Tina’s blog to see such a treat! That’s going on my wish list immediately.

    Hi Megan, thanks and welcome, and thanks to Tina too for having me on her sidebar! The muhly grass should be growing in every garden where it is hardy, hope you can get some. 🙂
    Frances

  57. kerri says:

    Your October blooms are doing you proud, Frances. The Muhly grass looks like mounds of pink cotton candy spilling over the curb. How beautiful it is!
    I’m going right out to peek under the spirea bush and see if I can spot the saffron crocus planted there. I must move them as the bush has spread, and buried the poor things. Glad you reminded me 🙂
    The bat faced cuphea is gorgeous and the morning glories make such a bright splash of color. Love that Heather too. Love them all…orchids, camelias, pansies, etc.
    I hope you get a relief from the showers and some bright, sunny days to cheer you and the little visiting creatures. Hope we do too!
    Happy Autumn dear Frances!

    Hi Kerri, what a delight to see you again, welcome! I am tickled that you have the saffron, but it probably does need to be moved, it sounds like. I hope you have a nice stretch of sunny blue skies too. I think we are going to get some, even though it is frosty outside today. Just bundle up! 🙂
    Frances

  58. linda says:

    Beautiful October blooms Frances! Wish muhly grass was hardy here. If it was, it would be a must-have. The orchids are gorgeous, and I love Cobaea scandens. Both photos are lovely, yet the first one seems richer, and maybe a little clearer. If you hadn’t posted both for comparison, I’d have felt either was about perfect. What a pretty bloom, and gorgeous photos as usual.

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. The Cobaea has been a nice surprise, filling that whole structure in just a very short time. It will be grown again. The photos of it are very similar, each has its own merits it seems. 🙂
    Frances

  59. Racquel says:

    Striking shots for Bloom Day Frances! I’m in awe of the first one (Heather) and of course who wouldn’t adore that Pink Mulhy Grass. It really needs to be more available I agree. 🙂

    Hi Racquel, thanks. We need to hound the nurseries and anyplace that sells plants to stock this grass. It is just too good of a garden resident where it is hardy not to have it. Educate the sellers! 🙂
    Frances

  60. Little Wing says:

    I’m late to the party but I made it,lol. Don’t know if my Muhly is gonna make it this year or not- frost warning is only a couple of days out:( Your Heather is gorgeous and I think you’re doing a great job of promoting an underused plant with your photos of it. Thanks also for the reminder to buy and plant violas now. My bunny population is down for now so maybe I can pull it off this year.

    Hi Little Wing, not late at all, you are welcome any time! Maybe a little extra mulch for your muhly, it seems to like being mulched here. Firefly is a wonderful heather, hard to find though. Those darn bunnies get my violas that are planted in the knot garden regularly too. The rosemary seems to deter them somewhat.
    Frances

  61. RobinL says:

    Your Lantana Irene looks an awful lot like my Lantana Carlos. It was beautiful all summer, and now is trying to overwinter in the cool basement. I wish him luck! I’ll have to remember that cup and saucer vine, it’s lovely! I like the first shot best.

    Hi Robin, thanks for visiting. Good luck with Carlos. We have tried various ways to overwinter Lantanas without success. Good thing they are cheap and readily available here. I will always have them in the garden for the color and wildlife they attract. 🙂
    Frances

  62. Lola says:

    Frances, you have the most amazing garden. so many blooms yet. Thanks for the tour.
    As for the camera shot–I like the 2nd one as more of the background can be seen but it likes the crispness of the subject, the bloom of the first one.
    I have a lantana L. Camara “Landmark Rose Glow” that is rose pink & yellow. I think that may go with the muhly also.
    I hope you have some sunny days ahead.

    Hi Lola, thanks for coming along. The pinker lantanas would all go well with the muhly I believe. And it is supposed to be sunny today, maybe as I see the cloud picture on the weather widget on my dashboard.
    Frances

  63. Lythrum says:

    I love the single dahlias too. I might have to try growing some from seeds and see how they do. I’m glad to see that you have so much still blooming!

    Hi Lythrum, thanks. The dahlia seeds have been fairly easy to get going in the greenhouse/sunroom. A much cheaper way to grow them, all you need is patience, but all gardeners have that, don’t they? 🙂
    Frances

  64. sequoiagardens says:

    What a lovely post, Frances! Chatty and informative with ravishing photography. Hope this doesn’t disappoint you, but I prefer the shot with the older camera – but it is splitting hairs, and a momentary change in the light or the innards of the camera can make a difference

    Thanks Jack, I appreciate your kind words. I have no emotional attachment to either cam…. well that is simply not true. I love the old camera best, so your opinion makes me happy for it, older but still the champion. HA 🙂
    Frances

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