By one definition, autumnal is the suggesting of Autumn, that season that occurs between summer and winter. The official Equinox is a couple of weeks away still, but recent weather, seventeen and one half inches of rain along with a strong cooling front has brought changes to the Fairegarden already. Going outside after the downpour had a lull in the action, some signs of fall were noticed. The winterberries are coloring up, Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ will lose its leaves and become a strong citrus orange soon.
The spent flowers are like designer tassels of silvery white against the brilliant reds in an ideal world. It seems the leaves of Oxydendrum arboretum unattach as soon as they turn to drift downward and decorate the garden floor instead.
The unstoppable Muscari ssp. are erupting from the thousands of bulbs in ground and even sitting atop the soil as erosion has washed away the protective dirt. Perhaps these will be divided and replanted more deeply. Or not. The fresh green spikes look mighty good to a summer baked gardener right about now.
On the subject of bulbs, the fall bloomers have begun their display. Colchicum ‘Violet Queen’ rises above a carpet of golden oregano, Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’. The oregano has won the battle for the honor of gracing the edge of the stone wall by the front steps over the Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ which burns up in the glaring summer sun. A gold leaf was needed against the icy blue of the Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ for year around interest in such a prominent location.
Along the upper edge of the Heather Bed, Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ is showing signs of switching out from summer yellow to winter red foliage. Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’, a shameless flopper is in burgundy bloom below the heath. An Echinacea seedhead looks like the black hole of the garden in this low light.
Years of exposure to the outdoor elements has created a hole in the center of the leaf casting mix bowl formerly used as a fairy swimming pool. At least now there is no fear of drowning, the lifeguard position has been eliminated in downsizing. Perhaps a seed will nestle down into the hole for a bit of serendipitous garden planting, or perhaps a human gardener will exert some influence there. For now, pine needles and fallen leaves decorate the dish.
Hope lives that the cool down and saturating moisture will stir the tomatoes to produce a fall crop. Framed by a fallen pine bough, with the trunks of the stately stand of trees in the background along with the black pipes of the large wind chime hanging in the nearby arbor just to the right, this image brings a smile to hungry lips.
Even without being beaten down by heavy precipitation, Solidago ‘Golden Fleece’ lays down on the job, playing the role of rug at the edge of the Gravel Garden. We don’t mind at all, the better to see the yellow fluff.
Calla lily Naomi Campbell, Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Naomi Campbell’ blooms in early summer and the thick petals hold up as the color fades, well into the latter months of the year, moody and beautiful.