What Looks Good Now-Early November

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I need to go to the grocery store. Sitting in the gas guzzler that is parked in the garage, the passenger side mirror is checked to make sure there is adequate clearance to back out. This is the view in the mirror that I see as late October slides into November. The Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Wells Special’, the big green shrub on the right and the wildflower asters and goldenrod are on my property, the burning bushes and deciduous trees are across the street at my neighbor’s. It is an arresting sight. It causes me to pause for a minute to drink in the view before backing out. Every time.

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Backed fully out, the button is pushed to close the garage door. The gearshifter is set to drive and as we move forward this is the next view we see. It’s a wonder I ever get to the grocery at this rate. The pink muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris is fading faire, but almost seems even more beautiful as it ages. Like people do. The golden haze of various Amsonia ssp. behind the grass sets the scene aglow when backlit by the autumn sunshine.

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Onward! Turning slowly to pull out into the street, we turn our gaze westward to check for oncoming traffic. There are hardly ever any cars on our block, but the yellow button mums grab my attention and I brake and take a lingerling look at the bed under the tall pines at the edge of our property. Many hours of toiling during the summer have paid off in the shrubs and desirables now growing unimpeded by pesky vigorous vines and ground covers gone astray. It was worth the effort.

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Finally we pull out into the street with no cars coming behind us. That allows us to move along at a crawl and look carefully at the center island from the streetside, the same area shown in the opening photo. Among the wildflowers are the yellowing twigs of Cornus sericea flaviramea and the red berries of Ilex verticillata ‘Berry Heavy’. In a month or so this bed will be cut down with the lawn mower and those large shrubs will enjoy the spotlight for the remainder of winter.

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Moving on to the bed in front of the house, there are more winterberries. Soon the leaves will fall and the berries will show up better. Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ is really more orange than gold. A story about the winterberries can be seen by clicking here.

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We have featured photos of the eastern wahoo tree, Euonymus atropurpureus several times this fall already. Here it is in situ, with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ and the neighbor’s large deciduous trees in full glory.

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There is no lawn of mown grass here at all, only a little lawn/meadow at the side of the garage that is cut down once a year. Instead of grass that needs a weekly cutting, a mixture of trees, shrubs and wildflowers grows in front of the house and garage. A couple of years ago, Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ was spread from the various plants growing here and there to fill in the space between the shrubbery in front of the house. Blooming in early August with tall stalks of fragrant white flowers, the fading faire foliage is offering even more interest as it yellows. The frontage on all three sections of curbside plantings hold several rows of Liriope ssp. Let’s get a move on to the grocery. We can go see the back garden after we return.

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The groceries are put away so let’s go out back. As we walk along the gravel path at the side of the garage to get to the real gardens, this is the view. Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’ trained to a standard on a stout metal stake looks like a colorful midway ride, the type where feet dangle as the gondolas whirl.

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The tall feather reed grass, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ will stand with the other plantings until February in the Gravel Garden, for there are no bulbs planted there. The Gravel Garden will be left wild and wooly to better capture any frost or snow during the cold months. Where there are bulbs, the stems and stalks need to be cut down sooner so as not to decapitate newly emerging leaves and flower buds as has sadly happened in the past. They seem to pop up earlier each year anymore.

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There are only a few flowers still in bloom, chief among them being the various Sheffie mums and the previously shown yellow button mum. It is the turning foliage that attracts the human eye if not the hungry pollinators buzzing all over the mums. Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’, a story about her here, is holding court at the corner of the Daylily Hill.

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Along the rising stairsteps of the block wall, the blue pots have been put into the protective custody of chickenwire cloches. The oblong blue pot is planted with another fifty Crocus chrysantha ‘Prins Claus’. I say another because last year we also planted fifty of those treasures and every last one was eaten by voles entering through the hole in the bottom of the pot since the pot was resting on cute pot feet. With much muttering involving evil thoughts towards voles, hardware cloth was cut to fit the bottom of the pot before this year’s crocus planting and the pot is setting flat on the concrete topper blocks. The chickenwire was added for good measure to keep the squirrels from mucking about the top. If this doesn’t result in a good show of crocus in early 2014, I might have to hang up my trowel and call it quits.

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At the top of the slope, the main entrance to the Knot Garden has been blocked by the bowing pink muhly grass. There is another way to get in, around the side of the Shed Bed and up to the top terrace level. One of these days these majestic grasses will be cut down, but not yet. Not until they have lost all color and structure and collapse into soggy slovenly heaps, sometime at the beginning of the new year. That is a surprise, isn’t it, talking about the new year already. But that is the way of it. Onward indeed.



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17 Responses to What Looks Good Now-Early November

  1. entwinedlife says:

    Beautiful view to start the day… Missing Entwined Gardens!
    Thanks for your beautiful vision Frances!

    Hi Jayme, thanks for joining me!

  2. commonweeder says:

    I love your muhly grass! I crunched across my frosty green lawn this morning. It’s not the same thing at all.

    Hi Pat, thanks for visiting with me. We have had the hard killing frost here, then it warmed back up. That is our usual fall.

  3. Barbara H. says:

    What a wonderful tour, Frances, as always. Thanks!

    Thanks for riding along, Barbara!

  4. It is too bad burning bush is invasive here. It does have its moment of glory in the fall.

    The burning bush is a horrible scourge here, terribly invasive. I have pulled many seedlings out once I was able to identfy them. My neighbor loves them and has a couple of large stands of them, absolutely afire right now.

  5. Alison says:

    You have so much beauty to look at just on the way to the store. I absolutely love that last shot, of the pink Muhly bowing in front of the bench. Almost looks like a pink waterfall.

    Thanks, Alison. I like that shot of the muhly and Knot Garden, too. It had rained and the grass was wet. After the sun dried it out, it perked and pinked back up. The view from the side mirror of my car is so colorful it doesn’t seem real.

  6. bittster says:

    Nice tour, thanks! I know I should hate the invasive burning bush, but that bright red is really amazing.

    Thanks, Bittster. I hate the burning bush, it is a terrible thug, but that red cannot be denied in my neighbor’s yard. With the yellows and other leaf colors, it really set the scene off well.

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Lovely views all around your garden Frances. I like your lirope grass.

    Thanks, Lisa. The Liriope is a lowly creature, but serves the purpose of lawn substitute very well. It is used as edging in nearly every yard in our neighborhood along walkways. Most folks cut it down around the first of March, but I cut it sooner since there are daffodils in there.

  8. Frances, those chickenwire cloches look pretty decorative and remind me of the spiderwebs!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. I am very happy with the wire cloches, they look much better than the haphazard bits I have used to protect the containers in the past. All it took was buying a new roll of chickenwire!

  9. Your post is a good reason to applaud the coming of computer driven autos, so you can admire the garden without worrying about the driving! Happy autumn!

    Happy autumn to you, Shenandoah and thanks! I would really look out the window if we had those computers autos. I should have a bumper sticker that say *I stop for gardens*.

  10. As is always the case, your beautifully composed pictures and expressed thoughts not only make me appreciate your garden more than ever but also heighten my appreciation of my own. I look out on my views and see what might strike a chord of repetition for what your theme of the day’s post is.

    You are always so sweet with your kind words, Michaele, I thank you and do appreciate you very much. There is beauty everywhere, in the lowliest setting, if we but stop and really look. Especially at this time of year.

  11. Dee Nash says:

    It certainly is a lovely time in your garden Miss Faire. Those muhly bowing down before us are quite the picture. So gorgeous. So almost sad. I am always a bit sad at this moment in my garden until I remind myself spring will come again. It simply will.~~Dee

    Thanks so much, Dee. The garden is a colorful miasma right now, but to me, it is beautiful every single day of the year. I understand your sadness, but do not share it, simply looking forward to the next garden phase.

  12. Lola says:

    Beautiful as always. I so enjoyed the tour.

    Thanks, Lola, I appreciate your coming along.

  13. Layanee says:

    The views are spectacular. I cannot pick a favorite but would just savor each one. The end is that much more beautiful knowing what is in store. At least you have some ‘jewelry’ in your garden.

    Thanks, Layanee. I try not to play favorites in the garden or with my kids and grands. HA The pink muhly certainly qualifies as bling. Good one!

  14. Beautiful! Love the Muhly grasses and Burning Bush. We cannot get Burning Bush here anymore since it was put onto the invasive species list and you can’t beat the fall color. You have some impressive combinations!

    Hi Lee, thanks for visiting. The burning bush is on the invasive list for Tennessee, but I believe it is still sold. These are very old plantings in an old neighborhood that are not on my property, but across the street. I would not plant it, and pull out the seedlings now that I can identify them. I have to admire that red view from my side view mirror while backing out of the garage anyway.

  15. gail says:

    Would you accept a one word comment? OMGisthatevergorgeous! I am looking at the photo of the Pink Muhly and Amsonia and think that it is inspired and inspiring(you know, I have that hill that I just planted with PM, it just needs some golden yellow). Do you remember, the first time I saw your garden was mid October? That was such a treat, as was seeing you. I remember pulling into your drive and being shocked at the pinkness at its peak. Good times and more to come, I am sure. xoxoxogail

    Hi Gail, thanks for that one word! Your hill will be beautiful, I am sure. The Amsonia is having the best golden year ever this time, or maybe it has just now grown large enough to show up. I remember very well the first time you visited, and every other visit. Please come again!

  16. kate maryon says:

    Frances it is always a joyful time walking your garden through your cameras lens. Such swathes of colour you still have. Beautiful. Your garden is always inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    Hi Kate, thanks for joining me in the little tour and those kind words. The garden remains beautiful to my eyes always, but fall has such a bittersweet aspect to it that makes the colors even more appreciated.

  17. Rose says:

    Frances, that last photo reminds me of a throne awaiting its queen and the ladies in waiting in their pink tulle gowns bowing down in reverence to her. Your garden is as magical in the waning days of the year as it is at the height of the season!
    I think I’ll come shopping at your grocery story just so I can drive by:)

    Hi Rose, good analogy! Thanks for coming along, our grocery is a favorite hang out for me in our very small town. You are welcome to visit anytime!

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