Changing With the Seasons

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Late fall is sliding into winter rapidly here in the Fairegarden. Several frosts have occurred, speeding up the process of decay. Ever experimenting, in all pursuits but especially in the garden, we watch as colors fade, leaves release and fall to the ground, and stems stand bare. What is still attractive, how long will it remain so, how can we tweak the plantings for optimum viewing pleasure? In past years, the brown bobble seed heads of Eryngium yuccifolium have collapsed rather quickly on weak stems. This year, bamboo stakes were added as the stems began to lean and list. It was a task that has paid off, we think.  Borrowed splashes of color make for a sweet background while the leaves still remain on the distant maples.

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The view from the front porch has been carefully curated to offer consistent interest in all seasons. Evergreen perennials such as silvery Dianthus, Santolina chamaecyparissus, and lamb’s ear are punctuated with grasses blue fescue, Festuca glauca and Stipa tenuissima. It was noticed that the upright Veronicas last well into winter here in USDA Zone 7a. V. ‘Sunny Border Blue’ is the tallest and most robust, seen on the right side in the above image. The spent flower stalks are like fuzzy rat tails. Rusty metal, glass sculptures and various rocks add textural interest.

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Streetside, the bright stems of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ are just beginning to color up. Colder temperatures will sharpen them. Of the three shrubs planted in this bed, the one on the right received overspray from the watering of the rose on the mailbox and still holds onto golden hued foliage while its dry neighbors jettisoned their foliage sooner. Note to self…

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Going around to the back gardens, we see the brown is also a color Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ heads proudly persisting. The two hundred foot long cedar fence is fading nicely, two years after installation. This angle suggests there are a lot of artsy objects hanging on the fence. This angle is not wrong.

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Yarrow, Salvia and Scabiosa flowers linger, protected from the cold by the sunny south facing exposure. Lavender mounds, glass garden art and naturally occurring wildflowers along the fence line are anchored by the concrete pineapple sitting on the clay pot pedestal. There has been growth in all the beds since last year. Check out this post from last winter to see the progress.

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From the opposite vantage point we can see the rosemary mounds, sunken bog plant garden, native carex and violas spilling from a broken glazed container.

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Some of the hardiest and most attractive of the plants growing here could be considered weeds. Allowing the lawn to grow undisturbed revealed the delightful broom sedge grass, Andropogon virginicus as a dominant player. I believe the other plant is a Euphorbia of some sort.

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Zooming out a bit, I cannot hide the fact that too many containers, too much art and decor was brought in the move from the old garden. I left a lot behind, honest! It keeps getting moved around as beds are designed and redesigned until the placement seems right. A work in progress. The evergreens are Chamaecyparis ‘Red Star’ that were stuck in the larger square pots until I could figure out how to best use them. There they remain.

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Joining the broom sedge is a goldenrod that has won my heart. I am still trying to identify it. The various asters that sprung up are simply asters, mostly white flowered. Identification is futile.

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Each year has been different since we moved here in August of 2014. There have been flooding rains, extreme drought, colder than normal winters with snow and ice storms, warm winters with scant precipitation, strong, gusty winds and everything in between. This year the foliage of the Siberian iris and daylilies has been brilliant. The greens and golds add artistic touches to the toasty tans.

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There are few pursuits as ever changing as gardening. Thank goodness.  And…onward.


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16 Responses to Changing With the Seasons

  1. Layanee says:

    Your garden is still quite full of wonderful interest. It looks scrumptious.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for the sweet words. There is a lot to look at here, finally. I really like to look at the garden all year.

  2. georgiafromga1 says:

    Always an inspiration, Frances. And your violas gave me a particular smile reminding me of the day I first encountered your site where charming viola or was it pansy faces were on parade. 🙂
    As a fellow yard art junkie, I share your pain and look forward to your compositions.

    PS Your muhlygrass still looks fabulous. I will continue to gaze longingly at yours since my little patch offers no worthy placement. And believe me I have looked.

    Hi Georgia, thanks for your long time readership. It was violas that were on parade in various beauty pageants over the years. Hellebores were paraded a couple of times, I seem to remember. I do hope you can figure out a spot to best appreciate your muhly. As you know, siting is everything with that one, needs backlighting at sunrise or sunset. As for the abundance of art, what can we do? HA

  3. Oh Frances, your garden is looking like a garden now. It has come so far with your TLC and knowing hand. I have no doubt that all your favorite art pieces, pots, bits and bobs will find a home. As all of we gardeners know they will probably never be in one spot for very long. Things do change in the garden, even the gardener. Cheers.

    Cheers, dear Lisa! Thanks for the encouraging words. 2016 has been a year of good growth for all the plantings. The meadow still is rather sparse, but next will be much better. Of course!

  4. Jill says:

    It is wonderful to see that you’re still having so much fun with your garden. My wilted and dry yard has not had water since August, and I even feel guilty about watering the containers, so they aren’t too happy either. Georgia needs rain!

    Tennessee feels your pain, Jill! We haven’t had rain in many weeks and my county is now in the extreme drought category. I watered newly planteds only. The garden would certainly look more lush if we had more rain, but I am pleased with how it has fared with no watering. This can’t go on, though. Please rain on whoever needs it!

  5. Yes, you’ve come a long way, baby! Or at least, your garden has. Since the junipers are in pots, you can move them to different places while in the pots, yes? To try out various positions in the garden. You can switch the art out with other pieces if you can’t find a good place for all of it. Looks like you are in the very fun tweaking stage.

    Hi Kathy, thanks! The juniper pots are extremely heavy, but they can be moved if I call on strong helpers. (Added: The Red Stars are Chamaecyparis, not Junipers.) I am still moving furniture inside, trying to get it just right. The Red Stars have another year or two at most before they will have to be planted in the ground. The garden should be settled enough by then, I hope! Tweaking is fun, you are right.

  6. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Onward to ever more beauty!

    A good rally cry, Cindy! Thanks!

  7. Barbara H. says:

    Isn’t it amazing how long it takes to get settled in a new place? I’ve been here 9 years and I still make changes. I enjoy it, though. Yes, drought is ever present down here in NE Alabama, but as I read your post I could hear the wind howling outside. Rain should be falling sometime tonight. Fingers crossed and hope you get some too!

    Rain is in our immediate forecast too, Barbara. I hope we all get enough. The only thing constant is change, I suppose. We feel more settled here all the time. Not quite like the old house and garden, but this feels more like home each day.

  8. Marguerite says:

    Welcome to my Mailbox Frances, so happy to hear and see the latest. I’m a big fan of the blues in all their forms, I must tell you how much I enjoy and admire your front garden — the plants, pots and esp. the glass. Blues and greens look so great together.( Please remind me the name of the artist.) Your neighbors on your street are lucky indeed to go past such changing interest. The garden is coming into its own, and this new place really looks like Home. Wishing you and yours joy, health , and peace for the holidays and the approaching New Year.

    Your comments always raise my spirits, sweet Marguerite, thank you! I do love all the glass art. It was all made by Barbara Sanderson. She sold her glass business recently and all the links I had no longer work, sad to say. May the coming holidays be the best for you and yours!

    • Marguerite says:

      Oh, that’s too bad about Barbara Sanderson….. but makes what you have all the more special…. and of course, now we must search for _new_ sources of great glass art! Now that’s a silver lining…. be well, Frances!

      Yes, we are lucky to have the glass art made by Barbara. I met her at the garden blogger fling in Seattle. Several of the gardens we toured displayed her glass art and I fell in love with it. There are other glass artists around, I hope you find something you love, too.

  9. Alison says:

    I’m still sorting out garden ornaments eight years after moving to Washington from Massachusetts. I also subscribe to the theory that you keep moving them around till they fit. I have lots hanging on my cedar fence too.

    Thanks for adding in here, Alison. Moving stuff around is so much fun, like free shopping!

  10. Hi Frances, you still have lots of beauty going on there! I don’t think there is too much art. I love it!

    Hi Sue, thanks for visiting. It still looks pretty to me, but I look with the eyes of the mother. HA Don’t you think more plants would help the too much art look?

  11. Dee says:

    Thank you so much for posting these. They make my heart glad.

    You are too sweet, Dee. Thank you, my friend.

  12. So much to see at this season in a garden like yours. Those Annabelle Hydrangea heads are gorgeous. Love that really dark weight against all the grasses. And next year I absolutely must get Midwinter Fire.

    Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. The Annabelles have grown quickly and flowered well in just two years. The dark heads are just what is needed for that good contrast that makes everything prettier. Midwinter Fire has also grown quickly and done very well. Be sure and give it proper spacing. It wants to be bigger than I am keeping mine.

  13. Sebestiana says:

    Ah, a welcome email in my inbox!!! I love watching the progress of your new garden. Everything looks wonderful. I do hope you got the needed rain. Middle TN is parched and the rain we had last night was a pittance of what we need. Thanks for sending the latest up-date on your wonderful garden.

    Thank you for those kind words, Sebastiana. The lack of rain is frightening, especially with the wildfires in the mountains. We need a lot more rain and soon!

  14. Rose says:

    Your garden is as beautiful in its dying days as in full bloom! I always give you credit, Frances, for showing me the beauty in fading foliage and drying seedheads. That last photo is beautiful–is that kale on the left? I haven’t had any luck in finding Redbor Kale seeds the last few years, but I remember the year I did have it, it stayed a beautiful purple all winter long. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

    Thanks, Rose, and the same happy wishes back to you and yours! I do believe that plants, like people are beautiful in all stages of life and decline, from birth to the end. Piet showed us how to combine textures and forms of the dying foliage and seed heads in an artful way to make them even more beautiful. As for the Redbor Kale, Johnny’s Seeds sells it.

  15. You must have spent a great deal of time in the garden, to come this far, this fast! I see the traditional Fairegarden signs wherever you land.

    Hi Robin, thanks for those encouraging words! I have been able to spend more time working in the garden this year, thanks to health issues clearing up a bit. The garden, like the inside of the house, bears my mark, for sure! HA

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