"Nothing Gold Can Stay"

[Birch Leaves]

This is one of my favorite months...for several reasons. It's the time when the beautiful and fleeting shades of Autumn mingle with the colorful perennial flowers that are still, or just blooming. Unlike the fresh clear colors of Spring, the Fall offers a virtual horticultural tapestry with saturated warm tones. I love the fact that the lawn finally greens up after holding its breath during the months of July and September. I love the fact that it's cool enough outside to want to grub around in the garden and the soil is moist enough to allow one to do it! It's a great time for making changes, moving things around, rethinking your color scheme, etc. In other words...it's a great time to enjoy another little spurt of gardening energy before being sent to your "room." (Or house, or whatever.)

I'm starting this page off with a lovely poem:

[Scanned Leaves from Garden]
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost

I can't believe I actually paid for this plant to get it started in the yard! Now it has seeded in many places and the babies are hard to dig out because of the deep, drought resistant root system. This plant is Verbascum chaixii and it comes in white and yellow. If you look closely, you'll see two small hover flies pollinating the flowers. I like their cute little fuzzy purple centers (on the flowers...not the flies!).



[Verbascum chaixii]


[Tricyrtis hirta]


I had a better photo of Tricyrtis hirta from last month, but this is on the clump that is growing in the White Bed, near the deck. These are more heavily budded and I don't know if it's because the variety is slightly different or because it gets more sun exposure. They are still kind of fun and weird looking.



At the beginning of October, the Aster ericoides hybrid in the back yard was still going strong. I haven't looked lately, but suspect it's beginning to get a bit tired. The leaves on the Korean Lilac you see here are now a brighter orange color (they changed from a previous prune juice brown).



[Aster erocoides hybrid]


[Japanese Maple Seeds - Close]

Here's a close view of the seeds on Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). I just have a garden variety green type, but it is still beautiful in the Fall and these seeds are interesting in Autumn flower arrangements.

[Aster 'Hella Lacy' starting to open]

Discovered in his neighborhood and later introduced to the trade, this Aster was named for the wife of Allen Lacy, the garden writer. His books are wonderful! How sweet to name a flower for his wife when he could have named it after himself. By the way...the name is Aster 'Hella Lacy.' Here it is just starting to open.

My sister was really struggling with allergies and found that CAT was one of her worst. We have since gained another feline here and his name is "Goofy." He is rather independent and still hasn't bonded with our two females (would be surprised if that ever happened, but who knows?) In personality he reminds me of the male we used to have that was a sibling to our females...it's just that he doesn't have the same close ties to us as Max did. He got his first look at deer this past week, since they come every day to eat apples from under our trees. I'm not sure what he thought, but he wasn't taking any chances! He's lived in Suburbia his whole life until now. He seems to be more relaxed lately and I think he will come to like the place...in spite of the other kitties!



[My Sister's Kitty - Goofy]



This is our little pumpkin harvest. Considering the care they sometimes received, we are actually pleased we got any! They were growing on the outer fringes of the sprinkled area and sometimes didn't get as much water as they could have used. The white one was set out late and I didn't expect to see anything from it. If it had been planted sooner and gotten more water, I suspect they would have been twice this size, but I haven't grown it before to know what to expect.

[Our Gourd Harvest]

Ron and the girls did the vegetable garden this year and planted a few gourds. This was our harvest. Isn't it colorful? I guess you can eat those little squashes that look like pumpkins, but I haven't been hungry enough to try one. My favorites are the green and yellow ones that look like someone dipped the bottoms in green-striped paint.

[Reliable Larkspur]


A late seeding volunteer Larkspur has added a lot of color at this late date. I love these and you can always find room to sandwich them in since their leaves and stems are so light. I got the original seed from a dear friend from church ... Mildred, and she has since passed away. I always think of her when I enjoy the plants she shared with me.



[Aster 'Climax']

This lovely Aster is reputed to be famous in England, but not as available here. I ordered this one from Canyon Creek Nursery, as I recall. It's called 'Climax' and is a wonderful color with shiny dark green leaves. It will stand alone without staking, even with these big flowerheads.


[Ampelopsis Berries]



The Ampelopsis vine on the arbor is developing colored berries now and they will be attractive until they get frosted into mush. As we get into the latter part of October, the leaves begin to turn yellow and drop off...revealing the fruit. There is probably a better photo of this toward the end of the Evolution of the Garden page.




[Fall View from Under Arbor]

This was the view taken from underneath the arbor which holds the Ampelopsis. The dried stalks in the foreground belong to Verbascum chaixii (no wonder I have so many volunteers!). The bluish foliage peeking out toward the upper right is the Eucalyptus gunnii in the back bed. The yellow at the center is the Red Maple growing in the field toward the barn. The huge grass clump to the left is Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus.' It is about to be glorious.

My daughter's boyfriend thought this was really a "cool" picture. I would like it better WITHOUT the car. This is one of the many that live here (or maybe have "died" here). I am not getting cooperation in getting the two by the barn removed and am about to run an ad on the van to whoever wants to cart it away and pay for the ad! Get a load of these blackberry vines! They are about to consume the whole field if we let them. The rainy spring and early summer we had really was a boon to the many native blackberries. Yow!



[Old Car!]


[Birdy-Bird in Love with Himself]


Thought we'd step inside for a moment. Here's a silhouette of our little "Birdy-Bird" (his name didn't stick) in love with his reflection. This is his favorite spot to play when he comes out. He climbs onto this shelf near the receiver and talks to himself!




Winter must be approaching because the leaves of Cyclamen coum are emerging. This one was called 'Pewter Leaf.' I love the silvery color with the darker edges. I don't know if you can tell on here, but that teeny tiny silver leaf in the lower left corner is a baby plant. The ants will carry the sticky seeds around and distribute the progeny for you. I am thrilled to see that it is passing the silver leaf on to the babies. It will take a few years before we see flowers from them.



[Cyclamen coum 'Pewter Leaf']


[Fall Color on Blueberries]

Blueberries can hold their own with any ornamental shrub in the fall when they turn these lovely shades of red...only Burning Bush (Euonymous) might be a tad bit brighter.


[Doublefile Viburnum and Rhododendron Leaves]

The leaves of Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' are the thing in the fall...aren't these striking? They especially look pretty with the foil of a neighboring Rhododendron, 'Johnny Bender.' It has especially attractive foliage as rhodies go, even during the summer.

[Close-up of Fall Color on Doublefile Viburnum]


Here's a better view of the Viburnum leaves...I love the veining which is more apparent when they turn red.



I usually trim the flowers off the Bronze Fennel (and did once this season) but these got away from me. I didn't realize that the seeds have a slight rosy cast when they are developing. They looked kind of neat with the backdrop of Cotinus foliage, turning brilliant fall colors.



[Cotinus with Bronze Fennel Seeds]


[Red Maple]


In our lower pasture windbreak there is a small Red Maple. When we put it there I didn't know if it would survive, since we don't really water these trees. It blends in until the fall when it sticks out its tongue at us. I took this photo from the deck using Robert's telephoto lens.



Here's the van I want to GET RID OF! It doesn't lend much to the photos, do you think? This was such a pretty day for working outdoors, and we got a whole week of this gorgeous weather. Between the wheelbarrow and the flowerbed is a clump of Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue' patiently waiting for me to finish taking pictures and put it back into the ground!



[Fall Garden Work]


[Hosta Leaves turning Gold]

Some Hostas really put on a spectacle before turning into a heap of mush. This one is a H. sieboldii seedling and it grows near our entry walk.


[Aster 'Hella Lacy' fully opening]

A beautiful way to finish off page one...Here's Aster 'Hella Lacy' again, only more fully open. It is a strong and pleasing color. This is growing in the Ash Bed where I was transplanting the Scabiosa.

Continue to Page 2...

This page last updated on October 23, 1998.