According to the newspaper yesterday's high temperature was 70 degrees F (21.11). The overnight low was in the 50s, a good ten degrees warmer than the typical high temperature for this time of year. Today should still be a pretty pleasant day but tonight's low is going down into the 30s and tomorrow's low down into the 20s. This fall has been so warm that it feels like we are about to jump from summer directly into winter.
Since the weather is about to change dramatically I have been trying to work a little every day this week getting the garden put to bed. Frankly it's been so nice that I have not been able to push myself to work as hard as I probably should have. I'm sure I will find myself finishing up outdoors on some pretty chilly days later this month.
Yesterday I raked up leaves and picked up honey locust pods. Got rid of soggy Tricytus stems and Hosta leaves. And I stopped to enjoy a few of my favorite plants that really shine at this season.
About half of my Epimediums have leaves that have taken on autumnal tones including this one, E. youngianum 'Nivium,' seen with one of the ferns that looks good very late in the year, Himalayan Maidenhair aka Adiantum venustum.
Dryopteris affinis 'The King' aka Golden-scaled Male Fern is another fern that looks fabulous even after our first frost.
Arum italicum doesn't make an appearance until it cools down in the fall so it is looking spectacular right now. I've discovered two seedlings of this plant which is a very nice surprise.
Boxwood 'Morris Midget' really stands out once it's not surrounded by other greens. I have five of them planted near a Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Green Arrow'. Those cinnamon colored needles on the ground are from the neighbor's Dawn Redwood which hovers above this corner of the garden.
According to the dictionary the word panoply means "a splendid display." I think that's an apt description for the fall color in the garden this year. When we added trees to the garden I know we picked varieties that would give us multi-season interest including fall color. But sometimes when I look around the garden at this season I am amazed at how gorgeous it is. And I question how much of that beauty was planned and how much of it is an accident. I don't think Mark and I deserve all the credit.
Looking up toward the Moon Garden from the front door.
At the edge of the Moon Garden looking toward the street standing on the West Gate path that leads to the back garden. The orange leaves belong to a Pagoda Dogwood and the yellow to a native Witch Hazel.
The Witch Hazel is blooming with its leaves still on the tree. That hasn't happened for a few years and it makes it almost impossible to see the flowers. I guess that is one of the few downsides of our warm weather.
Our Burning Bush has never had better Fall color.
The back garden is a brilliant display of intensely red Korean and Japanese maples, along with a big yellow Ginkgo and striped-bark Maples.
The yellow foliage is a Korean maple.
Turn around and there's a peachy-colored Stewartia on its way to turning red.
The red and orange leaves belong to Korean maples (A. pseudosieboliana) and the yellow are striped-bark maples. In the foreground, a dwarf Ginkgo is about to drop its leaves.
A tiny Korean maple, caged to protect it from the rabbits.
Maybe it's the fault of all the leaves on the maple trees turning red while nearby evergreens retain their color. Whatever it is, I am suddenly noticing the foliage that is both green and red at the same time. It's never looked better all season nor been so visible as it is now.
Bloody Dock aka Rumex sanguineus
Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron')
Visitors to our garden always want to know the identity of this tree. It's a Honey Locust that is about 62 years old. It provides beautiful dappled light but in the fall sheds an amazing amount of tiny leaves and stems that clutter the ground and clog the gutters. I think many homeowners get annoyed with this part of its personality and cut it down long before it achieves this magnificent status. We're willing to put up with the leafy debris in exchange for the drama of its presence in the garden.
If you blow up this last photo you can see the size of the Locust's trunk at the right front edge of the deck. And you can see the ladder Mark uses to get up onto the roof to clean out the gutters and blow the leaves off the roof!
Some seedpods are so pretty I am always glad to see them even though they signal the end of the growing season. These belong to the European Spindle Tree aka Euonymous europaeus 'Aldenhamensis' and have a pink outer layer with an orange seed hidden inside.
We still have a Burning Bush which is considered invasive. But we love its open shape and it is big enough that we can walk under it. Since it grows in a lot of shade it usually doesn't get that burning red color nor does it usually get too many seeds. This year seems to be an exception
One of the most dramatic of all seedpods: Carex grayii. These look like something from outer space and are quite a sight sticking up out of the snow in the winter when the foliage is all gone and the pods are dark brown.
I usually cut the dead flowers off of any Hostas that I've actually let bloom. But a few years ago a friend used these long stems covered in pods in fall flower arrangements and I thought they looked wonderful. I noticed that some of them dried more bluish and even a purply-brown color. I'm waiting to see if these keep the green color or fade to something new.
They appear to be fading to yellow this week.
Unknown Cimicifuga but they all go to seed in the most beautiful way.
Lilium martagon 'Claude Shride'
And the seed pod that will inundate my garden from now until Spring: the long velvety beans of the Locust trees
Though most trees in the garden are still quite green, the big maple trees — Sugar and Silver — are among the first to turn color and drop their leaves. The Locust trees are dropping leaves so fast it looks like a snowstorm some days as they pour down. They cover the ground and obscure the outline of the garden until we have the time and energy to clean them up!
My favorite understory Maple trees are also turning color. Acer Tschonoskii is mostly yellow.
Acer mandschuricum is slowly moving towards red.
A day later and it has arrived at red!
This unknown Maple is a bright exclamation point in the driveway garden.
Monday's temperature was at 76 degrees F. in the early evening and we haven't had a killing frost in the city yet. So who knows how long we will have green trees in the garden this fall.