Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Summer done, me included

Morning sun on an Acer japonicum

Fall is here and the colors are starting to come out.

Crocosmia foliage in the wind

It was a very strange bridge this year between summer and fall, with three months straight with almost no rain, and mild temperatures but brutal, leaf-shriveling, dessicating wind for way too many days.

Helenium Red Dwarf, Monkshood, and Amsonia hubrichti

I spent the last of the non-windy but dry days trying to get all my new plants into the ground. One group of prizes was this red Helenium, a blue Monkshood, and the feathery leaves of Amsonia hubrichti. All three went into my meadow. I was happy to see a ring of baby shoots all around the base of the Helenium stalks, which I'll divide off next spring. I covet a meadow full of Heleniums—red ones, orange, gold, and multicolored ones. I love the clear blue of the monkshood, and I am concerned about how toxic it is. If I were ever to have animals back here, I would probably pull it out. The Amsonia I had to have because of that tantalizingly tactile foliage, which turns an even bright gold in the fall. I managed to get two plants from different sources and I really hope they like it here.

Autumn Joy

I cut my Autumn Joy sedums by half the week of July 4th, and it seems that delayed their flowering by about a month. They're just at the peak of flowering now, when it's cool and wet. Next year I'll cut them back sooner. It wasn't enough to keep them from falling apart in the middle, either.

At long last, the rains came, and not a day too soon. As I was digging holes for the plants I was planting, I was astounded by how dry the soil was. Watering two and sometimes three times a week was only moistening the ground down an inch. It was enough to keep the plants alive, and most of them from wilting, but it showed me just how amazing plants are to be able to live in such dry soil. Already I've measured over 6" of rain this month, and I can tell that it's really sinking in. Now if I can just get out and get the last of my plants planted before it gets too cold!

Sango kaku Japanese maple sandwiched between Merrit's Beauty and Oregon Pride hydrangeas