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A Forbidden Ruin and Other October Garden Scenes

October is rushing by like a high speed train, no doubt headed for some frosted, cold-wrapped region. I love it. Daytime temperatures are moderate, up into the 70s or 80s and even hot in the sunshine, but nights are decidedly cool. In the garden it's an odd month, with summer flowers still blooming while some plants are already dormant and fall foliage flutters to the ground.

There is one part of my garden I have never shown on my blog. Camera shots in this area were forbidden because it is unkempt and contains an ugly, broken-down storm shelter from the 1950s. In my mind, someday this spot will contain a wonderful garden house. But recently I blinked and the scene shifted. With wildflowers blooming around it, the eyesore was transformed into....a ruin! Such is the power of flowers. 

The structure has some interesting history to it. The story is that the original owner of my house was married to a strict teetotaler who forbid alcoholic drinks in the house. So he and his buddies would go down to the storm shelter whenever they wanted to party. I think it is a true story, because we found lots of old empty booze bottles in the shelter when we moved in.

Below is a peek at my 'ruin' and photos of some of the flowers blooming in the October garden:

Though only the knockout roses are still blooming in the garden that wraps around the patio, the colors and textures of the foliage in this area keep the interest alive deep into another season:

Many hostas have already pulled themselves into the earth for a few months rest. The huge leaves of Hosta 'Sum and Substance' are drooping but still striking. The lower photo on the right shows the underside of its wilted leaf, which I think is also interesting:

Dogwood, Japanese maple and other deciduous leaves are beginning to change into reds, purples, and golds:  But there is more to come! Here in Helena fall stretches itself all the way through October and well into November, possibly even into December! One never knows when our fickle winter will hit. Today, the great woodland trees are slightly golden in afternoon light. Soon their foliage will also take on multicolored hues.

I hope you enjoyed the look around my October garden. Blessings to you!   Deborah


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Reader Comments (23)

Ah, the fine line between an eyesore and a delightfully natural scene! Your ruin is surrounded by some beautiful wild plantings.

Of all your October garden blooms, the white rose is the most captivating. I love it.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

The 'ruin' looks like a carefully designed flower garden! Looks fabulous as always! :)

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Your hidden garden is a star!! I love it.....you obviously have very green fingers indeed but your former eyesore is a triumph. Thanks for the October tour.....still beautiful......

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFoxglove Lane

I love that vignette around the birdhouse. What a beautiful and peaceful looking spot. I also love the natural look in your garden, no 'ruins' that I can see.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

We're both fortunate to have an extended, colorful, fall season. Your woodland area foliage is beautiful.

It can be so difficult living with an area of the garden that's blighted, but difficult to remedy. I think a beautiful gardenhouse, with a small porch, and floor to ceiling windows would be lovely in that spot, and a great place to sit, with some tea or a glass of wine, and appreciate the view of your garden.

We also have a ruin here, an 800 sq ft concrete foundation, and it's hideous. I rarely take photos of that area as I absolutely hate it. I love how your flowers engulfed your old 'ruin' though, and I keep trying to figure out ways to creatively hide our eyesore. This year we engulfed it in winter squash, which was a good functional use of the space, but alas, the plants are deciduous, and the eyesore is visible yet again.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Wow, your garden looks beautiful! I love the picture of all the flowers around the birdhouse!
It is impressive how beautiful flowers can soften even the ugliest eyesore.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Deb, Thank you so much for letting me tour your garden yesterday. It's truly amazing and inspirational. I have so many new ideas for my garden now thanks to you. I really like the new pictures and am so glad your "ruins" have made their big debut on your blog . You should post a picture of your fireplace in the kitchen .Ok it's not garden related but you could open the door and take the picture from your garden. Ha-ha. It's just so unique. Glad to have found your blog and am delighted to be able to see your garden in person.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Deb - Such a pretty spot ... good excuse to have a glass of wine or two down there.

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

wow your fall garden looks in a word, stunning! such vibrant co ours, wonderful combinations and it all looks so inviting. Lovely, lovely!!!!

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristine

I think we all have bits we avoid showing on our blogs but I think your storm shelter is wonderful especially given its history.

It looks so pretty with all those wildflowers

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Such beautiful photos with great color! I did enjoy looking around :)

October 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNHGarden

Hello, everybody! Thank you all for dropping by and leaving such kind compliments! Your support really means a lot to me. Kim, I am so glad you discovered my blog and that you were able to visit my garden in person. You are an example of how the internet sometimes has a reach beyond the monitor screen and can sometimes foster face to face friendships. It was great to meet a local gal with similar interests. Happy gardening!

October 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

So much colour and so many flowers not wanting to stop - it is all so beautiful. Photo of Hosta Sum and Substance is inspiring - very unusual angle. I certainly enjoyed my visit to your October garden.

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I LOVE the flowers in the forbidden garden!

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan@Holly Grove

I swear to God, if I wasn't an ugly, idiotic, grumpy old bastard, and under the rod of Mrs IG, I'd marry you, just to get at your garden.

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Idiot Gardener

Your garden is looking glorious, and the "ruin" corner is rather magical.

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

Deborah, I strongly suspect many a storm shelter was turned into a "party zone" under the thumb of the Ladies Temperance Society.........Nevertheless, the shelter now has a mystical glow having been surrounded by such beauty by its present owner. :) Our Mutabilis is also blooming as are many other of our roses. This final flush of bloom always makes me a bit sad, but we perservere knowing that the winter months bring a much needed rest..... Thanks for such an interesting post.

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I love your ruin. What a gardening opportunity. We are in Maine for a few days, and I am at the library using the computer. It was 46 degrees in here before I turned the heater on so I am envying your warmth.

You said poppies don't like you. I was wondering, the yellow Welsh poppy?

Deborah's Folly, in blue to echo the bridge, and the bench!

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElephant's Eye

I LOVE the ruin! Hope you keep it! I really wish I could get there and enjoy a fall day with you Deb. I stopped at LaRue's but she wasn't home. I took loads of photos and will post on her blog soon. I'll have to send you a note and maybe we can work out a visit. Everything is so beautiful!!

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEve

I really love these pictures. If this is the Kapu section of your garden. I can imagine that you must have a spectacular garden!!

*Kapu...the Hawaiian word for forbidden/not allowed

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin from Blotanical

Think we'll all be wanting your ruin at the bottom of our garden. What a lovely story and what lovely planting!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

These all pictures are so nice. This garden is so beautiful. I just imagine, you have an awesome garden.
Landscaping in Sydney

November 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLandscaping in Sydney
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