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I Was a Fool for Fuyu, and Other Thoughts 

It's not quite winter here yet, but fall is fading fast. Most deciduous leaves have fallen and have been raked into natural areas, where they will decompose and add nutrients to the soil, as well as providing a warm blanket of protection for chilly roots. A leaf mulcher would be nice, as shredded leaves would have a neater appearance but I'm not sure I really need one.

Today was drab, and as I write this there is a cold rain coming down. I don't mind. A fire blazes in the fireplace nearby, and I am thankful for the sheltering comfort of the house around me. I am enjoying going through recent photos.

Here are a few late fall images in my garden:
Upper left is a newer purchase for the woodland garden, a frost proof purple pot. I hope it will compliment the gold spring and fall foliage of the nearby Japanese maple 'Waterfall', as well as the chartreuse and rust colored leaves of the heuchera 'Tiramisu'. Upper right is a very large maple leaf. Below left is spirea 'Goldmound', noted for its golden spring leaves, but the fall colors are also lovely. On the lower right is the fruit of my persimmon tree. I thought it was 'Fuyu' when I planted it last year. Lou says, "Fuyu fooled you!" It turns out I have the persimmon 'Tamopan'. It is a beautiful, large persimmon that looks like it's wearing a cap! But it is astringent, which means I have to let it fully ripen before I eat it. I am bitterly disappointed. My heart was set on the non-astringent Fuyu. Although 'Tamopan' is tasty when it is ripe, I'm not sure what I will do. 

Earlier this week I took some shots of the December sky:

While leaves turn brown and the garden shivers in its nakedness, camellias are beginning to bloom! Below is 'Leslie Ann' on the left, and an unknown on the right. This second one was a 'rescue' plant. I had no idea what the flowers looked like. Hooray! Sometimes it doesn't work out when I take in a sad, homeless plant, but this one is growing well and has beautiful blooms.

Here's a recent look into the woodland garden. Toward the back you can see the red leaves of the Japanese maple 'Orido Nishiki'. This Japanese maple is the last one in my garden to loose its leaves. I think after today's rain they will be gone.

Finally, here are some photos of our resident Red-shouldered Hawk:

He was sitting above our patio one morning, waiting for the unfortunate ground squirrels who are fattening themselves on birdseed. (He was probably eyeing the little song birds, too, but I prefer not to think about that.) As you can see, he is well-fed, as are all the critters in my garden. Lou saw this same hawk attempt to catch a full grown gray squirrel the other day. The squirrel, fortunately for him, was too heavy and escaped. Smaller ground squirrels are not so lucky!

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Reader Comments (15)

I have a very young persimmon tree, not a named cultivar, so I am unsure what the fruit will ever look or taste like. I guess I am years away from seeing edible persimmons. How did yours get mixed up between Fuyu and Tamopan, was it mismarked?

I love those shots of the arrogant Cooper's hawk!

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Hi Laurrie, the tree had lost its label, but the nursery owner told me it was a Fuyu, and when he described the fruit as looking like little pumpkins, I had no doubt he was correct. At the time I didn't know there were many varieties of Asian persimmons that look like that! I was thrilled, because it was several years old and had already born fruit.

December 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

That is a great capture of the hawk. He looks a little annoyed with you though. Probably thought you were messing with his game. Don't you just hate it when the clerks tell then sell you something that is just not right?

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

It's so annoying when a nursery mis-sells you something, not exactly easy to dig it up and take it back when it has been growing for a few years, what are the fruit like cooked ?
Your photos of the Coopers Hawk are fantastic, how wonderful to have such a magnificent predator in your garden.

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Beautiful photos as always Debs! I reckon fall/autumn is actually the shortest of all the four seasons, with winter one of the longer ones.

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I feel as though I have strolled your woodland garden with you many times - and I always see something new. Mine is so young still!

I also wondered about a leaf shredder but have decided upon a chicken wire cage hidden behind some cedars to dump leaves into. It will be a handy location for spreading the mulch back onto the garden when it has decomposed. Makes more sense than long treks to and from the compost bins (which are full anyway).

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Your unknown camellia is so pretty! Good rescue! Love the red of your maple - so very pretty. And that hawk looks fat! haha Sorry Fuyu fooled you.

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

A lovely, serene post, Deb. I enjoyed leaving the frantic busyness of summer here and resting for a while in your woodland. The hawk is beautiful.

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Your woodland garden is looking so beautiful. I love all parts of your garden but the woodland is my favourite. That hawk must be very large to attempt to take a grey squirrel! Christina

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Deborah, to hasten using your persimmons, at least to bake with them, try popping them into the freezer for 24-48 hours, then thawing them. We do this with the Hachiyas, which are also an astringent variety. As for Fuyu, bareroot fruit tree season is starting soon. Do you have somewhere you can squeeze in another tree? The two together would be perfect. I suspect your Tamopan, although better suited to cooking, will actually taste sweeter than Fuyu. It is nice to have Fuyu around though to use raw in salads, or cranberry relish around the holidays.

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

I love your Camellias! They are so pretty. Your Japanese Maple provides beautiful late fall color. And superb shots of the Cooper's Hawk! At first I thought we had a Cooper's Hawk on our place, but instead the hawk was one of a pair of resident Red-Shouldered Hawks that have started spending most of their time hunting in the open field at the top of our property, instead of the horse pastures below. Could be because a pair of Great Horned Owls have taken up residence there. We've always had Barred Owls but this is the first year we've had GHOs.

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

I really like that 'Leslie Ann' camellia! Such pretty flowers!
And what great pictures of the hawk. He does look well fed :)

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Deb - Great to see your rescued plant doing well. It's so rewarding when a plant responds to tlc.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Awesome photos -- from the purple pot to the hawk. It's nice to have time to sit by a fire and reflect on the year that was and make plans for the future. Hope you have warm thoughts.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNitty Gritty Dirt Man

Your gardens are very beautiful in late fall. My cat catches and eats all the gray squirrels and lately he has found a "source" for flying squirrels. I know most people don't like squirrels, but I really like them and now we don't have anything to cart away the black walnuts.

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