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!