Mid September with Hints of Autumn

In one week the season has stepped from summer onto the edge of fall, and there is no going back. Autumn's touch is evident. There are golden and orange tints in the trees, especially in dogwood leaves, which are always among the first to turn, and the breeze brings a few leaves fluttering to the ground.Cornus florida, our native flowering dogwood, is beginning to turn colors in mid-september.

I walk in the garden and feel sunshine on my face, but it is a gentle breath and no longer the hot, sticky lick of summer. I call autumn our second spring. Many summer flowers, like these in the front planter, are rejuvenated in the cooler, yet still warm air.

I walk slowly and enjoy my tour around the mid-September garden, with its pleasant atmosphere and hints of autumn:

Oakleaf Hydrangea leaf

Southern magnolia seed pods

Evergreen Dryopteris erythrosora, Autumn fern, does not turn colors in fall. Rather, new growth in spring has autumn tints.

Clockwise from top left: Licoris radiate, the spider lily; Ilex verticillata, the winterberry; Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'; Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon'.

This old rusty woodpecker is in the woodland garden.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Have a great week!   Deb


The Lady and the Arbor Garden

No part of my landscape has been more challenging than the Arbor Garden.It is located in the sloping clearing that once held my children's playground, a shady space on the edge of untamed wildness. Initially I dreamed of a formal retreat, an enclosed garden room bordered by evergreens and decorated with ferns and fragrant flowers.Maidenhair fern grows in two different pots in the Arbor Garden.

Fatshedera 'Angyo Star' is located at the entry to the Arbor Garden.

This variegated fig in the Arbor Garden is not hardy; it comes inside for the winter.The garden is still evolving. Formality has been a hard thing to achieve, but from the beginning I loved the spot for its proximity to wild life. Many birds nest in the area, and some stay year round.

Cooper's hawks help keep the population of voles in the Arbor Garden under control.

Originally I named this area the Lady Garden, after an elegant lady head container I placed there. Then a blogger in the UK got the nerve to inform me that in his part of the world "lady garden" referred to certain unmentionable parts of a woman's anatomy. That gave me something to think about. Now I knew why my post Sounds I Hear in the Lady Garden received so many hits!

Well, I wasn't going to change the name because of that, but two things eventually convinced me to rename the area to the Arbor Garden. One, the addition of an entry arbor meant the space now contained two arbors, the first being an arbor with a swing.This view of the Arbor Garden shows the entry arbor.Two arbors? Wasn't "Arbor Garden" the logical name?

The second reason was that I relocated the Lady to the woodland garden. This happened after she suffered a serious compound skull fracture earlier this year. I had brought her into the house prior to replanting. She was in the kitchen a few days before I got around to it, and when I started to move her, a huge chunk of her head fell off. I was horrified and could not understand, for I had barely touched her. I decided the terra cotta must have become fragile over the years, though I had always been careful to bring her inside during winter to prevent frost damage.

My Husband Lou was very solicitous. He told me to buy a new one, but I thought I could put her back together with Gorilla Glue, which is strong enough to repair everything from broken cars to marriages. It worked, though I did not know that Gorilla Glue expanded dramatically. My Lady was left with a terrible, thick keloid scar.

I tried to disguise the scar with paint. What I thought was gray paint ended up being blue once it dried, but I wasn't particularly unhappy with the effect. I splotched some more blue paint here and there to make it look like it was designed to be that way. When it was time to put her back outside, I decided to place her by the woodland steps, a new beginning for her post-trauma days. Here she is, before and after:

Meanwhile, Lou continued to express concern. He knew how much the pot meant to me. He was glad the Gorilla Glue worked, and he thought the blue paint looked fine.

Then my son said to me, "You know he broke it, don't you?"

"What?!! He broke it?"

"Yes, he knocked it over. It hit the floor hard. He didn't tell you?"

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I imagine Lou did not realize it was cracked. The soil and plants must have held it together until I touched it. But to this day he has not confessed. And he does not know that I know. Unless he reads this post.