Entries in fall (11)


October's End: the Good and Bad

I will begin with the bad:

This is a recent news photo of Lake Purdy, from which Birmingham, Alabama gets its water. Residents of Birmingham and its suburbs are under strict, mandatory water restrictions because of the drought that has extended for over two months, with no end in sight. I live about twenty miles south of Birmingham, and we get our water from other sources, mainly from underground aquifers. We have not yet been hit with mandatory restrictions; but with some doomsayers predicting the drought to continue through the end of the year, I can feel the restrictions coming. Helena has not had a drop of rain in October, and we only had a few drops in September. The drought has been especially bad because of daytime temperatures continuing well into the 80's every day.

Meanwhile, we try to keep important shrubs watered, but with 3.5 acres, it is impossible and prohibitively expensive to water everything. Many leaves look like this:Fothergilla normally has beautiful fall foliage. Not this year!

But here is the good! Despite the drought, there is still beauty out there, especially if one looks through the golden light of late afternoon. So here is a tour. This is likely to be as good as it gets until rain returns.

I will begin with fall flowers:This area by the front walk is brightened by various salvias, lantana and gomphrena. I planted the red snapdragons on the right a year ago. They survived last winter and continued to bloom all this year.They are still going strong. Amazing!Autumn sage and blue salvia

'Black and Bloom' salviaClockwise from top left: Marigold; Asters; Mexican Sage; 'Endless Summer' hydrangea.

This creamy lantana is another low maintenance, front garden bloomer.Most of the Asclepias (butterfly weed) has finished blooming, but I came across these seed pods the other day:

Firebush is still blooming, but I am beginning to see seed pods on that plant, too:

One day I brightened my patio with some leftover cut zinnias from the grocery store; I stuck them in a vase with a spray of Mexican sage.:

Here are random views from around the garden:

Forsythia (Yellow bells) is a common shrub with lovely fall colors, even during drought. This plant never gets supplemental water.

This wren hangs around our patio.

An ancient muscadine vine grows in the woodland garden.
Clockwise from top: Japanese maple; Southern Magnolia; Alabama Croton.

Do you see the bug on the hickory nut shell?

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Blessings to you all, Deb



Something to Smile About

Can you guess what this is?It is an unusual sight, though I still remember when it was common. (Was it only 2 months ago when I was bragging about how much we had of it?!) It happened a week ago, I think the second time in six weeks:Rain! Seven days ago we had enough to wet the surface of the ground, but none since, and none in the forecast for the next 10 days. With the extended warm weather, our lawn usually would be green. But this photo taken during the rain shows a fading garden. The rain did not perk it up a bit:

At least we did get some rain. I know people only a few miles away who got none at all. We do the best we can. The watering can has become an important fixture in the garden.

I found this little guy hunkering in the bottom of my favorite watering can one morning when I went to fill it. I let him be and instead chose another watering can.This is not the same tree frog who lives in the the rain barrel in the woodland garden. That is on the other side of the garden, and this frog is smaller. But both are commended for their creative ways of staying moist!

While we are trying to keep shrubs alive, we also keep our birdbaths filled. Wild life is appreciative. Recently I caught a female cardinal enjoying this birdbath.Last week there was a hawk in the same birdbath. Something keeps knocking the ceramic top off of it. I suspect it is the hawk; I am afraid he will break it. I wish he would use one of our heavier concrete birdbaths! Of course, it could be a raccoon. Those critters often come through at night and wreak havoc.

Though still very dry, our temperatures have cooled considerably. 50's at night! 70s to 80s during the day! Almost perfect. Something to smile about.