Entries in garden ornaments (16)


Autumn Passes Away

Winter's chilly hand is plucking at the landscape now, stripping branches here and there, but it has not yet taken a firm and deathly grip. Autumn's brilliant colors have faded, replaced by swaths of antique brass, rust, burnt rose, honey and amber.

Sun does not ignite these colors but rather creates a warm glow, a testament to the season as it peacefully passes away.

Leaves are constantly fluttering to the earth in little groups, heaping up over the ground and leaving garlands draped across shrubs, outdoor furniture and garden ornaments.

I walk amongst them, kicking at crinkly piles in the woodland. We keep the lawn and the paths cleared, but otherwise the leaves lie where they fall. They will provide insulation to the plants through the winter, and then by spring most of them will have decayed, returning to earth to replenish and nourish the soil.

I am not sorrowful about winter. It is a season for rest and renewal. I feel its cold breath and I pull my sweater tighter, but we are fortunate. Our winter delivers enough days to complain about, but it is comparatively short and mild. I can continue to garden through the season, but our pansies, decorative cabbage and winter vegetables, such as collards and spinach, will probably come through the winter with little effort on my part.

Today is a beautiful, mild day. I take in deep breaths, enjoying the crisp air and the fragrance of earth, and I am grateful for all the wonders around me. 

Above two photos are Euonymus alatus, also called Burning Bush. This is an invasive shrub in some parts of the country but fortunately not for me.

May you all have a great week!


My Kind of Summer

High summer is here with steamy viscous air so thick one can barely breathe...except, that was not true for the last couple of days. We have had a reprieve. A short one, for traditional weather is returning quickly. But July 4th and 5th have been more like spring days, with lower humidity and exhilarating breezes to mitigate the warm temperatures, which only made it into the eighties. At night, we can open our windows! I enjoyed this unexpected gift by spending extra time in the garden.A recent close-up of one of my Snowflake hydrangeas. Snowflake hydrangeas have double blooms, unlike common Oakleaf hydrangeas, and as they age, they turn dusty rose. Oakleaf hydrangeas are native and offer year-round beauty and interest.A month ago, when I posted on the June garden, this same view of the front garden, shown below, was a swath of pink, but now the Knockout roses are quiet, getting ready to produce another flush, and the Anthony Waterer spireas are putting out only occasional blooms. Soon I will trim them back.

The crepe myrtles are blooming and will provide color for the rest of the summer. In the front garden there are two old-fashioned watermelon-pink ones and three lavender "miniatures." From this photo you can see how large "miniature" is, though advertised to grow to three feet!

Here is one image from the woodland garden, taken late afternoon as the sun was streaming through. This is my favorite time to be in the woodland garden; it is magical! The fern in the foreground is a Bird's Nest fern, Asplinium nidus. It is in a pot so I can bring it in for the winter.

High summer in the Deep South means green in all its manifestations. Foliage reigns supreme. Here is a sampling from my garden:Clockwise from top left: Indigofera ground cover; Crookneck squash leaf; Rhododendron, which has never bloomed, but maybe someday; Native holly fern; Variegated sedge; Maidenhair fern.

Clockwise from top left: Pilea; Hydrangea 'Lady in Red'; Japanese Painted Fern; Anise 'Florida Sunshine'; Variegated Jacob's Ladder; Native Trillium cuneatum and Autumn fern.

Foliage may be supreme, but flowers continue to play a lovely part in the garden. Coneflowers are doing well, or maybe they are not. Some of them have flowers that appear stunted. Those all-green things...do they have a virus, or am I lucky to have a weird new variety?

Here are more flowers. At the top are the very last of my foxgloves. The beauty of the fading leaves, their veins prominently outlined in pink, caught my attention. Almost, one would think they were supposed to be that way!Top: Fading Foxglove. Middle: Calla lily, Zantedeschia. Bottom: Romantica rose 'Orchid Romance'.

Check out these flower centers. Can you guess what they are? Answers below! Clockwise from top left: Balloon flower, Platycodon; Rose campion; Seed head of Phlox maculata; Hydrangea macrophylla, 'Forever Pink'.

I often show images like the ones below in winter, when there is not much to look at, but I love these things year round. When I was a child, I collected rocks and oddities from the yard. I still do!How about my clay frog? I fell in love with this creature and brought him home this past spring.He sits on a ball atop a marble mosaic table top, nestled amidst greenery in the woodland garden.The owner of a furniture store let me have the table top for free because a corner was damaged. I originally intended to repair it and put it on a base to make a real table, but repair proved harder than I thought. It sat for over a year leaning against the wall of the carport. Lou was beginning to grumble about it, so I decided to put it in the garden. I moved it several times until I found a place overlooking the fern glade. The broken corner is easily overlooked, and the frog on the ball makes it seem to be intended for the purpose.

Finally, here is my new green rabbit. He came home with me after I visited the Hills and Dales Estate's gift shop. I don't say that I collect rabbits, but I do have several of them. This one has a nice view of the garden from the patio table.I am writing this late at night, and Lou just opened the windows again. I am listening to the sing-song of summer insects, a dog barking, and booming fireworks in the distance. Some people are stretching out their 4th of July partying. There is a nice breeze. This is my kind of summer!

You may also enjoy my previous post, The Kingdom of the Three Rabbits.