Entries in woodland garden (92)

Saturday
Oct292016

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

 

Sunday
Oct092016

Getting Through October

I plan to get up early tomorrow and spend the day cleaning the garden and getting rid of the dead stuff. I will feel better if I don't have to look at the brittle corpses of plants that once were healthy and full of blooms. We have had no rain since the bit we got two weeks ago, and the weatherman is saying the current drought will extend at least until November.

We just need to get through October. Many leaves are shriveling on the trees and shrubs, then falling in gray heaps. The grass is crispy tan. But I am fortunate to have a lot of evergreens that adapt to whatever the climate delivers; so at a glance the garden doesn't look too bad.


This is a view overlooking the woodland garden. The 'Saybrook Gold' junipers have proved durable through all seasons.

A little farther up the drive from the 'Saybrook Gold' junipers is my beloved 'Feelin' Blue' Deodar Cedar. Behind it is a Trident Maple, a Forsythia, and a huge Southern Magnolia.

This Anise 'Florida Sunshine' has prospered in the woodland garden with minimal care. The leaves have a wonderful fragrance.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress' is another woodland garden plant that has done well though our drought. It took a couple of years to become established and needed babying at first, but now it has begun to thrive.

Here are a few additional shots I took as I walked around this afternoon:My Fuyu Persimmon tree is still growing in a pot, though I plan to transplant it someday. The fruit is almost ready to pick.

Our sweet bell peppers did poorly through the summer, and I was getting ready to pull them up when I noticed new growth in September. I began a fresh regimen of watering and fertilizing with fish emulsion, and look at them now! One of them is turning red. For maximum flavor I like to leave them on the vine until they have fully ripened.

Assorted ornamental kale adds a pretty accent to the fall vegetable garden. It's edible but not particularly tasty.

Look close. Do you see the ants? I did not see them until I enlarged the photo on my computer. Now I need to see if this Asclepias has aphids!

These common asters are blooming despite almost total neglect. A pure golden green sweat bee ( Augochlora pura) appreciates the nectar.