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Archive for October, 2012

Native Favorites for Fall

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Christmas fern

This past weekend (the last weekend in October)  I went camping with my family and some friends.  It seemed like a lot of work to get all the supplies together but once we got there, the show was worth it.  Our friends chose the spot, the pocket on Johns’ Mountain in Northwest  Georgia .     The weather was cool and overcast but we hit it just right for viewing fall color.  Dogwoods, maples, hickories, sourwoods, tupelos, beech, oaks; the woods were luminous. 

hiking on Johns' Mountain in late October

 For me one of the great things about hiking is seeing plants in their native habitats.  Horticultural highlights on our trip included masses of sweetshrub, Calycanthus floridus with yellow fall foliage and loads of seed pods. 

Calycanthus floridus loaded with seed

 Looking up it was a lacy canopy  of red, orange and yellow while the ground was  a carpet of mostly green and more muted colors, punctuated by bright leaves that were beginning to fall.     Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides, was abundant, its evergreen foliage especially welcome at this time of year with so much brown.

Heuchera americana (native Coralbells)

  Other evergreen leaves included galax and Heuchera americana.  In some spots the heuchera seemed to be virtually growing out of the rocks, a testament to how tough plants can be.  This made me think about all the improved cultivars that have resulted from crossing this native with other species in the genus.  I also was interested to see all the different mosses, in every shade of green and gray, as well as ferns growing out of tiny crevices in rocks and berries of different types.

moss and rocks

   What made these plant sightings even more impressive were the huge rock outcroppings.  I find I’m already thinking about my next visit, probably not until spring but for now I feel inspired and glad we made the trip.

view of Johns' Mountain

forest floor

ferns growing out of crevices

rocks outcroppings

fall color

October Moments

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Fall is my favorite season in the garden.  Even ordinary plants like forsythia surprise me with their fall color.  Perennial asters, old fashioned single chyrsanthemums , (Dendranthema) ornamental grasses and of course trees such as Japanese maples, maples,  dogwoods, hickories and yet to arrive, the much anticipated golden ginkgo foliage.  Although I still have spring bulbs to plant and a few more violas,  as well as  some greens to add to my veggie garden,  I am fortunate that here in my Zone 7 garden in Atlanta, GA, autumn is kinder to plants and forgiving of gardeners.  It really is a good time to add hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs to your garden.   Here are some scenes from my garden  and  from my visit to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, GA last week.

Forsythia shows its autumn colors

Euphorbia and Single Apricot mum turning pink

Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' and smoke tree

grasses, mums and asters

Geranium 'Rozanne' foliage in October looks fresh

Gibbs Gardens - Japanese Garden in October

Bald Cypress in October at Gibbs Gardens

Oxydendrum arboreum in October at Gibbs Gardens

Japanese maple at Gibbs Gardens

Crapemyrtles in October at Gibbs Gardens

Reflections in Autumn at Gibbs

maples show off their autumn foliage

Fall Finery

Friday, October 12th, 2012

For the past several years in October, I have travelled to Seattle, Washington for work and to visit my two best girlfriends.  On these trips we manage to do some hiking, usually in the Cascade mountains, and there are always interesting gardens to see, just driving around Seattle.  This year I am not able to make the trip but fortunately there are places that I can drive to easily like Gibbs Gardens, where I have already visited twice in the past two months.  On my most recent visit, I was captivated by  the wildflower meadow with the sumacs, asters and goldenrods.  If you live in Georgia than you know that we had a hot, dry summer and only recently got some good rain.  According to Jim Gibbs, because of the weather conditions, the wildflower meadow is not as colorful as it has been in past years, but for me it was beautiful and inspiring.  On this blue sky day there were also lovely scenes and views down every path.  Rocks, water, reflections and foliage in shades of red, orange, yellow and green-a visual feast for the eyes.  Here are a few of the views that I enjoyed.

staghorn sumacs

goldenrod in October

weeping willow


Japanese garden in October

Amsonia hubrichtii begins to show fall color in October

Container Gardening Workshop

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Join me on Saturday, October 13 at ll am at Habersham Gardens for a workshop on container gardening,

Dwarf peach 'Bonanza'Chamaecyparis, Magnolia and Nandina

Ilex 'Sparkleberry'