Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumn in the Cottage Garden

Everything in my garden changed overnight it seems. Yesterday was summer; today is autumn. The leaves of the maple tree turn red and blanket the front lawn. Echinacea flowers disappear, to the joy of twittering goldfinches gorging themselves on the seeds. Brown, rust, and gold overtake green in the cottage garden. The final glory of summer goes on in fuchsias, zinnias, and nasturtiums, but I am acutely aware from the untidy messiness of it all that it's time to clean up and begin preparations for (dare I say?) winter.
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.
-- Hugh Johnson

Maple trees near the front of the house.
It surely looks like fall!
View of the pond from an upstairs window.

As the pond takes on its new-season look, the fish and frogs remain active, not yet ready for winter's sleep. We close the pond between Halloween and Thanksgiving, so a few more weeks yet.

Lotus leaves with brown seed pod tickling the fish's nose.

 While the leaves turn to gold, little punches of color are evident in cottage garden blooms ...

Phlox 'Bright Eyes' and perennial geranium surrounded by the yellowing leaves of gooseneck loosestrife.
Threadleaf coreopsis with lambs ears.
 The petunias in the window boxes remain true to summer until the first frost.

Three of five window boxes on the tractor shed.

One of our grandchildren, very young, pointed to the tractor shed and said, "Who lives in there?" An understandable mistake since he saw lace curtains at the windows.  I explained it's where Pappy keeps the farm equipment including the old field tractor. I didn't tell him the reason for the curtains: H.H. and I, a bit like the 'Odd Couple,' differ in our idea of tidiness. I don't want visitors to my (usually) orderly garden looking through these windows.

Zinnias, cleome and the seeds of puple cone flower.

Most noticeable in the garden today, zinnias present a riot of color -- my reason for growing them. In the butterfly garden they vie for attention with the exuberant cleome. I use the word 'exuberant' because the flowers remind me of a burst of fireworks.

Cleome and zinnias at the entrance to our farm.
The butterfly garden attracts butterflies still ...
... and bees.

The grape over the pergola is full of fruit. It grew from just one small plant. H.H. added a wild grape that he dug up in the Woodland Walk, but I don't believe it survived. In any event, the wild one doesn't produce fruit. I'm reminded of the many tasks I must perform before the end of this garden season -- including making grape jelly or juice. Unfortunately, by this time of year I am feeling tired, and usually leave the grapes for the birds.

As well as the enormous Concord grape, notice two clematis in bloom.
Walking under the pergola, it smells like Italy.

 In the Woodland Walk the beautiful Virginia creeper punctuates the tree trunks with red, providing more evidence of the changing season.

My mini horse, Dude, peeps around the vibernum that grows in the shade garden.

Finally, the kitchen garden and more zinnias ...

The sunflowers bow down under the weight of their seed-filled heads.

Everything in the garden changed. Now we are under the threat of winds and heavy rains from Hurricane Joaquin, so more changes ahead, and with no gardening for a few days. What changes are you seeing in your garden today?

One of Nature's ironies is that a garden's warmest colors blossom
 as the skies turn gray and cold.

-- author unknown

Enjoy October, dear gardening friends!
Pamela x

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  1. Signs are creeping in here and there in my garden Pam, a bit like yours. Although we are having a bit of an Indian summer right now but I suspect that won't last too long!
    Those grapes look delicious!

  2. At this moment we have lots of sun, but there are many signs of autumn, because September was very wet and windy. I always envy your Zinnias, you have so many of them. I have sown them many times, they grow and flower but it's nothing in comparison to yours.
    Wish you to have some beautiful autumn days too, it's a joy.

  3. I love that you have a lace curtains at your tractor shed windows! It might be autumn but it looks lovely and there is still lots of colour

  4. Your autumn garden is beautiful. I love the Hugh Johnson quote. So true.

  5. You have an amazing property. Used to grow zinnias and cleome...maybe I should start some from seed come March.

  6. Pam, it's beautiful, just beautiful!!! The house, the garden - everything looks so gorgeous! There is no fall in my garden yet.

  7. What a change! The warm weather taking us out of September was very misleading, but I'm grateful for the long slow goodbye... but now I'm ready for the fall. I'm anxious to see the grass turn green again and to clear out some of the tiredness of the garden.

  8. You still have beautiful garden, although the autumn have came. Your garden will be take a rest for a moment

  9. Wow, you do have an amazing collection of Zinnias! Aren't they wonderful?! Mine are still going strong, too. Autumn came to us overnight, as well. It's a little hard to take when the transition is so abrupt, but oh well... Beautiful images from your garden. :)

  10. I am astounded at the beauty of your garden. You are amazing.

  11. I don't know how close you are to any of the predictions for Joaquin's landfall but I hope you will be safe.

    I love the way you dressed up the tractor shed. Just because something serves a functional purpose doesn't mean it can't look pretty. Your grape arbor has me rethinking the design of the arbor I plan to build next spring. I think it needs to be much bigger now than what I had designed.

  12. How I'd love to walk under your grape arbor, and be transported back to my childhood along the shores of Lake Michigan. The smell of concord grapes takes me right back there! October has begun gray, gloomy, and cold, but the leaves haven't even turned yet, so I know there is a lot of beauty yet to come.

  13. Replies
    1. We're OK, thanks Diana. The hurricane went to the east. It's just very windy and intermittent rain. The worst is the cold. I was in California a week ago where it was 102F. Here it is 45.

  14. Everything in your garden looks beautiful, Pam! We know autumn leads to the W word, and I'm trying to make my peace with the idea again too. Almost time to snuggle in for another LONG, cozy w------ (I guess I can't quite bring myself face just yet.... :-) Thanks for sharing what's in your gardens these days. -Beth

  15. There's still so much going on in your garden even though there's no denying it's autumn now. I've only just started noticing leaves changing colour and falling here, we woke to mists every day last week which lasted until the afternoon but once they lifted we had some beautiful sunshine. Sadly, the weather's due to change this week. I'm not looking forward to winter.

  16. I love your last quote. The weather turned cold and rainy here, too, but as soon as it did, the Montauk daisies and what I think is Helianthus maximiliani burst into bloom. I love your giant grape vine. Even if you don't eat the grapes, it sure looks pretty!

  17. Looking at your post again. Boy, it sure is amazing. Anyway...husband grows hot peppers that no one eats...go figure. I just like Thai peppers and sweet peppers.

    1. The hot pepper in your posting looks very healthy! I grow produce no one eats, also: pretty melons, striped beets -- I just like the way they look ...

  18. Absolutely gorgeous! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  19. Pam, your Autumn garden looks a treat. I am not surprised that the zinnias in your butterfly garden make you think of fireworks. Grapes under the pergola, an unlikely sight this side of the Atlantic.

  20. You garden looks wonderful Pam. All my zinnias are orange. I love the color of yours :-)

  21. Pam, it's all so peaceful and beautiful. BTW, I loved meeting you in person at GWA in Pasadena. I'm so glad you were there. Thanks for seeking me out. ~~Dee

    1. Thank you, Dee. One of my goals at GWA was to seek out some of those bloggers and writers I knew so well on-line, but had never met in person. Spending time with you was a highlight of the event. P. x

  22. Fall has definitely dropped in here, too. I had such a chuckle reading about your curtains on the shed, I have to do that with our garage since my husband is not as finicky as I am about tidiness either. Curtains are a great idea! Dude is so cute, too. The garden is still beautiful at this time of year, isn't it a shame we have to wipe the slate clean for spring.

  23. Pam I do hope you were spared too much rain or damage from the hurricane. Your garden in any season is magnificent...a true beautiful work of art!

  24. I hope you didn't suffer too badly from the hurricane. I think the last remnants of it have arrived here now, which means a bit of wet weather for us; nothing worse. You have the most beautiful tractor shed I have ever seen! Enjoy your goldfinches - I love it when they swoop onto a plant for a feast.