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The Garden Awakens

Anise 'Woodland Red' ( Illicium floridanum ) A few weeks ago, I thought spring would never arrive, but now the change is astonishing. The nights are still cold (40s and sometimes even 30s) so planting tender annuals and vegetables is unwise although I have already succumbed, but covering and uncovering things gets old quickly. Someone made a wise comment last week and I must agree with them - "Don't plant anything tender until after May 1". Several plants are blooming like never before. One is the Anise shrub (above and below). I don't know if the recent tree pruning, which is allowing more sun into the woodland path, is affecting it or perhaps it is just age, but I've never seen so many blooms. Michael refers to this as "the stinky fish shrub" and I have to admit to smell of the flowers is quite unpleasant. It is so beautiful that I can overlook that. The old pink dogwood tree, which was already here, shades our woodland path and it too is prett

Where is the Fall color?

We've had patches of frost for the past two nights and it looks like winter is just around the corner. So, what has happened to the fall color? The trees are just showing scant changes in color. We have a nice collection of Japanese maples and they are usually spectacular by now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will have some great displays before the cold weather strips the leaves.

I've been working on making our front entrance a little more inviting. I've planted mums and pansies to add some much needed color. The pansies are still so small that they are not making much of an impact.

I didn't think the coleus grew as well this year as they usually do. They are just now looking good but they will be toast after the first frost.

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is a must-have for the fall garden.

Miscanthus grass is another great plant for the fall garden.

Japanese Anemone "Honorine Jobert" - I forgot I had planted this. Imagine my surprise when I found it blooming a few days ago.

The sasanqua camellias have also started to bloom. This one is "Hana Jiman" -

I've replanted some of the containers but others are just beginning to look really nice. I'll hate to see this begonia go -

I usually don't buy a lot of mums because I know they won't be around long. I couldn't resist this color -

More colorful annuals that can't take the cold (Lantana, Begonia 'Bonfire', Blueberry Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica). I'm going to try and overwinter the lantana trees in the basement. I've also taken the flax lily inside and will grow it as a houseplant.

Maybe the leaves will start turning soon. The garden is usually blazing with color by now. What is the hold up???


  1. Beautiful pictures, as always. Just when I think fall is the season of dying ...

    I saw a lot of miscanthus grass in the NC foothills yesterday and wondered what it was! It was beautiful in the breeze. I'd like some but our dogs tend to eat any kind of ornamental grasses, esp. purple fountain, their favorite.

    The colors in NC aren't great yet either. And in the mtns, the rain and wind of last week has blown many of the leaves off already. Too bad.

  2. I'm in a very small pocket of color here in NC and loving it. I have a lot of dogwoods and they turn early. Your home is beautiful in every season.

  3. Your begonia is still looking good. Those coleus are so colorful. Too bad they are so wimpy when a little cool weather comes. Wish they would last.

  4. Your entrance is very welcoming! Love the hot pink mums.

    Only one of the five major trees in our front yard has really started turning (the gingko) - it is bizarre, I agree with you!

  5. Phillip, a very nice entrance and beautiful garden. We love the ornamental grasses: of interest nearly all year and with minimal effort.

  6. It seems as if Autumn has been shortlived over here. It was in the late 70's low 80's two weeks ago. The last four nights have seen sharp frosts.

    Autumn colours started appearing, but the nightly freezes seem to have shrivelled everything and foliage is dropping without any real change.

    It's always heartbreaking losing tender plants, especially when it takes so long for them to 'peak'.

    Good luck with your overwintering.

  7. Most of us would kill to have an entrance as nice as yours! The pansies are beautiful, but I don't think you need to apologize for them being tiny!

    No fall color in Atlanta, either. I think it's largely the rain. The only good part about this drought of the past few years has been the spectacular color!

    I'm going to try to overwinter the bonfire begonia to see what happens. It was so beautiful at the big house two days ago, but I'm sure it's probably toast now

  8. I have been thinking the same thing around here. I was always told rain brought on the color. I don't think so because we have nearly drowned in rain this fall. There are spots of color but it isn't as I thought it might be. I can feel your pain at losing the begonias. I have a couple that have been work horses here in the garden. I hate to let them go but they never do well inside. Sigh~~

  9. Your garden has so much character. I love seeing pictures of it. It's strange that almost all of the Japanese maples around here have changed except for our big one in the back.
    I hope you get to see more fall color, but really your garden is beautiful the way it looks now.

  10. Enchanting Phillip... such a lovely garden... so many magical details. It has been a very strange fall... muted really ... here ... and still many green leaves hanging on... not sure what will happen. Though always beautiful ... I too miss the more vibrant foliage. I love all the interesting trees you have there in your garden. A joy to see! Carol

  11. But man that oakleaf hydrangea is just beautiful.

  12. Beautiful photos of your garden. I always love the long shots. When I saw your dovecote, I immediately thought 'Pam" You say no color but it certainly looks colorful to my eyes. I'd love to walk in through your garden gate.

  13. Hana Jiman is my favorite sasanqua that I don't own. I may have to do something about that situation.

  14. We haven't had as cold temps as you have, so absolutely no fall color. So many of my plants are just now looking good because of all the rain. I don't think we will be having any frosts soon, though. You asked about the night-blooming cereus on my blog. Depending on how big yours is, determines when it will bloom. Mine started blooming about the second year I had it. Now that mine is older and bigger, I get more flowers. Good luck with yours.

    Always Growing

  15. I love all the little glimpses into different spots of your garden. We've had some leaves turn- but definitely not the brilliant I'd expect. But it's supposed to warm up to the 70s again in a few days, so ??? perhaps there is hope yet. Neglected to bring in the Meyer Lemon last night... I'm hoping it survives.

  16. Well, the leaves may not have turned yet, but you garden has a lot of color and a lot of character! I agree that Mexican Bush Sage is a must-have for the fall garden. We don't have much fall color yet, but some years it waits until November.

  17. Your entrance looks wonderfully inviting, Phillip! Your hardscape is fabulous and the plantings lush and healthy. I have added mums this year, just couldn't resist the colors even though they won't grow as well as the hardier ones. Our leaves are mostly still green too and the Japanese maples have not burnished just yet. November is more the month for the little maples here, and hard to believe, November is just around the corner!

  18. Your garden still looks great. Our coleus has sadly bit the dust. Living in a frost pocket will do that, but they had to go sometime! The oak leaf hydrangea is showing some nice color!

  19. I hope your fall color is just delayed this year. Here, the leaves are turning from green to brown and falling without much nice coloring. My sugar maples are getting a little gold and blush, I'm hoping they hold their leaves long enough to give a decent display. Except for the cool temperatures, which I enjoyed, this year has been disappointing on many levels.

  20. Hi Phillip~~ That first picture is to die for, and the rest are at least Swine flu candidates. [Sorry. Lame.] I just hope the leaves turn before you get a windstorm. Some years, we'll have wind just as the Burning Bush is at it's blushiest and minutes later, literally, [well sort of] the leaves are MIA-- or down the street or into the ditch or in the neighbor's yard. Hardly becoming. They look much better on the bush.

  21. Fall was late arriving here also, But within a few days, we are now in full color, and fading fast.

  22. Really lovely pictures! We're certainly into fall this side of the pond, and the colours are just fantastic!

  23. Your pictures are so lovely! Do you allow people to pin your pictures to Pinterest? I won't unless you say yes. My gardening pins are here:


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