Monday, September 26, 2011

Finding Fall With Friends

There is not a more enjoyable experience than exploring nature with friends.  We set out on a trip to the Morton Arboretum to find the ultimate signs of fall.

Goldenrod (a sure sign of fall)

We almost didn't get started as we found a plant and bulb sale going on by the Visitors Center.  The prices were reasonable and they had some shrubs and perennials that were difficult to find at the local nurseries.

We had no idea that they had their own mini nursery open on a daily basis.

There were many new plants that I personally had not seen at local nurseries.

Echinacea Pica Bella

Cosmic Eye Coreopsis

Route 66 Whorled Coreposis

Little Lime Hydrangea
I bought this one for $16.95 which was a great price compared to the $40.00 ones that I had seen.

Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangea

Cliff Dwelling Stonecrop

Seibolds Stonecrop

Foxtail Grass

Variegated Oshama Sedge

We made our purchases and put them on hold to pick up after lunch.  We then headed out the the Children's Garden where all of the plantings are up close and personal.

Beds of Lantana, Elephant Ears and grasses

Teddy Bear Sunflowers, Gomphrena and Sedums

Vivid Obedient Plant
Not a perennial in zone 5 but does reseed

Limelight Hydrangeas are everywhere and they are huge, bigger than my seven foot one!

Amsonia will soon be turning gold for the fall.

Hill's Oak turns a vivid red in the fall.

Jack Frost Brunnera along a shaded path
I have it where it gets some sun and it does just fine.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea Flower 
When dried it almost looks like a pine cone.

The Pond

Sedum Neon
I have seen this one in the nurseries.  It does flop but the flower heads are stunning.

Afterglow Winterberry

We could not pass up the gift shop so after lunch we were on a mission!

 A Fall Tree

Lots of Pumpkins

We had a  great day and have already planned another outing when the leaves change color.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fabulous Fall

All it took was a few falling leaves cutting down some of my dicey hosta leaves, the bulb shipment arriving and my orange Hannah mum breaking into bloom (header) for me to take on fall full steam.

The Sweet Autumn Clematis growing atop my pergola is only this glorious from my bedroom window.

It's time to bring a little real along with faux to the inside fall decor.

Faux sedum, gourds, pumpkins, nuts and birds in a vintage etched bowl.  The birds adapt to all seasonal themes.

The plumes of Miscanthus Udine soften the roughness of the woven basket, sedum and faux pumpkins and gourds.

Miscanthus Udine
Begins with tan pinkish plumes and then opens to soft fuzziness

This is a faux grass I bought at Hobby Lobby last year and it looks pretty realistic.

In past years, faux plants and vegetables were something I would never think of using.  By spring I had petrified pumpkins and gourds that were either rotting or turned into shakers.  The pumpkins, gourds, grasses and seasonal vegetables look so good now you would have to bite them to know they were not real.

The buffet is decked out with faux pumpkins, dried gourds and Indian corn.

My buddy the chipmunk is keeping watch on the fall clean up outside!

Annual Rudbeckia is one of my new fall favorites for containers.

The small cabbages I bought for $1.25 are getting bigger by the day.  I have to keep up with the slug bait.

Some pumpkins and gourds amongst the violas and cabbages.  Most of the faux decor is now coated for the weather and already have the spikes on them for anchoring into the soil,

Last year I used real gourds and small pumpkins and there were bites all over them at the end of the season.

I haven't put out any Halloween decorations yet, but I think I may put my large pumpkins out in front next week.

Dried Hydrangeas are wonderful for fall decor, Unique on the left, Limelight on the right.  They can also be spray painted for Holiday containers. 

A little bling for the coffee table in the living room, a great hand painted container with woven spheres, faux and dried gourds and a little sparkle.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Long Goodbye

For most flowering perennial plants fall is not an overnight goodbye.  We notice less flowering, yellowing stalks and leaves and finally shades of brown.  Our annuals usually say a pretty quick goodbye sometimes overnight a shriveling and then gone!

Now is the time of year when we need to look at what we have outside that we want to keep going by bringing them inside.  Remember, whatever you bring inside can also contain some of the outside like insects.

The Rex Begonia was a Victorian houseplant, however, this year at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show it was shown as an outside bedding plant.  I used it on my patio and it did very well but I will try to winter it over indoors because it has become quite a large specimen.

This Dracena will be coming in because I love the colors.  The containers on each side are my fall lettuce crop, gave up trying to sow it in the veggie garden because of the rabbits, chipmunks, etc.  I saw lettuce planted in containers for the fall at a local nursery and they were beautiful.

Persian Shield was an impressive annual this year, not going to save this one, but so far it has weathered our first cold snap.

This was a star on my patio this year and I will try to replant it in a container for the winter.  I cannot remember the name, but it was very hardy in my basket containers.  The Algerian Ivy will not do well indoors, at least not in my house.

Rainbow Knockout is a favorite and had a very difficult summer with insects.  It is one of my longest blooming roses and is not disappointing me at the end of the season.

The phlox is winding down but with deadheading and some warmer weather could still put out another burst of blooms.

I grew Vinca this year for the first time in many decades and along with allysum has really been a long time bloomer.

I have never had an Echinacea that looked like Kim's Knee High at the end of the season.  I came across a quote by Alan Armitage that said if he had one Echinacea to pick it would be Kim's Knee High.  I agree!

I went on a search to find more Kim's Knee High and it was not available anywhere.  So, I ordered  Kim's Knee High Red from an online nursery.  The plants are large and look very healthy, must get them in the ground.  They were already trimmed and cut back to curtail dieback when transplanted.

Knockout double and single have come back strong but it is a shame that through most of the summer they suffered through rose midge and Japanese beetles.  They will bloom through October unless we have a hard freeze.

The roses are such a staple in the fall garden, Blush Knockout in the foreground, Home Run, All The Rage.

Carefree Beauty

The Alley Garden is sometimes forgotten but adds an atmosphere this time of year that is welcome as we say goodbye.  I have cut back the Agastache Blue Fortune because it was leaning so heavily, next year plant hoops.  It was just about done with less bees visiting each day.  The plantings in the alley are all xeric and watering is minimal.

Sedum Autumn Fire
Does not flop but is a lighter color than Autumn Joy

Centhanthrus Alba
Blooms all summer into fall (a weaver)

It is probably fitting that I end with Ajuga Chocolate Chip since I didn't think I would ever see it again.  It came back in very late spring and never flowered but it looks wonderful now.  We will see if it chooses to grace us with its presence next year!