October so far

Still no rain. It’s bought a ticket though, and ETA is tomorrow. Mad rush to get things done outside. Not that there won’t be any more sunny fall breaks, but as a disciplined responsible semi-adult person I do not procrastinate– no, I do what needs to be done, and at the first opportunity. [wink]

It has become a strangely beautiful outdoor world. I know the coming rain will rip off all the golden leaves and plaster them to the dead dry grass, but for right now it’s still like living in the yellow-to-green stripes of the rainbow, with a few peeks at the red.

blueberries in autumn

It might be Indian summer, although we haven’t had any cold weather yet, except for at night.

green and gold

The nights are chilly, into the 40’s F, but the days warm up to room temperature in the sunny afternoons. The birds are singing like spring this morning, and if it weren’t for the wasp nest in the firewood pile, I’d be feeling quite at one with nature.

Max checks the temperature outsideNot warm out there yet.

I’ve discovered the economy of shopping for shrubs and perennials in the fall. Not only is it a fine time to plant, nurseries are also anxious to sell rather than keep plants over another winter. In short, it’s common to find huge mark-downs–huge like 50% off. Some plants have outgrown their pots, been sunburned or otherwise lost their Disneyland perfection, but they are priced accordingly and, I can testify, they react quickly to a little friendly care.

The three small hebe plants below were in three-inch pots, and their roots were dizzy from circling. I put them into gallons for a while, and they have hope of living long and prospering in the borders where I have since planted them.

three different hebe plants

I’ve found nice lavenders for $1 each, perennial daisies for the same, and a sale on blooming hardy dwarf plumbago plants. I’ve kind of avoided plumbago in the past, and when I consider the reason I realize that the name brings to mind back pain–very unfair to the plant of course. I love the  blue flowers and colored fall leaves, and while I understand that it may spread, I don’t think that will bother me either.

hardy dwarf plumbagoHardy dwarf plumbago

Next is my bargain, slightly sunburned but half-price dogwood “Summer Fun” (who names these things?)

I have been dogwood-less, and this one has variegated leaves with pink edges which, as I have recently entered my Contrasting Foliage period, was very appealing. It is a smallish dogwood so I put it near the house in the morning sun. I am very excited about it. Mr. O, who has some unreasonable bias against dogwoods, has graciously accepted it as part of his landscape fate.

dogwood Summer Fun

In other news, I chopped down the raspberry row.

cut raspberry row

They are virtually impossible to keep adequately watered in late summer, and the crops have always been disappointing. If I enjoyed raspberries more I might try harder, but I have a cunning plan to dig out the berry plants and put in a couple of  hop vines to grow on the trellis stucture instead.  There will only be two plants to keep watered instead of a huge row, and I do hope they can follow my instructions regarding horizontality.

You know I like my gardening very exciting and risky, like when I planted the sunflowers in late summer, which turns out to be the sure-fire path to miniature sunflowers (just like if anyone wanted those).

Here is a tiny (2 inch) bloom, embellished by trick photography…

tiny fall sunflower


About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
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18 Responses to October so far

  1. kininvie says:

    Linnie darling, pink-fringed dogwood is just so yesterday, I can’t bear it for you. Mr O is correct – there is no place for it in a truly fashionable garden, such as you aspire to.. It’s all very well having a variegated foliage period (although, if I were you, I wouldn’t) – but seriously, that dogwood is a freak dreamed up by a breeder with an unhealthy lust for steroids. Bargains are all very well, but you do have to ask yourself why no one else had bought it before you came along.
    On the other hand, the hebes are acceptable, if you like such things.
    I am scouting around for neeps. It’s been a bad year for the big neep tribe, and the carving may be rather small (though finely detailed)

    • linniew says:

      Hi there Kininvie
      I KNEW when you darling-ed me I was in for it. Of course you live for fashion (tweed, maybe), but as you surely know my garden is anything but trendy. And of course I am not in a variegated foliage period, no, I am in a foliage period, period. Steroids? Lust? Really? Just realize that the little innocent deserving and neglected dogwood is actually the ONLY variegated thing in all my gardens. So chill please, sweetheart!
      ps: I am just so excited to see the finely detailed carved neep– with a burning candle?!

  2. If it’s any consolation, I rather like your sunburned dogwood. Not because of the foliage, but because it clearly needed somebody to care for it! I have several plants (and even more books) that were purchased as a rescue mission to give them a decent home after too long on the clearance shelves where they stood, feeling unwanted and unloved.

    Also: I love the sunflower, even if it could have been larger and showier. It’ a little piece of summer in October!

    • linniew says:

      Well I just wanted a dogwood really, and this one presented itself… But I agree it’s fun to revive worthy plants [yes Kininvie, the dogwood IS worthy] and watch them improve.

  3. Holleygarden says:

    That two inch bloom looks huge! I wish I could grow a dogwood – for now, I’ve not been able to find the right shade combination. And thanks to you, I’m now dreaming of going plant hunting to see if I can find any clearance bins!

    • linniew says:

      Hi Holley
      We will see if I have found the right exposure for the dogwood or not. It gets lots of sun but not in the hot afternoon, and my theory is that it will like that but who knows? Good luck plant shopping!

  4. b-a-g says:

    A semi-adult grandmother ? I feel the dogwood is being judged unfairly by Mr.O and K before it’s had a chance to introduce itself. Congratulations on the tiny but perfectly-formed sunflower.

    • linniew says:

      Well yes b-a-g, semi-adult in my mind of course. I very much appreciate your willingness to give the dogwood a chance–that was pretty much my thinking too and really I am pretty happy with it already. I have several of those teeny sunflowers and may cut a fall bouquet of them in the rain today.

  5. Fay says:

    LinneW – the rain you are awaiting I fear has been delivered to Scotland. If you can be a sweetie and pop across and pick it up that would be lovely.

    I think the boy’s (If I may be SO bold with Mr O and K) are just not being inclusive. You rescue away to your hearts content, I don’t think its bad to rescue any kind of plant, except perhaps a triffid. Much to cumbersome to keep in the house, too rampant to let loose in the garden, even if rescued.

    Anyhows, now that the internet is mended (long very boring story) I look forward to catching up on your posts.

    My two dogs are also hiding inside (from the rain) and now not keen to venture outdoors until spring.

    If only I’d kept hedgehogs it would be so much easier.

    • linniew says:

      Oh Fay, lovely to have you back!
      Well I guess the rain was big because it reaches from Scotland to here at the same time. Maybe we could roll it up like a rug and post it to New Zealand to water their spring flowers…

      Yes those “boys” are being exclusive to say the least. (I’ve researched triffids and see that you are right about those.) Max is kind of slipping into hibernation among couch blankets too so I guess it’s winter now.

  6. I love fall sale plants because they’re survivors. If they’re still alive and chugging along by October, they’re winners in my book. I’d chop down the raspberries, too. If you don’t love it, chop it. I bought a No Name Atlas Daisy yesterday for $4. It’s currently my favorite Atlas Daisy. Ok, it’s my only one but he’s so cute he’s getting his own little pot. 🙂

    • linniew says:

      I bought a couple of daisies too. Very neglected, $1 each I think, and already they are growing new leaves. You are so right that these plants are happy survivors.

  7. Katie says:

    Dogwoods. Wild ones in the forest are so beautiful. In the garden? I’m afraid the jury’s still out here. I planted 3 of the Korean type seven years ago. So far, only one bloom. The trees are lanky, ungraceful, and slooww growing. My hope is that these ugly ducklings will one day be swans. With nothing to lose and all the time in the world, hopeful gardening is an excellent strategy. Your Charlie Brown dogwood will be bright and pretty someday. Good for you for taking a chance on something unusual!

    • linniew says:

      Hello Katie
      I guess the juries are out on both our dogwood efforts. I’ll let you know if I have to make kindling out of my refugee one, but I do have serious hope of pretty leaves and big white blooms–it seems that hopeful gardening is the only way to keep going with this stuff. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your swans showing up.

  8. Alistair says:

    Hi Linnie, looking outdoors here at the moment its almost all to do with foliage, lots of contrasting shades though. If you are fond of the yellow and green stripes and would like to extend this theme from early on in the Summer I am sure you would be fond of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, perhaps you already have it. Good to see you getting these bargain plants, I need someone like you to try and influence Myra in this direction. I used to always say in the past that she needs £5 in her pocket to buy a tube of toothpaste, imagine my shock at the supermarket today finding a small tube of sensodyne toothpaste does indeed cost £4 whats that about $10. Of course it has to be said my small brain has had difficulty moving on from the 60s.

    • linniew says:

      Thanks for suggesting the Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’. I looked it up online and discovered I already have it in my garden! (You won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve come to call it Pajama-grass instead, because of the stripes.) My plant is struggling, but you inspire me about it so I believe I will move it to better real estate, soil-wise. $10 for toothpaste sounds terrible Alistair! I’m afraid the prices have moved up without taking the incomes with them.

  9. Grace says:

    You must have been lying on your tum tum for that sunflower photo. Which by the way looks wonderful. Hooray! I’m glad you finally had a bloomer. Definitely worth the wait. I know what you mean about those dang raspberries. I am a fiend for raspberries so the fact that I can’t keep mine watered really pains me. Hop vines don’t taste nearly as sweet and delicious. In the looks department, however, hops have it–hands down. 🙂

    I have been unable to keep this hardy Plumbago alive. I think it is the dry summer soil. I say that to help ease any anxiety you might have about it being invasive. I think it will behave itself.

    You’re right about nurseries being willing to part with their stock this time of year. I love me a bargain! Your hebes look wonderful. You’d never know that not long ago they were in 4 inch pots.

    Love the variegated dogwood too. Mine were thirsty this summer. Unlike me, It looks like you’ve chosen a good place for yours.

    Tell Max hi.

    • linniew says:

      Hi Gracie
      When it came right down to it, I saved a few raspberry canes and planted them in a block in a raised bed. I hope I can keep them watered there…

      I’m trying some plumbago cuttings, taken from the stems which are almost rooted, so maybe I have backup. I appreciate the warning though– my clay soil is always plotting against me.

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