My last week of vacation did not quite go as planned. By that, I mean that I did not get nearly as many of my projects completed as I had wanted, largely due to an unseasonable spell of cold weather.
Not only were the temps too low for me to finish staining the fence, but also I suddenly had to bring tender houseplants inside ahead of schedule! (Admittedly, this is my own internal schedule; I am not good at following things like garden chore calendars.) I then had to sand, prime and paint my collection of trashpicked plant stands quickly, in order to get said plants off of my kitchen floor and allow me to cook in there again.
I did sneak in a little time for garden cleanup, too, as my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants had to be harvested as well. I got the tomatoes and peppers before the cold set in, but these aubergine* plants were very wilty before I managed to get the remaining eggplants safely roasted and frozen away:
While out cleaning up the eggplants, I couldn't resist taking a few other photos of the backyard garden as well. The light (at around 2pm) was bright and intense in a very cold way, but unlike the summertime sunshine, it no longer bears down from directly overhead. Instead, it shines at an angle, casting interesting shadows on this vignette of rock, 'Dragon's Blood' sedum and coppery beech leaves:
I never seem to tire of seeing the red sedums and beech leaves together. There's something about the graceful arch of the leaf veins and the compact swirls of chubby sedum leaves that I appreciate together. Here the two are mixed with some of the more lax blades of 'The Blues' little bluestem:
From an artistic standpoint, I like how the grass blades add a strong sense of line and motion in the photo above, breaking up the meandering swirls of the other plants' foliage. Nearby, some of my 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth leaves were wilted, too, but the plants still show up well against the brightening clumps of 'Rotstrahlbusch' switchgrass:
By the way, this panicum is often labeled as "the best of the red switchgrasses," but don't believe that for a minute--unless mine were mislabeled when I got them! Mine may have a little red on their tips, but they turn this bright green-yellow in the fall instead of the intense red I was expecting. It's still a pretty and welcome addition to the garden, though. In the photograph below, look underneath the grey house at the far end of the bed to see its frothy brightness in the bed planted outside my dining room window:
Why I can't seem to take a straight picture of this area, I will never know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm always cocking my head to the right and thinking about what it will look like when it fills in?! There's always something to see here, in any case... right now, the fuzzy seedheads of 'Othello' ligularia keep attracting my attention. Here they are against a background of their own backlit leaves...
... but I also enjoy them in this picture, which shows a clump of the seedheads resting against the cap on my trashpicked black milk can:
A few of the backyard beds look very messy; so much so that I am loathe to show them here. But I have been enjoying a couple of other rather unkempt areas, like the driveway bed. With lots of assertive, colorful foliage in this bed, the quieter plant combinations often fly under the radar. One such are these shiny leaves of European ginger with the similarly-hued green of the nearby Buckler fern leaves:
What keeps this combination from being boring for me are the contrast of fine-textured fern with chunky-textured ginger, and the way the shiny ginger leaves look next to their matte-finish fern counterparts. But it's nice to have the color continuity there... too much contrast all throughout a garden can just look like a jumbled mess instead of the organized chaos that I love.
Closer to the house in the same driveway bed, my little 'Ozark' alpine strawberries are blooming like crazy. I renovated this little bed a few weeks ago, and I like the way it has responded:
Some berries on other plants are turning red already, and I'm looking forward to eating at least one or two. Late fall berries are not nearly as sweet as their late spring and summer cousins, but their tartness is still a welcome burst of "fresh" in my mouth at the end of the growing season.
I still have some October Observations to share and show from the front yard... but now my vacation is officially over and I need to get myself ready to head back to the grind tomorrow! So stay tuned for Part 2 of this fall ramble... :)
*English and French kitchen gardeners almost often refer to eggplants as aubergines. The inner me who dislikes pretension is afraid to call an eggplant an aubergine too often. But I also feel that "aubergine" is a much more beautiful word, aesthetically speaking, so I do use it sometimes. Think about it--wouldn't you be more likely to order a dish with the grand name, "Aubergine Parmegiana" than you would to order "Eggplant Parmesan?" (Melanzane is what the Italians call eggplant, however, so it's usually referred to in Italy as "Parmigiana di Melanzane" instead of either of those two options!) But as usual, I digress...