Saturday, November 22

Suspended Color

I am SO not ready for this yet.

Forget the fact that I still have some cleanup to do outside. I am simply just not ready for the interruption of the beautiful fall color that I've been enjoying! Some things, like the Northern Sea Oats in the right side of this photo, will stay upright and add interest throughout the winter... but the Japanese maple in the background had just started to show off before the cold removed at least half of its shriveling leaves in the past week:


The oakleaf hydrangea leaves haven't even fully colored up yet, but they are already dry-edged and curling:


In front of the oakleaf, my blue sea kale leaves have stuck around so far--but eventually they will disappear beneath the mantle of winter. This one 'Blue Ice' amsonia colored up beautifully for me, but the other two--planted nearby and at the same time--are still mostly green tinged with a hint of yellow:


This entire front yard garden is easily the "busiest" of my gardens in terms of texture and color... especially fall color. I kind of feel like the garden should go out with a bang in any Northern garden, to help carry us through the coming winter. And I feel like my "public face" front yard garden should be especially vibrant.

I also feel that the gardener/photographer needs to learn not to lean her head to the side when she's taking these long-view pictures:


Heading back to the porch, I notice that one spray of Nothern Sea Oats has draped itself over the littleleaf sage. Purple, golden, and different varieties of regular culinary sages like this one figure heavily into this mostly drought tolerant and easy-care front garden. I use them for cooking, and they look good in the snow:


Inside, the tender plants are huddled in sunny areas, packed in tightly. In the light of this South-facing leaded glass window on my stair landing, from left to right, you see black bamboo, a passalong Thanksgiving cactus, and a phormium underplanted with 'Lemon Coral' sedum:


That sedum, which looks like a softer version of 'Angelina,' is supposedly only hardy to zone 7. But I'm wondering if they just haven't tested it in zone 6 and colder yet, so I'm going to plant a division of it outside next year in the spring and take my chances.

Over near the antique mirror that I have to get hung up, and the old White sewing machine and cabinet that needs to be dusted, are a quieter mix of plants. (Both the mirror and the cabinet are trashpicking finds, by the way.) This area hosts a larger purple-leaf begonia and 'Lime Rickey' heuchera combo, and purple heart in addition to the black-leaf begonia and silver-streaked snake plant seen here:


But there's enough quiet and lack of color on the way in the next few months, so I'm going to end with a close-up of the passalong Thanksgiving cactus. It came from one of my former coworkers who is now retired, and is planted in an old iron birdbath that I was given as a housewarming present by one of my fellow setters on a co-ed volleyball team. The "mulch" is a collection of seashells and a rose rock:


The blooms are so bright and cheery that they seem oblivious to the cold and snow outside, don't they? Time to make the rest of the house feel the same... it looks like it's shaping up to be a long winter.

33 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You inside and outside garden looks so good. Those red blossoms will make you feel warm and toasty when looking at them.

flydragon said...

Love your trash finds. And that cactus looks great in the old iron birdbath. What a great idea. I'm going to have to find something interesting to put mine in.
You also got more snow on the west side than we got here in Euclid, snicker.

Annie in Austin said...

Snow already, Kim? I guess it's not really that early, but your outside plants didn't look ready for a nap yet.

Think I'm repeating myself here, but I do like the way your Schlumbergia/Thanksgiving cactus looks in that planter - they're supposed to be tree dwellers and it looks like a little tree ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Hi Kim,

I hear you...we weren't at all ready for 17 degree weather...cold yes, frost for sure but that is very cold! But that said...I think your snow draped plantings look great!
Thanks for showing your front yard view! Love seeing even with a tilt!
Love your finds...and the plants look happy to be inside!

Gail

Kerri said...

I'm not ready for it either. We look just like you do here..snow on the ground, and it was 17ยบ this morning, with a bitter wind. Brrr!
I love the oakleaf hydrangea!
My plants are all tucked inside too, in sunny areas wherever possible. It feels a bit crowded :)
The phormium looks great with the sedum.
Love the cactus in the birdbath. Very creative!
I like the tilt on your front garden shot..just keep right on cocking your head. :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lisa, I'm trying... I keep looking at them and imagining them woven into a pretty necklace, draped around my neck while my toes wiggle in warm white sand... *sigh*

HEY, flydragon, that's not nice! But then, I guess you have to snicker while you can, because usually you guys get the brunt of the snow. Lol. People do throw the darnedest things away around here--my favorite "find" so far is a grandfather clock. I picked it up intended to convert its midsection into a funky wine rack... but after I stashed it in the corner of the kitchen when I got it home, it surprised me by chiming. It doesn't keep perfect time, so I don't ever bother to set it... I just wind it up again whenever I've noticed that it's stopped.

Annie in Austin, I don't think that they were quite ready for a nap yet, either! It's getting down to 19 tonight, but then back up into the 40s (highs) next week, thankfully. And I didn't realize that the Thanksgiving cactus are supposed to be tree dwellers... very cool. Maybe that's why it's so happy there and doesn't need much in the way of soil. :)

Gail, thanks! The plants are happy to be inside, and so am I... although I'm about to brave the weather and take the snowdog for her evening walk. (My friends all laugh because I put my snowboarding pants on to walk the dog in the winter--but darn it, they keep the wind out.) :)

Kerri, the wind really HAS been bitter, hasn't it? I missed having a transition into this... this year, it's like we went from late summer to winter with little chance to enjoy sweatshirt weather!

The phormium and the sedum were a happy accident, as I found the sedum on clearance for 50c while I was buying the phormium. :) And thanks for liking the tilt... lol... maybe I should just pretend that's my "artistic thing" and that it's completely on purpose?! lol.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Kim--So yours is my first glimpse of snow in Blogland, and it's gorgeous. I like your slightly askew long shot--I think you SHOULD call it artistic license! Enjoy your romp with Coco and try to stay warm.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I'm really not ready either. Yikes. Love your sea oats. They are leaning gracefully.~~Dee

SMC said...

I am not usually a fan of houseplants.... maybe because so many people have the same old, same old ho-hum varieties. That being said... I ADORE begonias. All of them, every last one. It is a weakness of mine... sort of like dark-eyed men. Yours is beautiful -and so full and perky. Perhaps we can just call it tall, dark and handsome.

MrBrownThumb said...

I like your birdbath plant stand. Pretty cool use of something indoors that belongs outdoors.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Cosmo, thanks! Walking with Coco in this is a real adventure, let me tell you... I swear that she simmply smells snow and her sled dog instincts kick in, and she becomes determined to pull me along in lieu of a sled. lol.

Dee @ Red Dirt, they do lean gracefully, those sea oats. Much more gracefully than the gardener does while taking pictures! *grin*

SMC, I hear you on the dark-eyed men! (And the begonias.) I know that I have a tag around here somewhere for that begonia... hmm... but I can't find it right now. I want to say it's 'Black Velvet,' but don't quote me on that. Or just call it by your name--I like that much better anyway. :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Mr BrownThumb, thank you. Frankly, I knew that I would never keep up with filling and cleaning that birdbath outdoors... and I thought that it might as well get put to use right away. (She had given it to me in November.) :)

joey said...

Dear Kim ~ I can't see the dust! Love your take on the beauty of your waning garden ... life inside appears slanted as we patiently wait, and wait for the coming of spring. We are beside you, dear friend! Happy Thanksgiving.

shirl said...

Hi there Kim:-)

Looks like my browsing has found another Winter Wonderland – Yolanda’s garden is completely covered in the white stuff ;-)

I love to see the plants like this, for a little while anyway, popping up through the white covering. My garden had roughly the same quantity of snow yesterday. Today the green has returned and like you I am not garden ready for it to stay! Bulbs in my shed await planting for starters :-D

Wonderful images from your garden – thanks for sharing them :-D

Michelle said...

Underplanting house plants? Brilliant!!!!!!

Ottawa Gardener said...

I love the hardiness of sage. Don't worry, we are almost never really read for the big snow. Will it melt or is it here to stay?

Layanee said...

Snow already? I feel you pain but no snow here yet in spite of very cold temps.

chuck b. said...

Maybe it will melt and you'll get some autumn back.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

We had quite a few things here that frosted early and lost their color. Oh well better luck next year. :lol:

I love Amsonia and think it is a underused dependable perennial.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

This colder-than normal stuff stinks! My Oakleaf Hydrangeas look a lot like yours. It's depressing. At least our snow didn't last long.
BTW, I wanted to thank you for your excellent explanation of how to include a link in a comment. I can finally do it.

jodi said...

Wow, everything looks lovely, Kim. You have much, much less snow than we do, so I could offer you some if you'd like.
Funny about the Christmas cacti. Three of mine are also in bloom; the yellow, the orange and the hot pink. Nice contrast to the bleahs outside.

lisa said...

Not to make light of your situation, but: you got snow before I did! Hahahahaha....oh, I mean sorry to hear that! ;-) We got colder temps before you though, so my outdoor plants have looked very brown for quite some time. I'm digging your birdbath planting, too...very creative!

Anne said...

Hi there! and brrrr....

I've never heard of the amsonia but it looks beautiful. I wonder if it will grow here in zone 9? will check it out.

Like your blog! found you through Blotanical.

Frances said...

Hi Kim, your garden still looks terrific. The sea oats and sage is a masterfull pairing. I agree that things even this far south were zapped with frost before they got to finish the fall show, especially the oak leaf hydrangea. Your indoor tableau is wonderful, love the mirror, birdbath and plants. Hope your holiday was fabulous.
Frances

WiseAcre said...

It's great to see someone break the mold and get away from cookie cutter front lawns. Leaning or not I love it.

Early snow? We had snow on the ground for Halloween. That was a treat I wasn't prepared for.

Well what do you know a Thanksgiving cactus that didn't wait for Xmas :)

Kylee said...

Your things looks just like mine, Kim. Except that they don't have the snow blanketing them.

Your Christmas cactus looks stunning! Love the rich color.

I don't know if you really tipped your head or not. Look at the sidewalk. It looks straight. Sometimes it depends on what straight line your eyes line up with when taking the photo. My software allows me to straighten mine. And sometimes when I do straighten them, something else looks crooked, so it's probably more of a lens issue than an operator issue. The wider angled the lens is, the more distortion like that you're going to get. I like the picture!

Kylee said...

By the way, I left my Northern Sea Oats go last winter (no trimming) and when spring...and summer...and fall...came this year, they were coming up ALL OVER THE GARDEN. And it's a big garden. I didn't want that for next year, so I let them stay until they were ready to fall off and then I cut them off and got them out of there! The seedlings aren't all that easy to pull up, either!

I do love seeing them quake in the breeze though.

oh said...

oh no! Us, too - we have SNOW! I snapped a few pictures this morning but not nearly as compelling as yours. But look how lovely your indoor plants are!

I shall now return to decorating my two nonetheless beautiful, artificial Xmas trees (oh, please don't cringe. Because we put them up early and leave them up 'til Jan 6, real ones would be ever so unhappy.)

Happy winter - here it comes!

Stratoz said...

I feel your pain. Not much laughing at the cold in my garden. So today I booked some kitchen time at the school, pulled the dried herbs down from their hanging spots, and found some new bread recipes with the students. Next Monday we will be smelling, tasting, and selling bread again.

Ilona said...

It's true that the weather did a number on our usual fall color- but you have some beautiful specimens nonetheless. Your garden reminds me of the old city garden I used to have- in a long row of *the usual* a burst of gardened Eden!

bs said...

i'm so jealous! i tried to snag a piece of the (and funny... i always heard "christmas cactus") thanksgiving cactus we had in our yard before... it's our landlord's and has since been spirited into their yard. it must have been three feet across and i couldn't get my cuttings to root. i'll probably have to cave and buy one of my own... they're addictively pretty.

Abigail Rose said...

Wow, snow already! And I was getting upset because it's supposed to get in the low 30s this weekend!

Pam said...

On to spring! No point in going back...(I know, your winters are longer than mind, so I'll shut up now).

When I lived in Michigan, during the winters my gardens were always incredible, because they were, of course fictional, and only in my wandering mind: the grass was green and never in need of mowing, the flowers bloomed without needing deadheading - and insects? Only pollinators mind you!

My garden got frozen a bit early this year, and then it got warm so it seems like a large giant compost pile. Not good - it needs attention. Your autumn garden does indeed look lovely, even with the snow!

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