I was listening to something on the radio the other day (or did I read it?) where a poet made an interesting comment within his explanation of what distinguishes "mere" poetry from great poetry. He said that part of the allure of flowers is that they are the beautiful proof of the existence of something living--something that is definitely going to die.
Autumn has always been my favorite season, and part of that might well be that I agree with his assessment. There is a poignancy in that fleeting life that accentuates their beauty, and the many tints and colors that plants take on during the last gasp of fall only serve to highlight that.
Cooler weather, for one, tips red the leaves on my doublefile viburnum, brightens my golden oregano to a fresh chartreuse, and frosts my purple sage with a pretty lavender shade:
It also causes new leaves to emerge from the tired heucheras that I grow in too much sun, just becuase I want them to be where they are from a design standpoint. Some autumn-emerging leaves emerge the same purple-green as the summer leaves, but many of mine emerge in shades of pink and peach:
On the north side of the doublefile viburnum, the leaves are more than tipped red, and they combine nicely with the blue foliage of the catmint that hasn't stopped blooming for months:
Sometimes, cooler temperatures and fall rains cause very good surprises. Mr. McGregor's Daughter and I have both found that 'Party Dress' Japanese anemones are more like groundcover anemones, sprawling over their low-growing neighbors with abandon. Between the rain and the cold we've had for the past couple of weeks, this is the most upright I've seen them yet:
I do have an oft-stated theory that the best way to get a plant whipped into shape is to threaten to remove it, and/or complain about it. I'm not sure if MMD's post about the truth behind Japanese anemones has helped my luck with 'Party Dress,' but it sure hasn't hurt. Here's another look:
One of the things I particularly like about fall is the way that disappearing foliage makes you notice and appreciate things in the garden that are obscured by flashier summer fare. In the "dry lock garden," I really like the browns of these rocks with the blue fescue and 'Blue Spruce' sedum:
And I love these dark little berries on my 'Skypencil' Japanese holly:
I even love 'Matrona,' now that her sickeningly sweet shade of first-flowering pink has deepened. She combines well with 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, and a jolt of dwarf zebra grass causes a clashing that I would hate in June but fine interesting in October:
Lest we think that all is about done for the year, remember that there is still room for new growth! I needed these 2 'Midnight Reiter' geraniums, 4 'Key Lime Pie' heuchera, and 3 sedum sieboldii like a fish needs a bicycle, but at $2 each I couldn't resist:
I can always fit in sedums, and the geraniums will join another 'Midnight Reiter' that I think needs a friend. I'll be honest, though: I have no idea where to put the heuchera at all! I'm thinking that I may just sink the whole pot into the ground over the winter, and then dig them up in the spring to use in containers. Who knows where they will end up, eventually.
And then, there's this new plant:
This dark beauty is an orchid, part of my bridesmaid gift from my friend Meagan. I have it in the pot you see temporarily, but we also went to a paint-your-own pottery place to make official ones. I am both scared and excited to see mine... it's one of those things that will either turn out really well, or absolutely horribly! We'll see.
In any case, Meagan's wedding is coming up next Saturday, the 18th. I have a few things to get together by then for the wedding, and this is also my busiest week of the entire fall at work... so I will continue to be scarce on the blog. (Although I'll try to make Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!) I do have a lot of half-finished posts in the queue, though, so maybe when things settle down later in the month I can play a little catch-up.
Until then, happy fall! :)