Sunday, October 11

The Backyard, October 10

Today had all the makings of a gorgeous fall day:  Sunshine.  Crisp, clear air.  The crunch of fall leaves underfoot.  That level of cool where you're comfy enough in a fleece but going inside every now and then feels good--and getting into a car that's been sitting in the sun brings an instant flush of warmth to the tips of your fingers.

As you can see on the tree peony above, the leaves are beginning to flush, too, with fall color.  I noticed its reddening leaves as I quickly took stock of the backyard this evening.  Amazingly, there are still a lot of things yet to harvest there!  Some, like these 'Hungarian Hot Wax' peppers and 'Ichiban' eggplants, have been simply waiting for me to get to them:

Others, like these 'Pineapple' tomatoes, got a late start and are racing the clock to ripen before a frost does them in:

And then there are my 'Sundance' apples, which are never quite ready until mid-October.  They're worth the wait, though--as the Gurney's website promised, they have a very unique sweet-tart flavor, and there's a hint of lemony flavor in their firm flesh:

Not all of the fruit set in the garden is edibles, of course--unless you are a bird.  These pyracantha berries are the last thing to get eaten in the spring, and I'm not complaining. That means I get to enjoy them longer:

Also sporting orange are these seedpods (I assume?) on my native honeysuckle, lonicera sempervirens:

By the way, I would not hesitate to recommend this vine to anyone--and might be planting a few more of them along my fenceline.  It pretty much flowers throughout the summer, and the blue-green foliage is fantastic, too. 

Speaking of impressive foliage, it's hard to believe that this 'Black Beauty' elderberry has gorgeous dark leaves through the growing season, bears fruit (a 'Black Lace' nearby pollinates it) AND gives fall color, too.  But here you see the bottom sets of leaves (near the still-blooming 'Grosso' lavender) starting to turn a pretty wine-red:

See, autumn isn't ONLY about the fiery reds and oranges!  Other cool combos that are just coming into their own finally in the October garden include Little Bluestem and purple heart:

And the darkened, spent flowerheads of 'Hab Gray' sedum above the fine-textured, tiny foliage of sedum hispanicum:

Most of the garden IS turning red or yellow, though.  The acid-yellow foliage colors of the milkweed and hosta are should be outstanding in another week.  And the otherwise-yellow foliage of hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is starting to look downright tropical with its fall streaks of crimson:

But it's not completely over quite yet--there's still a lot of shouting going on, in a few corners of the garden.  Like here, where the jewel-like tones of 'Sedona' coleus, angelonia, 'Black Lace' sambucus, and portulaca foliage can almost trick you into thinking it's still summer:

Bright lantana blooms add their voice to the garden chorus, too, while Japanese bloodgrass sways in the background:

Maybe the lantana is actually singing a rather surprised cover of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing?"  Because the fact that the Russian sage is blooming right next door--and providing a nice, cool foil for this definitely overgrown lantana--is a sign that it really can't be too long before the garden needs to be put to bed for the winter:

That and all of the "berries" on the branches below the lantana flowerhead, which mean that I have long since given up doing any upkeep on the "throwaway annuals" that I replace each year.

I might be adding more things than I had planned to the "throwaway" list, by the way.  There will be pockets of frost tonight and tomorrow night throughout my area, but I didn't get everything pulled, dug and put away today... and tomorrow will be another long day of work, with no real chance to play in the yard.  So we'll see how things shake out once we get through this first real cold spell.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!


chuck b. said...

You still have food! I pulled out the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers a few days ago and converted everything to fava beans. Time to start some radishes too.v

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your first paragraph paints a picture of a perfect fall day Kim. It has been like this for the past couple of days here. Your garden is still quite interesting. It won't be long until we won't have much to look at in the garden. I will have to get out and check my native honeysuckle to see if it has these berries. I didn't notice any so far. Maybe the birds got them as soon as they appeared.


Hi Kim. I worked in my garden today too. I still have beautiful carrots. I think I'll leave them in the ground for a while longer. Not sure what to do to preserve them... Guess I could always do the blanch and freeze thing.

Still have 3 cabbages left and three eggplants and several sweet banana peppers.

I enjoy your blog and I know we live near each other...within 40 miles probably. Fun.

joey said...

A beautiful post honoring fall, Kim ~ I felt as though I was walking beside you on the lovely tour. You have piqued my interest in 'Sundance' apples ... have never tasted them but MUST. I love eggplant ... yours a reminder to make my roasted eggplant lasagna. You have put me to shame ... I did not work out in the garden today (grandboys played 2 football games) ... but this week, a MUST!

Gail said...

One of my favorites is getting into the sun warmed car after a brisk walk....the smell and warmth are delicious. Your garden is looking colorful and more late summer then fall!

Seeing the Purple heart and Little Bluestem reminded me to move a native aster or two by the Little Blue Stem grass...(It was behaving so nicely until we had the monsoon it's lying down.) I love the Purple Heart with it.

There is something sad about a garden looking so fine one beautiful afternoon and then waking up to frost. We are totally in denial here and if the weather will rebound...I will cover the plants one last time.

Have a great week Kim. gail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It looks like you're having a good fall. The color here is marginal, and I don't think my Tree Peony's foliage is going to color up. Enjoy these last few days of warmth (relatively speaking). It's nearly over here.

Layanee said...

That fall coolness is very welcome and your plant combinations are taking on a new shine with the lower rays of the sun. Love that glowing blood grass combo.

Annie in Austin said...

What a wind-down to the growing season, Kim - an artistic combination of fruit, vegetables, foliage, flowers, and food for wildlife... all on less than 1/8 acre.

Your autumn contrasts really work -love the lavender/elderberry combination and the Purple setcreasea with the bluestem. Coral honeysuckle? Purple heart? Lantana? They're in my garden, too, but no tree peony - I miss seeing peony leaves.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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