Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I hope  you share the holiday with someone who is truly a treat to be with!

And perhaps you can visit one of your favorite haunts.

If you find yourself alone, may you still have a better time than this guy seems to be having!

I call these Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Overwhelmed on Monday, grumpy and tired by Wednesday, and happy the whole thing is over for another week on Friday.

Into every life an argyle pumpkin must fall.  The bat is for a very special old bat in my life who just had a big (70th) birthday.  You know who you are!

Whether you open your door to cute little costumed candy demanders

 Or turn off the porch light and eat all the candy yourself,

may your Halloween be very happy!
(For some reason, I didn't throw the black tablecloth on the dining room table this October.  Oh well, there's always next year.)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Big Excitement Sometimes Comes in Small Packages.

What could be inside this hastily made Dixie cup carrier?

 As you may recall from this post I was finally successful at introducing frogs to my garden.  Unfortunately, the frogs I introduced were bullfrogs from the eastern part of the U.S. which are not native here and haven't made a sound in my garden.  Since they've been successful for a couple of summers, one choosing to stay in the koi pond and a couple preferring a large water-water filled pot that hosts a Thalia dealbata, perhaps our native tree frogs will be successful here as well.   I've worked at keeping my beds full of fallen and rotting things (this is how I justify my laziness) and leaving lots of areas kind of wild with water catchers large and small around the garden to try and create an hospitable habitat.  Recently at my school, my pal Christina (you may recall her bug and dahlia adventures here.)  has found three native tree frogs each about a week apart.  I learned too late that transporting these to new areas is not recommended as they have strong homing instincts and may be killed trying to return home.  However, it's been about 4 weeks since the first couple of tree frogs, that narrowly escaped the running feet of children and the blades of the school lawn mower, were introduced and I hear their lovely song at various times of the day so maybe they are happy here.

Today, this little fellow jumped right in front of my friend Kim who announced it's presence to Chistina who promptly scooped it up and created the fancy Dixie cup modular home. Here (s)he is being released.  These are in an area as far from the bullfrogs as possible.

Isn't it cute?

I've been  thrilled to hear the sweet frog croaking in my garden!  Christina's son, Cole, found the following two just this evening in their garden which is overrun with the critters!   The markings on this one are quite different from the others.  Is it a different kind of frog or do markings of tree frogs vary?

 Christina sent these pictures of these two new pals for the three in my garden.  I hope that they'll be happy here and create lots of offspring!  We certainly have a lot of bugs for them to eat!
Thanks, Cristina and Cole for the sweet frog song in my garden that your little friends sing!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Enjoying the Last of the Light Evenings

Yesterday, I left work on time which is fairly unusual for me.  It was delightful to be home to enjoy one of the few evenings left before we turn our clocks back and most of us will be driving home in the dark.  Heading out to take some pictures in the neighborhood, I got caught up in my parking strips which haven't had much attention this year.  Someone has been spending what time he has on the greenhouse project.  Anyway, here's some of what I saw in the hood.

The Arbutus unedo by our front door is blooming profusely again this year.  There is little fruit though.

Yucca gloriosa 'Variegata'  doesn't seem to know what season it is.  I certainly don't mind the nice bloom stalk!

Salvia 'Hot Lips' has been blooming all summer to the delight of the hummingbirds.  

I don't remember the name of this Arctostaphylos that was grown by Xera Plants and came to live in my garden about 6 years ago.  It's new growth has this great color which makes the plant look like it's blooming again. I'd love to find another!

Garrya elliptica  catkins promise a nice show this winter!

Nice orange rose hips.

A favorite of mine is Euonymus europeaus 'Red Ace' that came from Steamboat Island Nursery when they were still in existence.  My car was so full of plants that there was no room left for this so they delivered it the next time they were bringing plants to area nurseries.

Yes it's a weed, but I always leave a few lunaria annua.  The flowers bloom at a nice time of year and the seed pod formation is interesting.

Speaking of interesting seeds, the pods of this large species peony have opened to reveal rather large seeds.

They're about the size of coffee beans!  Take no notice of the super glue on my fingers.

Tetrapanax is hoping to bloom before the first heavy frost.  It's always a race to see which will happen first.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress' is blooming.  There'll be some mahonia o other blooming through most of the fall and winter and even one for spring.

Crazy and fragrant Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' begins blooming now and will continue as the leaves drop through the winter and into earliest spring.

Bird-planted cotoneaster is heavy with berries.

Rosemary is blooming.  Just snipped some sprigs for a hearty vegetable soup.

Finally made it across the street to investigate the trees in  someone else's parking strip.  They're full of moss, ferns and...mushrooms!

liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum) showing some nice color. 

Some nice color looking up our street. 

What's happening in you garden this autumn?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Parthenocissus tricuspidata is My Favorite Plant...This Week

Although I don't have this plant in my garden, I see it from my window every day as it covers a large concrete wall across the street from my garden.  It' has nice spring color and is a lovely green presence all summer but it really shines in the autumn with it's bright foliage.

The leaves drop before the petioles which stay for a while making the wall look like a torture rack of some sort.  It's an interesting sight to see these pieces of spaghetti sticking straight out of the wall.

Also known as Boston Ivy, this grape relative produces beautiful blue berries, enjoyed by birds that contrast nicely with the orange and hot pink petioles.

The berries are ornamental all by themselves and when even they are gone, the tracery of the naked vines adds winter interest to this otherwise plain concrete wall. 

Of course, the background of moss helps!

I'm joining with Loree at Danger Garden in her Favorite Plant...This Week meme.

Here's what Plant Lust says about it.  Click there to learn more.


Groundcover, Vine / Climber






Average, Rich
Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade



Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Sunday Afternoon at Sterino's

Many Sunday afternoons after work, we stop by Sterino's Produce Stand to get produce for the week. There is always something on sale for a great price and for the last couple of weeks, all pumpkins have been ninety- nine cents each regardless of size so we had to go!  Pumpkins look great through Thanksgiving!

I was also thrilled to find gourds for fifty cents each and just picked cabbage at three for a dollar!

Did I mention cauliflower for fifty cents a head?   Notice that huge truck on the right?  Full of more pumpkins!

 I forgot both my phone and camera so Tom took these pictures with his phone.  Saturday was very busy with hauling furniture out to the greenhouse. I even got some bulbs planted between showers!  Today we decided to string lights on the tops of  the trusses and only got partway done before dark.
 I picked up a smallish pumpkin for soup and also picked up some other squash (fifty cents a piece) and a bunch of root vegetables to make another soup.  Summer is definitely not lingering this year (where did it go?) so hearty soups will be on the menu in many households I'm guessing.

These fellows have pumpkin seed packets in their pockets so they must have planted all of these.  

They're still smiling after all that work.  

Wishing you a week as happy as these scarecrows look!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Random Friday

I headed out to the garden yesterday after work during a few moments when the rain was not torrential  to choose a favorite plant for this week but took a bunch of random shots instead.

A NOID Acer palmatum starting to show some orange color.  I don't think it's had the same fall color two years in a row; one year red, another yellow, and now orange.

Some gardener planted this cute little four inch pot of Echium pininata  a bit too close to the path earlier this year.  As they are wont to do, this one has decided to lay on it's side.  Unfortunately, it chose to lay down toward the front of the bed.  Oh well, if it makes it through the winter, I'll let it stay and bloom. Who really wanted to go down that path anyway?

The dinosaur, still emerging from his egg, doesn't seem to mind the rain.

However, I do so I ducked into the greenhouse to get out of the downpour that started.  It's getting fairly full in there.

This brugsmansia  is so tall that it's reaching through the rafters.  I debated leaving it outside this year but thought that perhaps it might like to be a permanent resident inside
 It's supposed to rain again all day on Saturday so we'll play around with moving things around to perhaps make more space.  We'll see what happens.

 I like these terra cotta chimney liners and have a few more out in the garden that could come in and be used to make more bench space.  Just to the left of the  Kalanchoe luciae (big paddle plant on the right) is Salvia clevelandii (Alpine form) perfuming the air.  

I'm looking forward to rearranging things as it would be nice to put a table and chairs in the middle of the green goodness rather than at one end of it.

I've got to say that it was pretty wonderful to duck in here and enjoy a bit of garden that wasn't soggy!

Only a few more plants to bring in and the migration will be complete!  

A little potting and then the bench got cleaned up a bit but by then, the camera was back inside so here it is mess and all!  Still so much to do but at least the plants are inside and safe for the winter!
Happy weekend everyone!