Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snow Globe Weather

Snow this morning. Wet flakes, looking much bigger and fatter and falling more thickly after I took these shots.

I put up the wreaths yesterday and a little grouping of snowmen on the garden cart in front of the den window.

It really was snow globe weather, fat wet flakes softly tumbling to the ground -- and me surrounded by the swirl as I sit inside looking out the windows.

Friday, November 23, 2012

An Early Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was early this year. The day was sunny and mild, in the 50s.

I was surprised when I took a tour of the yard that the zenobia I transplanted under the blackhaw viburnum has turned a gorgeous rich russet. It usually keeps its glaucus blue-green leaves well into winter, but this year it is golden and coppery.

But I could not get a good picture of it. The russet brown  fleeceflower below does not offer enough contrast to take a good picture.

It's a really beautiful color and it has shaped up into a round but loose shrub. This is the older of the zenobias, the original one I planted. I'm really pleased with it.

The two others that are under the birch tree by the patio are still blue green (one has serious leaf spot) and are not very shapely yet. Maybe zenobias take three or four years to look like anything.

The other wonderful surprise is how beautiful the comptonia is in fall. It has kept its feathery leaves and they have turned golden. This small shrub also has formed a nice shape, kind of umbrella like.

I'm really pleased with this too. It has shaped up within a single season, and in future years I think it will get quite big.

In some light the golden color of the comptonia is really deep rust red.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Outdoors Again

50s today, but sunny and still, so the cool weather was very nice.

Despite my lack of motivation over the past days, I did get out and re-edge at least one spot that needed it. I expanded the edge under the doublefile viburnum. Wet, muddy work -- the ground is quite saturated.

It doesn't look much different, but I did take out a lot of sod around the curve, under the low spreading branches. And lost the Cobrahead tool in the process. One minute I had it, the next I could not find it anywhere.  Grrr.

I cleaned up the front walk, chopping off the kinnikinnik and creeping sedum runners that had edged out over the sidewalk. Jim needs those cleared for the snowblower.

Then I tackled a job I've wanted to do all summer. I pruned the Crimson Queen Japanese maple. I took off easily a third of the branches, some quite large. With the leaves mostly gone, I could get in there, but without the fullness of the tree in leaf, it is hard to know what I did.

The trunk is not very attractive, especially since the split is held together with a screw, the damaged trunk is deformed, and there is still glue residue on the wound. Highlighting the gracefulness of the trunk isn't working here, it's a mess.

But I don't want the big purple haystack that this weeping maple can be, unpruned, so I wanted to lighten the look, open it up, and see what I get.

There is some interesting curviness with the branches. You can see cut marks where I took off limbs. I really hope I get a nice, interesting, curved and structural look with this tree next spring when it leafs out.

You can't see in the photo above, but snowdrops have come up! Little tiny white snowdrops are in bud, rising up out of the leaf litter behind the maple. Really.

The Ogon spirea is golden now, but it sort of blends in with the brown grasses in the meadow behind.

It finally felt good to be outside all afternoon today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Should Be Edging

I've been hunkered inside since the beginning of November. I've gone out to clean up perennials a bit, and snip a few things back, but not to do much more than that. I've been inside with the heat on, complaining I can't get warm enough.

And yet the cool weather outside is comfortable to do some digging without overheating, the partly cloudy grayish skies won't bake me, and the ground is soft and damp, easy to work. Leaves are down and I can see what needs doing. It's perfect conditions for getting at the one project I have been putting off -- expanding the edges of several gardens.

Why don't I get out there and do it?

I know which areas I want to expand. The curve under the doublefile viburnum needs to be expanded, the whole strip of ground under the buckeyes does too.  Around the patio needs to be enlarged.  The gardens under the white birches need to be brought out into the yard a bit more.

Just small adjustments to each area, but it involves digging and hauling away the strips of sod. Dirty work, hands and knees work, up and down work.

I think I lost my ooomph when I was resting up after my eye surgery and didn't go out to do much. Then it snowed. Then fall seemed to be gone by.

But I need to get my big girl garden pants on and get out there!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bye, Summer

It's been cold for days, in the 40s and 50s.  I've finished most of the clean up tasks, cutting back the messy perennials, but leaving others standing. Jim mowed for the last time.

There are still some colorful leaves -- the fothergillas and some trees. And the Ogon spirea, which I have to get a picture of.

But mostly, fall has arrived in full, the scenery is browning, and it's over for a season.  Bye, summer!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

But . . it's only early November

Bwaaa. The clocks turned back last weekend so it gets dark early now.

It froze hard again a few days ago and the hoses weren't turned off. The one on the east side popped and water gushed from it the other day. Disaster.

The hose by the potting bench froze solid.

Then it snowed today. Very cold, very slippery wet snow, but blowing hard. It is 30 degrees this afternoon and whiteness is swirling and sticking at the same time. Kind of impossible, but this is a cold nor'easter, a week after Superstorm Sandy hit us.  Sheesh.

I am not going to get the beautiful fire red color in mid November on the maples in the yard this year. Most trees have lost their leaves, but not the maples or the Bloodgood Japanese maple yet.

I did not finish the fall clean up chores.  In fact the screens are not down yet, and I am looking at winter snow through screened doors and windows.

Like I said, bwaaaa.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fothergillas Ablaze

In the 50s today, all is calm now after the massive storm.

But it blew down a lot of leaves, and I think the beautiful red maples in the yard, which color up so spectacularly in mid November, will not have enough leaves left for any kind of show. They are dropping already.

But the fothergillas are awash in kaleidoscope colors.

The witch hazels have turned yellow, but in fits and starts, with very odd effect. Both the vernalis, and the hybrid 'Diane' next to it show this mix of green, yellow, and some dead brown.

And here are even more shots of the beautiful fothergillas.  The one under the guest room window is spectacular this year, with more room and sun now that the redbud that shaded and crowded it is gone.

The high winds knocked over the Sheffield mums and the asters, but the grasses and the amsonias look unscathed, with no flopping at all.