Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Upon Our Return

We are back from our week in Virginia and North Carolina.

We returned to sunny, cool, crisp fall weather. It rained an inch and a half the day before we got back home, so everything is well watered, and with the cool air it all looks good. Last night it got down to 39 degrees! Today was brilliantly sunny and in the 60s.

The meadow is bursting with white wood asters, purple asters and goldenrod, all flopping about.

This summer there was no Queen Anne's Lace for some reason. Just a few here and there. But the asters did not disappoint, they are looking wonderful.

Monticello was great -- I thoroughly enjoyed the guided tours. The Biltmore house was just excessive, but the gardens were a delight. And the last day, driving up Skyline Drive through the mountains was beautiful. Great trip. Here are highlights.

Now, back at home, I am in my element moving things around and digging stuff up in the comfortable dry weather.

I dug out the curve at the back of the gravel garden to make room for the two fothergillas, then moved them. They dug up easily, thank goodness.

Now, with the garden extended a little, the rounded shape looks better, and the little row of boxwoods is opened up so it can be seen.  A minor move, but an improvement to the curve of the bed, the space under the sourwood, and the look overall.

The fothergillas look small and dorky, partly because I had lopped them to keep them from overtopping the boxwood balls, but they will fill in and get large, forming a boundary at that back edge of the border.

I thought it would be a major job, but it wasn't.

Then I did some edging along the east side to expand that strip, now that the groundcover willows are out.  I took two cartloads of sod strips away, but so much more needs to be removed. The area needs to be a lot wider, and the question is  -- add rocks for a low wall?  I need to ponder what to do there.

Fall arrived on September 21 while we were away, and now color is showing in the maples and the sourwood and so many other plants. Autumn is here!

The anemones finished blooming, but the seed stalks are nice.

The Henryi clematis is reblooming, and the viticella clematis by the hummingbird feeder is ready to open new blooms too.

The hummingbirds are still here, two females (or perhaps juveniles, without any ruby throats).

They are crazy about the feeder and still visiting what remains on the Rose of Sharon, and swooping and diving all over the yard.

One hangs on the feeder instead of hovering at it. It looks weird, with her body clinging almost upside down while she feeds.

They will be gone soon.

After a week away it is nice to be home, and especially nice to have such beautiful weather. Everything looks so wonderful at the Sostman Estate -- who needs Biltmore and Frederick Law Olmsted's genius and acres of grounds when we have such pleasures right here!