Autumn Imperfection

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Autumn often brings a bit of imperfection to the garden. 

The foliage around us is a little tired and droopy.  Greens are fading to brown.  Bright colors may appear, highlights on our trees for a few days; but we know it will fade all too soon.

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Mexican blue sage

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“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…
but merely to be LIVED.
Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly,
imperfectly, magically LIVED.”
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Mandy Hale

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Dahlia ‘Nuit d’Ete’

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Every autumn flower feels precious.  We stop to enjoy the sweet, fleeting fragrance of ginger lily and roses.

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We stop to admire the ever deepening colors of the berries and Lantana.  We find beauty in the seed heads of the Rudbeckia, and the beauty berries so plump now they look like they might pop.

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“The eye always fills in the imperfections.”
.
Rabih Alameddine

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Hibiscus

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Birds fill the garden, gorging themselves on the ripening berries, drying seeds and abundant insects.   They appear suddenly from their hiding places, shooting through the air from shrub to tree as we move about.  We see living flashes of yellow, red, black, white, grey and brown as they celebrate the moment and fill the air with life.

We hear their exuberant song from first light until they click and chirp softly to themselves, as they settle in the bamboo at dusk.

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Even as the garden fades into its autumn disarray, we find it beautiful.

Its ‘perfect imperfection’ reminds us to find the beauty in each day, and to savor its sweetness.

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“A scar is not always a flaw.
Sometimes a scar may be redemption inscribed in the flesh,
a memorial to something endured,
to something lost.”
.
Dean Koontz
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Caladium ‘White Delight’ at sunset

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Woodland Gnome 2017
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Autumn Roses, Safely in a Vase Today

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The wind is cold out of the west.  Even with brilliant sunshine, it was shivery cold as I dug the last tender fern to bring in today.  Frost has been forecast several times over the last week, but thus far its  been only a flirtation with that first autumn frost which decimates what’s left of our summer garden.

Most of our tender plants are either inside already, or snuggled up against the walls of our protected patio.  I trust that area to stay a few degrees warmer than the garden, which will suffice until the weather turns truly frosty next month.

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I cut a half dozen roses early Saturday morning to take to my parents, believing if left growing, they would be frozen that night.  But, as you can see, the roses keep unfolding peacefully.  The colors may be a little off from May.  Yet I believe these are almost more beautiful.

Last night hovered around 33F for a few hours around sunrise.  But tonight, I believe, will be ‘it.’  We’ve had several weeks now to prepare and remember every last thing we can possibly bring indoors.

Except the roses….

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Even yesterday afternoon, I made cuttings from our favorite scented geraniums thinking to stick them in pots around other things in hopes they will root and last through winter in the garage/conservatory.  And this afternoon, I cut a few more beautiful and wonderfully scented sprigs for this vase.

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The roses are the main attraction here.  But they are accented with a few of the very first little starts I set out last April:  A lacy Spanish lavender and a beautiful blue mealy sage.  Both have bloomed non-stop for the last seven months.  They might even come back next spring if our winter is mild.   You might also notice a few stems of Euphorbia, ‘Diamond Frost,’ still blooming in the garden, and a few tiny trumpets of lavender Oxalis.

The vase was made by our potter friend, Denis Orton.  These wonderful crystalline glazes are one of his passions, and we enjoy collecting pieces of his work from time to time.

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The roses are heavily perfumed ones, and have filled the house with their beautiful aroma as they warm up indoors.  If frost does come tonight, we will still have roses to enjoy for the next few days, and the house will still smell of summer.

That was reason enough to venture out this afternoon to cut them for a vase, and touch with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden yet again.  She faithfully cuts and arranges beautiful vases of flowers each week, photographing them and writing each week about what is fresh in her garden.  I admire her dedication to this meme, and appreciate her giving other gardeners the opportunity to join in every Monday.

Please visit her page to see what other gardeners around the world have to arrange this week as we slip ever closer to the holidays.

I am far more likely to plant up a pot of something for the house than to cut flowers and arrange them.  But every now and again, I can’t resist harvesting a bit of beauty and bringing it in for us to enjoy.  And so with theses roses, safely in a vase indoors before the frost.

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Magical autumn roses still blooming today in our garden....

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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A Forest Garden 2017 garden calendar is available now

WPC: Tiny

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“Without water drops, there can be no oceans;

without steps, there can be no stairs;

without little things, there can be no big things!”

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Mehmet Murat ildan

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I tell you the truth,

if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’

and it will move.

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Matthew 17:20

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“You may not be able to move the mountain with one hit,

but you can do so by picking up the rocks bit by bit!

Stop loading yourself and go bit by bit…

You will get there!”

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Israelmore Ayivor

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“This is the only advice I offer you.

Pick the small thing, and carry it on.

Let it change your life.”

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Anna White

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“There are many things that seem impossible

only so long as one does not attempt them.”

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André Gide

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“Find magic in the little things,

and the big things you always expected

will start to show up.”

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Isa Zapata

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Tiny

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“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning,

however small,

as it is wonderful how often in such matters

the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”

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Florence Nightingale

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Changes

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We treasure these fragrant autumn roses, still opening in our garden.   Our ‘Indian Summer’ has begun its inevitable shift towards winter.  The trees here grow more vibrant with each passing day; scarlet, orange, gold and clear yellow leaves dance in the wind and ornament our windshields and drive.  Finally, autumn.

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We’re engaged in the long, slow minuet of change, sped along by storms and cold fronts sweeping across us from elsewhere.  It hit 80 here yesterday as I worked in our garden.  I planted the last of our stash of spring bulbs, and moved an Hydrangea shrub from its pot into good garden soil.  The sun shone brightly as butterflies danced among the Pineapple Sage and flower laden Lantana in the upper garden.

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We had a good, soaking rain over night, waking up to winds from the north and temperatures a good 25 degrees lower than yesterday’s high.  From here on, our nights will dip back into the 40’s again, and I worry about our tender plants.  When  to bring them in?

Last year I carried pots in, and then back out of the garage, for weeks as the temperatures danced up and down.  This year, I”m trying to have a bit more faith and patience, leaving those precious Begonias and ferns in place as long as possible.

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Most of our Caladiums are inside now, but not all.  I’ve left a few out in pots, and am amazed to see new leaves still opening.  Warm sunshine and fresh breezes day after day seem a reward well worth the slight risk of a sudden freeze.

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This is how ‘climate change’ looks in our garden.

We were well into December before our first freeze last year.  It was balmy on Christmas, way too warm to wear holiday sweaters.  One felt more like  having a Margarita  than hot cocoa.  But why complain when the roads are clear and the heat’s not running?

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And I expect more of the same in the weeks ahead.  Our  great ‘pot’ migration from garden to house is delayed a few weeks, with the Begonias and Bougainvillea blooming their hearts out in the garden, still.    The autumn Iris keep throwing up new flower stalks, the Lantana have grown to epic proportions, and the Basil and Rosemary remain covered in flowers.

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But the garden, flower filled as it may be, grows through a growing blanket of fallen leaves.  Heavy dew bejewels each petal and leaf at dawn.  Squirrels gather and chase and chatter as they prepare their nests for the cold coming.

And the roses….

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Their flowers concentrate the last bits of color and fragrance into every precious petal.  They’ve grown sweeter and darker as the nights grow more chilled.

I”m loathe to trim them, this late in the season, and so hips have begun to swell and soon will glow orange, a reminder both of what has passed, and what is yet to come…

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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Wednesday Vignettes: Green

The garden at Mossy Creek Pottery near Lincoln City, OR

The garden at Mossy Creek Pottery near Lincoln City, OR

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“Green is the prime color of the world,

and that from which its loveliness arises.”

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Pedro Calderon de la Barca

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The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR in October

The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR in October

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“This life is yours.

Take the power to choose what you want to do

and do it well. Take the power to love

what you want in life and love it honestly.

Take the power to walk in the forest

and be a part of nature.

Take the power to control your own life.

No one else can do it for you.

Take the power to make your life happy.”


.

Susan Polis Schutz

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The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR

The Connie Hansen Garden, Lincoln City, OR

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“I’d rather have roses on my table

than diamonds on my neck.”

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Emma Goldman

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Late October rose in my own garden

Late October rose in our own garden

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“Live in each season as it passes;

breathe the air, drink the drink,

taste the fruit, and resign yourself

to the influence of the earth.”

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Henry David Thoreau

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Winema Wayfinding Point on the Coast Highway 101, Oregon

Winema Wayfinding Point on the Coast Highway 101, Oregon

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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Herbs still blooming in our garden, late October

Herbs still blooming in our garden, late October

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“All we have, it seems to me,

is the beauty of art and nature and life,

and the love which that beauty inspires.”

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Edward Abbey

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In A Vase on Monday: May Remembered

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On this last day of November, we filled our vase with fresh cut roses and the last of our Iris.  This is one of the many reasons we love gardening in coastal Virginia!

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Today proved wet and mild.  It was in the mid-40s when we went out on mid-day errands, and the low white sky promised more slow and steady drizzle.  A damp glaze on everything and muted light made the remaining golden and scarlet leaves on our trees glow radiantly.  What a simply beautiful day.

Those trees still holding their leaves were  like torches set against the bleak November day.  Our roses shone like beacons across the garden.

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It was already dusk when I finally got outside  to cut the roses.  We thought the frost last week had finished our Iris for the season.  But the buds survived, and this lovely I. ‘Rosalie Figge’ opened today as though the frost had never even happened.

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Our Artemisia survived the first few frosty nights as well, glowing with silver light on this dark and rainy day. Our little vase of flowers reminds us of the sheer joy of May; a last gift of the season before we face December in the morning.

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The vase itself came to us through the Habitat for Humanity shop.  I spotted it last summer, and noticing it was made in France, and is quite old; decided to add it to our collection of vases.  I love its cream and gold colors and classic shape.

We’ll enjoy these vibrant apricot roses and deeply purple Iris as we leave autumn behind now, and welcome winter and the holiday season for another year.   Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, has cut autumn roses from her garden for her vase today, too.  It shows me how small our world really is to see we are both cutting similar roses on the very same day, thousands of miles apart from one another!   I hope you’ll pop over to see her gorgeous apricot rose named, “The Poet’s Wife.”

Cathy faithfully hosts this challenge to post a vase of fresh cut flowers each Monday, and I’m happy to join her coterie of flower gardeners again today.

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Soon we will all be awash in red and green, silver and gold as more and more holiday decorations find their way out of storage.

I hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend spent relaxing with loved ones.  As the garden drifts off to sleep through another winter, our attention turns to other things inside, where it is warm and dry.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

Blooming In November

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The garden still invites birds and pollinators, all sorts of hopping and buzzing insects, and even the occasional snail.

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We had night time temperatures dip into the upper 30’s over the weekend; but still no frost and certainly no deep freezes.  Our garden remains filled with flowers.

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The Salvias and Iris are especially nice this week.

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But so are the ginger lilies.  There is even a Canna blossom or two waving in the cooling breezes.

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We still have new roses opening daily.

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Some of the hardy Begonias remain in bloom.

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One special Clematis vine has bloomed non-stop since late March. It must be getting a bit tired, but it still sports a few dozen blue flowers today.

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Our two Bougainvillea vines have happily covered themselves in rose pink bracts framing their tiny white flowers.

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All of the Lantana continue pumping out prolific flowers, much appreciated by the few moths and butterflies still here.

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Their color just intensifies as temperatures cool.   Pentas and Geraniums also remain, and show their most concentrated color of the season.  Their vivid petals pop.

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Our garden remains a bright and happy place.

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A neighbor visited our garden this afternoon.  She hadn’t seen Iris which re-bloom in the autumn before.

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We wandered around talking about the plants, enjoying the scented herbs, and enjoying one another’s company.  I’m looking forward to her return visit when we can dig and divide a few things for her to transplant to her end of the street.

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It is always fun to share with other gardeners who will help spread the beauty around even further.

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The garden is surprisingly full of flowers for mid-November.  So many summer flowering plants are still going strong, even as our autumn flowers bloom.   And we are planting Violas and bulbs for winter and early spring.

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Novembers weather like this makes us very grateful to live in a spot where we have  long autumns to enjoy our garden before winter blows in.

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I am joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens to celebrate what is blooming in our garden this November.  Many of us are fortunate to have something in bloom every day of the year, with a bit of planning.  Finding such a variety of flowers still perfuming the garden this late in the season  brings tremendous joy as we watch it unfold anew each day.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

 

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Layers

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Color lies in layers,

like a living, moving quilt

blanketing the garden,

 preparing for winter slumber.

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Soak  in every vibrant tint and hue

While one may;

While life vibrates

From petal and leaf, berry and seed.

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What more can one do

than wrap oneself, too, in such beauty?

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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November, Peace

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“When I say it’s you I like,

I’m talking about that part of you

that knows that life is far more than anything

you can ever see or hear or touch.

That deep part of you that allows

you to stand for those things

without which humankind cannot survive.

Love that conquers hate,

peace that rises triumphant over war,

and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

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Fred Rogers

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“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty:

to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves,

more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others.

And the more peace there is in us,

the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

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Etty Hillesum

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“May our daily choices be a reflection of our deepest values,

and may we use our voices to speak for those who need us most,

those who have no voice,

those who have no choice.”

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Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

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“Make peace with silence,

and remind yourself that it is in this space

that you’ll come to remember your spirit.

When you’re able to transcend an aversion to silence,

you’ll also transcend many other miseries.

And it is in this silence

that the remembrance of God will be activated.”

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Wayne W. Dyer

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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National Blog Posting Month

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Still Vibrantly Blooming: October 15

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The flowers of late fall and early spring bring us the most pleasure.  That may be because we can actually enjoy our time outside in the garden with them!  It is ‘Goldilocks’ comfortable now  from dawn until dusk, and our enthusiasm for the garden is re-ignited.

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This area of the front garden gets the most attention these days, as I move shrubs and perennials into these new beds from their pots.

This area of the front garden gets the most attention these days, as I move shrubs and perennials into these new beds from their pots.

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We both spent most of yesterday outside.  Knowing that a frost can come now at any time, and that night time temperatures  in the 40’s may come this weekend; our pleasant days and frost free nights may be counted on our fingers… and possibly toes, if we are fortunate!

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I set out yesterday to fill promises made weeks ago to share our Ginger Lilies.

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Our Butterfly Ginger Lilies fill the air with their sweet perfume.

Our Butterfly Ginger Lilies fill the air with their sweet perfume.

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A gardening friend joined me mid-morning and took all she could use of the freshly dug tubers.  A new neighbor, designing his own wildlife habitat along our shared pond, collected a dozen more Ginger Lily starts that afternoon.  My poor shaded, crowded roses are breathing more freely now, with fresh compost around their roots.

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Another rose, well crowded now by an exuberant Lantana.

Another  crowded rose, this one by an exuberant Lantana.

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I also shared some seedling Beauty Berry shrubs, a few stems of our wonderful hardy Begonia, and some tender ferns.

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Time for this Begonia to come back inside for another winter.

Time for this tender Begonia to come back inside for another winter.

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The time has come for the “Who will survive the winter?” lottery as we decide which of the tender plants will come in before the nights turn truly cold.  My first instinct always is, “All of them!”  But as we survey available space, reality sets in.  And I begin pressing my friends to adopt a plant for the winter.

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These Bougainvillea lives in our garage once nights grow cold.

These Bougainvillea lives in our garage once nights grow cold.

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I learned several valuable lessons about keeping plants over winter last season.  I learned that a number of plants, like Colocasia, will survive just fine in the low light of our basement.

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Ivy leaf Geranium

Ivy leaf Geranium

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I also learned that it is possible to crowd quite a few Geraniums into a plastic tub and keep them all going in the garage.  They kept blooming through Christmas that way.

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The best lesson, however, required an investment in 5 gal. buckets from Walmart.  Who cares if they are covered in camo and deer designs?  They were only $3 each, and each perfectly held one of our hanging baskets through the winter.  With plastic bags under the buckets to protect the floor, I could water the baskets with confidence, knowing they drained into the buckets.

I also purchased those kitschy ‘watering globes’ for the baskets; which work very well by the way.  I could fill the globes once a week or so to keep the baskets hydrated enough to survive our winter.

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These tender ferns will get moved inside before Sunday evening.

These tender ferns will get moved inside before Sunday evening.

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Yes, it takes a lot of effort to keep plants over winter, but that effort is also rewarded.  Watching overwintered plants come back into bloom the following season brings a special joy.

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Since I collect so many specialty plants, like Begonias,  I may find a particular cultivar only once in many years.  Losing it means, well, losing it.

There is no guarantee that a freshly rooted version will be waiting on the nursery shelves next spring.

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This is a tender Salvia and most years doesn't survive our winter.

This is a tender Salvia and most years doesn’t survive our winter.  Our bumblebees are already feeling the chill in the air.

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That makes October’s Garden Blogger Bloom Day especially poignant.  My Zone 7 garden has reached its peak for the season.  We will enjoy these beautiful flowers while  they last, knowing that frost will soon transform our garden, once again.

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Many of our Lantana prove hardy. We expect this new cultivar to survive winter in place out of doors.

Many of our Lantana prove hardy. We expect this new cultivar to survive winter in place out of doors.

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But I hope to transform it first, digging and moving tender perennials to pots inside, crowding them into their makeshift ‘garage greenhouse’ and planting hardy Violas and Heucheras in their places.

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These hardy perennials will die back with the frost, but then return in early summer.

These hardy perennials will die back with the frost, but then return in early summer.

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I’ve also started pots of hardy Cyclamen and Arum lily, which will come outside to the garden next week.  We’re off today to pick up more bulbs for spring flowers, and then I’ll put those compost covered gloves back on; and head back outside for another golden afternoon in our October garden.

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Goldenrod volunteers in odd places around the garden, adding its golden glow to the changing leaves.

Goldenrod volunteers in odd places around the garden, adding its golden glow to the changing leaves.

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Woodland Gnome 2014

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Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

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