Sunday Dinner: Brightness!

~
“I can assure you
that the life outside the front door
is bright and full of life”
.
Sunday Adelaja
~
~
“The joy you feel
when you become a small life particle sun
and share its brightness and warmth
with those around you
is indescribably great.”
.
Ilchi Lee
~
~
“The true optimist
not only expects the best to happen,
but goes to work to make the best happen.
The true optimist not only looks upon the bright side,
but trains every force that is in him
to produce more and more brightness in his life….”
.
Christian D. Larson
~
~
“May your eye go to the Sun,
to the Wind your soul…
You are all the colours in one,
at full brightness.”
.
Jennifer Niven
~
~
“Let your love be the light of your life.
Now enlighten the whole world
with the brightness of that light.”
.
Debasish Mridha
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
“A day’s brightness is determined
by the light in our hearts.”
.
A.D. Posey
~
~
“One passionate heart can brighten the world.
From person to person
the chain reaction burns through us —
setting heart to heart ablaze,
and lighting the way for us all!”
.
Bryant McGill
~

Advertisements

Fabulous Friday: Autumn Re-Blooming Iris

Iris ‘Immortality’

~

Something white caught my eye as I was watering the other evening.   As if by magic, an Iris scape stood there tall and proud, its white buds glowing in the fading light.  The second bloom of our re-blooming Iris catch me by surprise each autumn.  It is hard to predict when they will appear.

Our favorite I. ‘Rosalie Figge’ sent up a scape with four buds last week.

~

Iris ‘Rosalie Figgee’ blooming last week.  It is past time for me to clear up the spent Iris foliage to prepare for fall blooms.

~

It re-blooms reliably through the fall, sometimes blooming into December.  But I. ‘Immortality’ is a little more rare, and we always accept her fall blooms with deep appreciation.

Just as many perennials wind down for the season, Iris will often begin to grow fresh leaves.  Their spring-time leaves are often yellowed or burned at the tip.  This is a good time to clean up the old spent foliage, if you haven’t already, and cut back their weathered leaves.

~

The Iris grow well with culinary sage.  Seed heads from our garlic chives add texture. I like them very much, though I know I’d be wise to follow Eliza’s advice and deadhead more of these before the garden is overrun with chives next summer,  grown from these lovely seeds.

~

A little water, and maybe a top-dressing of compost or a sprinkle of Espoma will revive their vitality.  If your Iris are a re-blooming type, this may increase your fall blossoms.  If not, you have prepared your plants for a beautiful show next spring.

This is also on my ‘to-do’ list, and so these beautiful blossoms have emerged today from less than beautiful foliage.   With cooler weather in our forecast, I will hope to accomplish this, too, before I take off for the West Coast in mid-October.

~

Pineapple Sage, in its fall glory, still sends out new buds.

~

Our garden is filled with light today, and alive with many pollinators feasting on the goldenrod.  They focus with such concentration as they work flower to flower, gathering nectar and pollen to feed their colonies through the long winter ahead.

~

~

There are plenty of flowers left for our enjoyment, as well as for those nectar loving creatures who visit us.

I will head back out there shortly to make up for our lack of rain this week, with another good soaking from the hose.  It takes a lot of water to satisfy our thirsty garden, and watering allows me to see things I might otherwise miss.  It also keeps the flowers coming, and with any luck, we’ll have more Iris emerging soon.

~

~

Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is Contagious, Let’s infect one another!

~

~

Woodland Gnome 2017
~

I’m learning to make wire sculpture trees, and this is my second attempt: ‘Oak in autumn.’  I’ll learn so much about the structure of trees through sculpting them in wire.

~

 

 

Fabulous Friday: Pineapple Sage In Bloom

~

A hummingbird came zooming across my shoulder just as I began watering in the front garden this morning.  It went first to the nearest Canna blossoms, towering now 8′ or more.  But then, it zoomed straight down to the bright lipstick-red blossoms of our pineapple sage, just opening for the first time this morning.

The little hummer flitted from blossom to blossom, drinking deeply from each long, tubular flower.  Pineapple sage is a great favorite of hummingbirds, and gives that extra boost of energy before they leave for their migration.

~

Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, grows together with a small Buddleia in the heart of our butterfly and hummingbird garden.  It began blooming today, immediately attracting our resident hummingbirds to taste its nectar.

~

Pineapple sage, Salvia elegans, has grown easier to find at spring plant sales in our area.  It is often offered in small pots, right among the other herbs.  It is easy to grow in full to partial sun, and quickly grows from a small start to a nice sized herbaceous ‘shrub.’  Other than keeping it watered during drought, and pinching it back from time to time to encourage bushiness, it needs little care.

A native of Central America and Mexico, pineapple sage loves heat and humidity.  But it is the shorter days which signal it to begin blooming.

It’s best season is autumn, and it will cover itself in flowers from now until frost.  We are fortunate that pineapple sage tends to return in our garden.  Although it is listed as hardy to Zone 8, it will survive our winter if its roots are deep and well established.  A little mulch helps it survive through winter.

~

~

Like so many herbs, pineapple sage is easy to propagate from stem cuttings or by division.  In the spring, you often can pull a rooted stem, left from the previous season, away from the crown and plant it elsewhere to help this clumping plant spread more quickly.  But we’ve never had a pineapple sage ‘run’ or grow out of control.  It is far better behaved than the mints!

Edible, the foliage has a wonderful fruity fragrance all season.  It is beautiful in fall arrangements and mixed container gardens.  In containers, it might crowd out other plants over the long summer season.  But rooted cuttings or small starter plants would be beautiful in pots newly refreshed for fall.

~

Pineapple sage in a vase with Mexican blue sage, Artemisia and Hibiscus acetosella, October 2015.

~

Salvia elegans has been identified as one of the top three favorite flowers  hummingbirds choose for feeding, in a study done in Central Mexico.  It’s long, tubular flowers just invite a hummingbird’s beak!  And since the flowers are clustered close together, it takes little effort to move from one to the next.

Our hummingbirds are happily darting about the garden this week, enjoying the Lantana, Verbena, ginger lily, Canna, and now also the pineapple sage, just coming into bloom.  They visit us as we sit on the deck and as we water and work among the plants.

It is fabulous to see fall’s brightest flowers blooming at last!

~

Pineapple sage lights up our garden in October 2014.

~

Woodland Gnome 2017

Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious,

Let’s infect one another!

~

Flowers  our hummingbirds enjoy visiting:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Looking Good: Autumn Favorites

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

~

The garden is looking good again now that the soil is moist, the days are sunny, and the nights are cool.  Our autumn flowers have begun blooming, filling the garden with vivid red Pineapple Sage, soft blue Mexican Bush Sage, pristine white Camellias and vividly rose pink Bougainvillea.

~

October 9, 2015 First Camellias 004

~

We even have a stalk of Iris buds ready to open on a rebloomer transplanted this past spring.

~

October 8 Parkway 055

~

Even as brown leaves litter the lawn, summer weary plants respond to our milder weather with vivid new flowers.

~

October 9, 2015 First Camellias 006

~

Some of our most spectacular roses open after October 1st each year and keep coming through early December.  Many of our Pelargoniums have also started pumping out plump new buds.  Late October feels almost like a reprise of spring, but with more intense color.

~

Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

~

We are busy planting bulbs and perennials.  I’m ready to start filling our pots with Violas for winter color by the end of the month.

October is my favorite time of year for spreading new compost.  I bought the last few bags on offer at our favorite garden center this week.  Their next load won’t deliver until spring.  I’ll use much of it when moving shrubs out of their pots and into the ground over the next week.

~

October 8 Parkway 058

~

Some has already gone over a new planting of  ‘Thalia’  Daffodil bulbs, now overplanted with Ajuga, Vinca, and some bits of hardy Sedum.  A fresh inch or two of compost over freshly weeded beds keeps them looking good through the winter, and helps nourish the bulbs and perennials which will begin growing again in a few months.

Some plants, like these Colocasia divisions, which got off to a slow start in early summer, have finally come into their prime in these last weeks before frost.

~

Colocasia with a scented Geranium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after a placed the pot behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

Colocasia with a scented Pelargonium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after we placed the potted Pelargonium behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

~

Officially, our first frost date is October 15.  It is hard for me to believe that frost can come at any time after the middle of next week.  I’ve not yet given much thought to moving tender plants inside to the garage, basement, and living room to keep them over winter.  But it is time for me to sketch out a plan and begin putting it into action before an early freeze catches us unprepared.

~

Bouganvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won't survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

Bougainvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won’t survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

~

After a busy few weeks which left me little time or energy for the garden, I’m ready to begin the round of fall projects which close it out for the season.

~

October 9, 2015 First Camellias 023

~

There are Ginger Lilies to dig and deliver to friends; tender Colocoasia, Caladiums, ferns, and Begonias to dig and pot for their winter indoors; leaves to shred and  roses to trim back for a final time this year.

~

Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

~

Taking time to notice what is Looking Good each week keeps my focus on the positive.  Many thanks to Gillian at Country Gardens UK for hosting this theme each Friday.  Please take a moment to enjoy her beautiful apples this week.  Gillian also offers up an enticing recipe for Apple Cake, which I want to try making this weekend with apples from our favorite farm stand.

~

October 9, 2015 First Camellias 033

~

Woodland Gnome 2015

 

October 8 Parkway 046

 

Sweet October

October 7, 2014 garden 037

 

We are living through the sweetest days of a Virginia autumn:

 

October 7, 2014 garden 024

leaves changing, fruit ripening, flowers still blooming, and warm sunny days followed by cool clear nights.

Freshly picked Virginia apples sit on our kitchen counter.  Our slider stands open all day letting fresh air blow through the house; all traces of summer’s humidity gone.

The air is fragrant and golden; sunwashed  and noticeably cool early in the morning and after sunset.

October 8, 2014 garden 004

Most of the plants brought in ahead of last weekend’s cold nights have found their way back outside to enjoy a few more days of bright light and warm breezes.

A huge Begonia, covered in hundreds of tiny pink blossoms, protested its spot inside by dropping those blossoms like confetti.  I carried it out to the deck this morning to re-join its summer companions for a few more days .

 

October 1, 2014 garden 019

The Staghorn fern, tripled in size over the summer, is returned to its shady spot in the Dogwood tree.

As sweet as these days may seem, we know they are numbered. 

October 7, 2014 garden 029

Yesterday morning I finally dug the first of the Caladiums and tucked them snugly into a pot where they will winter in the garage.  Their summer pots now sport tiny rose colored Viola starts, and a spindly little ornamental Kale seedling.

Oh, and did I mention the garlic?  I am  planting little garlic cloves, tucked into the soil between the Violas.  We learned last winter that garlic cloves  offers pretty good protection from those hungry creatures who might otherwise dig them up, or gnosh on our tasty Violas.

 

October 8, 2014 garden 007

Today I dug up a tender Lady fern to bring inside.  Closer inspection found it already spreading, and there were four tiny starts to dig and tuck into other pots to overwinter indoors.

There are as many flowers blooming now as there were in May. 

October 7, 2014 garden 041

Now that the summer’s heat has broken, and it has rained deeply, our roses have covered themselves in buds once again.

Fall blooming perennials, full of huge, vivid flowers, light up the garden.

 

October 7, 2014 garden 036

Pots and baskets have recovered from the late summer drought with tender new growth.

October offers many sweet pleasures for all who will venture out of doors to enjoy it.

 

October 8, 2014 garden 006

The landscape is lit with bright berries and changing leaves.

Flocks of birds sing to one another as they gather and gorge on the berried feast, ahead of their long flight south.

October 8, 2014 garden 001

Butterflies stop by to sample the nectar, and clear night skies shine brightly with stars.

It is all, maybe a little sweeter, since November lurks in the next turn of the calendar page.

October 3, 2014 mushrooms 159

And we are blessed with a bit more time  to  drink full measure of these last, lovely days of Indian summer.

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

October 8, 2014 garden 011

A Gorgeous Afternoon

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

PIneapple Sage, Pineapple Mint, Rosemary, and Lantana at their peak in late October.

What a gorgeous day it’s been here in Williamsburg.  After our first really cold night, down into the 30s, the morning dawned clear and brisk.  We’ve had cool wind all day and bright sunshine.  It is that time of the year to watch the weather and decide what needs to come inside for the night.  Will it freeze tonight?  Can the Begonias stay outside another day?

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

Dragon Wing Begonias love these cool bright days.

I have areas prepared to bring everything in, and we even bought a number of fresh, clean plastic disks for bringing potted plants into the house for the winter.  Everything is ready to go…. but the plants.  It looks like they are loving this weather!

It is a horticultural game of “chicken”, balancing the late night low temperatures against the chance to soak up another day of sunshine and fresh air.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a "bed and breakfast" inn.

A tiny bee uses a Camellia as a “bed and breakfast” inn.

We finally brought the Norfolk Island Pine in late last night after doing the research online to determine how much cold it can withstand:  not much.  If temps go back up next week it will go back out to its spot on the patio.

Many of our Begonias are huddled together, out of the wind, where the house and patio will keep them insulated by a few degrees at least.  We brought a few inside after watching the 5 PM weather- just to make sure a few have extra protection should it get even colder than the forecast.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The Ginger lilies are covered in bloom.

The flowers rooted into the Earth are taking the changes in stride.  If anything, the Ginger lilies are giving more flowers than ever before.  The Rosemary have broken out into bloom.

The Camellias unfold new buds each day, and give shelter to the tiny insects who come for their nectar.

Camellia Sasanqua

Camellia Sasanqua

Pineapple Sage is at its peak, covered in scarlet, reaching for the sky.  The Bouganvilliea finally bloomed, after a summer of waiting for flowers, at the end of September.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

Mexican Petunia, a tender perennial, has taken root in a pot where it might make it through a Virginia winter.

October 25 garden 035

Dill and African Blue Basil are still in bloom. The Basil has grown huge this year.

This in between time is awash in color as flowers, berries, leaves, stems, air and sun vie with each other for the brightest most sparkling hues.  A day like today is a gift, a golden moment out of the ever changing year.  Knowing that the first frost can come any night, maybe even tonight, we wander the garden with appreciation; enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.

We’ve learned  that autumn in Virginia mixes all of the seasons together in an unpredictable jumble.  We’ve had 80 degree days in December, October snow, tropical storms at Halloween, and “endless summer” days after frosty breath mornings.  To see all of the buds and flowers in the garden today, you might think it May.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks.  I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

The Bougainvillea has only been blooming a few weeks. I hope it can stay outside a few weeks longer in a sheltered spot.

But, it’s late October.  And I’m still procrastinating.  There are Caladium tubers to dig, but I hate to disturb them.  Rex Begonias to pot and move indoors, and Coleus to dig out and replace with Violas.  And it may turn warm again next week.  I’ll save those chores for another, gorgeous afternoon.

All photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

October 25 flowers and berries 002

A Beautiful Day For Ducks, Ferns and Flowers

The garden enjoys yet another cool moist day. The Earth and its tenants soaking in every drop of moisture. Leaves turn brighter, flowers grow larger, and ferns bask in misty air and continuing showers. Our garden feels like a rain forest.  Abundance enfolds us with life giving rain. Staccato beat of raindrops on the roof … Continue reading

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 667 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest