The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Blooming: I’m a PAN FAN!


Whoa, I almost ran right by Gardener’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens each month so that we have flowers every day of the year. Fortunately, I’m putting on the brakes. There isn’t much blooming per say in the Violet Fern garden but she still has color – lots of rich, enticing color.


I have been in the garden very little but I still love her and I do spend whatever minute I can. I am plagued by a cat – stray or roaming I’m not sure which – and my beloved birds have taken notice and become scarce. I spent years planting and planning this garden to attract birds and it is somewhat disheartening that a careless neighbor, or unfortunate cat, can have so much impact upon my creative space, but there you have it. It has taught me to let go a bit more and so I have. I am still connected to the garden but my connection is much more amoebic.

The Pin Oak is just starting to turn. I think it is perhaps my favorite Fall foliage in the garden.


Although, Cardinal Dogwood is a close rival. The old limbs have the most color and I planned to prune them off but I am going to wait just a little bit longer so I enjoy the show.


And of course, Highbush Blueberry rivals any ol’ invasive Burning Bush. Tucked in here in the Potager.


But then there are the Mellow Yellows … Spicebush Lindera benzoin (the one that survives). I will unbury the other one soon and move it from beyond the strangling arms of bindweed and Flowering Raspberry.


And the Tulip Tree is such a glorious sight as he was in a bit of trouble not so long ago. He grew taller this year so I know things are on the upswing.


Ooh, and then there is the beautiful sea foam green of Baptisia.


But how about the texture of these garlic chive blossoms among Germander – ah.


Vibrunum Cranberry doesn’t have much leaf color yet but that’s only because all the color is in the berries!


And, wow, look at them apples! This is a tree I planted from some prunings I took from the side of the road one year for holiday display in my window boxes. One of the “apples” must have rooted so yes, it is planted from seed so to speak. I can’t believe how big it is now. And those apples – look at those apples! Each year I question if it is in fact from the Crabapple prunings I took or if I somehow chanced across an apple tree.


So, what is blooming? Orchid Frost Lamium – blooms nonstop all season Spring into Fall frost. I love it beneath the Blue Spruce. They compliment each other well.


Another all star blooming is Calendula which I planted from seed only once, four or five years ago. I have grown very fond of this tough little annual that throws itself around with abandon.


Making me happy this year is Chrysanthemum Mary Stoker. Finally she is blooming and I just love her rich, ripe color. She is poking through Hydrangea Quickfire. Shoo fly!


Another wonder bloomer is Persicaria. I wish I had more Persicaria varieties and maybe I will when I redesign this area of the garden. Firetail is a long bloomer, carefree and very attractive to bees. Her leaves are big and her flowers like little wands rising above casting magic about.


Surprise! Johnny Jumped up into this little woodland container long after the petunia dried up.


Even though there was a slight frost upon the rooflines this morning, Nasturtium in the Potager continues to look great.


I am admiring Solidago ‘Fireworks’ this year more so than other years in my Nice Driveway. It looks great beside our native Indian Grass. I think I want more of this in my garden, too. Not that my garden needs more plants but I think it’s important now for me to weed out the weak and bring in only plants I love that perform really well so this is where I’m coming from


What’s a PAN FAN you ask? A Pan Fan is a fan of Panicums and I am a big, big fan of my PANicum switch grass ‘Dallas Blues’ this year. He is large and in charge with silver blue foliage and purple blooms that will all turn to gold soon.


Here he is blooming among the seed heads of perennial sunflower Helianthus Microcephalus.


Fan that I am, I would like to add more Panicum grasses to my garden perhaps along the Nice Driveway – it would also dance well with Solidago.

As you can probably tell, I am still very much in love with my garden. She needs a little work but she always, always gives me joy and beauty. There’s pleasure in that.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

15 thoughts on “What’s Blooming: I’m a PAN FAN!

  1. mmm your burning bush is a delight.
    When we were hiking above Camps Bay years ago I saw a ‘burning bush’ with coppery leaves. That’s SO unusual in our fynbos plants, but I didn’t work out what it was. Perhaps one day I’ll track one down for my garden.

    • Blueberry and Sumac bushes are great alternatives here to the common (invasive) Burning Bush, euonymus. The color in my blueberry bush this year is so striking! We have wonderful color this year Diana. I am happy to skip out on Winter, but not Fall!

  2. Now I know what a pan fan is. I really don’t know my grasses well. I have one that came with the house and I don’t know its name.

    • Oh but you know your colchicums, Kathy! I love ornamental grasses – I could have a garden of just grasses and be happy. The Panicums have great variety.

  3. Love the REDs – viburnum, crabapple, blueberry and yes, I’m a pan-fan, too! Another great native grass. Have a great weekend…stay warm!

    • Eliza I think the colors are just beautiful this year! Staying warm – it’s pretty chilly! The basil is now toast – our first hard killing frost last evening.

      • Same here, so sad to see everything go. I’ll get over it. 😉 I envy your escaping to CK!

      • Oh, and believe me I can hardly wait! I love the change of seasons, the fires and a warm bowl of soup or spicy curry … but I really do become a slug with the colder weather so I am looking forward to escaping!

  4. I love, love all the rich fall colors! We still have nice warm days but chilly evenings. Perfect weather for being in the garden. A garden is NEVER done, and every spring and fall I add, subtract, and transplant, learning from mistakes and trying to make things better.

    • Yes, Deb I can tell you work very hard at your garden – it is beautiful and why haven’t I visited in awhile? The leaves are really falling now that we’ve had our first killing frost.

  5. Like you I may not have much time in my garden but it does give me so much pleasure…what a delight to see all the blooms and stunning color. I have had neighbors cats for years in my garden….I am the mean neighbor and I chase them as they are nasty to birds and torture the frogs.

    • Oh the pleasure and pain of gardening Donna – cats seem to love gardens. I have been mean to this cat but that does not deter it. He (?) keeps returning probably because the hunting is good. I feel sorry for the cat but I am not certain if he does have a home or not. Yes, irresponsible neighbors abound! I figure he must have a home because he survived last winter …

  6. Oh my, I have just disappeared lately off the computer trying to redesign and do some things differently in my garden. I miss too many great posts from great gardeners- LIKE YOU!!!
    If I am not gardening, I am biking with a friend on the river or by myself. Not paying much attention to the computer lately. I totally get what you mean about just focusing on those that do well and forget the others….I am so in to that this next year. I am eager to start making my garden work for me instead of me working in my garden-lol. I want to eat more and play more in my garden!
    I know, I have to do some work, but not as much as I have been the last few years. I have things moved where they will stay and I am expanding some plants and letting others just disappear. If they hang on well-good for them.
    You are so right the red leaves of the blueberry bush are beautiful…nothing can come close to them in a fall garden. I have more this year but hope for more next year. I just have to keep the bunny from devouring my branches to the ground. They are coming back, but if I don’t cover them they are eaten to the ground each winter. Another project for next week.

    I have cats but they are indoors for that very reason. I had a cat coming around my bird feeder one summer but Chance chased it away. I have not seen the cat since he chased it from the yard. A lot of people feel they want an outdoor cat but I feel they are not a good match for outdoors in the city. They get killed by other animals/ run over by cars.
    If you live on a farm they can wander around there but in the city they just get into other peoples yards. My cats get their hunting bug when the field mice ( from ravines) try to come in when the weather starts getting too cold. They don’t get much further than my sliding door for they cats kill them and eat them! No need for mouse traps-lol

    • Good for you Robbie – actually out in your garden! I have stacks of stepping stones and bags of mulch just waiting for me to make time. Hopefully this first coming week in November! I am flying (but never again) back from a quick trip to Florida right now and reading the art of tidying up! I think I may take some of this great advice and apply it to my garden, too. It’s great to hear from you!

  7. This has been a wonderful fall season here, too. I’m thinking of adding my first ornamental grasses to the garden when I develop the next section of the new front garden next year (a big slope facing the driveway). Panicum is one of the varieties I have added to my wish list (although a shorter cultivar), so I may become a Pan Fan, too. 🙂

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