The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


What’s Blooming: Amaranth Rockets into Cosmos

Whoa! October? Wasn’t it just September?! Scary! Please join me once again on the 15th of this month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

A beautiful, misty morning here in North Country. Mojo’s (the furry dood) sniffing at the “early worms.”

october morning

Most of my flowers have faded but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some color out there in the gardens! How about a duo? Please also join me for Foliage Follow Up hosted by the lovely Pam at Digging. Let’s take a closer look …

Panicum Dallas Blues blooms in the Bird & Butterfly garden. Perennial Sunflower Helianthus Microcephalus, looks pretty even without its yellow petals. The Forsythia, yes Forsythia, has beautiful color this Fall.




The Woodland Edge begins with the turning of native Virginia Creeper. I am in love with the yellowing Spicebush against the Blue Spruce. Amsonia also turning golden yellow and sporting some nice webs this morning.

virginia creeper



Rounding the bend, the Marigolds are still going in the Potager. A few Nasturtium and Calendula hang on. The “Amazing Amaranth” is like a rocket shooting into space and just soak in that color!



Only to be rivaled by the hot pink blooming Cosmos through the Tulip Tree which brings us around to Hosta Row. The Amur Maples in back of our garage/workshop never disappoint (invasive, however).



Through to the Nice Driveway where the fruits of flowering labor are evident on the Cranberry Viburnum and Blackberry Lily ‘Hellow Yellow.’ Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ is in full bloom against Indian Grass.




In the Riverfront, late sedums are in various stages of bloom.


That completes our tour for this October Bloggers Bloom Day. Join our wonderful host Carol at May Dreams Gardens for a bouquet of blooms across the world!



What’s Blooming: Meltdown

As I walk around the house this morning I remember, it’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens each month. Hmm, do I have anything blooming? The Poinsettia still looks beautiful. Just as fresh as it did in early December but I want to see something different – ditto Christmas Cactus, Paperwhites – compost. My violets were blooming! Ah, but now they aren’t quite. My orchids look better, seem to be adjusting to their new space but not yet sending up any spikes. The Amaryllis Evergreen is growing but not fast enough.

So, I walk outside on the now frozen oozes of mud preface of our January meltdown, with snow in the forecast once again. Around the not blooming garden, I puff in the crisp morning air and register ah ha, but there is blossoming beauty to behold. What do I see? Tanned husks, pale plumes of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light,’ petrified embers of Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ remarkably standing tall, blossoming in spite of the once heavy snow load.

Morning Light Plumes

Dallas Blues Blooms Jan

Garlic Chive umbrellas alight over evergreen Germander.

Garlic Chive Seeds

Dripping color – rosy red and dark violet prunes of rose hips.

Rose Hips Jan

Spongy pinks and delicious, peachy tones of Heuchera ‘Caramel’ soaking in the sun.

Heuchera 'Caramel' in Jan

A lily pod dripping gold.

Lily Pod

Clusters of veined Maple butterflies resting their wings.

Maple Seeds

A lone Hydrangea Snowball tumbling over a stubborn patch of snow. Can you hear the whistling wind?

Dried Hydrangea Bloom

Winter is knocking again, but I dream of Summer, happy hour in my secret garden spot – my mental meltdown preventative. What will bloom (or will I go boom) come February?



November Observations: Bye Bye Blackbird

Wonderful, warm November – doesn’t that sound odd? But it has been, was. This morning it is 12° F. The first few snowflakes swirled in our sky on November 24. By November 28 the ground is white. I found it unusual to see a Red-winged Blackbird at my feeder. They usually leave for warmer climates by now. Each year I try to record when I think they have finally migrated:

2009: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 2
2010: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 11
2011: Not recorded, but last Grackle sighting recorded on November 7 – the Redwings are usually not far behind
2012: Last Red-winged Blackbird sighting recorded on November 28

The first to leave are males in their prime followed by their ladies. The last to leave are usually the young males not quite matured into their full black feathers. Young males are what I have been seeing at the feeders this month.

November is typically described as drab, grey but this Fall it has been anything but.

Pin Oak Leaves Nov 2012
The red leaves of Pin Oak

Maple Seeds
Maple Seedlings

Switch Grass in Nov
Switch Grass

Purple Prince Crabapples

Winterberry ‘Winter Gold’

The red Winterberries were eaten before I had a chance to photograph them! This year I’ve fenced in my young shrubs foregoing the chicken wire wrap. I read somewhere, and apologize for not remembering the source, that rabbits don’t like to feel fenced in and a simple gate around your shrubs will deter them from dining. We’ll find out if it works.

Fenced in to deter rabbits

Snow on Sumac
First snow

Again, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day has snuck past me. Aside from berries and a few fading blooms of Coral Honeysuckle and Scabiosa, not much blooms for me in November with the exception of this surprise Daisy.

November Daisy
Surprise Daisy bloom

And so “dull, grey” November fades into gleeful, glitzy December. I am thankful to take in its natural beauty before it goes.


Bye bye blackbird. I look forward to your return in Spring.