The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


Fall Foliage

This fall, I have more trees, though still very young; shrubs that are beginning to fill out; grasses that have become masses and new beds and perennials all with changing foliage and interesting seed heads. Since it is the foliage and not the blooms that is now the star of Northeastern gardens, I thought I would attempt joining Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow Up! (Hopefully, I will stay organized enough to participate regularly in this monthly blog event.)

I like to journal (through blogging) my garden each fall. I enjoy looking back through the years to see how my garden has changed and grown. Here is my garden (forever in the making) this Fall of 2011.

In the Bird & Butterfly Garden you are seeing Evening Primrose Oenothera, Mints (still green), Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’, Panicum ‘Dallas Blues,’ perennial sunflower Helianthus Microcephalus, Joe Pye Weed, Forsythia ‘Meadowlark.’

Garlic Chives in the Potager
Bluecrop Blueberry in the Potager

A new bed behind the garage workshop. The tree (facing to the left) I believe is an Amur Maple, not native and invasive so I cannot recommend it, but I cannot part with these trees. They were on my lot in Maine and two of them sprouted in a window box I brought with me – just look at this one now. I loved these trees in my Maine garden and keep them because they remind me of my home and garden there. Their fall foliage is always beautiful. Facing to the right, a Red Osier Dogwood.

Red Osier Dogwood

In the new Woodland Edge, much is happening. This Cardinal Dogwood’s stems have turned and look rich before the Blue Spruce. In the foreground is the nearly purple foliage of Oakleaf Hydrangea ‘Alice.’

Leaf of newly planted Red Maple (here, most of the Maples did not turn red this year)
Newly planted Pagoda Dogwood
Ligularia ‘Desdemona’
Maidenhair Fern
Virginia Creeper
Leaves of young Tulip Tree in backyard


The BIG Clean Up

One of the things I love about spring clean up is uncovering all the plants that are beginning to grow anew. I can get a good close look and take inventory. The stalks and seed heads of plants that I leave standing over the winter (to provide shelter and food for wild life), are now definitely looking tired.

These grasses were actually swept up into a spiral shape by old man winter.
Ah, there, now spring can take over.
I can’t believe these sun flowers are still standing!
This section receives the brunt of the winter winds.
I have mail order plants arriving for this bed and now she’s ready!
Although my compost is ah, well, a little full.
Something I was not anticipating cleaning up this spring
is the removal of this tree.
As you can see here it is leaning precariously over our house. It is a boxelder (not known for their strength), and an accident waiting to happen. It is very well loved by the birds but it drops all sorts of debris on our back deck. As much as I hate to lose one of the few mature trees surrounding our house, it is best to just get it out of the way and move on. I couldn’t watch as limbs and stumps rained down from the sky, and men with chain saws tramped through my garden …
We compromised and left a stump. It will grow suckers and become a large bush. I will have to keep it in check but I am determined to make the most of this stump … topped by a big bird house and maybe adorned by a climbing rose, she can still add beauty to the garden and provide for the birds and insects. I plan to plant a pagoda dogwood in this area now – well maybe not right now.
Oh, the BIG clean up! Just when I have so much else to do in the garden! Well, I am determined to make the most of this mulch pile, too. I’ll tell you how in future posts. Right now, I better get to work.