Saturday, November 5, 2016

Garden Clips: Late Fall 2016

Before my garden rests for its winter nap, let's have a few looks at its changes through fall.....
Front Entry Photo, as Altered Through Prisma App
In mid-September, I thought my magnolia was blooming again. Lo and behold, my moonflower vine (first year planting) not only took over the trellis and overwhelmed the mandevilla planted on the same structure, but it made its best effort to take over the magnolia tree adjacent to the trellis while unchecked during our vacation in through August.
Moonflower Vine, Climbing from Trellis to Magnolia
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' made a progression from August through October, going from green flower heads to eventual russet-colored blooms. Mexican sunflowers provided a backdrop behind the sedum and birdfeeder. I saved several flower heads from the Mexican sunflowers for next year.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' Progression, Fall 2016
Containers were left on their own during our three-week August road trip, with no watering.
Containers: Before & After 3-Week Vacation
More Courtyard Containers: Before & After 3-Week Vacation
The containers were lush when we departed, and pathetic upon our return.The courtyard containers, therefore, were the first in fall cleanup, early in September.
Courtyard, All Containers Tidied Up
Two-week time lapse (mid- and late-October) of our sassafras on the riverbank shows the slow change of leaf colors. Notice the hillside in the background still very green.
Sassafras on Riverbank, October 2016
The same two-week October period time lapse view of  my maple tree at the back of our landscaped lot (below). This tree is now the subject of controversy. The tree cutting contractor for the power company came knocking on our door in late September, wanting to cut the tree. I have written about this tree previously, with the stay of execution here, and lessons learned here.
They offered either a sharp shearing or completely taking the tree out, due to the fact that it's grown beyond the highest voltage wire of the utility pole it was intended to camouflage in the first place.
Maple tree, as viewed from behind fence, disguising utility pole
The tree is stunning in fall, and is the centerpiece of my landscape lot when viewed from the front of the yard. It also camouflages a lot of otherwise not-so-pretty sights in the neighborhood.
Front to Rear View of Landscape: Maple at Center Back.
I managed to shoo the contractor away until at least after the foliage turns and drops. The tree's fate weighs heavy on my mind after thriving for thirteen years in our landscape. The variety appears to bear characteristics of a silver maple (read huge), and will constantly need a heavy hand in pruning, ultimately hurting the tree.  I know it needs pruning now, but would anybody like to weigh in with a viable, long-term suggestion/solution to the problem? I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'll likely just let them do a sharp shear until I have a long-term plan.

Alongside the neighboring property, within our own landscape, we have a Japanese maple planted, which could possibly be one solution for the center back maple issue. Below, you see the tree (left of frame, inside fence), just after being trimmed, so as not to encroach on the neighbor's lot. Our property extends another two feet to the right of the fence, intended for ease of moving our lawnmower from front to back. From inside our landscape, our mature plantings mask viewing all of the neighbor's equipment, even when the leaves drop.
Inside fence: Nandina, Japanese Maple trimmed away from neighbor's property
Clean up throughout the landscape is underway. For this, I contract a gardener who has been with me since the initial plantings. He is meticulous, methodical, and understands me. Here's an example of how messy things got in the garden before the cleanup. Pictured below is one corner, BEFORE cleanup (the spirea in foreground had already been sheared). Butterfly bushes, hostas, Mexican sunflowers, Otto Luykens were all just one big tangled mess.
BEFORE: back landscape in a tangled mess of plants
Here's the AFTER cleanup. Separation of powers. Checks and balances. Law and Order. The mums were a previous year's front porch remains and did well as a perennial this year.
AFTER: back landscape, pruned. Butterfly bushes are on left, hostas surrounding glider.
Annual flowers in the front beds have all been pulled, and the pansies are getting tucked in their place. They will last through winter, into spring.
Winter pansies, front of gate
Bi-color pansies
More daffodil bulbs will be planted in and among the annual beds closest to the house, along with the remaining pansies (sitting alongside the house wall in photo below).
Front beds, cleared of summer blooms, with winter pansies waiting planting
You can see how, against my beds near the steel edging, the summer annuals encroached on the lawn grass. Those front borders will need amended. Next year I plan to keep the summer blooms from spilling over the grass.
Front annual beds, cleared of summer blooms
I'll find a place to tuck the front porch mums once the blooms are spent, but they're still going strong. I purchased the mums and pumpkins the first week of September. The pumpkins are all still firm, too, in spite of the continued warm temps.
Porch Pumpkins, Mums after two Months
I managed to catch the harvest moon one evening in mid-October, from the same angle as the photo above, standing just a little further away.
Harvest Moon, Mid-October
As I was sitting/standing on the porch and front walkway for Trick-or-Treaters, the lights on the house made for a nice photo opportunity. Five months later, the balcony rebuild is a confirmed success.
Lest my readers think I'm raging war with all spiders, I want you to know I don't mind them out in the garden. It's just at my doors and windows (and inside the house) that they are not welcome. Here's a resident St. Andrew's cross spider (aka argiope, writing spider), making his web over the last week or so in front of the gate, between boxwoods. He's still there as of this publish date.
L: top side of garden spider; R: bottom side of garden spider
Contrary to some spiders, we have no tolerance for Canadian geese in our neighborhood. Below is the result of unplanned parenthood for these fowl for just one season. We've counted roughly 78 geese, or 7.5 dozen, consistently going up and down river along our 3-4 block area lately, but it is an ongoing issue. They are disgusting. They come onto the riverbank, into the street and our yards, either by wading or flying in, eat the grass, and defecate constantly. An article in the Washington Post (link here) this past summer had a brilliant solution of capturing and euthanizing an overpopulation of these birds to feed the homeless in Maryland. We would be happy to see a similar initiative here. Winter makes for tough patrol duty, chasing them away. We use a super soaker squirt gun, and have not had any chase us. Yet.
Canadian Geese along Kanawha River
Instead of leaving on a sour note, how about a great shot of our Capitol building I took this fall, as altered through the Prisma app? 
Capitol Building Photo, as Altered Through Prisma App
Thanks for your visit today. Are you busy tidying up your garden, containers or otherwise, or will you let it just 'be' through winter, and clean it up in spring?
Rita C. at Panoply