Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Friday, October 16, 2015

Foliage Follow-up - October 2015

Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Follow-up every month after Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to give foliage its due. This month, I'm featuring some of the early fall colors making their appearance in my garden, as well as some other fall surprises.

I came home in April to find the lime thyme in the driveway island looking almost completely dead, so I ripped out much of what was left and, in one location, I planted a few bits of Sedum spathulifolium. As you can see, the thyme has returned with gusto, covering most of the sedums except this one. There's also a few stems of Veronica liwanensis, which seems to have no trouble growing through the thyme. Back to the sedum, I'll have to move it, and dig out the ones that have been engulfed, before the thyme completely smothers them. I do rather like the effect, though. Maybe I can find something larger with a similar color to plant in the thyme.

The spring before last, I grew Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' from seed. Summer heat came too soon for them to really look good, but they did manage to produce seed. However, those seeds didn't make an appearance until this fall, over a year later. Now I have three of them. That's three reasons to wish for a long, mild fall and a mild winter.

As so many plants are in the process of dropping their leaves for winter, Cyclamen coum (pictured below) and Cyclamen hederifolium are just leafing out.

A trio of fall color lights up from this view to the north of the house, with Cotinus 'Grace' on the far left, Cercis canadensis in yellow, and Rhus typhina in the background. The sumac really should be moved. It gets crisped every year in its dry, sunny location, and loses its leaved early. It's been dropping leaves since August, and I don't really care to run water all the way out to the fence where it grows. The smokebush is just beginning to turn, promising a long display of gorgeous color.

 Here is a close up from a couple weeks earlier. I love the fiery orange color.

The deciduous azaleas are coloring up beautifully. This cultivar, 'Mt. St. Helens' grows (grudgingly) in a burned stump that bears a remarkable resemblance to the volcano itself. I love this cultivar for the whole range of fall colors it provides, from yellow to purple.

I added four more deciduous azaleas to the garden after the new fence went up. I'm still working on remembering the names. The one below in brilliant shades of red may be 'Mandarin Lights'. It has a bit of powdery mildew. Hopefully that will clear up next year.
 

Another in beautiful red shades, with Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' in the background, is (I think) 'Mary Poppins'.

The other two azaleas don't have much fall color. One is a lackluster mix of yellow and green and another shows promise but lost most of its leaves early from a bit of negligent watering and an attack of powdery mildew. I'm hoping that once it's planted and not stressed in its container, it won't be as susceptible.

Ever seen black fall foliage? I hadn't, until I took a look at my new Sophora davidii, planted earlier this summer. Not entirely black, it does have a black blush that came on with the cooling temperatures.

Even southern side of the stems, where they are exposed to the sun, have turned black. It's not overwhelmingly black, like black mondo grass, but provides a subtle curiosity for plant geeks like me.

Two persimmons I grew from seed (I think from 'Meader' persimmon fruit) show their individuality most when leafing out in spring and when coloring up for fall. The one photographed below is already blazing with color.

Whereas this one is still entirely green. Now that the greenhouse is up, it blocks the view of these trees from the house. Sure, they will grow above it eventually, but I'm still considering moving one or both to another part of the yard. I don't expect to get fruit out of them, and if they do ever fruit, I don't hold any hope it will be palatable. Such is the sad truth of growing fruit trees from seed. Very rarely does one result in anything worth eating.

Nearby, Calycanthus floridus is turning yellow with a reddish blush. These won't grow tall enough to rise above the greenhouse, but I don't plan to move them. Instead, I'll plant some of the western species, Calycanthus occidentalis, in more visible areas.


 The young Acer macrophyllum in the field are coloring up gold and brown.

I have two seed-grown tree peonies that, like the persimmons, are showing variation. One is completely green, but the one below, growing in drier, leaner soil in more shade, has turned an unusual pinkish reddish orange. What shade would you call that? I'm not the best at naming colors.

A Cornus florida in the same border as the peony has turned a beautiful pinkish red.

These colorful heathers are some of my favorite plants. In summer, they are almost chartreuse, with only a touch of orange, but with the arrival of cooler temperatures they blaze into glory. I'm going to hunting around the edges of my existing plants for rooted branches to plant separately.

And finally, Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris, the climbing hydrangea (technically, a climbing hydrangea). This plant hasn't bloomed since the year it was planted. The location is probably too dry and dark even for this tough vine. However, it does color up nicely, lighting a dark area in fall. The last two or three years, it's started shooting up, so I have some hope that it will bloom again someday. Perhaps the new faucet less than 10 feet away will help by making watering easier and more frequent.

And there you have it. Don't forget to click over to Digging to see more beautiful foliage. 


17 comments:

  1. Great fall color, Evan! Wow, you gave me some great ideas...thanks!

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    1. Happy to return the favor, Tamara! Your plant addict post reminded me of several things I want to add to my garden.

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  2. I love all the fall colors in your garden. The peony foliage is sort of mauve-ish. I wish I could get heather to thrive in my garden. I planted three or four when we first moved here, but they all died.

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    1. That's very surprising that your heathers all died. I killed a few this summer by moving them, but usually they're such tough plants.

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  3. I have a ton of little Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' seedlings popping up too, they're timing is odd to say the least.

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    1. I hope they make it through winter. I may have to go to the extra effort to protect mine if it looks like cold weather is approaching.

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  4. You've got a surprising amount of fall color. I love that Cercis! My own Western Redbud doesn't offer much in terms of fall color and, this year, neither my Japanese maple nor my Persimmons are coloring up much - the leaves seem to be moving straight to brown.

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    1. My Japanese maple hasn't even started to color yet, but at least it's not browning. I've read that western redbud can have really good fall color. Probably depends on the individual tree and the conditions it's in.

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  5. Some grand fall color for sure! My Cerinthe did the same thing - crazy plants. How cool that you started a persimmon from seed. They're beautiful trees and the sight of one, heavy with orange fruit after the leaves have fallen is awesome! My tree has never produced much fruit but if it ripens in time, it's delicious.

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    1. Yep, from seeds my brother brought me from a dinner at his university, too.

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  6. :: if [the persimmons] do ever fruit, I don't hold any hope it will be palatable. Such is the sad truth of growing fruit trees from seed. Very rarely does one result in anything worth eating. ::

    Around here the fruit of wild persimmons is considered a tasty treat. So it seems improbable that the offspring of a tasty persimmon would end up not worth eating -- somehow _less_ palatable than a random wild one. The principle is real enough, but applies with more force to highly bred fruit like apples, pears, peaches, cherries, etc.

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    1. You may be right. However, the seeds I grew these trees from came from a cultivar, likely a hybrid, not a random wild fruit. I did say it might be 'Meader', a cultivar of American persimmon, but I don't know that for sure. It may be too pessimistic to assume the eventual fruit won't be palatable, but it is very likely it won't be as good as the parent. At least I have two for cross pollination. I know of a lone tree that bears half-formed, tasteless fruits because it doesn't get pollinated.

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  7. The sedum and thyme in the first picture is a nice combo. Wouldn't you expect the thyme to at least partially die back in winter, and give the sedum a chance to recover some ground?
    I thought I lost all my Cerinthe last winter, but alas, all it took was one little seed to come back: now I have hundreds of them... I love the long blooming blueish flowers on these lovely annuals.
    I'm assuming the climbing hydrangea doesn't bother the Fir tree? they look great together.

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    1. The thyme usually stays evergreen, though it has died back severely the last couple winters. For that reason, I removed large portions of it in spring. It looks awful when it does that. The winters in my area are just a touch colder, enough that Cerinthe often don't survive. I'm hoping the mild winter predicted this year comes true. The climbing hydrangea shouldn't harm the fir tree.

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  8. Eucalyptus are beautiful, I had to try to grow one when I moved here from San Diego. I planted a Snow Gum supposedly hardy to 0ºF, but it was 10' tall and the first frost hit Dec. 20, and the temps plummeted to 6ºF in two days and killed it. I don't have the heart to try again. My current adventure is into hardy Manzanitas for my distant strip too far to drag hoses. They are from Xera plants, I picked 3 hardy to z5-6b. The biggest one will be A. viscida 'Sweet Adinah', at 8'x8'. They have lovely silvery grey leaves, bloom in late winter to spring, and have edible berries. My tree peonies turn the same color as yours, I call it Rosewood. I like your fall color, the Azalea colors are quite a bit like my evergreen blueberries.

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    1. That winter was a pretty unusual event for western WA and OR. I was leary of manzanitas for a while, thinking I needed better drainage, but so far my A. silvicola 'Ghostly' is doing great in some terrible soil. I just don't water in summer. So now I'm trying more! I've also fallen for a few Rhamnus at Cistus that the birds absolutely love. Maybe I should try some evergreen blueberries. I love those colors.

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  9. Look at all your beautiful fall foliage! Your flaming sumac reminds me how much I miss one I used to have in my old, sunny garden. It's so very pretty in autumn.

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