Articles for the Month of October 2012

Hunkering Down

Greenhouse at night

We’re all buttoned up now with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy knocking on our doors.  The morning began with a leaking window on the north side of our house but the new greenhouse seems to be handling the storm with aplomb.  I spent the last few days getting the some of the plants ready for winter and moving them into the greenhouse.

Getting plants ready for Greenhouse

First plants in the greenhouse

The Citrus should have a great winter

Notice how the auto-vents provide ventilation — there are two in the roof as well.

Outside there are a few plants enjoying the extended warm weather we’ve had.  The red Camellia sasanqua is having a stellar year.

Red Fall Camellia in flower

Red fall-bloomingl Camellia sasanqua covered in buds

Another intense red is the Pineapple Sage.

Pineapple Sage

I keep wanting to call this firecracker sage or maybe peppermint sage, but Beth convinced me that the leaves do smell exactly like pineapples.  In any case it’s a great plant for the late fall with outstanding brilliant red flowers.

Another interesting plant for late fall that I added last year is the Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum).  Its robust spotted yellow foliage is an asset all year but in the fall it unexpectedly puts out bright yellow daisy-like flowers that stand above the leaves.

Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’

Nearby I’ve planted a small Sourwood tree that I’ve had in a pot for several years.  The old lilac that had failed to bloom for many years will not be missed and the foliage of the Sourwood is spectacular in the fall.

Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

Before we leave the outside I should mention that in the small rock garden on the hillside I noticed that the little gentian planted there has put out a couple of flowers.  Not only is this the wrong season but they seem to be yellow rather than blue.  Most strange.

Gentiana acaulis ‘Trotter’s Variety’

I brought this little stemless Gentian back from Stonecrop in April 2011.  It will be interesting to see how this progresses through the winter.

Finally, inside the house the orchids have taken up residence again after a summer outside.  One, in particular is reaching for the ceiling with an arcing stem of flowers.

Red-yellow Orchid climbing to the ceiling

Red-yellow Orchid detail

At the moment we are warm and dry (other than one persistent leak).  The predictions make it seem pretty likely that Sandy will cause loss of power for a lot of us in the days to come.  I think I’ll post this while the posting is possible…

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for Oct 2012

Allium thunbergii

Well another Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day rolls around.  I find myself looking at various construction activities so the flowers have not really gotten their fair share of attention.  Besides the Allium illustrated above the combination of Impatiens and Euphorbia is currently an eye grabber.  Neither requires much attention but they work together very well.

Impatiens ‘Fusion’ and Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

The various Toad Lilies are doing well this time of year.  One that is distinctively different is the Trycyrtis perfoliata.

Tricyrtis perfoliata

A flower that is new for us is the terrestrial orchid Spiranthes.

Spiranthes ‘Lady’s Tresses’

We saw it growing wild in Cape May last week as well.

Since this is fall, the mushrooms have been exploding all over the grounds here.

Mushrooms that I don’t eat

In addition to the many mushroom that I don’t want to risk picking the puffballs are appearing too.  Those I am willing to identify and eat.

Puffballs in the grass

Puffballs sliced

grilled puffballs

I don’t advise eating these unless you have someone to help you with the ID.  That said, it is very easy to pick these out and you should be able to readily find a local expert.

Finally, I should mention that we continue to make good progress on the greenhouse.

Progress on the Greenhouse

It’s due to get electricity tomorrow.