Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall - Now Two Weeks Earlier!

Every morning I wake up to a list of email messages from sources near and far about new plants, old plants that are as good as new plants, and plants that are sooooo stupendous that you want to take them to bed to let them have their way with you.  Well, last week I received a message about a maple "that turns red a FULL TWO WEEKS before any of the others do."  So I did what any self-respecting Canadian would do - I swore and then I deleted the message.  Was this message from some romantic living in Florida?  I do not know, I blotted the source of the message from my mind. 

But if I had that poor little marketer in front of me, I would assure him that where we come from, leaves turning red a full two weeks before anything else does, is not like a phlox that blooms two weeks earlier; nor like a rose that lasts two weeks longer; nor is it as good as a lettuce that keeps its good flavour two more weeks into the heat of summer - NOOOOOOO - leaves turning red a full two weeks earlier means pulling out the rake; yanking down the heavy duty car mats from the top gross shelf in the garage, servicing the car for winter; changing the tires; locating the snow shovel; pulling out your wool coat to see if it still has the buttons on it; checking to see if you can get one more year out of the dog walking coat without grossing anyone out; changing to storm windows; having the chimney swept; stacking the wood and looking for recipes with lots of fat, sugar and chocolate.

As I see it, he's trying to sell the first maple on earth responsible for early onset autumn pudge.

On the other hand, the lovely people from Vanhof and Blokker sent me some bulbs today and that fills me with joy.  Joy without car mats.  While bulb planting does signal that summer is over, it's about hope, beauty, promise and spring.   The Canadian Liberator tulips were named by Princess Margaret in honour of the members of the Canadian Army, Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine who took part in the liberation of Holland during WWII.  To this day, Holland still sends thousands of tulips to Ottawa in thanks.

Early this morning, Bart and I did a quick survey of the back-yard.  It was so dark and cloudy, I was shooting at 1/30th of a second.  Just wanted to show you the Aralia cordata that I'd disparaged a short while ago.  Think I've found the secret to keeping it looking OK.  I've removed most of the lower leaves and good old Aralia c. seems to keep the other leaves looking nice and green.  It isn't as tall as other years - may have been the dry summer - nor does it have as many flowers - but I think it looks not too bad.

Here's what the flowers look like.  The birds go wild for the seed.

My friend Susan suggested I leave the dried flower heads on the Aruncus dioicus - - I'm glad I did.  When I'm having a bad day, I look at them and think, "Yup, that's exactly how I feel."

After my short photo-foray into the backyard, it was off for some personal maintenance.  It was pouring rain upon my return, but I really wanted to get a few photos.....

so I grabbed my umbrella to save my new doo.

Here's what I found:  The Eupatorium coelestinum has just started to colour.

With or without that high fructose corn syrup of a maple, it looks like Autumn may be here shortly.  Kolkwitzia 'Dreamcatcher' going a very pretty colour of pink.

Here's the bed that was driven through last year.  Looks like Hosta may be improved by driving over them.

Poor Bart was sure I'd lost my mind. The rain was coming down in water pistol shots from the sky.

Another plant I took the shears to after it bloomed and am pleasantly surprised with the results:  Kitaibelia vitafolia.

And, my favourite blossom of September.  Probably have permitted too much of it to grow in my garden, but on a day like today with the light so low, it is my secret source of sunshine - keeping my mind off thoughts of fall chores and more importantly recipes involving fat, sugar and chocolate.


Barry said...

I love Aralia, and was shocked to see one that was planted two years ago in haste to cover up the back end of the gardens between the houses bolt up like never before. It must have been the shaded spot and the moisture we had this spring. It is at least 1.5m tall right now. I did splurge on the new one, Aralia cordata 'Sun King' on my recent trip to Lost Horizons. I know its in totally the wrong spot, growing to 5' x 5' in time, but its a wonderful contrast for the fall Gentiana 'True Blue'. I am thrilled with the cooler temps and the return of the rains..... Your garden is looking wonderful. My Aralia has never bloomed.... this year included!

Barbarapc said...

Thanks Barry. It took about 3 years for the Aralia to bloom - mine was from a nursery on the west coast. The seed germinates at a rate of 103% so be certain to whack at least some of the seed heads off. On a good year the plant grows to about 2.25M x 1.5M wide. Going now to see if I can find photo of Sun King - nothing better than a good chartreuse with blue!

Knatolee said...

I love the Aralia thingy. And Bart! And my honeybees love goldenrod, one of the few things they are in at this time of year (along with sedum and asters.)

And I scream whenever I see the first red leaf of fall!