Posted on 28 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – November 2014

November Blooms at

Four acres of meadow and garden, and this is all the flowery goodness I could come up with Bloom Day this month. I suppose it’s not too bad, considering. We’ve been blessed with rather mild weather until two days ago, which has been good for the last few blooms but also good for tackling garden cleanup, and I’d been chopping away until I thought of a way I might be able to pull together one last GBBD post for this year.

After all, I never did get around to showing the October garden shots last time.

Veg Garden Entrance at
Veg Garden entrance and Cottage Path at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Pennisetum purpureum Tift 8 Vertigo at
Vertigo fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum ‘Tift 8’) with ‘Religious Radish’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), firebush (Hamelia patens), ‘Red Star’ dracaena (Cordyline australis), ‘Red Threads’ alternanthera (Alternanthera ficoidea), and ‘Purple Knight’ alternanthera (A. dentata) [October 2, 2014]
Aster Path at
Orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia), New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), and ‘Skyracer’ purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) in the Aster Path at Hayefield [October 1, 2014]
Calamagrostis x acutiflora Karl Foerster in The Shrubbery at
‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) with ‘Brilliantissima’ red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), and aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) [October 2, 2014]
Asters and Itea in The Shrubbery at
Heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) with ‘Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) and Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) in fall color, ‘Huron Solstice’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum), and New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) [October 2, 2014]
Amsonia rigida and Sporobolus heterolepis fall color at
Fall colors in The Shrubbery, including stiff bluestar (Amsonia rigida), prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), ‘Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica), and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) [October 2, 2014]
Courtyard path at
Electric Pink cordyline (Cordyline banksii ‘Sprilecpink’), ‘Sweet Caroline Raven’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), ‘Profusion Cherry’ zinnia, giant sea holly (Eryngium pandanifolium), ‘Black Pearl’ pepper (Capsicum annuum), ‘Karma Fuchsiana’ dahlia, and ‘Elephant Head’ amaranth (Amaranthus) in The Courtyard at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Cottage Path at
‘Crimson Beauty’ fleeceflower (Persicaria), heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides), New England asters (S. novae-angliae), and aromatic aster (S. oblongifolium) along the Cottage Path at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Cotinus Symphyotrichum Hella Lacy and Persicaria Golden Arrow at
‘Golden Arrow’ mountain fleeceflower (Persicaria amplexicaulis), ‘Profusion Double Golden’ zinnia, ‘Hella Lacy’ New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), and ‘Royal Purple’ smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) [October 2, 2014]
October in The Shrubbery at
The Shrubbery at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Long Border at
‘Dallas Blues’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum), aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), ‘Northwind’ switch grass (P. virgatum), Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum), and cut-back ‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) in the Long Border [October 2, 2014]
Lower meadow at
Rusty blackhaw (Viburnum rufidulum) and shining sumac (Rhus copallinum) in fall color; winterberries (Ilex verticillata); hemp dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) in fall color; and New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) in the meadow at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
October 2014 in The Shrubbery at
‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) in fall color, ‘Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) in fall color, Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) in fall color, ‘Brilliantissima’ red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) seedheads, and aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) [October 2, 2014]
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Acer triflorum at
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), ‘Heavy Metal’ switch grass (Panicum virgatum), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), and three-leaved maple (Acer triflorum) [October 2, 2014]
The Shrubbery in October at
Aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), orange coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) seedheads, ‘Brilliantissima’ red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora), heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides), Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) in fall color, New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), and ‘Henry’s Garnet’ Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginiana) in fall color at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Sporobolus heterolepis Amsonia hubrichtii and Solidago at
Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) in fall color, and goldenrods (Solidago) in The Shrubbery [October 2, 2014]
Panicum amarum in The Shrubbery at
Bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum) in The Shrubbery [October 13, 2014]
The Long Border at
The Long Border at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
 So, yeah, about those sheared grasses in front…well, I’ve been a fan of ‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) since I started with a half-dozen plants over a dozen years ago, because it has such a lovely, soft look in bloom and seed.

Perennial Meadows at
‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) in the Perennial Meadows at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
I’ve divided those original clumps quite a few times and spread them around as fillers in many beds and borders. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that they are starting to spread themselves around, as well.

Pennisetum alopecuroides in the meadow at
Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides) seeded into the meadow at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
There are now a half-dozen or more flowering-sized volunteers in the lower meadow, and who knows how many more that haven’t matured enough to bloom yet. Not a good thing. I have the visible clumps marked and plan to dig them out this winter or spring, and then deal with any others as I can identify them. I’ve also started replacing some of the garden clumps with prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), but that’s a slow process, so this year, I decided I should at least deadhead the clumps so no more seeds would spread; thus, the sheared clumps. They’re quite a contrast to all the other billowy stuff in the fall garden.

Anyway, since the last Bloom Day, there have been some new bits of beauty to enjoy.

Chrysanthemum Sheffield Pink and Symphyotrichum oblongifolium at
‘Sheffield Pink’ mum (Chrysanthemum) and aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) [October 18, 2014]
I always look forward to the weeks of flowers on ‘Sheffield Pink’ mum (Chrysanthemum).

Chrysanthemum Sheffield Pink at
‘Sheffield Pink’ mum (Chrysanthemum) with fall-colored Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) [October 18, 2014]
 And there’s ‘Golden Starlet’ winter heath (Erica carnea), which starts flowering in October and will keep going into April.

Erica carnea Golden Starlet at
‘Golden Starlet’ winter heath (Erica carnea) [November 13, 2014]
Even as of this week, there are a few interesting bits of fall color left, such as this cute clump of ‘Tom Thumb’ (a.k.a. ‘Little Gem’) cotoneaster, which is over 10 years old but barely 1 foot tall.

Cotoneaster Tom Thumb (Little Gem) at
‘Tom Thumb’ cotoneaster (Cotoneaster) in fall color [November 13. 2014]
This is also a good time of year for leaf interest on many of the hardy geraniums (Geranium). ‘Brookside’ is my favorite for autumn color.

Geranium Brookside fall color at
‘Brookside’ hardy geranium (Geranium) in fall color [November 13, 2014]
Cold weather also brings out the richest purple color on ‘Redbor’ kale…

Kale Redbor at
‘Redbor’ kale against the fall color of Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’) [November 13, 2014]
…and a nice blush on the leaves of many creeping sedums: pink on the blue leaves of dwarf Spanish stonecrop (Sedum hispanicum var. minus) and rich red on ‘Elizabeth’ two-row sedum (Sedum spurium).

Sedum spurium Elizabeth with Thymus serpyllum and Sedum hispanicum var minus at
‘Eilzabeth’ two-row sedum (Sedum spurium) with creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and dwarf Spanish stonecrop (Sedum hispanicum var. minus) [November 13, 2014]
Cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) is also stunning in mid-autumn.

Rhus typhina Laciniata fall color at
Cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) fall color [October 17, 2014]
Ghost bramble (Rubus thibetanus) doesn’t have any appreciable fall color change…

Rubus thibetanus foliage at
Ghost bramble (Rubus thibetanus) [November 13, 2014]
…but its white stems become much more visible now.

Rubus thibetanus stems at
Ghost bramble (Rubus thibetanus) stems [November 13, 2014]
There are loads of seedheads this time of year, of course, but here are just two that caught my eye this week.

Annual mallow (Lavatera trimestris) seedheads [November 13, 2014]
Annual mallow (Lavatera trimestris) seedheads [November 13, 2014]
Monarda Bergamo seedheads at
‘Bergamo’ bee balm (Monarda) seedheads [November 13, 2014]
I’m pretty hands-off in the garden in September and October: Other than collecting seeds and harvesting the edibles, I mostly just wander around and revel in what the plants manage to surprise me with. It’s glorious, but it’s also a lot to take in, and by early November, I’m almost relieved that it’s over for another year. Cutting it all down makes me feel involved again, instead of just being a spectator. I particularly appreciate the all-perennial areas this time of year, because I can zip through them with the brush mower.

Arc Borders in October at
Cut-back ‘Cassian’ fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), ‘Skyracer’ purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii), goldenrod (Solidago), and frost grass (Spodiopogon sibiricus) in the Arc Borders at Hayefield [October 2, 2014]
Arc Borders cleanup half finished at
Cleanup half-finished in the Arc Borders [November 11, 2014]
Arc Borders mowing finished at
Arc Borders after mowing [November 13, 2014]
This area could easily take several days to cut down by hand. Now, I walk through the area first to collect any praying mantis egg cases, then mow, then do a little manual cleanup, and then rake. So, this part gets done in less than 2 hours.

The same process for the TDF Border out front takes about an hour.

TDF Border before mowing at
TDF Border before mowing [November 11, 2014]
TDF Border before mowing at
TDF Border after mowing but before trimming and raking [November 11, 2014]
That cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) really needs to be rejuvenated, but I’ll wait until the birds are done with the seedheads.

Rhus typhina Laciniata at
Cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) [November 11, 2014]
They’re already starting to peck them apart. I used to think that they were eating the seeds; I understand that many species do feed on them. But then I heard at some lecture that many times, the birds are actually pecking the seedheads apart to get at spiders and other critters that are hiding inside. And sure enough, when I look closely, I can see signs of insects and even some tiny white larvae inside the heads, and the seeds are scattered on the ground.

Rhus typhina Laciniata opened seedhead at
Cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Laciniata’) seedhead [November 13, 2014]
Here’s a bit more information I found about that: Staghorn Sumac Seed Heads and Their Inhabitants.

Inside the fence, where shrubs and trees are mixed in with the perennials and annuals, mowing isn’t an option, so the cleanup is a much slower process. Some areas are still untouched…

©Nancy J. Ondra/
Front Path [November 13, 2014]
…but Mom and I had fun working together on some other sections this week.

Side Garden at
Side Garden cleanup in progress [November 13, 2014]
In the process, I found that the voles hadn’t yet reached the inner borders. For the first time, there were some really nice roots left from the ornamental sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas): white ones from ‘Blackie’ and pink ones from ‘Sweet Caroline Red’.

Ipomoea batatas Blackie roots at
Roots of ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) [November 13, 2014]
Ipomoea batatas Sweet Caroline Red roots at
Roots of ‘Sweet Caroline Red’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) [November 13, 2014]
I’ve always wondered if roots of the ornamental kinds were any good, so I microwaved some of each. ‘Blackie’ was white inside, while the ‘Sweet Caroline Red’ roots were a very pretty peach color. Both cooked up far more starchy than sweet, but I thought their flavor was quite good: easily comparable to the white ones you can buy for cooking in the grocery store. The boys approved of their samples, too, but I may decide to keep the rest of these for me and Mom. Sorry, guys!

Back to the point of Bloom Day, though: the blooms. Here’s the best I could do with the pan of flowers I managed to scrape together.

November bouquets at
Bloom Day bouquets at Hayefield [November 13, 2014]
I knew it was worth saving all of those little essential-oil bottles–that I’d find a use for them some day. Gathering the mini-bouquets into a small, clay seed pan so I could easily carry them inside created another, unplanned, arrangement.

November arrangement at
Bloom Day bouquets at Hayefield [November 13, 2014]
That’s it for the last Bloom Day of 2014 from Hayefield. We had our first snow two nights ago…

First Snow at
Snow – oh no! [November 13, 2014]
…and bitter cold is on its way, which means no new blooms here until March.

To see what some other hardy souls have managed to find in their November gardens, check out Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens .

Thanks for visiting…from me and from my favorite combination in gray.

Duncan and Daniel the alpacas at
Duncan and Daniel: The Alpacas of Hayefield [October 1, 2014]
(Oh, one last thing: Hayefield notecards in my Etsy shop now include free Priority Mail shipping through December 15, 2014.)

Posted on 28 Comments

28 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – November 2014

  1. An inspiration as always. Many thanks. It keeps me pushing forward in my garden when I feel the weeds are winning again.

    I appreciate the visit, Mary, and I wish you a winter filled with lots of planning time for the next growing season.

  2. I always enjoy your blog….and the boys! Happy Thanksgiving to all

    Good morning, Karen! We wish you Happy Thanksgiving in return. Stay warm!

  3. “..this is all the flowery goodness I could come up with…” What an understatement! I am sure that your upcoming blogs (if you continue through the winter months) will have as much beauty and “goodness” as the other months. I just learned that by clicking on the photos I could see the details much more clearly. Do you have bluebird houses in your garden?

    Ah, yes, I gave up on mentioning that feature about the photos, because it apparently doesn’t work on all devices. I’m glad you figured it out. Yes, I do have lots of bluebird boxes, thanks to Mom and her woodworking skills. It’s been wonderful to see how the bluebird population around here has increased over the last several decades. I do plan to keep blogging through the winter, but probably only once a month until spring, so I can keep up with my writing schedule for the next book. It’ll be a busy winter. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  4. What fun it is watching your work get accomplished; gives the rest of us hope!

    Focusing on what’s done helps me too–from getting overwhelmed by how much there’s yet to do. All in good time, though. Have a great weekend, Mary!

  5. Oooh, la, la…..always love the eye candy you provide! Love the mini bouquets.
    Did you make your large arbor? I like the style and would appreciate more info on it.
    Wow! Snow already? We were supposed to get a couple inches the other night but dodged the bullet! Good thing since garden clean-up is not completed!

    That shot of the boys is stellar. What a couple of great guys to pose so nicely for you! They are so incredibly adorable.

    Did you mean the wooden arbor in the picture near the beginning of the post? If so, Mom designed and built that for me. It’s lined with wire fencing, which makes it easy for twining vines to climb. I can’t believe that we got snow and you didn’t. I’m sure that situation will be reversed plenty of times this winter. We ended up with only 2 inches, but there’s still some on the ground even today. And the boys…well, trying to get a decent picture of them is difficult; they get upset when Mom holds them because they’re used to only me handling them, but Mom’s afraid she’ll break my camera if she touches it, so needs must. They *are* cute, even when slightly out of focus.

    1. Hi Nan, the wooden arbor is great! Your mom has a good eye. However, I was wondering about the larger metal arbor that looks like it was made with some sort of cattle fence panels. It’s a nice, large size.


      Oh, yes: that’s a Jardin Rose Arch from Gardeners Supply Company. I was lucky to get it as a leftover from a photo shoot. You can get one here: Jardin Rose Arch.

      1. Excellent. Thank you for the information. I know what I’m getting for Christmas! LOL!

        Lucky you! It’s a really nice arbor–especially at that price. Enjoy!

  6. Wow, so much beauty here it’s almost too much to take in. Love the way the Rudbeckia seedheads seem to float in the air. Alternanthera Red Threads was cool with the red gazing ball–I thought that was Armeria at first. And the elephant heads flipping the bird! Beautiful asters and wonderful bouquets! I wonder though, why do you cut all your perennials back in fall, rather than leaving them up for the birds?

    Happy Bloom Day, Amy! Believe me, I’d much rather leave the seedheads and skeletons. But I learned that when I did that, the voles had a free-for-all in the borders and demolished many of the perennials and grasses, and even woody plants. Over the years, I’ve found that mowing down the meadow areas closest to the garden and then clear-cutting the garden itself is the best way to prevent damage: it eliminates their nesting places and gives the hawks and neighborhood cats a good view for hunting. It also saves me from getting stressed about garden cleanup in early spring, when my book manuscripts are usually due. There’s still more than an acre of meadow standing out back, and there are many other meadow and woodland areas around me, so the birds are not lacking for winter food.

  7. What fun and what beauty in those little bud vases! You had a lot of color left for mid November, a wonderful garden season end. Thanks for the inspiration, as always and a blessed Thanksgiving!

    Hi there, Donna. It’s easier to focus on the beauty of individual blooms where there are only a few of them. Trying to make those mini bouquets would have been much harder if there had been armloads of stuff to choose from. Thanks for reading, and stay cozy today!

  8. Your gardens looks as beautiful in the fall as they do in the summer. Why do you cut back your grasses now instead of early spring?

    Hi there, Mel. For the long answer, see my response to Amy’s comment. The short answer: to prevent vole damage, and because of my work schedule. Oh, and yet another reason: because I was having a terrible time trying to maintain the paths, because of all the self-sown seedlings resulting from those lovely seedheads. I used to be sad about having an empty garden all winter, but now I find it a relief after all of the excitement of the growing season.

    1. Gotcha! The Vertigo fountain grass is really gorgeous. Do you buy plants or start them from seed?

      I *wish* it would come from seed, but according it its patent, it’s “pollen- and seed-sterile.” So, new plants each year, or dig the clumps and try to overwinter them indoors.

  9. All your photos are wonderful but I particularly love that one of the Aster Walk. The snow shot brings to mind Christmas rather than Thanksgiving but at least snow brings a period of rest for the gardener maybe? However, I suspect you’re already planting seeds and planning next year’s garden. Best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving, Nan!

    It was definitely a shock to open the door on my way to take the boys their bedtime snack and see everything white instead of wet. Sounds like we may be getting more, and worse cold as well, this coming week. It’s definitely time to start escaping into seed catalogs. Happy Bloom Day to you, Kris!

  10. Nan your such an inspiration and I so enjoy your blog. I love your 2 boys and can’t help but think they must love living in paradise. Till spring! Judy

    You’re so kind, Judy; thank you. I do my best to give the boys a comfortable and interesting life, as we all do for our beloved companions. I hope you have something fun (and warm) to do this weekend!

  11. The flowers you gathered together before the snow are beautiful, especially that shot with all the smaller vases gathered together. What a brilliant solution mowing is for fall cleanup of areas that don’t require careful cutting.

    Thanks, Alison. The idea of attacking herbaceous borders with a brush mower would have appalled me 20 years ago, but now that I have a bit less energy and a lot more garden to maintain, it’s the only practical solution.

  12. Your flowers in the tiny essential oil bottles are so cute, varied, and colorful, especially all together in the box. Your boys look adorable. Your rapid clean-up is amazing, and enviable. Of the other plants, I like the red and maroon foliaged plants the most, the ‘Red Thread’ around the red glass ball is stunning!

    Hi Hannah! Yes, I’m going to have to remember the trick of using a collection of little bottles to arrange tiny flowers that won’t work with floral foam. And that ‘Red Thread’ *is* cute. I buy a six-pack of it every year, but this this is the first time I found a way to use it that made it really eye-catching.

  13. Your path through the garden creates such an inviting space…The color choices and textures in your garden are so wonderful.

    Greetings, Charlie, and thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope this Bloom Day finds you and your garden warmer than we are–though to be fair, it wasn’t a bad day to get more cleanup done here.

  14. Nan you must get so much bird life going through your garden at this time of year !

    I’d suggest you doing a feature on them but birds, butterflies, and interesting insects are notorious for darting out of frame just as the camera comes into focus. I’ve given up trying to take pictures of garden visitors and just enjoy them in the moment.

    I’m with you, Jesse. I greatly admire the folks who can do amazing bird photography, *and* those who can spot and identify birds in the wild. I just can’t focus quickly enough to see most of them clearly, even though there are plenty around here. I can certainly hear them well enough, however: especially the downy woodpecker who has been attacking my house most mornings for the last few weeks!

  15. So beautiful Nan! The colors are astounding to me. Do you by any chance have pictures of the praying mantis egg cases on you plants before you picked them? Where do you put them for the winter? We have been talking here in Oklahoma how we have so many praying mantis this year. Any idea why? Thank you for your inspiration!

    I thought there were unusually large numbers here (PA) too, Laurie. Just one of those things, I guess. I have a picture of some egg cases at I tuck them into the remaining shrubs, usually, or into the holes of my post-and-rail fence posts, so the birds don’t get into them. It must work to some extent, because I find lots of babies each year.

  16. When I make those little arrangements with the final flowers, I call them “last gasp” bouquets. Brilliant to use the brush mower to cut down the perennials. Looking forward to your next book.

    I like that name, Kathy; I’ll remember that one. Hope you and your family are snug and warm!

  17. I owe you a big thanks for introducing me to Amsonia hubrichtii. I planted one this year, and can’t wait for it to take off! As always your garden is an inspiration – among all the other beauties, I found that combination in the first photo with the Vertigo pennisetum striking! What are those purplish plumes behind it? They are so lovely… And the bouquets are fantastic! Do Duncan and Daniel help you in the garden? They are adorable!

    It’s great to hear that, Anna. That amsonia looks a bit awkward–even weedy–for the first few years, but after that, it will look amazing for years to come. Ah, you would have to ask about those plumes behind the Vertigo. I didn’t identify them because I don’t really know what they are, other than some kind of amaranth; they’re all on one random seedling that popped up where I usually grow ‘Hopi Red Dye’, but it was very different from that strain. As far the boys…well, “help” is a relative term, but I could say that they do, since they are happy to eat the veg garden leftovers and recycle them into a small but steady supply of manure for the gardens.

    1. Haha – go figure I would ask about the one thing you don’t have a name for! Oh well.. no worries! Have a great Thanksgiving!

      If I get similar seedlings next year, I’ll come up with a name for it. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Anna!

  18. Your garden is absolutely superb, and quite practical, too! I had never seen perennial herbaceaous beds being mowed over, but I guess it makes perfect sense. What I like most about your garden is that everything looks so natural. Saludos from Spain

    Thank you so much for visiting today, Karen. The naturalistic look seems to fit well with this relatively rural area, and it’s pretty easy to maintain, too. My best to you and your garden!

  19. This is not bloom day this is a master piece and you are its maker love it

    My goodness, Nicole, what a nice thing to say. Thank you for stopping by!

  20. I can’t believe you tasted the ornamental sweet potatoes! And yet, why not? I love the color on Sweet Caroline Red but couldn’t find it this year. The darkish one I did find still has leaves, and they do OK here wintering over in the ground if it’s not too rainy — which won’t be a problem, I’m guessing. Amazing how fast some of that clean up is for you. I think the boys look especially handsome with a fall-colored backdrop.

    Well, I figured they would be edible, at least, but I didn’t expect them to have any flavor, as they did. It’s interesting how the availability of the various selections varies from year to year. It’s neat that they actually overwinter for you out there. What a pity that I can’t send you some of our rain, though!

  21. I’m glad you went back into October for a few pictures, it’s good to see the show a second time. I did plenty of cleaning up today too and agree that a good fall cleaning goes a long way. My weapon of choice for the smaller areas is an electric hedge trimmer, a couple quick swipes and everything is reduced to nice 8 inch bits which work well on the compost pile. Your brush mower does look like more fun though!
    I also evicted the pennisetums, the last one came out last spring (even though I really like the tall types). Another grass which got the boot was my Korean feather grass. I loved it but there were just too many seedlings…
    Love your pot o’ blooms :)

    I like the idea of using an electric hedge trimmer, but the brush mower has one big advantage: no cord! I hear what you’re saying about the Calamagrostis brachytricha. I was pleased to find the first few seedlings, because I too really like this grass, but I’m beginning to rethink that.

  22. Dear Nancy,
    I’m an avid reader of your blog and admirer of your lovely photos. There is so much one can learn from you… your Vertigo Fountain grass, for example: I thought all Pennisetums had tassels, I have one like yours and thought mine was sickly, or wrongly labeled… but you showed me it can rightfully exist.
    How do you cope with plants that are not sufficiently hardy, like the Cordyline? If they are in the ground you dig them up and take them in? Or are they in pots? I love all plants, especially the larger ones, but I prefer to enjoy them rather than be their slave, so I will have to learn from the experts what to fall for and what to resist!
    By the way, I live north of Rome, Italy, in USDA zone 8, so if something is hardy for you it surely will be for me!
    Keep up the good work!

    Hello, Sabina! I’m so happy to hear from you. The Vertigo fountain grass *can* flower–mine did produce one spike in early summer, but here in Pennsylvania, the plants get frosted before they can enter their proper bloom cycle. I do dig up some tender things in late fall: cannas, dahlias, and eucomis, mainly, but also that pink Cordyline and some scented geraniums. The things I bring inside have to be able to go completely dormant, or else tolerate being very cool (35-40F) and having very little light for about 5 months. It’s a lot to ask, but these, at least, seem to be ok with that. I trust that you are enjoying milder weather than we’ve been having (not even above freezing here today). I have several other friends in Italy and envy your growing conditions!

  23. Thanks, Nan, for the garden tour. The arches caught my eye, too. Thanks for the info. Many pre-made arches are just so heavy and overdone looking. We need 3 and now I have some inspiration to go on. Love the Sheffield Pink Mums. I did a quick tour of our local Japanese garden the other day. Loads of beautiful foliage but my heart stood still (I think…. :>) when the sight of a pink camellia hove into sight. So surprising and fresh looking midst all the bronzy fall splendour.

    Thank you so much for that image, Barbara. I can’t grow camellias here, but I could “see” one thanks to your description. We’re pretty much down to browns and grays here, and it’ll be a long time until pick is once again part of our garden palette.

  24. Nan,
    There are now several dozen Hayefield plants growing well in northeastern Kansas. I had excellent germination on winter-sown Amsonia and Sanguisorba, well over a dozen plants of each, and I’m looking forward to the blooms of nine Verbascum ‘Gov. George Aiken’ next summer. They are planted in a wild bed with Miscanthus ‘Morning Light,’ catnip, rue, Tritelia ‘Rudy’ and thyme.

    The ‘Cramers’ Amazon’ Celosia was a hit with visitors this year. I had two plants: cut one back by half in late Spring (as generally recommended), and let the other grow naturally. The former was dense and bushy, packed with flowers (good cuts); the latter got tall and sloppy, with fewer flowers–though that rangy form might look good mixing with Ricinus next year.

    Many thanks to you for expanding my gardening horizons, Nan. I became interested in these plants because of the Hayefield blog, and you sent me the seeds, free of charge, in your annual giveaway. Gardeners are known to be generous people and you are our Queen, Nan.

    All best to you, and looking forward to Hayefield 2015.


    Thank you *so* much, Tom, for taking the time to report back about the seeds. It makes me very happy to know that many of them did well for you and are thriving in their new home. I’m especially pleased that you had good luck with that verbascum. I had assumed mine would produce at least a few seedlings, if not self-sow prolifically, as mulleins are wont to do, but not a one appeared this year. Fortunately, I’d kept a few and will try to get it going again next year. But it’s great to know that it will be flowering happily elsewhere next summer. Thanks too for your observations about ‘Cramers’ Amazon’. I always forget to pinch it, and though I like tall plants, I can imagine that it would look terrific if shorter and bushier. I wish you a restful winter and reasonably mild weather. We made it up to 32F today with hopes of the 40s tomorrow; yay!

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