Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Last Days of November

November exited with days of unseasonable warmth.  On the downside, I was pestered by mosquitoes when I took these photos, and it's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner.  On the other hand, the temperature's been comfortable-- capri pants weather-- and the last lingering flowers are lingering just a little longer.

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Toad lily.
I've planted them in pots for the covered patio, for now.  I may put them into the ground at some point, but for now, I like the flexibility of the pots.  I really like the painterly style of the variegated foliage of this one.  The flowers are just a bonus.

Toad Lily

Butterfly vine from Mom.
This vine (Mascagnia macroptera or Callaeum macropterum) gets its common name from the shape of its green seed pods.  Some people collect the seed pods, dry them, and paint them for use in crafts (wreath decorations, for instance).

Right now, I'm thinking this might go where the rustic pergola was, by the end of the gravel path.  There are other options, too.  Still considering.  Wherever it goes, it will need a support of some type.

Butterfly Vine

Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers', from Mom.
I have two of these plants, which are commonly known as golden dewdrop, pigeon berry, or sky flower.  I was thinking of growing them along the north fence in the garden expansion on the east side of the yard.  The fence would provide an easy support (though not a very tall one), and they'd help fill in a totally new area of flowerbed.  However, I've just read that they require light, fast-draining soil-- "sandy soil rich with organic matter".  The soil in that part of the yard is definitely not sandy or light.  It's a heavy clay soil.  So... Maybe that's not the best location for this vine.  On the other hand, I could "just" dig an extra big hole and amend the soil (plenty of spare sandy soil on hand) to improve the drainage... Hm.

Duranta erecta 'Sapphire Showers'

Anoles are still out and about.  I saw a garter snake a few days ago, too.  (No photos of the snake, I'm afraid.)


The dogs kept me company on my little photo expedition.


The frostbitten Mexican purple sage is still soldiering along.

Mexican Purple Sage

The double pink Knock Out rose has been putting on a special show, lately.  The single yellows are blooming, too, but they haven't quite reached the size and maturity of the pink, yet.

Double Pink KO Rose

Double Pink KO Rose

Double Pink KO Rose

Blanket flower has been such a champ, this year!  I'm so glad I gave those seeds a try.  They're excellent plants.  I'm curious to see what spring brings.  Will these have reseeded all over the place?  I think I'm okay with that, but I suppose there is a limit to the number of blanket flowers we need.

One negative for this plant is that some of them have been leaning over/sprawling a little for the past couple of months.  In some spots, that's not a problem, but most of these are located right by a path, and that's where they happen to lean.  When the flowers are loaded with bees (and sometimes wasps), you don't want to go brushing against them, so that section of path has been useless.  I'm considering putting in some very short, decorative fencing just along the edge of the path, next year.  It wouldn't take much.  Maybe six feet or so?   Another option could be staking or a few short cages to prop them up.

Blanket Flower and Bee

Maybe I spoke too soon about the hiccup-free bamboo transplant.  I've noticed a little yellowing of some of the leaves.  Nothing too bad (yet), but enough to make me wonder.  Is it transplant shock?  Under-watering (since the move)?  Over-watering?  (It didn't move very far, but the soil in its new location contains a lot of clay-- probably more than in its last home.  I hope that won't be a problem...)

Or could this be just a sign that the bamboo has noticed that it's December?  Time to drop some leaves and maybe put out a few new ones?  I'm trying not to fret over it.  I think it'll be okay, once it has more time to adapt.  If it seems to be suffering too much, I could always dig around the plant and amend the soil with sand and organic matter.

'Golden Goddess' Bamboo

'Golden Goddess' Bamboo

I don't know much about azaleas, but I think this may be a formosa azalea.  Whatever it is, there are two of them in the "wild strip" along the front of the yard (outside the fence).  They've started blooming again.

There's also a bloom on one of our Japanese magnolias, and I've seen a bloom or two on one of Mom's Japanese magnolias.  I don't think they normally bloom in autumn-- only early spring-- so maybe this weirdly mild fall has confused them.  The formosa azalea, on the other hand, apparently blooms sporadically in fall, so I guess they're behaving normally.

Azalea - Fall Bloom

A look across the yard...

View Across the Yard

Some people positively hate nandina (heavenly bamboo).  It's not my very favorite plant, but I like the lacy foliage and red berries, and I like the fact that it's evergreen and has some interesting leaf color changes, through the seasons.


Some of our crepe myrtles (mostly the white-blooming ones, I believe) have displayed some very nice autumn color, this year.

The ones down by the shed are mostly golden with a touch of orange (aside from the residual green, of course).

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

Meanwhile the arc of crepe myrtles behind the garage range from gold through red, with touches of purple.

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

Crepe Myrtle - Fall Foliage

The last few seeds on the river oats (the ones I haven't gathered) are slowly turning gold, too.

River Oats / Norther Sea Oats

Warmly blue autumn skies with fluffy cotton clouds have since been replaced by grey, lowering clouds.  Humidity is high and rain is on the way, but in another couple of days, we'll be clear and seasonal, with sunshine and highs in the mid to upper 60s.  I'm not complaining!

Warm November Sky